Saturday, 10 November 2012

LIVE at the Mumsnet Blogalong, Millbank Tower London

I'm sitting in the plush lecture theatre of the Millbank Tower in central London, waiting for a talk about Private Lives - how much one should or shouldn't let fall onto the blog screen. From Daily Mail columnist Liz Jones about whose love life (and new facelift) I could tell you a thing or two, to Zoe Margolis, unmasked blogger of the cheeky and explicit blog I used to religiously read, girlwithaonetrackmind. Also present are Tim Dowling (strange to see a bloke up there) and anonymous blogger/journalist 'Eliza Gray'.

I'm curious. Natter natter. Lights are on and after a stunning lunch it's time to talk of misogyny, gut spilling and boundaries.

Amazing. I've just learned that original sex blogger Zoe Margolis had 8 million views and was placed as the 24th most powerful blog by The Observer. She talks about sex as 'squelchy', and doesn't agree that talking graphicslly about the subject destroys its intimacy. Brave thoughts. But she also speaks of being followed, slammed, outed and embarrassed - for her parents! Moderator Geraldine Bedell asks, 'Are you the blogging equivalent of the flasher in the park?' Poor Zoe is insulted.

She claims she had masses of comments for a post about men faking orgasms !!
Interestingly - and tellingly? - Margolis also announces that all writers are neurotic narcissists.

On to Liz Jones, who has written extensively about her ex-boyfriend, her body, lack of love. Does she have regrets?
'Yeah, all of it. Whenever I press Send, I literally have a nervous breakdown. You know you're going to set off a bomb...'
Geraldine: 'Are you affected?'
'..It makes you into a heartless, nastier person.. I've been typing during an argument, just to get some good copy out of it.

Freaky? Necessary? Liz uses her life to the max!

Columnist Tim Dowling also uses real life instances and is asked how close he is to his public persona. He mentions caution around his kids, his neighbours - and his (sometimes) enraged wife.

Anonymous blogger 'Eliza Gray' is the writer behind 'Fifty is the New Black', describing herself as a menopausal Bridget Jones. She hits the nail on the head when she says,'If you can't hack it don't blog it!'

Now off for goodbye drinks on the 29th floor over the city.. And my goodie bag!!!

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Hmmm. Now dodge this, journalist Liz Jones' ungracious view of proceedings!


  1. And I am missing all of this!!! Argh!!
    I enjoy Tim - his column was one of the best things about the observer. He'll make good copy of his mumsnet appearance.
    I admit to sitting on the fence a bit when it comes to blogging. There is sooooooo much I really want to post - but it might hurt those I love and muck up my cosy life a bit....
    So maybe I'm with Eliza.
    An (otherwise revered) pal of mine admits being bewildered by my blogging habit which he describes as literary masturbation. I've struggled a bit with the riposte...
    I'm onto my third tumbler of Grenache... I'll raise a toast to you. I only wish I were there.
    I'm on the campaign trail: mumsnet must come to Ecosse! And bring Cat with them! Yxx

    1. This was a really interesting talk - for me, mainly to witness the tensions onstage. From bombastic Liz Jones to cheeky Zoe Margolis, then to mild Tim Dowling and sweet Eliza Gray. Very different views. Will iron out my ideas in the next few days with blogpost (back to da farm, and Venice flooded!) I tend to avoid the hard family issues (try kidnapping for size, withheld child maintenance - I have some history!) and work with a communal but vital fiction. It's hard for friends to grasp, all this activity and, yes, word wanking. Would have been loverly to share that view with you!

      Try reading this for Liz's own view of blogging mothers Poor thing!

  2. Wow - sounds interesting. And I'm jealous about the cocktail with the view over the city! Enjoy London!

    1. Yes! Loads to take in. At first I thought it was overwhelming (nursing my beery London hangover) and then realised we were all in the same boat. Very easy to approach other bloggers and share ideas. It was lovely to put a face and voice to some people. See you ladies molto presto!

  3. That's interesting. One thing is for sure about blogging: it is all about being part of a community and exchange ideas all the time X

    1. Yes it's true. I've never thought of myself as a very mumsy person and many of my mates don't have kids, but there is such a great range of women out there and very often we have so much to share - with or without falling into traditional stereotypes. Xcat