Audience participation&Self&The art of blog12 Sep 2006 09:30 pm

I think we’ve probably had most of the Your Tune feedback now. So it’s about time the fox left the building.

Thank you all for reading. You’ve been a fantastic set of poppets. I’ve enjoyed your comments and chat enormously over the last (nearly) two years.

Before the Mexican wave starts: I’m afraid I’m not abandoining blogdom altogether, just dumping the Urban Fox costume. A new venture may appear with the new moon. I’ll still be reading my favourite blogs and – I hope nobody objects – linking to them.

So anybody who wants to read on can either do a Miss Marple and trace me (there may be clues) or simply email me for the address (lightweight!).

But I don’t mind if you don’t do either. Whatever happens, you’ve been a pleasure and I wish you all the very best for the future.

Foxy x

Self06 Aug 2006 08:31 pm

It’s been awful quiet round here, hasn’t it?

Sorry about that.

Hope you’re all having a marvellous time in all your different parts of the world. I hope I’ll be able to pop in and say hello over the next few days.

Right then… what have I missed?


Pop culture&Self19 Apr 2006 10:07 pm

This is what happens when you attempt to make a list of a few of the most significant/most heard records in your life, like Leah and Swiss. Fifteen minutes later and you start to realise it could go on for ever… and you start alphabetising for kicks… and what’s worse is they don’t even have several of the most important titles (no Smiths debut album! for pity’s sake!), leading to all manner of frustrations and expletives. I’ll stick to the politics in future.

In the meantime, why not make your own? There’s no actual point to it but it’s a pleasant way to spend a coffee break.

Welcome to a brief snapshot of my muddled brain, with plenty of glaring omissions. It’s not entirely representative of the whole, but what the jiminy. Your Mileage May Vary. I make no apologies for the Britney content.

Create your own Music List @ HotFreeLayouts if you can be bovvered. Oh go on, you may as well.

British politics&Random life&Self17 Apr 2006 10:22 pm

Burmese marionetteA couple of people have been slightly perturbed that I vanished without notice. Sorry about that. Here are a few things I should’ve said yesterday but was too tired to remember:

1. Before my blogbreak, I suffered an extremely painful shoulder/back muscle injury which made even lifting a cup of tea with my right arm impossible, let alone typing. I was advised by my doctor to “STOP working at the computer! IMMEDIATELY! Or risk permanent damage!”, which is pretty unequivocal as advice goes. So after this episode, I felt it wise not to linger on the PC writing an explanatory pre-break blog post.

2. Some of the blogs I was reading regularly seem to have vanished, or possibly moved. If a blog has changed URL and I haven’t been told, I’ll assume this is the desired state of affairs and won’t go a-chasin’.

3. After watching the first two seasons on DVD, I have become terribly enamoured of Buffy & co. I always knew it would happen if I let it, and now it has. Damn Whedon and his Midas touch.

4. If I’d been here, I would have been writing about the government’s Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, which defies all satire. It is truly the last gasp of freedom as we know it. Brits, please visit this site, or do some independent research, and arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible. And let’s see if we can stop these lunatics before it’s too late.

Global politics&News media&Self&Writing20 Feb 2006 10:51 am

I spend a small fortune on books as it is, but have just found another book I ‘need’: it is Steven Poole’s Unspeak, an analysis of the slippery language used by governments, media and pressure groups.

Did you know the term “climate change” (as a replacement for the more frightening “global warming”) was invented by a coalition of oil companies led by the US and Saudi Arabia to remove the catastrophic connotations in the original term? Stands to reason, I suppose. Always good to see these things pointed out though, lest we overlook such extraordinary rendition – ha – of language.

Red planet In other news: it would seem that my newborn novel project could loosely be considered science fiction. Not just that, but according to one person, some aspects of it could even be considered a bit science fantasy. Crikey. I’ve never read any so-called science fantasy in my life, to my knowledge. How does that work then? My subconscious mind is a stranger to me, truly.

Self&Writing17 Feb 2006 04:30 pm

As you know, I failed spectacularly at NaNoWriMo this year.

Actually, “spectacularly” makes it sound better than it was. I failed limply.

Old book Anyway, I’m starting again. Now. Here. Just me. No month-long time limit. No hourly word count. It’s a crazy idea but it might just work.

So what I’d really like from you is a virtual kick every now and then, to make sure I’m still on track and still writing for this project specifically. Otherwise I might be distracted by shiny things and flutter off, like the magpie I secretly am.

Would you do that for me?

In return, I promise not to drone about it too frequently on here. Maybe just once or twice a week… no, a month. No, occasionally. How’s that?

Thanks for your help. Have a great weekend, each and every one of you. You rock like plutonium-powered rocking horses on a gondola, and I wouldn’t say that to just anyone.

