I've had to remove this post for the time being.
I'm leaving the picture though
And now, in a change to our normal blog, this is a How to Get Started in Twitter post inspired by Maria Zanini - read her post about it here. Normal service will be resumed after this messages.
I'm going to run through some basics to help other people get to grips with Twitter - if they choose to do so.
Be aware: it can be addictive and It's Not My Fault*
Step one: Open an account.
Step two: Have a look around
Step three: Following
Step four: Trending topics/ hashtags/ memes
(See an earlier post for a fine example of hashtag madness and some great people worth following imho (in my honest opinion... there's a whole language. You don't have to use it.) LOL.
Step five: But what do I tweet about?
Step six: Manners please!
Step seven: Tweetdeck
Read more: Twitter's help pages should explain the terminology, or you could check out Blogging Bits' Twitter Glossary or, for the more advanced Seed the Web's Twittonary. I'll add one here eventually, but... did someone mention tea?
Image used is from this site about Libraries using Twitter
* If you've ever used an Apple Mac (and this might just have been the old ones) an American voice used to come out of it saying this when certain errors occurred. It never said anything else. Weird huh?
'The multitude... is always desirous of change. They never see a great man put up but they must pull him down - for the novelty of the thing... But what do they get by the change?... One dog sated with meat is replaced by a hungrier dog who bites nearer the bone.' (Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall) *
This quote is at the part where Cardinal Wolsey falls out of favour with the king and is forced into exile. It isn't all that clear what he has done to deserve this - perhaps he committed a cardinal sin? Interestingly, the original cardinal (ie deadly) sins included lying - now strangely absent - and 'an heart that deviseth wicked imaginations' - which would have meant hell & damnation for Moptop if she'd been born 1500 years ago. On the plus side, the list didn't originally include greed, envy, lust or gluttony, which were added in later by Pope Gregory I and other religious types - presumably so they could ensure the masses didn't eat too much, earn too much or mind when the priests were shagging their loved ones.
'History offers some consolation by reminding us that sin has flourished in every age.' (Will and Ariel Durant, Lessons of History)
There used to be an actual Cardinal Sin but he died in 2005. It's wrong to give in to temptation, but they couldn't not have promoted him to Archbishop of Manila with a name like that. I'm sure he was delighted to accept a post where the envelopes come from (see what I did there?)
I don't normally read historical novels so I'm a bit rusty on Henry VIII. Let's see - he had seven wives '...and everyone was an Henery, he wouldn't have a Willy or a Sam....' oh no, that's wrong. Six wives -Catherine the Arrogant, Anne Boleyn with the extra finger, the actress Jane Seymour, Anne of Thieves (some relation to Robin, Prince of...), and a couple more Catherines (some kind of three for two offer I suppose). Divorced, beheaded, anulled, beheaded, beheaded, bedevilled. Oh, I can't remember! That's the trouble with wives - they're so more-ish.
'The memories of men are too frail a thread to hang history from.' (John Still)
Also, he had gout - the chief executive of Wirral Council suffers the same complaint but without all the beheading people. Then again...
Anyway, I'm still in the early stages and I'm sure it will all become clearer. There's just one thing - Hilary Mantel clearly doesn't agonise over characters' names the way I do. There's about twenty different characters called Thomas in Wolf Hall. Lazy writing, I call it!
Click here for more great quotes on history.
Related post: Men in Capes - creating the perfect (anti)hero
* My favourite hungry dog proverb is: Hungry dogs will eat dirty puddings
This time last year it was the end of the world for me.
I was in Ushuaia - the southernmost* city in the world. It's in the far south of Argentinian Patagonia on the island of Tierra del Fuego - all the place names around there are evocative, the Beagle Channel (no sightings of beagles, but plenty of seals, sealions and cormorants), the Magellan Straits, and further south again, Cape Horn. They call it 'El Fin del Mundo.' It's quite a selling point for the tourist industry, I suppose.
It's not the first time I've dabbled with the apocalypse.
I once explored the clammy tunnels under Har Megiddo in northern Israel. You might have heard of it as Armageddon. No sign of Gog or Magog but I did get a snog. That's a whole other story. If it was the end of the world it's kind of the way I'd want to go.
The thing about the end of the world, like so many other things, is that it seems really humungous - something you cannot even grasp the idea of, let alone the reality. It seems completely implausible that you would find yourself at it.
I mean how do you even get there? And do they have a B&B?
As it happens, you simply take the bus - 3am from El Calafate to Rio Gallegos, across the border into Chile by ferry across the Straits of Magellan, back into Argentina, arrive in time for a tea tenedore libre in Ushuaia town centre. I say 'tea.' I also say 'simply'. I mean one thing just leads to another.
