Archive for October 2011
“My name is Jeremy and I am a writer.
At various stages in the past I have been Jeremy the Advertising Guy, Jeremy the Bloke Who Works as an Odd-Job Man in a Greek Brothel or Jeremy the Wanker Who Takes Forever to Call Out Your Name When You’re Waiting to Bowl.
I am not defined by my job, which is handy as I’ve had some awful ones in the past and may well do again in the future.
So, I’m Just Jeremy, really. Jeremy who writes films and has a criminal record. Jeremy who loves his son and doesn’t like the Beatles. Jeremy who has a fingernail fetish and is enjoying writing about himself in the certain knowledge that you’ll read the words.
This is an odd thing; this exposure to strangers. Projecting an image through word and picture that accommodates ego and doesn’t offend vanity. Looking a bit like a potato I did my best to appear ‘interesting’ – or at least ‘edgy’ – on the day and now I’m talking about me and unsuccessfully attempting not to appear narcissistic.
I’m generous to a fault and yet mean-spirited and cynical. I’m easily bored, hard to please and susceptible to temptation. I’m very strong, extremely weak and disappointingly shallow. Everything is truth, lies and contradiction, framed by perspective. The photograph is only an accurate representation of its precise moment of being and the words are honest and yet completely erroneous, depending upon context.
Whereas the pictures will be forever useful as reference of a time when I thought I was interesting or edgy and looked like a potato, this is just a collection of words written by me, about me, designed to frame an illusion which may or may not be accurate.
But then I am a writer, after all.”
“It’s taken me years to ‘get’ Twitter. My promotional tweeting is largely going over like tumbleweed.
@guydaviesmusic tells me @CorrinaGreyson’s had a great photo taken for a collection being assembled by @chrisfloyduk called 140 Characters.
We go to @chrisfloyduk’s studio, A very likeable man. It is a very hot day. We pose barefoot.
Shortly, hereafter, I decide to have one final go at getting Twitter ‘right,’ and follow my friend @davidgarnold’s example: I tweet whatever.
@chrisfloyduk tweets me and tells me I’m on fire. I notice I am being retweeted regularly. My numbers rise.
@peterpaphides trumpets that @GeorgeMichael has joined twitter. I follow immediately.
I wake at 7am one Saturday, in time for a 7am tweet by the great man.
I tweet ‘blimey! You’re up early love!’ He replies “I often am. How are you?’ My numbers surge by about 300.
My new @GeorgeMichael followers include ‘This Morning’s’ Soap correspondent @Sharontweet
My Twitter confidence is ablaze, though I notice that my self-confidence generates rambling Byronic tweets of up to 16 in one go.
I begin taking long walks and bike rides, tweeting all that I see. I’m praised by the Streatham press. I decide to learn trees.
I begin pathological #ffing
This means that my numbers haemorrhage as quickly as they rise. I sign up to Who Unfollowed Me?
One afternoon I log in to find that @caitlinmoran has unfollowed me. I panic.
I check quickly to see if her husband still is. He is. Oh not so bad then.
El Boyfo says she’s probably just fed up with logging on and finding a wall of my tweets.
I begin a jocose flirtation with a motorbike enthusiast from Cheshire @zootcadillac, because he seems charming and has a shaven head.
And I’ve noticed my Twitter mate and fan @iainmarley is too. We joke about our twitter three-way.
@Markgatiss tweets, quite to my surprise, that he loves me. He means my music, of course.
Violinist @Eoschater tweets me, that they’ve mentioned me on the set of Sherlock Holmes, while she is coaching his violin playing.
On my way to @VoewoodFestival with @guydaviesmusic and @manofsherwood I hear of an almighty Twitter spat!
It is between my jocose Twitter flirtation @zootcadillac and my absolute favourite tweeter @themanwhofell
I immediately assume responsibility because of my pathological #ffs
I start making moon faces of tweeters and make one for @themanwhofell by way of covert apology. He doesn’t respond.
I feel stalky. I think all is lost. I decide to leave Twitter. I write a last ditch missive to @themanwhofell on Facebook.
He tells me not to be silly, that he has been busy and offers to edit some of my writing.
This throws me, as he once complimented me by saying that I tweeted the way @stephenfry should.