Quick, have Morrissey’s new video before the lawyers get all shirty and take it down.

Self&The art of blog08 Feb 2006 10:11 pm

I’ve just imported my ENTIRE old New! Improved! blog, courtesy of my sparkly new WordPress upgrade. Hadn’t realised it was even possible, until I spotted a new tab in the upgraded dashboard and clicked it on a whim.

The process was fully automated and took about 10 minutes in total. Astounding.

I’m so easily impressed by the cleverness of computers.

Old printing press Still reeling from the joy of having all my twitterings in one place, I stupidly decided to go through all the old posts and categorise them for easy administration.

That was 5 hours ago. I’ve just finished.

*seized up*

Not the most productive way to spend an afternoon/evening. Still, it was kind of fun to skim through all the old stuff again. I laughed, I cried, I shrieked… Actually I didn’t do any of those things, but I did mutter things like “Oh Foxy, you pompous old goat” and “How naive of you to think that!” out loud to myself a few times.

How strange it is that people change so swiftly. None of the old entries are older than 16 months of age. Hardly prime nostalgia fodder. Yet so much of it seems strangely old-fashioned and irrelevant.

Then again, some of it was a lot better than most of the nonsense I write now. Heh.

While I’ve got my dazzled-by-technological-wizardry head on, I should probably try and work out why my blogroll doesn’t display in my sidebar. All the code seems to be there, but no list. Hmm. Please don’t take the absence of reciprocal links personally, my peachy brethren. We’ll be all linky-slinky just as soon as I can work out what in the name of Pingu is going on.

OR… I could move away from the computer for only about the 5th time since the morning and leave the chore for another day.

Yeah. That idea’s oddly compelling.

*knees crack melodramatically*

Audience participation&Self12 Jan 2006 07:39 pm

Here are my answers. I’ve been a bit indulgent and answered all your questions, so this is a long post. If it’s too much to process in one chunk, save it for a coffee break or only read your own answers. I don’t mind.

If we ever do this again, let’s stick to 1 question per person, eh? Actually, let’s never do this again. Lawks-a-mercy. My poor typing fingers.


SPINSTERWITCH of Life As I Know It asks:

What was your favourite holiday ever?

I went to Tunisia for 2 weeks and fell hopelessly in love with a beautiful French man. That was quite a good one. But a long time ago now though. I had a great time on the 3 holidays I took with my late grandmother too. She is much missed.

If you could go back and relive any memory that you have (but not change the events), would you? And if so when would you go back to?

I’m a bit anti-nostalgia so it doesn’t appeal greatly. If pushed, I would go back to the evening when I met my closest friend (the Saturday before Halloween in 1992, I recall) for amusement purposes, because I couldn’t stand his silly ways at first and it’d be hilarious to revisit that time and see just how much things have changed. He is now effectively a brother to me.

LEAH of Serendipity asks:

Do you believe in heaven? If so, what do you perceive it to be? What do you hope it to be?

I don’t believe in a literal place called heaven as a reward for good behaviour on earth or as half of a heaven/hell binary opposition, no. I don’t consider myself religious. My philosophy is bespoke, but a bit of Buddhism mixed with the esoteric theories of quantum physics, if you want to put me in a box. My idea of what you may call heaven is peace or a return to unity. This question reminds me of one of my favourite jokes, as told by George Monbiot:

Q: What did the Buddhist monk say when he went to the pizza parlour?
A: Make me one with everything.

If you could say just one sentence to Tony Blair, what would you say?

“You are under arrest; you do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not say something you later rely on in court.”

(OK, I cheated slightly with the semicolon.)

RADIOHUMPER of Unwashed Depressive asks:

If you only had ten minutes to make yourself feel beautiful, and you had to choose one, would you, 1) ‘self love’, 2) do some Pilates or ballet stretches, or 3) put on perfume and lotion?

Self love? Do you mean masturbation? I’d never considered that as part of a beauty regime, but I’ll make a note of the tip. Right. Well, I’m perfumed and lotioned at all times, so I suppose it’d better be the stretches.

On a day when you are already feeling hormonal, (you do have those, I trust), what misused word makes you homicidal?

Oh dear. I can feel an attack of pedantry coming on, namely my standard rant that men have hormones too and are no less or more at the mercy of theirs than women are. But only because you made a point of saying “culturally feminine” in the preamble. Testosterone imbalances could be blamed for plenty of large and small disasters, only we call it “Boys will be boys” or “He thinks with his dick”. I honestly think men and women have equal susceptibility to the chemicals in each of their bloodstreams. However, we haven’t got all day, so I will answer the question in the spirit it’s intended: No, I don’t really have any PMS-related issues. Perhaps the day before the painters arrive, I have slightly less patience and am quicker to get annoyed. But I lack patience at the best of times, so it’s hard to tell. As for sloppy words, misuse of the word “ethnic” (as an adjective describing something of non-Western origin or aesthetics, like “ethnic bracelet”) makes my blood boil, but that’s 365 days a year.

