Audience participation&Self30 Nov 2005 02:16 pm

Unmasked Thank you to everyone who added their personal image of me to the post Hide and seek below. According to you, my beloved co-bloggers, I am a mutant hybrid of man, woman, horse, fox, cybergoth rock hack, Sherlock Holmes, Harry Potter, Lord Lucan and transparent gas.

As you may have guessed, not all of these can be correct.

But that doesn’t matter. If you haven’t already added your description to the post below, comments are still open. Please jump right in. Let your imagination run riot. The comments will be closed only after you’ve answered your second and final question.

Speaking of which, here it is.

Fox paw print FOX QUESTION TWO:

Of the following options, which ONE would you choose:

(a) Two paragraphs of factual information about me.


(b) A photograph of me.

Think carefully. The most popular option of the two will be yours this week.

So take your pick. Which one do you want most?

Please vote by commenting below, or by email. Explain your reasoning, or be impulsive and random. It’s entirely up to you.

EDIT: Comments on both posts now closed. Results soon.

Self&Writing30 Nov 2005 11:56 am

Asleep at the desk A huge CONGRATULATIONS to those who have successfully completed their 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo. You’ve done us proud. We applaud you. We shower the ground before you with rose petals, as you sweep past in your gilded winners’ carriage. We make you literally three or four cups of tea in a row without complaining.

This fox is not among your triumphant number, partly due to slackness and partly due to starting again in the third week, which rather goes against the spirit of the thing, I know. If you add the two bursts of prose together, I’ve written about 30,000 words in total. Not nearly enough for a rosette. But I am going to carry on with version 2.0 of the novel and hope to finish it in time to join the winners in March for NaNoEdMo. (Don’t think about that now though, you poor exhausted things.)

Part 2 of the post below will appear above at exactly 2.16pm, due to pre-timeable cleverness… oh, how I love my WordPress software.

L8rz! (as The Kids, who all use predictive text now, no longer say anywhere outside BBC sitcoms)

Audience participation&Self27 Nov 2005 05:20 pm

Fox mask You know what? I feel like a change.

As you may have noticed, this blog is written by an anonymous entity. I’ve told you my age – in fact, my exact birthday – but very little else.

One year ago, I did a poll on the first Urban Fox blog asking, purely out of interest, whether readers got the impression I was male or female from the writing on the blog. To my astonishment, the poll showed that opinion on this point was split more or less 50/50.

I was shocked by this, and also delighted. It has long been my view that you cannot possibly tell someone’s sex, race or religion from their writing, particularly not when they are withholding other personal information which may give clues. Having argued this point at length in Real Life with people of wildly varying political opinions, it was a thrill to be partially vindicated.

In fact, a big chunk of the joy of writing this blog has been generated by seeing how people relate to me, based on their thoughts or assumptions. I know a few readers who seem sure they know my sex, my race and so on. Best of all, many of them have conflicting views. For me, as a faceless writer, this has been fascinating. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed it.

But… the novelty is wearing off now. I’ve had my fun and I think it’s time to move forward.

So I’m going to give you a few more specifics.

Before I do that, I have two things to ask of you. Here is the first.


What is your mental image of me? Please describe it, including sex, physical appearance and sexuality (if you have a view).

Comment below or email me if you prefer.

You have until Wednesday 30 November to give me your descriptions. Humour me; it may be the last time I can enjoy my own mystery.

On Wednesday, your second question will appear – which will probably be much less taxing – and we shall proceed from there.

(Incidentally, perhaps anyone who has not yet registered as a Foxblog user (click here) and who still wishes to join our coterie of secret agents might sign up now. I have no insider content to offer you at this moment, but I plan to create some from the New Year onwards. The offer is totally free and without obligation. No salesmen will call. Send no money now! [etc])

EDIT: NEARLY FOUR YEARS LATER… I plan to write about the experience of slipping out from behind the Fox mask, as this whole thing was deeply fascinating.

What’s also strange is that this remains the most popular post on the site. Apparently people come here all the time to look for fox fancy dress costumes, fox Halloween costumes, fox masks, fox outfits, fox dressing up boxes, you name it. It’s all very strange. The only reference to fox costumes in the post is the fox mask photo itself. To all who come looking for foxy party clothes or costumes: I’m so sorry. Hope you found what you were looking for in the end. – Urban Fox

Pop culture&Self&Writing22 Nov 2005 02:46 pm

Coughs and sneezes spread diseases Cough. Sniffle. Self-pitying whimper.

Yes, I am languishing indoors with a wobbly-leg-inducing, achy-headed, sleep-crazed cold virus. I find Victorian novels, naps and tea the only suitable remedies.

Please therefore excuse me from blog duties for the time being. I may nip over and read yours later, but I will take care not to spread the plague in your area.

