This week's interview is with Mr London Street
who writes the blog Mr London Street
Thank you kind Sir, and straighten your tie LOL
A warm welcome to you and your followers
It started out as a New Year’s resolution, actually. Initially, I meant to keep a diary - if only to exorcise the ghosts of my painfully angst-ridden diaries of days gone by. Sitting over a journal scratching away with my fountain pen it didn’t take long before I realised that the outcome was going to be exactly the same i.e. a load of introspective twaddle, although hopefully without the recurring themes of twenty years ago which seemed to be - in no particular order - whether I’d ever get to see a girl’s breasts and how nobody could truly understand the torment of being me. Let’s not even get on to the horror of the poetry I wrote back then; my toes are curling with shame just thinking about it.
So, no diary and it was back to the drawing board. A month later, I was at a party and was telling a story of some kind. One of my friends said “Go on, tell the one about the swinger with the artificial leg” (don’t ask).
“You’ve heard that story before.” I said.
“I know.” she said, “But it’s still funny.”
“I should just write them all up and number them, and then I can just go to parties and say ‘Story Number 2’ and everyone can laugh and we can save lots of time.” I said.
“Or you could print out handouts.” she said.
And then I thought Or I could do a blog and that’s how it all started. The odd thing is though, that may be why I started a blog but it’s not why I blog now. One of the great things about this is that what you write and why you write changes all the time. Initially most of the stuff I wrote was supposed to be funny, just random stories about my friends, goings on at work, that sort of thing. The first time I tried to write something a bit more serious I felt more than faintly silly, like I was going to stick my head above the parapet only for people to say “this is all very well, but where are the knob gags?” But to my amazement and enormous relief, nobody did and I find I do a lot more personal stuff now than I used to. I write things now that I would never have dreamed of putting on paper back in the beginning, and that’s not just about the act of regularly writing but also about the lovely feedback that you get.
So I suppose now I blog because there are stories I want to tell and because I like doing things with words, and because I would love to see something of mine in print one day (though maybe not the story about the swinger with the artificial leg). That ambition finally came true this month and is an absolutely amazing feeling. Funny to think that it all stems back from that decision to start writing and telling stories just over a year ago.
And, of course, I also blog for the same reason as everyone else - a gargantuan ego which is in almost constant need of validation.
What's the story behind your blog name?
It’s actually very prosaic indeed - my blog name has confused lots of people into thinking I live in, or am from, London but I’m not. I actually live in Reading, a big town not far from London (I suppose if you live in a country as huge as Canada, or the States, it might as well be London). The area I live in in Reading is around London Street so I took my name from that. It’s stuck, and now I’m really quite attached to it. More to the point, somebody did me an ace blog banner and I could hardly not use it after they went to all that trouble.
What is the best thing about being a blogger?
Well now, the best thing about being a blogger (as opposed to a writer) is undoubtedly all the other people who blog. Blogging is great for encouraging you to write regularly and giving you the discipline and letting you try out all sorts of different things. But it really comes down to the interaction with other writers, reading some extraordinary stuff and both giving and getting feedback.
Hmm. I’ve read loads of Sunday Roasts and everyone always says that, don’t they? Of course, it’s because it’s true. But there are other great things about being a blogger. That feeling when you hit the publish button, the hush before the first comment comes in. Knowing that you managed to say something exactly how you wanted to say it and hoping people like it. When someone tells you they were moved by something you wrote, or that it made them laugh out loud. Feeling like all those words you tap away have touched someone that you’ve never met.
And of course the emails offering you a free titanium wedding ring in return for a small advert on your blog. People can be so thoughtful, can’t they?
Last of all, I suppose there’s one incident last year which most perfectly encapsulates some of the magic about blogging for me. I wrote about it here.
I know a lot of people say “write for yourself”. Not a fashionable thing to say, but I don’t agree. If you want to write for yourself, you may as well keep a diary. If you want to write a blog, think about what you want to say and who you think will be interested. Write like you’re talking to someone you like. Find blogs you like, read them, comment on them. Bloggers are incredibly friendly and there is no blogger whose day isn’t made when you comment saying you like something they’ve written.
Don’t be discouraged in the early stages. Also, don’t feel like you have to post every day. There’s no shame in writing more stuff than you publish and keeping some things in reserve for later on. One day, you will have plenty of followers and find yourself thinking “it’s not fair, I wrote all this great stuff at the start and nobody will ever read it” so pace yourself.
Don’t write a blog post saying “I can’t think of anything to write today.” Just write something the next day when you can.
Your children may not be quite as fascinating to everyone on the internet as they are to you, however adorable they undoubtedly are.
Oh, and there’s no place for block capitals in this day and age. Or multiple exclamation marks. Just say no.
What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?
I read a lot of bloggers and never cease to be amazed by the incredible ability and range of all the writers out there. It’s quite spectacular that in a single day I can see amazing photography from Norway, beautiful vignettes of romantic life from NYC, hilarious writing about sex and singledom from the Deep South and all points of the spectrum in between. Really, we’re all lucky to do this.
My favourite serious piece of writing I‘ve read in blogland is probably a big thing by Friday I‘m In Love. It’s small, perfectly formed and stunning, a lovely post about happiness in relationships. Beatrix, who writes the blog, has a great understated style and never beats you over the head with anything she’s trying to say.
