Copyright © 2005 Martin Newell
Pepys 0.1 Blogware © Steve Dix
The Wivenhoe Forum -- My Part in its Sadness
By now, eagle-eared viewers will have learned that I have been banned from my
'hyperlocal' internet forum. The
Wivenhoe Forum (established circa 2011) nicknamed by myself and
others, The Borum had
previously been without any input from me for a couple of years or
so. My early forays on it uncovered a certain amount of anger,
pedantry and the type of minor neuroses which I've learned are the
province of people who only ever read The Guardian
or listen to BBC Radio 4: the passive and chiefly middle-class
English bien pensant, in
other words. It's kind of difficult to get a joke across to such
people, because they are often so worried about the state of the
world, that they cannot see anything to laugh about.
prior to Christmas, I asked the Forum's founder to give me a pass
back onto it, so that I could play the class clown over the festive
season. What did I do? I posted up satire, fantasy, running gags, the
odd link to nice music and little film clips. In other words, I did
what I usually do, instigated the type of chaos found on my own
message board, here.
function? Entertainment, pure and simple. It is, after all, what I
do. Some people liked this. Others didn't. I think it especially
rattled few of the more educated types, that my articulacy and
knockabout humour may have seemed rather unassailable at times. I
couldn't be brought down with small rebukes because, I have the hide
of a rhino, I can be quite rude and I am actually a professional.
It's my job to do this stuff and to do it well.
would have quit the Forum after Christmas, as planned. Perhaps I
should have done but some people seemed amused, I still had a little spare time...and
so I hung on.
became apparent to me after a while that this had been a mistake. One or
two people cited 'the rules' . I was 'off topic' Warned by forum
moderators that I was on a 'three strikes and yer out' edict, you may
imagine how I reacted. Soon enough I was banned. I warned them
beforehand that it would be their mistake. They removed me, along with all my
posts about three weeks ago. I became an un-person and happily
returned to my work, making records and writing. I thought that
maybe there'd be a few veiled references from a few supporters and
that the fuss would die down after a few days. It hasn't done.
weeks on, the original thread which led to my banning has had almost
6.5k views and people, some of whom I don't know are now openly protesting my removal. I
apparently had a following outside this small hyperlocality. I've
heard that one or two of the moderators have been rattled by this.
The Forum's founder, a decent enough chap, if rather a
straight-from-Central Casting, New Labour-style policy wonk, is
unlikely to budge. “My forum, my rules.” he was alleged once to
have said of an earlier confrontation with another now banned member.
I cannot begrudge him this, since I'd probably say exactly the same
if I were in his shoes.
adventures on the Wivenhoe Forum have illustrated to me the rather
poignant truth that many people who gravitate towards that type of millieu do
tend towards the depressive the over-serious, the self-righteous and
which is actually an expensive commodity in real life, is regarded as
almost valueless in this earnest and rather grey world. They would
prefer rather to dwell on the perceived evils and petty complacencies
of local politicians, than to be seen laughing at a joke. Their first
reaction, in fact, upon being presented with humour, is usually to
perform a forensic analysis on the text, to ensure that no
disadvantaged minorities have been impuned or attacked.
it highly unlikely that I will return to the Wivenhoe Forum. This is
not so much because the Forum's founder is intractable as because it
takes time, my energy, my creativity and a certain amount of talent
to do what I have done on forum postings this past few weeks. I
normally get paid for such things. Why therefore, offer to do it for nothing,
when a proportion of the membership is angrily grinding their teeth
and looking for faults in every syllable? Surely I owe it to the
people on my own site to use my spare time here? Even now, if you
visit the Wivenhoe Forum, you will still see the petty bickering,
point scoring and Pooteresque-to-crucifyingly-boring worthiness of a
type of self-appointed anti-elite. It's the sort of New Labour / Sea of Faith Alliance
which fills me with ennui. There is no room for humour, wit or
buffoonery, nor any political ideas which may deviate from what is, in essence a
surprisingly starchy and musty green, demi-socialism. It's sad and
colourless. Essentially, I need to return to the real world, where
discussing an old High Llamas b-side is more important than mithering
about an imaginary new doctors' surgery and where, as a friend of my
brother's once memorably said: “In this job (he meant working on
the dustcarts) **** is a term of endearment.” I hope this clears
things up. I don't give a **** if it doesn't. My blog space, my lack
of any kind of rules.
*expletives deleted out of consideration for our more genteel US cousins.