I read a rather tedious column in The Journalist magazine the other day about how blogs were rather lacking in depth - ranting, if you will - and needed to 'grow up'. This from someone who couldn't even spell Iain Dale and had clearly researched the subject for all of about 5 minutes - maybe 10 if I'm feeling generous. Honestly, it was the most dreadful piece of bollocks I've read in a long time, from someone without the slightest scrap of talent themselves. I'd quote from it but I chucked the bloody thing in the bin, it was so shite.
Anyway, blogging is different. Yes, we do rant. Yes, we do swear. Yes, we do make it up as we go along. And yes, we are allowed to write what we want. That's kind of the USP. It's like criticising comics for having pictures, or films for being in cinemas - if you don't understand the medium, you're always going to be at a disadvantage. Yes, some blogs are spam; some are incoherent; some are just self-absorbed twittering - but that's the beauty of it, I think. There are gems to be had; you just have to look for them. No spoonfeeding in the big, bad internet. You are required to do some work to get the goodies. But I will say this: other than a handful of writers I really admire and enjoy, most of the comment and analysis that really strikes a chord with me is to be found in blogs. It's immediate; it's incisive; it's raw; it's passionate; it's emotional; it's funny; it's moving.
Which brings me to Liz Jones, who is none of those things. The only emotion she invokes is hatred. The only way she moves me is by making me be sick in my mouth a bit. If I were a conspiracy theorist - and who's to say I'm not - I would surely believe that she could be a really clever, brilliantly witty woman who is sending up dismal pisspoor self-absorbed columnist drivel by magnificently masquerading as one.
I'm waiting for the day, in 10 or 15 years' time, when Jones says 'ta-daaa!' and reveals to the world that she's pulled the wool over our eyes. Likewise, I still harbour a faintly glowing hope that Mad Mel Phillips will one day sign off with a "You didn't believe all that shit, did you?" column before disappearing off to work with Islamic charities. OK, OK, I know that is stretching credibility a bit, but I would still love it to happen. It's better than the alternative - facing up to the fact that someone in such a privileged position of communicating to so many thousands of readers is actually so downright prejudiced, nasty and dumb - and that she has so many downright prejudiced, nasty and dumb followers.
But I know it's not really true. Liz Jones really is just a fucking idiot. (Yes, here we go, swearing again. Well I like swearing. If I want to say fuck I'll say fuck; I won't say 'radiator' as a surrogate swearword just to smooth the waters with those who are upset by simple Anglo-Saxon. And besides, there are times when only a fuck will do. This is one of those times. Go on, you read Jones's latest bowl of pus and tell me you didn't swear to yourself when you went through it. You did, didn't you?)
Not a particularly articulate idiot, either. Or one with anything interesting to say. Why criticise bloggers - usually amateurs who are just writing as a hobby to keep themselves sane while the day-job gradually drives them round the bloody bend - when this is what one of the most successful professional writers in Britain comes up with? Honestly, look at it. Look at it!
It feels a bit wrong fisking Liz Jones - too easy, almost. But instead of simply dismissing the talentless twit as a talentless twit, it's important to demonstrate that this isn't base prejudice at work: the evidence is there to support the conclusion. (Incidentally, I do get annoyed with the use of the word 'fisk', coming as it does from an incident where a piddling cock of a man was laughing at one of the finest journalists of our times being nearly beaten to death. Just as 'pilgerise' was a phrase intended to sneer at the integrity of one of the most fearless and intelligent journalists of our era, the same has come about with 'fisk'. The irony is that Fisk was ridiculed for trying to understand why he had been attacked by Afghan refugees - ridiculed for trying to show empathy and compassion. If that's what 'fisking' is then let me the fuck off. I'm going to call it 'Marksteynisacunting' from now on.)
A 'return to London' that made me yearn for the cocoon of my BMW
I had my day in court last week – Swindon Magistrates' Court, to be exact.I had received a letter telling me I had gone above 70mph on the M4 last November, and so I pleaded guilty, and asked to be punished in my absence.
How far over 70 were you going, Jones? It's a textbook response from the speeding twat to claim it was only a little over the speed limit - except Plod doesn't send tickets for going just over 70 on the M4. I'm guessing she was speeding excessively. If only there were some way of knowing not to go over 70, some kind of mysterious sign next to the road or something, telling you the speed limit, and then some other indication there might be speed cameras, maybe a picture of a speed camera or something right next to the road and a sign underneath saying 'speed cameras'? How on earth did such a clever woman get caught?
Anyway, the plea to be treated unlike everyone else in the country didn't wash with the authorities. Who'd've thunk it? Why can't Jones be given preferential treatment to everyone else in the world?
When I stood in front of the three magistrates, I told them I had not had an accident since I passed my test in 1984 and that my licence had been clean until the past two years, when the police had suddenly gone mad.
You know those blokes who say "Well me and my girlfriend split up, she went mad obviously" as a way of deflecting all criticism or blame from themselves? Yes, Jones is similarly deluded - it's not her that's wrong, it's the police for applying the law and prosecuting people for breaking it. That's 'madness'. Shall we suspend the law on stabbing and rape as well, Jones? Is it 'madness' to prosecute those offences as well?
