I was talking with the ‘steering committee’ of the writing group I attend the other evening and we were discussing assembling for our members a database of local magazines and online magazines that regularly need content. During this discussion one monthly mag was mentioned which runs a regular ‘get it off your chest’ column for people to rant about local issues that get up their noses, and being a bit of a grumpy old git I thought this sounded right up my street, so I asked for more info.
‘They need around 500 words…’ I was told, which immediately dampened my enthusiasm. Then: ‘and generally on local politics’, which pretty much doused any remaining sparks entirely.
500 words? For a rant? It takes me twice that many for a bit of a grumble. I mean, 500 words, that’s, like, what, a single page of A4? What’s that in reading terms, about two minutes? I’ve had longer farts than that! And as for restricting it to local politics – what about all the other crap that drives me mental on a daily basis? Admittedly, I can see why a local mag might want content dealing with local issues, but there’s only so much scope for whinging about the fact that the ‘old cinema building’ still hasn’t been demolished, isn’t there, and with approximately fifty million pieces written on the topic to date I’d say that scope has been pretty much used up.
And yes, it is annoying that all parking in the town centre is pay on entry and you either have to pay through the nose for time you don’t use or rush around like a blue arsed fly to get back before you go a minute over and one of those slimy little peak capped bastards comes slithering out of the rock he was hiding under and sticks a ticket on your windscreen, but is it really more important, even to local residents, than the fact that the government at national level is effectively killing the most disenfranchised within our community with ‘austerity measures’ while simultaneously offering tax breaks for the most wealthy? And if car parking is more important to locals than the plight of the homeless, isn’t the fact that so many residents have got their priorities so sickeningly wrong actually the topic worthy of ranting over?
500 words. Nope. Don’t think I can do it. I was, for example, watching a ‘Comic Relief’ thing last night, and about two seconds in I heard Russell Brand being referred to as ‘a genius’. In that second I knew exactly how that lorry driver who kicked his TV in after seeing the Sex Pistols on ‘Today’ in 1976 felt… I could get 1500 words out of that easily – twice that many if they left the swearwords in. Russell Brand. Genius. I kid you not.
Anyhoo, I’d best sign off as I’m just about to hit the 500 word limit I’ve set myself. I know I’ve hardly scratched the surface but…