The last post was the 500th I have made on this blog since I started last July. At just under eleven months that is not a bad average considering I only started the blog to regain a bit of momentum that had been lost in my writing elsewhere. The very first post, written two days after the World Cup Final, offered little in the way of direction and ambition, and though the blog has gained some speed in that time it is still very much a hotch-potch, an indulgent, ad hoc amalgam of things I would otherwise have been mumbling incomprehensively to anyone that might be forced to listen (those that know me will aver that my accent is rather strong, except maybe those from Sligo, who will argue the very opposite).
The blog, enjoyable as it is, has become an albatross of sorts around my neck however, a distraction from doing other activities, the same ones whose abeyence occasioned it to be started in the first place. For this reason the posts may well become less frequent over the next few months, which is something I regret as I enjoy writing it, and, to be totally honest, I could probably have posted 2,000 times had work commitments, the odd hangover and the more productivity-stifling reaches of Web 2.0 not stymied me. I have really had that many ideas, which is no bad thing. I have to admit, of course, that keeping them from the world was no bad thing either.
With regards to blogging and the Internet I remain a sceptical enthusiast. Much has been written in the past couple of days about Andrew Keen's attack on the extension of the publishing franchise afforded by the Net; while I feel that Keen's gripes - to judge at least from the quotes in the adjoined article - owe more to sour grapes over a loss of prestige of the official intelligensia, it's hard not to agree that much of the Internet is depressing to wade through. Don't get me wrong: I read about 100 blogs daily and I would probably search for many more I had more time to satisfy this bulimic habit. Those that I read are all excellent and the fact that their RSS feeds end up on my newsreader every day is the only worthwhile praise there is.
I have to say though that blogging, for all its liberatory qualities and enjoyability is still inferior to print. Perhaps not print newspapers, the vast majority of which, worldwide, are of dubious trustworthiness and wretched quality, but to books, yes, I'm afraid it is. Blogging has legions of fine qualities and there are great writers on the web that, thanks to the medium, get audiences that might otherwise be denied them. Some have progressed to writing a book, from Salam Pax to Twenty Major, but writing a book is a different kettle of fish altogether. It demands stamina, quality, balls, self-belief, discipline, a mastery of the most mundane technical matters and, after publication, a willingness to turn yourself into a consummate bore in order to get anyone to read it. That does not make it a greater art - it doesn't even make it an art in itself at all - but the challenge is a lot bigger. Blogging is great, and I would hope to continue this one for a couple of years to come but the challenge of writing something more substantial is much greater.
Lest I appear to be too serious here, I would like to thank all that read this blog (even those that expect to find pictures of Lawrie Sanchez or Artur Boruc in the nip or torrent files of glamour models peeing on one another) for doing so, and I have resolved to reply to all comments from now on (being from the west of Ireland, manners don't come naturally to me). Here's to another 500, as lazy hacks in the old media would say.