The single funniest post I’ve ever read is probably Undercover Newsdesk by Barry Newsdesk. In it, Barry plots to uncover his mother’s new boyfriend as a closet Nazi. It’s one of the most side-splitting things I’ve ever read in my life. Barry appears to be on a bit of a sabbatical lately but his blog is well worth an extended read, whether he’s talking about his complicated professional life or his quest to become a proper citizen journalist and fully-fledged cult of the personality.
What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?
This is a really hard question. Once a post is written and gets published it sort of acquires a life of its own. The ones people are going to react to are never quite the ones you think - I’ve had posts I’ve dashed off quickly on a weekday evening which get plenty of comments seemingly out of nowhere.
I feel bad for cheating and picking more than one, but I’ve had a quick look through the other interviews and I’m in pretty good company because people often do, so here goes: out of my less serious posts, I’ve often been told people liked one called Raymond Babbitt walks the dog which is one of the very earliest things I wrote. Out of my more serious posts, the one which has got fantastic feedback is one of the most recent things I wrote called Happy pills.
That aside, I suppose the post which has in some ways the most personal significance was the one I wrote as my hundredth post, called Mark. It was about a friend and colleague of mine who died, it was one of the first serious posts that I wrote and was far more difficult than I ever thought it could be.
Really though, if anyone came over to mine from your blog to read any of my posts I would be very pleased indeed (and, given my answer to one of the later questions, it would probably class as a minor miracle).
If you were to suggest two blogs for roasting who would you pick, and why?
Apart from the blogs I’ve already mentioned?
First of all, Alyson from Calling People Names . She’s a terrific writer; she manages to combine being extremely funny and vulnerable and is one of the first bloggers I look out for in my blogroll every day. A good example of her at her very best would be found here .
Secondly, it would have to be Jules from The Gravel Farm. I absolutely love his writing style, he could write about pretty much anything and keep me hooked right to the end. He’s utterly hilarious and the conversational way he takes you through a topic makes it easy to forget what an excellent writer he is. Any of Jules’ astonishing posts make this pretty clear but my personal favourite of his is probably this one .
That concludes the formal aspect of the interview but it would be nice to get to know you a little better while you are slowly turning on the roasting spit. So while you are screaming in agony above the open fire here are a few more questions for you.
Pick three things you can't live without (no you cannot have ice cubes to cool you down)
Chocolate. Ideally really good stuff, but if it comes to it Galaxy will do nicely. Who am I kidding? I’d take choc drops for dogs if they were all that was on offer.
My camera. I think photography and blography aren‘t that far apart in a lot of ways. We all want a record of things, sometimes we want to zoom in on a single detail, sometimes we want to step back and see the whole landscape.
Last of all, this sounds exceptionally lame, but my wife. Without her I’d have nobody to roll their eyes at my bad jokes, tell me that I’m being a hypochondriac or let me know whether I’ll need a coat on spring days. Plus I’d hear songs on the radio without the best backing vocalist of all time.
She makes pretty decent tea too, as it happens.
If you were a fictional writer which one would you be and why?
I am a big fan of Anne Tyler. I love her effortless style and the beautiful way she writes about people and their relationships to one another. Nothing is simple, or schmaltzy, or sentimental but it’s all incredibly human and quite brilliantly done. I suppose the other writer I really admire - and I know Anne Tyler did too - is the English novelist Barbara Pym. She wrote a wonderful, and not very fashionable, series of novels often about frustrated romance and lives of quiet loneliness and disappointment, but with flashes of absolutely stellar observation and wit. It might not sound like an incredible sales pitch but really, check out Excellent Women if that sounds like it could even remotely be your sort of thing.
If you were an ice cream cone, which flavour would you prefer and who would you most want to lick you?
I would have to be chocolate - sometimes a little dark and bitter, sometimes a little lighter and sweet.
I know some people have struggled with the idea of picking somebody to lick them Eddie, and I know some people have even chosen not to answer this bit of the question. My answer is simple. You never specified the quantities, so I think I would be enough ice cream to fill an Olympic swimming pool. And why be selfish? I would allow every woman I’ve ever even remotely fancied in there to have a lick, since there’s enough to go round. And if it happened to degenerate into some kind of wrestling shindig I guess personally I would be all right with that.
Sorry, but you did ask.
Describe in one sentence your perfect day
I am unable to attend Chris Moyles’ funeral because I have to go and do a book signing at Shakespeare and Company in Paris.
Thank you for your roast interview - it was great fun
Today's Sunday Roast with Mr London Street is the 107th in a
weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world. _________________________________________________
This interview will feature in The Roll of Honour
for all published Roasts. To view press HERE _________________________________________________
Next week's Roast - Simply Heather
Finally, early this week a dear blogging friend, Renee, sadly passed away after a long battle with cancer. I wish to pay my respects to her and her family. We shall all miss Renee, who wrote the blog Circling My Head. As a measure of her popularity and the love bloggers have for her there are many tributes and accolades on her last three posts, published by her daughter.
Renee was a lovely lady and was very kind with a great sense of humour. I regret very much she was too ill to appear on The Sunday Roast. God bless you Renee.