Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Blogging: for and against

What could possibly be sadder than life as a blogger? Some poor, lonely soul who cannot find a spouse, a friend or a publisher. The sort of person who cannot persuade even the parish newsletter – which frankly prints pretty much anything – to give him a few column inches to air his woes. (Or her, for that matter; no sexual discrimination intended.)

Well, for a start, it’s not as sad as being the sort of embittered, lonely sod who fills his (or her) days posting negative comments at the foot of other people’s work on news websites or blogs. Blogging is at least creative, rather than wilfully destructive.

Then there are those few who, like the lottery winners we all dream of becoming when we buy a ticket (though we know we won’t be). have managed to use their blogs as a platform to secure publishing deals.

And then again there are those like me, whose lives have been utterly transformed by blogging, in completely unexpected ways. Like this:

And this:

And this:

The contribution played by this blog in securing the first outcome is most concisely described here. The others just followed somehow, by processes that must remain a happy mystery unless we wish to start lowering the intellectual tone.

When I started this blog, it was a handy way of filling the time, a useful aide memoire on the importance of sticking to my diet, and a piece of ephemera that might just outlive me for a short while. Ironically, I rarely have time to add to it these days because I am too busy earning money to support the offspring that it made possible. But if anyone tells you that blogging is a waste of time and effort …

 … I rest my case.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Now there's a thing

Hammersley House
5-8 Warwick Street London W1B 5LX 0207 2057 815 | Bluffers.com
‘It’s not what you know, it’s what they think you know.’

Out Now | The Bluffer’s Guide to Opera by Keith Hann

‘An essential pre-season read for anyone attempting to navigate the pitfalls of post-performance drinks.’

Never again confuse a castrato with a contralto, a prima donna with sopratitoli, or O Sole Mio with an ice cream advert. Bask in the admiration of your fellow opera lovers as you pronounce confidently on the merits of Donizetti’s bel canto over Wagner’s leitmotiv, and hold your own against the most sneering of opera buffs.

‘A very amusing, knowledgeable and enjoyable introduction to opera by someone who has spent far too much time at Glyndebourne and not enough at Grange Park Opera.'

A 5-million-copy bestselling series, The Bluffer’s Guides® have been helping people out of sticky situations for over four decades. Now relaunched, they’re back – and not just in paperback. E-books are available from all major online bookstores.

The Bluffer’s Guides’ mission is to eradicate social embarrassment from this world, and (with the help of their witty and erudite experts) they’re well on their way to doing that.

The Sunday Telegraph described the original series as containing ‘an amazing amount of solid fact disguised as frivolous observation’ and Daily Mail hailed the guides as providing a ‘means to apparent instant erudition without actually having to know or study anything.’

‘Keith Hann's whistle-stop opera tour brims with his passion for this great art form – and contains many more laughs than any opera I have conducted so far.’

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1954, Keith Hann grew up in a household devoted to the music of the two Maxes, Jaffa and Bygraves, but luckily introduced himself to opera shortly before leaving school. Over the last 40 years he has watched the curtain rise on more than 1,000 operatic performances, and waited until it fell on 997 of them. In order to fund this addiction, he has been variously employed as an unsuccessful stockbroker and an incompetent but occasionally entertaining public relations consultant. Decades of skilful bluffing brought him to the brink of retirement without any lasting romantic entanglements, until a momentary lapse of concentration one evening at Covent Garden led to his marriage at the age of 54, and the subsequent arrival of two children. Keith currently devotes most of his time to not writing a novel and staring forlornly at his bank statements. In consequence, he values his now strictly rationed excursions to opera houses more than ever.


Emma Smith | 0207 2057 815 | esmith@bluffers.com
Review copies available on request.

E-book available for Kindle and iPad at Amazon.co.uk and iBookstore. Print edition in stores and at online retailers now (RRP £6.99).

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