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Sunday, April 04, 2004

I really wasn't going to mention Belle de Jour here, but I'm beginning to get annoyed by the growing literary frenzy surrounding this garbage (subjective opinion), so my vow not to add to it is finally being broken.

Belle de Jour is a blog, hosted (like this one) at (only with a slightly less visually appealing template). and it won an award in The Guardian's British Blog Awards last December, which is when I first visited. Briefly. And left unimpressed. It's supposedly the blog of a London prostitute, though opinion is divided as to whether it's genuine, or a work of fiction.

Personally I don't care. It ranges from the utterly banal to the unbearably pretentious (a bit like this blog, hehe), so I had no great interest in it.

Except that a couple of weeks ago the mystery author was offered a five figure sum to write a book based on her blog. And ever since, the literary world has gone into a frenzy trying to discover her identity. We've got respected authors like Jeanette Winterson writing about it in The Times, top literary sleuth Don Foster examining the use of punctuation to compile a 'linguistic fingerprint', the Sunday Telegraph publishing a lengthy article by Belle herself, and now former madam Cynthia Payne writing in The Guardian that Belle de Jour "knows sod all" about sex.

Quite apart from the fact that I myself have not been offered fifty grand to publish this blog in book form, which obviously rankles just a tad, it's the actual writing in the Belle blog which gets my goat. Take her latest entry for example:

A was idly surfing the web while I hunted for any scrap of cake in the house. None was forthcoming, so I made a deal with the devil and concocted a cup of chocolate consisting of the heat-whitened end of a Flake, most of a waxen bar of choc from an Army rat pack, and instant coffee. It swirled, oily and evil, in a white mug. "When and where were you born?" A asked.


"Natal chart." Online astrology is one of the sure signs of imminent societal
collapse. Told him anyway. "Oh, dear. Oh, oh dear."

"What's that?" I sipped the greasy drink. Foul, yes, but not unsatisfying. Must find a better method of dealing with hormonal cycles though - for it is spring, when a young woman's fancy turns to bikinis.

Now is it just me, or is that the biggest load of pretentious tripe you've ever read? Personally when I make a cup of coffee I don't feel the need to mention it in my blog, but for Belle it's a noteworthy event filled with oily evil swirlings, imminent societal collapse, and springtime hormonal cycles.

And this gets you a five figure book deal and acres of press coverage??? Obviously I'm not bitter though. But I mean, really, it does make me despair. It's no wonder I don't read.

I did come across one comment worthy of repeating though. Amidst the frenzy of literary sleuthing, someone said this on another blog:

"It doesn't matter who is really behind Belle de Jour -- we're all pseudonymous pretend prostitute webloggers, aren't we?"

I couldn't agree more. Offer me a few grand and I'm yours.