Skip to main content

Blurb: a brief diversion


One of the more fraught aspects of doing a spot of writing is occasionally you will be called upon to provide a potted biography. Maybe some writers approach this joyously, for me it’s a horrible chance to look like a prize knob.

Who wants to read author blurbs? Nobody, that’s who. Or rather, people will glance over other publications, maybe take note of a website address. The rest comes off as so much self aggrandising nonsense. Who cares what else I do? Yet the terrible urge is to try to write something different from the norm, something witty, something interesting. Which is, of course, ludicrous. Clearly people are already interested, otherwise they wouldn’t be reading your blurb, because who wants to read author blurbs (refrain, repeat to fade)

In his wonderful book “Invisible Forms”. Kevin Jackson takes a chapter to have a look at this strange extrusion on the body of writing, and skewers its various incarnations. The depressing truth is that the laconic, jokey, offhand blurb:

“Matt Fallaize was born in 1977 for some reason.”

...is as much of a cliché as the lengthy list of achievements and publications and, for some reason, location. Who gives a monkey’s where I live? And yet, there it is, in all my bios to date. In fact, horror upon horror, my most recent bios include an offhand, laconic joke, artfully designed to subvert the form, jesus wept. It’s a truism, but there really is nothing harder to write about than yourself *

*without sounding like a massive goon

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Free School Meals Own Goal

As you're doubtless aware, HMG scored a fairly spectacular own-goal this week, with the decision not to extend free school meals (FSM) over the half-term holiday. The idea, advanced to tremendous effect by Marcus Rashford, was to ensure that no children go hungry when they're not in school. No one could argue with that, right? If we can all agree on one thing, it's that we're pretty anti-starving kids, right? And at a cost of a mere 20 million quid, which is chump change to a government which has wasted billions on Track and Trace that doesn't work, and hundreds of millions in contracts to their mates for PPE that doesn't work, it was a pretty cheap bit of good publicity. Well, as it turns out, there's a sizable element of the Tory party (and the wider populace, we'll get to them in a minute) which is pretty pro-starving kids. You may have seen the speech by Brendan Clarke-Smith, the Conservative member for Bassetlaw, in which he spoke about not wanting

Just let us enjoy it for five minutes, yeah?

He lost! The moment that most sane humans have been fervently praying for for the last four years has finally arrived. After an interminable period of watching numbers fail to move, more "Key Race alerts than I've had hot dinners, and much marvelling at the seemingly iron constitutions of all at CNN, the news was finally confirmed. And lo there was much rejoicing across the land. You'll have your own favourite bit, no doubt, Personally for me it's a toss-up between Nigel Farage losing a ten grand bet and the hilariously shambolic, bathetic ending, where a confused Rudy Giuliani, thinking he'd booked the Four Seasons Hotel for a press conference, stood blinking in the car-park of Four Seasons Total Landscaping, between a crematorium and a shop selling dildoes.  I am not by any stretch much of a US politics nerd. I know that most UK politics fans have a slightly dorky obsession over the US process which probably stems from watching too much West Wing , but it's s

Exceptionalism

In among the various examples of David Cameron being a pillock in her hugely entertaining diaries , which caused a minor furore a few weeks back, the otherwise spectacularly un self-aware Sasha Swire made one hugely telling and perceptive point, described here in Rachel Cooke's excellent Guardian  interview  Following a Downing Street Christmas party in 2011, for instance, she notes that the closeness of Cameron’s circle is “unprecedented… a very particular, narrow tribe of Britain and their hangers-on”. It’s “enough to repulse the ordinary man" This sense of Government by chumocracy was one of the less edifying aspects of the already pretty ropy Cameron years. An idea of a few good pals lording it up at each other's houses and doing a spot of Governing when it suited them haunted the back of a fag packet policies of that intellectually threadbare period (in the book, Dave boasts of "winning a war" in Libya, conflating it with the great day he's just had on t