It's a bit like real life. Coming events, tasks or goals can seem impossibly daunting and unattainable. But break them down into smaller steps, each one taking you nearer, and even mammoth tasks are achievable. The trick is not looking at the end point - just the next step.
Some religions - notably the Baha'i faith - believe we are already in the end of days. And the Zoroastrians must be wondering too, having prophesised, among many other abominations, that men will: "... become more deceitful and more given to vile practices." The Mayans think it's going to happen in 2012. Pretty well everyone agrees it will feature a panoply of natural disasters - earthquakes, volcanoes, tidal waves, the sun rising in the west etc.
But it is most likely that people are generally right when they say: 'It's not the end of the world.' Mostly they say this during moments when you are in great personal distress - as if it would somehow make you feel better. It so rarely does.
And even if it is the end of the world, it might not be as bad as you think it's going to be. As long as you have a bus ticket and the right outfit.
* Pop quiz. If Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world, can you tell me without looking what the equivalent northern latitude would be? Guess which city in Europe?
Related post: We apologise for the eruption of normal services
(Unpleasant aside: An infamous Wirral poet recently confessed a guilty secret: he once masturbated in his local library. Only a poet would do this, I'd like to hope. He was very young at the time, and believed himself to be unobserved. Years later this turned out not to have been true – but even then he might have got away with it if he hadn’t chosen to make the surprise confession during a lull in proceedings while he compered a poetry reading. It was the first ‘filler’ he could think of – perhaps because I'd just mentioned libraries in a poem and word association in his head goes: library = masturbation.
‘I don’t do it now,’ he said, in response to our horror-stricken expressions. ‘I’m much more discreet.’ He was running out of things to say, so went into more detail.
There weren’t many people there, and later he was concerned it may have been imprudent to have mentioned it. We promised not to tell, but he’s written a poem about it and put it on Facebook so it feels like less of a secret now. Only a poet would do this, too.)
So I’m thinking: ‘Don’t touch the sticky books’ is sound advice for starters, but what else do I need to know? To be a master librarian, to be top shelf material?
Stamping? I am versed in the arts – ten years at the tills of a high street bank. Shushing? I have silenced whole rooms with a well-turned phrase. Stacking? Practiced at the north face of the the self-service salad bar. The ordering of things? An instinct for the alphabetical. The General Public? We’re old friends. Fines? I was a special constable. I’d still have the handcuffs, but my ex-husband got custody. What does it take to be first class and first edition? Recital of the Dewey Decimal system in Old Money?
There’ll be pitfalls too – I’ll tell someone they’re overdue and they’ll pull a fully-loaded scowl on me. I may file religion under fiction, travel under history, astrology under art. And who could argue? I may decide to do away with Dan Brown. Please God.
Advice please - hot tips and caveats!
P.S. May 17. Day three. My special job - 'Clean the sticky books.' *sigh*
More posts about becoming a librarian:
For both the challenge is to cram your entire, often complex message into a sound-bite - a few words that will capture your thoughts like a perfectly-preserved creature in amber. (Oops, sorry - the poet slipped out there.)
Political slogans and speeches sometimes slip into the poetic. Dogberry has already gone into the whole 'Repetition, repetition, repetition' thing. (He didn't call it a 'thing' - he had a proper name for it. We (ex)PR types don't go in for the proper names of things - we never need to know.) The occasional revisiting of key phrases in speeches remind me of performance poetry. Obama could have won a slam with his 'Yes we can!'
But who wants to listen to an impassioned speech when they only have the attention span of a Hallmark card? This election campaign has resorted to the sound-bite, and, more than ever, the sight-bite. (Ooh - did I just make up a new word? I love it when that happens!*) And thanks to the plethora of image-ma
*Alas no, sight bite is already at large, though generally used for video clips.king and info-sharing software it's been a creative campaign on the poster front.
It's already too late to see mydavidcameron.com - an independent website which took 'that' Cameron poster
Here's the original Labour poster comparing Tory leaders to X-factor's dodgy pop duo Jedwood.
And here's the Tory response.
It works the other way. Labour's attempts to allude to the dark Thatcherite 1980's by using imagery from Ashes to Ashes back-fired dramatically when they managed to achieve the impossible: The made David Cameron look sexy.
They had reckoned without the 'Gene Hunt effect.' The Tories practically reproduced the same poster (with a little more airbrushing perchance?).
I've gone on long enough, much like the election night.
Let's finish with my favourite, which simply takes the much-discussed ambiguity of Labour's 'A Future Fair For All' campaign slogan and does what we all would have done with it. I would never have come up with or agreed to a slogan like that. It was ripe for plundering.
Another post about posters: Discovering de-motivational posters