I also threw in the fact that, when the wheels on my car had been stolen last year, there had not, unfortunately, been a policeman nearby pointing a mobile camera at the thieves. This didn’t go down particularly well.
You see why I think she's almost a self-parody? Fool. I wonder if this really happened this way? Sadly, the local rag doesn't have a report on it. Schade.
They fined me £750 and put six points on my licence. I told them that I might, on the odd occasion, have to put my foot on the accelerator if I find myself sandwiched, as I normally do, between two giant lorry drivers cross that they are not in BMWs.
Ah, the beautiful 'accelerate out of trouble' excuse. A brilliant device, this one, used by those libertarian "I want to speed and it's not endangering anyone ever, therefore I will do it" campaigners and fuckwits. It's the lorry drivers' fault, and the politics of envy. Cross that you're in a BMW? I don't think so, Jones - maybe they recognise you from your photo byline and are trying to do the world a favour by pitching you into the verge.
Now, I drive on the motorway almost every day so I am in a position to observe the general driving behaviour of the Great British Public. Lorry drivers have their faults, but they aren't the worst at all. They understand how motorways work; they try to get back in the left-hand lane as soon as possible; they're hindered by speed limiters when overtaking. Generally, lorry drivers are safe drivers.
Whereas, BMW drivers. Well now. I'm not going to say that everyone in the world who drives a BMW is a selfish thoughtless cunt who loves racing up to your back bumper and flashing their lights at you for no good reason other than to intimidate you before speeding off while braying on their phone, but, oh actually that is what I do think. Bimmer drivers are fucking wankers. That's why they've got BMWs. If they were nicer people they'd have Volvos or Nissans. If they were even worse cunts they'd have Audis, I grant you, but that's beside the point.
So, on Thursday, terrified of getting another fine, I let the train take the strain, having spent, on the First Great Western website, about three hours trying to choose between one of the 19 (yes, NINETEEN) options, including: Standard Advance Single, Saver Single, Standard Open Single, Standard Open Return and so on.
‘Two singles could be cheaper,’ the website trills; well, are they cheaper or aren’t they?
I don't know - are they? You're the journalist, did you do your research? Clearly not, seeing as you haven't heard about simplified train ticket types.
It normally costs me £50 in petrol to drive to London, with £8 for the congestion charge and £17 for parking. The train cost £59, but only if I travelled after 9am. When I went to collect my tickets from the ticket office, the man told me I had to go and key in an eight-digit number at the machine on the platform. He wasn’t best pleased when I asked: ‘So, what do you do, exactly, if you don’t issue passengers with tickets?’ I also had to fork out £4 to park.
Do you remember when you were five and you had to write about what you did in your holidays? You know, you came out with "Me and Darren went swimming then we went to John's house and played football and then it was the afternoon and then we had tea and then I went home and went to bed". That kind of linear, juvenile writing is the sort of thing that Jones hasn't even mastered herself. For fuck's sake, just spit it out.
This was OK until I caught an earlier than planned train home, which meant I couldn’t get a seat. Unwilling to stand for nearly three hours, I went and sat in First Class and was fined £50 on the spot.
Ha ha! Brilliant. Who didn't punch the air reading that? I bet she thought she belonged in first class anyway. Travelling in rush hour - trains somewhat busy? What a bizarre concept! For anyone who has never lived in the real fucking world. It's not like the bloody Railway Children on a train nowadays, pal.
What annoyed me the most, though, was that when I went to the buffet car to buy water, I had to push my way through dozens of drunken men, all of whom were standing in the buffet carriage as if at a party, or football match.
Aw, bless. The buffet carriage is like a party or football match is it? That's the real world, Liz. They're called other human beings. You have to share space with them. They're nice really, unless they're being patronised.
Back in my seat, I started to send a text message (hurrah! at least I can use my mobile on the train) and no fewer than four men rounded on me, telling me to stop making so much noise!
Was that really why they were 'rounding on you' Liz? You must have very noisy texting fingers - or you're just not telling the story the same way they would.
I’m afraid I got into an argument, bringing in three fellow women passengers to adjudicate over what was more annoying: the loud conversation the men were having, or the bleeping from my texting. I lost, and then the guard came along and ejected me to a ‘non quiet’ carriage, full of the aforementioned unruly drunks.
You got into an argument, Jones? How on earth did that happen...? You strike me as such a pleasant character, not at all an uppity the-world-revolves-around-me berk who can't understand why everything isn't brilliant for you and not everyone else.
How about FGW just employs a polite person in the ticket office to say, ‘A return to London, madam?’ and vacuums the carpet on its trains.
Because it's privatised?
Is it any wonder we prefer the serene cocoon of our motor car?
A quick note to all traffic officers on the M4. If you see a BMW driven by an annoying, arrogant, talentless shit-shower called Liz Jones, please do us all a favour and give her another few points. To the magistrates: she'll claim she needs her car for work, but clearly she's proved she doesn't. She might not enjoy the train, but it'll provide plenty of material for her wonderful insightful column. And it might expose her to planet earth a bit more, which might just be a very good thing.