Novel is going right down the pan. On the plus side, I have had an idea for one I actually want to write, using the same characters. On the minus side, I have only worked this out on day 22 of the 30 day challenge. Oopsadaisy.

Random thought of the day: I can’t normally bear Ralph Fiennes and his stiff upper lip officer-and-gentleman nonsense. But doesn’t he make a lovely serpentine Voldemort?

Self&Strangeness14 Nov 2005 11:10 pm

Lamp post OK. Would someone please tell me which of the following options is true:

(1) Some modern street lamps are equipped with movement sensors, so unlit lamps will light up when a person walks near them.

(2) I have recently developed psychokinetic powers.


Self&Writing06 Oct 2005 11:42 am

Aravis is a genius.

Over at Bee’s blog, our amiable host was talking about creativity and how she has lots of ideas but is not currently maximising the practical application of these ideas.

So Aravis suggested Bee participates in NaNoWriMo. Aravis did it last year too. If you haven’t heard of it, have a quick click.

NaNoWriMo is the online initiative where you agree to write a 50,000 word novel (or novella, if you want to be picky) in 1 month, with no shilly-shallying about quality or dithering over plot intricacies. You get moral support from the thousands of other people doing it at the same time. It forces you to buckle down with the actual work of writing and bans you from procrastinating due to perfectionist “I can’t do it until…” tendencies. Even if you never planned to write a novel, a coerced “volume over quality” approach is a great way to free all shackled creative urges.

“A stroke of brilliance! That’d rev up Bee’s latent prolificacy,” I thought.

And I don’t know about you, but the idea of being forced to write a huge wodge of fiction just for the sake of it appeals to me. I am a terrible one for being unable to do anything without a deadline. This is all very well if you’re being paid by the word and you need to get 1500 of the fellas in by Tuesday or else the income stream dries up forever. It’s not so good if you’re attempting more of a sustained creative effort, or if you want to try something totally new but never quite get round to it in case it turns out to be rubbish and a waste of time.

As well as this lazy streak, I’m also stricken with the infamous procrastination thing, where I put all my best ideas off until circumstances are “just right” – which, inevitably, they never are. I’m feelin’ Bee’s predicament.

Then it dawned on me. Every creatively-inclined person benefits from participating in things like NaNoWriMo. And if there’s one thing our own blog ‘hood is full of, it’s people with creative inclinations.

Some of us, like Radiohumper and Mark, already show our creative writing. Some of us, like Suburban Hen and the aforementioned Aravis, display our visual artworks. But many of us, like Swiss, express a slightly frustrated urge to create without having found time or suitable circumstances to do so. Some (I will spare your blushes) are such good writers, you should by all rights be writing yourself senseless already.

NaNoWriMo is designed to drag your art out of you, whether you are riddled with self-doubt or not. All are equal. One month and it’s done.

So I put it to you, blogsisters and blogbrothers, that we all join in.

What do you say?

Soundtrack to this post: American Way – Nas (featuring Kelis)

Random life&Self26 Sep 2005 03:04 pm

I’m supposed to be writing something proper, which inevitably means I am spending all day on the internet, blogging, reading, emailing, phoning people for chats etc.

So as I’m here, please accept with my compliments the lamest joke I have heard for ages:

Donald Rumsfeld is giving George Bush his daily briefing.

He concludes by saying: “And yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed in a suicide bombing incident in Iraq.”

“OH NO!” exclaims the President. “That’s terrible!”

His staff are stunned at this display of emotion, watching nervously as the president sits with his head in his hands.

Finally, the President looks up and asks:

“How many is a brazillion?”

Add your lame jokes here!

Soundtrack to this post: Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen

News media&Self&The art of blog18 Sep 2005 08:04 pm

I haven’t forgotten about my forthcoming post. It is on its way.

Lately I’ve been even more wildly enraged than usual whenever I come into contact with the corporate news media. I think perhaps the best way to deal with the onslaught of lazy propaganda is to offer a response, by way of counterbalance. And there’s plenty of scope for it. In fact, my only problem would be knowing what to leave out.

In summary: Blogger’s block is so five minutes ago.

And to think I was considering closing this blog on its anniversary!

Welcome to the new Fox season, starting soon, right here.

Soundtrack to this post: Bombonyall – Quannum

Pop culture&Self28 Aug 2005 12:01 pm

(Enquiring Mind:) So, Fox, are you still going through your White Stripes phase?

(Urban Fox:) No, that’s all done and dusted. Now I’m having a Pavement revival. One of my favourite bands ever.

I’m glad you mentioned that, because I was going to ask you about guitar music. You said you don’t like any current chart guitar bands. Does that mean you mainly listen to other genres of music?

Yes, on the whole. Hip-hop, electronica, excellent pop, a dash of blues, a pinch of alt folk and a spoonful of classical music are all my cup of tea.

Were you a Britpopper back in the early-mid ’90s?