I don’t follow @stephenfry, @wossy, @rustyrockets or any of the UK biggies, so I wouldn’t know.
I would love it if @AlecBaldwin responded to my tweet. He responds to so many, but I haven’t captured his imagination yet.
@Brianenoreal is following me;
@Brianenoreal was following me.
@Tim_Burgess and I become twitter friends.
He tweets I lost my butler during an economic downturn, posting a clip of McAlmont and Butler on ‘Later.’ My followers surge by over 50.”
“Corrina Greyson had uploaded her 140 Characters shot straight onto her Facebook fan page. Once I saw them I was instantly enraged with jealousy. Other 140 shots started to emerge of her, Steve Furst and Eos Chater. The green monster had the better of me; why where they having such a good time FFS?
I called Corrina up and demanded to know who took these shots, as I wanted David McAlmont and I (who had just got back working together) to be in on it. She told me it was Chris Floyd who was doing this “Twitter project.” She gave me his number and I called him up straight away, using my pushy Scouse persona to get in on the project.
We shot these without any shoes on – I’ve completely forgotten why that was now.”
“I’ve worked with Chris Floyd since 1994, when he looked like someone out of Blur. We were both very young then and quite badly behaved. Although more usually I was quite badly behaved and he was quite disapproving. He bailed me out of jail once, and another time he stopped me re-opening some old wounds with Germany. Then, as happens, babies were born, careers diverged (well, his took off) and there came a time when we only used to see each other twice a year. And then Jack Dorsey invented Twitter.
We still only see each other twice a year but at least now I know what he’s thinking as he eats his breakfast and finds himself shouting at the Daily Mail.
Apart from listening to my old friend Chris, I like that late at night Twitter is like trying to sleep in a huge dormitory full of funny people. The other side is like having a spray can in my back pocket. Whenever a thought crosses my mind I just take out my spray can and scrawl 140 characters across the internet.
I like that Twitter makes shy people funny. I know some people who struggle to be heard around big gobbed idiots like me in ‘the real world’ but on Twitter we all have the same volume. I like that Twitter is like a diary. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast this morning, but Twitter can (as long as I remembered to be really boring and tweet what I had for breakfast).
I brought Richard Bacon with me to the shoot because I hoped to hijack his celebrity and ride his coat tails all the way onto the pages of the nationals.
And because he has one a half million followers. It didn’t work. I should have realised:
On Twitter, everyone can be famous for 140 characters.”
“When I was younger, I regarded ‘The Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret of the Illuminati’ as my bible. Written by an early client of mine, Robert Anton Wilson, it has a foreword by Timothy Leary, whose eight circuit model of consciousness and neurosomatic linguistic engineering is another guiding principle for me.
Whenever I opened the book, something odd and magical usually happened. I called the process ‘Wilson’s Manic Happenstance’, or I did, until I lost the book when I was mugged on a stag night in Bovey Tracey.
I live life as if every single moment is a coincidence. So, when on a cold wet morning a Twitter friend suggested that I head on down to Chris’s West London studio to take part in his Twitter photographic project, it simultaneously coincided with the cancellation of an 11 o clock meet.
Free to venture West, I tweeted Chris and arranged to turn up to be snapped. When you start looking for something you tend to find it- so said the late great Mao Tse-tung.
I was a little early and found myself standing in line with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Amazingly Hugh was reading my old dog eared copy of The Cosmic Trigger, dressed in a suit identical to the one I was wearing. The ice was broken. We quickly discovered that we were twins separated at birth. Adopted by different families, we grew up not even knowing of the other, yet we both sought law-enforcement training, we both had abilities in mechanical drawing, carpentry, cookery and public relations.
We both married women named Kate. We had sons of the same age. I named mine Janek Joshua and Hugh named his Joshua Janek. We both owned dogs which we named after an XFactor winner, @stevebrookstein.
After the shoot we headed off to catch up on old times and discuss Aubrey F Burstall, The Wire, Max Clifford, Jesus, Abyssinian Cabbage and @gracedent’s amazing book ‘How To Leave Twitter’.
After an incident in the loos, I discovered that tattooed on his right buttock, as on mine, is the wisdom of the great #PR stuntster Jim Moran: ‘There is nothing more dismal than a fact.’
