I wouldn't call it a change in direction so much as a swerve. Like the sort of swerve you make when you're pedalling your bicycle down a hill and you see a freshly-laid dog turd in the middle of the path. Even swerving your bike into a bunch of brambles has got to be better than that.
I felt deeply saddened today to learn about the Daily Quail's decision to call it a day for now. The blogosphere, if you can call us that, will be a less fun place. What I enjoyed so much about the Quail's output was that sense of fun, of mockery, but well aimed, and forensic - deconstructing the tabloid nastiness and showing it without the mask. I'm very sad that we won't be reading any more, but I hope the door's open for a return at some stage. And I agree with a lot of what he says in his signing-off piece: fewer people are trusting newspapers than ever before, particularly at this election time, and there are more competing voices for your attention. They're losing their power. The internet was the comet; they're dinosaurs shrugging their little raptor shoulders and thinking "Bah, doesn't matter"; and the rest of us are cockroaches, and little weaselly creatures - we might look silly, and insignificant, and tiny to dinosaurs, but there's a change coming, and not all of us are going to be staying around forever.
And now it's election time. I'm as excited as anyone is. Really, I am. You'll see from earlier today the kind of thoughts I'm having about all of this, though. There's the danger of people getting weary just a few hours in, let alone by May 5th. I can't help feeling that even the most loyal of readers is going to start dissolving into a teary mess if I squawk on and on about the general election in every single post. Because this is going to be inescapable. This is going to be everywhere. There's no way of getting away from it. It will seep in through the windows and sneak in through the cat flap. It's going to tickle you behind the ears and curl up next to you on the settee. Whether you like it or not.
So, we need to have a bit of fun. I think. Bloggers can be po-faced bastards at the best of times anyway, and I don't want to get dragged down by the whirlpool. So I've decided - more spoofs, more silly things, more fun. Maybe more of that in general, actually, whether it's election time or not.
On the other hand, now is exactly the time when the papers are going to be peddling the worst rubbish of all. They're going to become pretty toxic. They're going to be focusing on what they see as bias elsewhere, as well. Labour will squeak if their candidate gets five seconds less on TV; so will the Tories, and so will the others. There will be claim and bloody counter-claim, for weeks. And every day the papers will be telling you how to vote, even when they're not saying it explicitly. So now's the time to make sure they don't get away with it, more than ever.
I just wish this election could be more about policies, and things, and issues, rather than meaningless personalities, and froth, and excitable schoolboys gossiping behind the bike sheds. But it won't. It really won't. Right now, legislation is being discussed that will have a huge impact on the digital future, and here are our elected representatives discussing it:
That's the importance given to that, now the election's been called. But the focus isn't on that; it's on the tittle-tattle, banality and things that most ordinary folk couldn't care less about - the Battle Buses, the leaders' wives, the endless parade of dull white men in suits, the baby-kissing and the factory-visiting, the 'voters' panels' of four dull fucks who 'are undecided at this election', the marginal constituencies, the bloody swingometers, the graphics, Jeremy Vine leaping about like a great big lemon, and so on, and so on, and so, ponderously, on. Until we lose the will to live.
Now I'm not here to declare for any party. I am not a Labour or Lib Dem or Tory blogger, and anyone I catch calling me that had better expect a pretty nasty slap around the face with a wet smelly fish. And I think, while there will be stuff on the election and the papers, here there'll be a lot of silliness too. This is a call for everyone to be silly, not to take ourselves too seriously, and for blogs to be fun rather than think we've got any more influence than we really do. We don't. We're just here to provide a bit of colour, at times like this. So let's make the colours bright ones.