No. Britpop signalled the death of British music, as far as I was concerned. It never really recovered from the sudden hegemony of mediocrity until about 2000.

Ah. Not a big Sleeper fan then.

*Fox gives a withering look*

What about Suede?

I’d strongly dispute that Suede were part of what we call Britpop as their success started a couple of years before that. And because they were good (pre-Head Music). Arguably, they may have set the ball rolling.

Apart from those you’ve mentioned, are there any other guitar bands and artists you consider personal favourites?

Of course. The Smiths and Morrissey, first and foremost.

Nice choice.

Thanks. There’s more though.

Do go on.

Luke Haines, in all his guises. Polly Harvey. Pixies/Breeders (or Kim Deal in all her guises). Huggy Bear. Faith No More. Babes In Toyland. Les Savy Fav. A-ha, past and present. Le Tigre/Bikini Kill/Julie Ruin (or Kathleen Hanna in all her guises). The Slits. The Au Pairs. The Velvet Underground. David Bowie. Helium. Nirvana. Magnetic Fields/The 6ths (or Stephin Merritt in all his guises). Lush. Lilliput. Blondie. My Bloody Valentine. Penetration. Roxy Music. Gillian Welch. Talk Talk. There are probably more, if I thought about it. Did I mention the White Stripes and Pavement?

Once or twice. Finally, what’s your view on the current crop of guitar-y NME fodder like Bloc Party, Kaiser Chiefs, Keane, Kasabian, Pete Doherty etc?

They should be boiled in oil until their derivative trousers disintegrate, then launched into outer space in a hermetically-sealed pod.

Righto. Thanks, Fox!

Don’t mention it!

Soundtrack to this post: Hotel Tell – The Sea And Cake

Pop culture&Self26 Aug 2005 09:24 am

Pat has tagged me to do a strangely Swiss Toni-esque “10 tunes of the moment” type thing. In balletic synchronicity, so has Swiss Toni.

In return, I’d like to ask the following SIX blog stars to reciprocate:

Le Moine Perdu
Lord Bargain
Bo Peep’s Sheep
Aravis Arwen

It is, of course, completely optional. I shan’t be offended in the least if you decline.

Right, on with the tunes.

[Editor’s note: This could end up a very boring post, as I am going through a White Stripes phase right now. Can’t be bothered with any other chart guitar bands, but the Stripeys are pet faves of mine. You see, with the bands or artists I most like, I tend to go through short phases of total immersion, which end just as quickly. So this week I could easily fill up all 10 songs from their back catalogue. Nobody wants that. I will draw on the rest of the week’s accidental soundtrack for diversity.]

1. Jolene – Dolly Parton / White Stripes
Yeah, sorry. Stripes already. Both versions of this song are in my head this week. One minute it’s Dolly’s quietly mournful tones, the next it’s Jack’s barely-contained hysteria. The Stripes version is the best cover version of all time, and I’m especially keen on the live version from Blackpool. (Dolly’s great too though. Don’t go dissin’ Dolly.)

2. Red Berry Joy Town – The Wonder Stuff
This is all Mark’s fault for posting about them. Tsk.

3. Ooh La La – Goldfrapp
Ubiquitous and infectious, like bird flu. Lower death toll though.

4. Alison’s Starting To Happen – Lemonheads
Conjured up by reflection earlier in the week on the fact that Alison Goldfrapp (see above) is finding herself suddenly one of the pop megastars de jour, at the age of 38. I wouldn’t mind, but I never liked the Lemonheads.

5. Girlfriend – Pebbles
I’m quite keen on mid-80s chart dancefloor R&B. I have been known to play Alexander O’Neal’s two hits through choice.

6. The Joker Is Me – whoever sings it on the Kath & Kim credits
I have a couple of Kath & Kim-crazy friends. Consequently, I hear a lot of this theme tune. Look at moy ployse.

7. Breaking Up Is Hard To Do – Luke Haines
Flutters around my brain every time I read Lord B’s blog. He’s a prince among lords, innit.

8. Don’t Dictate – Penetration
If you like the Slits, you’ll love Penetration. If you don’t like 70s punk, you’re going to take that the wrong way. And probably that too.

9. She – Charles Aznavour
It was in a film or something recently. FoxFact: this song was no. 1 in Britain the day I was born. That doesn’t make it OK though.

10. Red Rain / The Hardest Button To Button / I Think I Smell A Rat / Blue Orchid / The Union Forever / The Same Boy You’ve Always Known – The White Stripes
Sorry. These ones are the main brain invaders this week. What can I say? I am an all-or-nothing kinda fox. And extraordinarily dull.

Happy bank holiday weekend, Brits. Last one until Christmas, so enjoy yourselves! (That sentiment goes for you non-Brits too, only without the Monday off work.)

Soundtrack to this post: All of the above.

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