Should we let sleeping blogs lie?

I don't have any photos of a sleeping blog, so here is my sleeping dog - Smelly Dog.

I don’t have any photos of a sleeping blog, so here is my sleeping dog – Smelly Dog.

Every so often, I drop by to see you. I’m concerned, but you don’t know. You are comatose, frozen in time. Your stats line bleeps in surprise at my occasional visit, yet no beautiful nurses run in with Dr Carter to wipe your brow and call your family. Nobody does that for a blog. You are a sleeping blog, hanging in the void – waiting to discover if you will be reanimated, remain in creational hibernation, or disappear with a simple, decisive click of a mouse.

As time ticks by, I think back to when I first discovered you. You were one of the first blogs I followed – your positivity made me want to get up, get down, get out, get going and otherwise groove, James Brown style, as I read the latest batch of posts over my morning coffee. You were among the first real people (as opposed to robots) to send shivers of pride down my newbie blogger’s spine when you not only “liked”, but commented on my efforts.

Then suddenly, your posts ceased. I still pop by from time to time, and sigh as your post from six months ago fills the screen, the comments politely paired up below with their replies, like happy couples waiting for a table for two at the diner. I feel like a drug addict, staring through the chemist’s window at his fix of happiness on the shelf.

Never underestimate the effect a good blog post can have on the start of MM's day. You count.

Never underestimate the effect your blog post can have on the start of MM’s day.

I often hope that something wonderful happened to you. Maybe you had another baby, won the pools, inherited a Swiss chocolate factory or got swept off your feet by the working mother’s answer to George Clooney (with or without the coffee machine). Or has something awful happened? Maybe you got the dreaded blogger’s block. It was impossible to conceive that blogging could have fallen out of favour – if I love blogging so much, then surely other bloggers do too… or maybe they don’t. Maybe your life has evolved and changed, and your need for blogging has passed.

My finger has hovered over the mouse so many times – should I write a new comment, and see what happens? Would a quiet nudge in your cyber-spatial ribs revive you?

Thus the question reared its ugly head: should we let sleeping blogs lie?

Hands up if you have ever clicked on that email contact form to check if a fellow blogger is ok… I plead guilty. I nudged a favourite blogger in the past when he uncharacteristically stopped writing. I admit that I was concerned – was he ok? On the other hand… was it really any of my business? Why was I concerned about a person I had never met before? It could be perceived as rude – after all, who was I to get pushy? But could I do without my fix? No. I was uncomfortable to realise that my reasons were also selfish: I missed his posts and the interaction on his blog.

As you follow a blog, you inevitably become involved. You follow a life story, and strangely enough, a bond is created between people who don’t know each other from Adam. Two bloggers who chat regularly in the blogosphere wouldn’t necessarily even recognise each other if they sat side by side on the bus, yet they may bring a necessary smile to each other’s faces on a regular basis. The anonymity of sharing and discussing through the written word means that we are sometimes more prone to revealing our fears and feelings to our readers than we do to those who are close to us in our everyday lives. Welcome to the paradoxical blogging dimension, where people are both friends and complete strangers at the same time.

The Fox Tames The Little Prince

The Fox Tames The Little Prince (Photo credit: Pictoscribe)

This made me realise that blogging involves a risk – one described so well by Antoine de St Exupéry’s “The Little Prince,” when the fox tells the prince:

“To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….” 

Without being as melodramatic as the fox, who has never blogged and never will do, it’s true that building a relationship with someone, even when you have never met them in person, makes them part of your world. And however small that part may be, you notice when it disappears. Whether it’s a regular reader who suddenly goes off your blog’s radar, or a blogger who stops writing, something goes missing. Or maybe it’s just me? In that case, some of you are probably thinking it’s time to back off from MM’s blog incase she starts getting too demanding. But I don’t think I’m the only person who believes in the fabulous human dynamics of blogging.

So here I sit at the head of your blog bedside in the home for sleeping blogs, hoping that you will come out of your cyber-coma. I miss you. If you’ve stopped blogging for ever, thank you for sharing part of life’s journey with me. But if your stats monitor suddenly bursts into activity, Carter, the nurses and I will all be waiting for you.

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Mondegreens: When Lionel Richie Sings About Pants.

The other day I was singing along to the radio in the kitchen as I scraped the collateral damage from Bigfoot’s latest calcinated culinary catastrophe off the hob. I knew the words of this love song by heart – it had stayed at number one for weeks on end when I was I teenager. Romantic. Heart-breaking. Nostalgic. Sad… or it was, until my out-of-tune rendition ended in peals of hysterical laughter just seconds into the song.  I’d crooned that fatal line along with the love-sick Lionel Richie:  “I sometimes see your pants outside my door….. Hello? Is it me you’re looking for?