SWISS TONI of Swiss Toni’s Place asks:

What happened in blogoworld in the last 48 hours that sparked this off?

No one thing. Just more than the usual number of “YOU WHAT?!” moments this week.

You have posted a lot less about politics in the last few months. Do you feel different about blogging since you pulled back the curtain and showed us a little about yourself? Do you feel as though anything has changed?

That’s 3 questions in one, you cheeky squirrel. OK. Honestly? I feel there is little appetite for my old-style relentlessly political posts among my current set of readers. I am conscious of not wanting to be a preachy bore, endlessly shouting the same thing at people, and I’ve grown fond of our bloggy circle. As well as this, I have often seen other posts written better and more comprehensively than I have time to do (like here, amongst other places) and am often lazy enough just to let the writers of those posts take care of things. As I’ve mused before, this leaves me in a pickle, because that was the whole point of the blog in the first place, to give me a forum for non-frivolous writing. I’m also aware that I have created a Fox ‘brand’ which is impersonal and superficial. Personal revelations are only interesting to others up to a point; the most private, painful piece of information I ever gave on here met with silence, or wasn’t noticed. One single reader took it in, to my knowledge, because that person (Red) emailed me about it. Essentially, I’m trapped in a place where more information about me as a person is not appropriate, yet the totally impersonal political stuff no longer seems suitable either. The answer may lie in dumping the Fox altogether and starting again, which is possible as I have multiple domains sitting idle. But I can’t be bothered for the time being. Although my podcast may go out from a different domain. I’ll get back to you on that.

Has anything changed since I ‘came out’ as a woman? Yeah, but it’d take more than the space available here to answer properly. I get far fewer flirtatious emails from female readers now, that’s for sure. In general, people seem to respond less warmly than they used to, but it’s hard to pin that on any one cause.

What piece of your own writing are you most proud of? Question applies to blog writing.

God knows. I liked the things I wrote in the first half of the old Fox blog. I have a hierarchy of ‘greatest hits’ – in the sense of the most visited/linked blog posts – but that’s a different question.

Same question as above, only applying to all your writing.

I can’t answer that without giving a load of identifying information. Actually, that’s a smokescreen; right now, I can’t think of anything which makes me punch the air in triumph.

what band do you hold in the most affection? Not necc. the same as asking you who your favourite band are.

Babes in Toyland or Le Tigre. Or A-ha. Or The Smiths. Or The Slits. Or Public Enemy. Or Voodoo Queens. I haven’t included any of my friends’ bands in this list, because that’d skew the answers considerably, but I hope they already know I love them dearly.

guitars or keyboards?

Both, for god’s sake. That’s like asking a person to choose between vitamins and minerals.

hairy or smooth?

Whatever. Each person is different.

toe-may-toe or toe-mar-toe?

I’m British. You can guess.

How has blogging / reading blogs changed you (if it has)?

Aside from making me quite an irritating host/companion (“You ARE going to turn that bloody computer off at some point, I trust?”), it hasn’t changed me on any fundamental level.

What’s your poison?

I don’t smoke or take drugs and I don’t drink very much. When I do, I drink vodka.

SUBURBAN HEN of Suburban Hen House asks:

How have your experiences been with birth control?

It’s never failed me, so no complaints. If you mean how do I feel about my chosen form, it’s fine. The benefits currently outweigh the negatives. It may not always be the case, but it’ll do for now.

ARAVIS of Exploring Aravis asks:

The fox is known to have and spread mange to dogs, yet your coat remains glossy and healthy. How do you address this problem in your daily life? And do you prefer to raid the henhouse, or would you rather have someone leave a freshly killed fowl for you?

I find a balanced diet works wonders for my crowning glory. Best if other people kill my fowl for me, I am squeamish and hypocritical.

LORD BARGAIN of The Bargain Basement asks:

what’s your definition of a brilliant evening?

Good company. Anything else is interchangeable.

how much different would your Real Life friends tell you you are from the Urban Fox we know? And in what ways?

Like I say, I don’t think any reader would claim to “know” me as a person at all. Presumably the difference is that to my Real Life friends, I am a real three dimensional person with a real life, not a text-based entity with a silly name. That’s a pretty major difference.

what’s the best pop record ever made?

Ain’t Nobody by Chaka Khan.

describe your journey to your most usual/common place of work

Walking, if I can help it. I will happily walk for hours to get somewhere.

what’s the nearest takeaway to your house?


what hangs on your bedroom walls?

Currently nothing apart from a Zen calendar. I’ve been meaning to paint them.

ALECYA of Alecya G’s Plastic Castle asks:

How do you drink tea? Hot or cold? Black or with additives? How often do you drink it?

