Hello there… it’s been a while. Fifteen days to be precise. Actually that’s not that long, but it feels like far longer – the guilt gets to me y’see. I am kidding, but I have missed writing, even if you haven’t missed reading. Is anyone reading? More on that later.
Anyway, if you ARE reading (and thank you if you are), the reason I haven’t been posting much recently is the need for me to clarify with my new employer, about exactly what I can and can’t write. It was never that easy being employed within the wine trade and writing independently, I suppose, but now that I work for a winery, the waters are even muddier than previously. So, for the record, I work for Seresin Estate in Marlborough, New Zealand. I happen to think the wines are great, which is why working there was a decision that made a lot of sense to me. However, I know that you wouldn’t want to read post after post about Seresin (we have our own blog for that if that is your wont), and equally I know that they wouldn’t be thrilled about me writing post after post singing everyone else’s praises APART from Seresin. So I suspect the focus of my writing may have to change… I’ll let you know when I do.
Anyway, I thought I would break my self-imposed silence today, because reading all the twitterings of many wine-writers recently has driven me a little bit crazy. There is a very funny chap in the States called Ron Washam, who writes under the title of Hosemaster of Wine; he writes the sort of biting satire that I wish I could, but that would undoubtedly lose me friends and employment in pretty short order! Mostly his posts make me laugh, but he certainly pulls no punches and is unafraid of naming names, poking fun and generally trampling over the sensibilities of anyone within his sights. This week was no exception, when he wrote a post called “What not to post on your stupid wine blog in 2014″, which essentially took a shot at amateur bloggers, targeting list-writing, photos from wine junkets, discussing terroir and talking about social media. I do all of those things. I wasn’t offended, although I think a lot of people were. My view was that I knew what to expect when I read his site: he isn’t kind, he is funny – and his humour is often at the expense of others. That is what he does – and he does it very well.
It was reading the fall-out and commentary afterwards that riled me more. There were the self-righteously offended and there were the people who seem to think that bloggers are in some way selfishly using up the internet and inflicting their tedious ramblings on the unwitting public. All in all, there were a lot of wine-writers, from the genuinely influential to the people like me who just like to have a place to put their thoughts out there, tweeting and blogging to each other about tweeting and blogging. And to be honest, in my humble opinion, it has all got a little bit daft.
But, hey, I can’t beat them, so I’ll join them.
Personally, I think it’s absolutely fine for the Hosemaster to say what he said. It’s good that he is able, on his site, to question the practices of wine bloggers… However, I think it is equally good that I am able, on my site, to write lists, post photos from junkets (not that I have ever knowingly used that term), discuss terroir and talk about social media. If people don’t like Mr. Washam’s style of writing, they don’t have to visit his site and be offended. Equally, if people are bored by lists of things, descriptions of shoes and breathless excitement about moving to New Zealand, they don’t have to visit my site and read themselves into a coma. If no-one reads our scrawlings, no-one dies and the world does not end, but equally it does no harm for either us to keep writing. It’s the beauty of the internet.
If a tree falls in the forest, and no-one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?
If a blogger blogs in the internet, and no-one is there to read it, does it cause offence?
Write what you want to write, read what you want to read…
Or, in the words of Dr Seuss, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”.
When it comes to wine-writers (from the bona fide journalists to muppets like me), we are surely all on the same side – we love wine. Why on earth do we exert so much energy and effort in jousting with each other, when there is, in the great brave new virtual world, room for everyone? And, no, the irony is not lost on me that this post is essentially blogging about moaning about moaning about blogging… I can live with the irony.
Caveat: I am small fry and I don’t in any way exert the influence that someone like Ron Washam does, so please don’t think I am arrogantly putting myself in the same league.
Today’s stuck-in-head-song – diamonds and rust, Joan Baez
Today’s dinner – cous cous and halloumi
Today’s drinks – 2009 Rockburn Chardonnay
Today’s footwear – brown suede wedges