English: Title card from the Three Stooges sho...

Sing a Song of Six Pants, a pocket full of rye…  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Meet the Mondegreen, official name for the misheard lyric – a kind of mischievous musical Babel fish that transforms Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello” into something my ear finds more appropriate for my brain. “I sometimes see you pass outside my door” thus becomes a kinky new game in which unknown beauties leave their pants outside strangers’ doors. (As we have already discussed in a previous post, although a pair of pants left outside an American door could appear strange but innocuous, a pair of pants left outside a British door could be seen as either bizarre or an open invitation for a spot of rumpy-pumpy.)

I feel so sorry for lyricists who spend months scratching their heads and searching the depths of their souls for meaningful lyrics, only to discover that the bog-standard citizen mishears the song and transforms it into something ridiculous which prevails throughout musical history.

Lionel Ritchie is far from being the only singer-song writer who has suffered from my selective hearing. I have a few favourites that I systematically massacre, even if I have learned the right words now; in fact, the popular “wrong” versions are sometimes so good that I think the composers should have come around to reality a long time ago and changed the lyrics.

Here are a few of them:

Dancing Queen, by Abba, rocked my youth, and it is a mondegreen classic. I still sing it enthusiastically: “See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queen”.  I remember thinking as a child that it must be so goddamn satisfying to kick a dancing queen, particularly if you’re a tomboy wallflower who was born with two left feet, like me. Boy, I could just feel that beat on the tangerine (or trampoline, depending on who you listen to). Of course, everyone remembers Abba’s great song about Indian take-aways, right? It starts off with “Chicken tikka, tell me what’s wrong….

Black samba kick

See that girl, watch her scream, kicking the dancing queen… (Photo credit: jumfer)

Bob Dylan: Blowing in the Wind. You discover some surprising things in songs. For example, did you know that Bob Dylan isn’t just a singer? He is also a naturalist, on a par with Richard Attenborough. If you don’t believe me, check it out for yourselves in his song “Blowing in the wind”: “The ants are my friends, they’re blowing in the wind.” See?

Starship: We built this city on rock and roll. Another big favourite that combined cookery, music and urban construction. Come on, hands up… who bopped around school discos singing themselves hoarse with “We built this city…. ta, ta… We built this city on saaaussage rolls, we built this city, we built this city on sauuusssaaaage ro-holls“?

Toto: Africa. I felt very sorry for Toto back in ’82. I couldn’t work out whether he’d  left his brains or blessed the drains down in Africa, but neither sound too appealing to me.

Phil Collins. King of the romantico-depressive genre, Phil did manage to come up with some more refreshing lines. We discovered that he is a secret lover of the winter season in his chart-topping “In the Air Tonight” when he declared: “I’ve been waiting for this snowman for all my life, oh yeah….” I do however have a soft spot for his great song, “Every time you go away,” presumably dedicated to the butcher who is desperately in love with his customer: “Every time you go away, you take a piece of meat with you.

Tetra Pak® - Housewife at the dairy counter in...

Every time you go away, you take a piece of meat with you… (Photo credit: Tetra Pak)

Black Sabbath: Paranoid. Mondegreens have also got some singer-songwriters in trouble – Ozzy Osbourne actually had to put things straight when the group was accused of singing “I tell you to end your life” in the song “Paranoid”, when the text actually said « I tell you to enjoy life ».

The Beatles.  Ok, don’t be shy. Hands up if you sang “she has a chicken to ride“. The Beatles’ attempt to get the great British public singing in French also failed dismally, with many of my school friends happily crooning “Sunday monkey play piano song, play piano song” instead of “Sont des mots qui vont très bien ensemble, très bien ensemble” in “Michelle”. I was surprised by “Lucy in the sky with diamonds” until I realised that “the girl with colitis goes by” is actually ” the girl with kaleidoscope eyes“.

Soon we’ll be able to sing Christmas songs, and I can’t wait for my favourite festive mondegreens, like “Olive, the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names”. Those memories will hit me again, like when school assembly sang  “sleeep in heeeavenly peasssss,” and I imagined Jesus kipping in a plateful of Christmas vegetable trimmings, covered with bacon blankets. “Later on, we’ll perspire, as we dream by the fire….” Roll on Christmas!

What are your favourite mondegreens? If you’re not asleep already, I’ll leave you with the all-time mondegreen classic by Creedence Clearwater Revival, “There’s a bathroom on the right.” Happy bopping around your office/kitchen/camping car…. and watch out for those pants outside the door.