Perhaps all this coincidence is the reason for my confusion, so I wonder if you can help me out. Take a close look at the exhibition still: is it Hugh or me? Chris isn’t telling.”
“I didn’t think I’d like Twitter. When I signed up it all seemed a bit “I’m having a sandwich for lunch” and people tweeting about the weather or their journey to and from work. I was like “thanks for the overshare, but I have windows and the flavour of my crisps is none of your concern”. Then something clicked when I thought I’d dive in and get involved a bit more. Soon I was engaged in chats about Demis Roussous’ disco career, having my brain fried by forgotten rave classics, having debates about how inappropriate it was to fancy soap characters and what biscuits a particular pop star enjoyed.
It dawned on me that I was in a virtual cafe full of like-minded souls, and some genuinely lovely people. I’ve literally LOL’ed at the late night musings of @rhodri, mod watched with @robinturner, cock watched with @thomasblythe, discussed cakes with @Tracey_thorn, flirted with @TheHollyJohnson, played numerous hashtag games, cackled at some of the exchanges between Twitter’s superstars such as @caitlinmoran, @alexispetridis and @gracedent, exchanged music with @martincarr, been sent nefarious looking links from Russian websites to unreleased albums, and found support in awkward moments by a host of other nice tweeters. I’ve also met some nice people in the real world as a result of talking crap, and been a bit “Oh really? Blimey” when a complete stranger tells me my feed makes them laugh.
The key watershed moment for me was the night Michael Jackson died, and suddenly it seemed everyone was WTF-ing and remembering how amazing he was until the early hours. Since then it’s been a great forum for reaction, mildly comic debate and rallying round the various issues of the day. I’ve quoted an early Human League lyric and someone will tweet back the next line. I’ve asked about what a book of the week was on Radio 4 and suddenly there’s eight replies from complete strangers. Even where the best record shops are in a strange town or country, and someone will advise. It’s great.
There are times when it gets on my nerves, when the limitations of 140 characters doesn’t really help when you have a point to get across, and you think “sod this, I’m outta here. It’s like being back at school”, and then the next day someone will post a link to something life-changing or a ROFL-heavy twitpic and then I wonder what all the palaver was about.”
“I am a freelance journalist and I live and work alone. If I didn’t live and work alone I don’t know if I would use Twitter with the same enthusiasm. Twitter is useful and entertaining. But Twitter is also manifest of loneliness. The endless broadcast is a sort of cry for help and a childlike need for attention. I have ambivalent feelings about it. I’ll probably send a tweet like this at some point, isn’t that just the height of irony.”
“Where to start.
My involvement in the 140characters project was through, funnily enough, a twitter follower/ee, the wonderful Sue Black (@Dr_Black).
I’d met Sue back in November 2009 when I attended a conference. Yes, that’s right, an actual “let’s get together and talk about twitter” gathering, arranged by someone else I’d met. Well, you can guess the rest.
Being a human being that positively thrives on interaction, Twitter has been the office I don’t work in, the group of like-minded people I would drink with in a pub, if we lived closer than the miles/continents we actually inhabit, and didn’t have the other distractions of life that are spouses, children and earning a daily crust.
By day (and also night sometimes) I’m a London cabbie. No, not one of those stereotypical flat cap, Sun reading, bigoted, xenophobic, women haters. An actual, real life, ambitious, enthusiastic, likeable guy who loves people and learning.
Oh and one more thing. I’m studying to become a primary school teacher.”
“The most compelling thing about Twitter is just how low-tech it is.
Yes you can access all sorts of people, ideas and news incredibly quickly, but it’s only because the technology is so easy to access and use across a variety of devices that it has brought people together. From riot cleanups to revolutions, Twitter has been the vehicle through which information can be a source of power, as well as a medium for sympathy and generosity.
It’s not without its inherent faults. Ease of information dissemination means that inaccurate and pain-inducing messages are just as easy to send as messages of hope, but as an instrumental element of the social media revoution, Twitter’s short messaging service has created more than it has damaged.
One of those creative outputs is ‘One Hundred & Forty Characters’. I’m glad to have been part of it. It’s a moment in time that was worth recording and I’m grateful for the connections that made it possible.”