Hot (i.e. the correct way) with the tiniest possible dash of milk, 3-8 times a day. This reminds me of another joke:

Q: Why do Marxists only drink herbal tea?
A: Because all proper tea is theft.

Favorite candy?

Does chocolate come into the American definition of candy? I don’t like any of what we Brits refer to as sweets.

Do you think every person has one true love, or many possibilities? Is love subjective?

Many possibilities. Everything in human experience is subjective.

Do you have any phobias that make no sense? [i.e. dark, heights, lunchboxes, men with moustaches]

I get a bit wibbly at extreme heights when I’m not enclosed, e.g. top of Eiffel Tower, but I can go up that high if I am boxed in, e.g. not scared to look down vertically from plane window. Fear of unenclosed heights doesn’t really count as totally senseless though, does it?

what was the name of the first blog you visited? Do you still visit?

Honestly can’t remember. Probably a LiveJournal belonging to a random acquaintance. I almost certainly don’t still read it.

What’s your favorite color?

Deep blood red, closely followed by purple.

Which would you rather, assuming you had to choose one – blind, deaf or mute?

I can’t answer questions like that, I would be horrified to lose any faculty. Sorry, that’s not really taking the question as it is meant, I know.

Have you met any of the bloggers on your site, and we just dont know it? Are you willing to identify them?

Earthboundboy is a Real Life friend. None of the other Real Life people who read this leave comments. I have never met anyone I know primarily as a blogger.

EARTHBOUNDBOY of no fixed abode asks:

If you could choose to be re-incarnated as a non-human earth-dweller, would it be
as an actual Fox, or something different?

First of all, you’re cheating the system because you already know me. Ha. Secondly, no, I’d be a lion or a tiger.

Do you do voodoo?

No, but I do do duvets.

WOLFIE of The Two Wolves asks:

Will you post a photo of yourself?

Nothing is certain.

KA of The Grey City Manifesto asks:

Why this change? A few months ago, you were an elusive legend – are you hankering for some reality, dear one?

What an odd question. I have plenty of reality. I don’t live inside the screen. As for the reasons for the change, I can only cite the same thing I always blame when I swap my furniture around, and that is boredom. Plain and simple. Anyway, I doubt learning how I take my tea is going to give anyone any deep insight into the core of my very being.

If you could fix one thing in the world right now – one conflict or suffering, one area, one result – which would it be? “World peace” is not an option – I want specifics.

I would instil the gift of empathy into those who do not have it. If all people could feel the suffering of others, they may think twice about inflicting it. If you’re talking about genuinely achievable ideas, I’d like to see corporations ousted from global power, as they are literally destroying the very ground on which we walk. Laws should be introduced to prevent corporations having the legal protection of individuals while avoiding criminal culpabilities for directors. That’d be step 1.

Another lily

See, we got to end on politics. I’ve gone back to my blog roots. Thanks to everyone for participating. Have a lovely weekend.

Audience participation&Random life&Self11 Jan 2006 10:54 pm

Foxbase Alpha - St Etienne If the last 48 hours in Blogworld have taught me anything, dear reader/co-blogger, it’s that there’s a good chance you and I see the world differently. Very differently.

But don’t take my word for it. Let’s put it to the test.

For one night only, ladies and gentleman, you are the hunter and I am your quarry.

You’ve seen Ask Swiss. You’ve seen Ask Bargs. You’ve seen Ask Spins and Ask Mark and Ask Jenni. So it’ll seem terribly derivative and dull when I ask you to join in with the very first ASK FOX. But ask you I must.

Throw me your questions, about anything you like. Is there anything you’ve always wanted to know about your host? Go for it. Any fanciful, flippant or fatuous queries? Cast them this way.

I can’t promise I’ll answer your question, but you never know. (Actually, I probably will. I’m in the mood for a bit of straight talking.)

Questions now, answers later. If you want your question to appear anonymously, email it on a veritaserum-stained postcard to the usual address.

Seasonal&Self08 Jan 2006 09:58 pm

Winter road

Right, I’ve had enough of winter now. Spring, please. SPRING. Come on, Spring, it’s your turn. Don’t be shy.

Daylight seems blocked out by an enormous spaceship at all times. There is little noticeable difference between noon and dusk, and the two seem scarcely a moment apart.

Who has patience for this time of year? Who wakes up every day thinking “Ooh, what a beautiful sludgy grey sky. Just the colour of papier mache goo. I feeeeeeel nice, sugar and spice!”

Although I suppose there is a single advantage to cold weather. At least there are no wasps around. (For all my carping, I’m an optimist at heart.)

And on that cheerful note, perhaps I should just buy myself some environmentally- unsound tropical fruit, ignore January’s stony glare and pretend it’s May. Worth a try.


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