November 2005

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

American politics&British politics&Middle East&News media&The art of blog26 Nov 2005 10:35 am

Publish the Al-Jazeera memo, Tony, you power-crazed maniac
Did George Bush order the Al-Jazeera headquarters in Qatar to be bombed? Or did he not?

If he did, did Tony Blair attempt to talk him out of it? Or did he not?

The Daily Mirror says yes. The British newspaper was gagged by the Attorney General after revealing the existence of the memo.

David Keogh and Leo O’Connor, civil servants who handled the memo, are due to appear in court next week, charged under the Official Secrets Act.

Until the memo in question is published, we cannot know for certain. What we do know is that its contents are sufficiently important that a D-notice was slapped on them, forbidding publication. Any editor who does so will be prosecuted for violating national security. To even the least politically-minded, that gesture speaks volumes.

Thankfully, Al-Jazeera aren’t taking this news lying down and are demanding that the memo is published. And several editors (including Tory MP Boris Johnson of the Spectator) and a legion of bloggers (like our own Red, who also designed the jazzy button at the top right of this post) have announced that they’ll happily publish the memo if they’re given a copy.

The Official Secrets Act is supposed to protect the safety of the country, not protect the current government from political embarrassment. I hope the brightest legal minds in the country will put their efforts into making this distinction if David Keogh and Leo O’Connor go to full trial.

If I happen to come across a copy, I’ll post it here and email it to every likeminded editor and blogger I can find. If another blogger or editor publishes the memo, I will be delighted to reproduce it on this blog, and so will plenty of others.

What will they do, arrest us all? Let’s see.

Activism&Anti-consumerism26 Nov 2005 01:05 am

Today is British Buy Nothing Day. Enjoy!

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.


British politics&Pop culture&Writing11 Nov 2005 10:38 pm

Tube badge < << This is a badge I got last night at a Mark Thomas/Robert Newman gig. I quite like it.

Having been very irresponsible for most of the week, I need to catch up with my NaNo word count this weekend. Think I need to do about 10,000 words to get back on track. Yikes.

Still, last minute panic working is my normal modus operandi, so I won’t worry too much.

Hope you’re all having a marvellous weekend, and that your own novels (where applicable) are running like clockwork.

British politics09 Nov 2005 05:44 pm

The Botox King Hooray! – Tony “God” Blair has lost the Parliamentary vote on 90 day detention without charge.

Boo! – They’re making it 28 days, which is double the previous legal limit.

But even so, I offer a massive portion of freshly-picked YAY! with dollops of whipped WOO! to those members of the House who dared to scupper His plan.

Thank you, MPs. You aren’t all lazy, punchable twerps. (And that’s some concession.)

Writing07 Nov 2005 07:54 pm

I have nothing much to say, but can’t leave my blog looking the same for days on end. It’s just wrong.

Dante Alighieri, who is ace The novel is inching forwards, always just hovering around the minimum word count. Typical me, typical me, typical me… as Lord Moz would say.

I’ll get there in time, I think. But there will be no surging ahead à la Alecya or Mark. I’m just too darn slack for that.

My novel continues to surprise me. It does this by:

(a) Being a bit serious and sombre in tone; (Whuh? How’d that happen?)

(b) Having an element of spooky subject matter, quite by accident;

(c) Being in the third person, which is proving hellish as I have very little experience of the form;

(d) Having 8 characters, 4 of whom wandered in spontaneously on day 1 with fully-formed personalities and mannerisms (and that WAS scary);

(e) Being a lot duller than I’d hoped.

Nonetheless, I vow to continue.

I hope you are all enjoying yours.

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