A week or
so ago I conducted an experiment. I decided to write down everything
I did in a kind of log that I planned to port to the web after seven
days. It was a little writing experiment that I thought would be
cool if for no other reason than it would capture a week in my life.
Seven days of Simon
if you will.
At the time it seemed like a great idea. What with Big Brother
and a whole host of other so called 'reality TV' shows that are
knocking about, as well as the many thousands of day to day web
logs out there on the net, I thought that giving everyone a glimpse
into my week would perhaps cash in on that slightly overexploited
but still evident voyeurism that is clearly out there.
However, after sitting here reviewing my notes written on a pad
surreptitiously 'borrowed' from the stationary cupboard of a place
I worked at eons ago, I have come to the conclusion that I am not
nearly as interesting as I previously thought! Indeed the seven
days I chose to catalog turned out to be among the most interesting
of 'normal' weeks I have had this summer. A fact that makes my conclusion
all the more sobering.
The log notes seemed to basically consist of variations on the same
kind of theme. I get up late, I go to bed late. I chat to the hairdressers
in the salon downstairs, I drive my car places, I eat, I watch TV,
I talk on the phone. I visit friends, they visit me, I write emails,
I read emails, I read the MacAssist
Mac user forum, I watch recordings of 24 and Six Feet
Under while I eat a grapefruit for breakfast. And in all of this
I work at sporadic intervals between working out at the gym, visits
to various shops and sitting in my garden trying to catch a few
of the rare glimpses on sunlight that will look back upon and call
It's hardly gripping stuff to be honest. I did actually write a
little bit of the first day but I ended up getting bored, and I
figured if my 'real life' bored me, then it would sure as hell bore
DAY ONE. 10:34am. Will
calls me on the phone. The ringing wakes me from a dream I can't
11:01am. Checking my email and responding to the overnight
11:10am. Breakfast: a 'farmyard grill' pre-prepared last
night so I didn't have to make it this morning.
12:12pm. Finish breakfast.
Now I might not exactly have a lot of readers, but if I were to
churn out that kind of textual bilge then I'd end up losing the
few readers I might have managed to accumulate. Written in this
matter of fact way even the interesting stuff seems boring.
DAY FOUR. 2:48am. Get a call from Paula, one of the hairdressers,
while I am in the bath and on the other phone to the Elizabeth in
Oregon. Paula has been out with Rachael, an ex of mine who is also
a hairdresser, and they now find themselves stranded without a taxi
to take them home at this ungodly hour, so would I go get them please?
3:01am. I leave my house on a late night hairdresser mission
of mersey. It doesn't take long to get to The Grange in Thornton
Hough. They're both tired and very drunk, and while Paula
gives me a blow by blow account of their night out, I drive them
3:57am. I get back, check my email and then go to bed.
My notes on the past seven days look utterly mind numbing. Reading
between the lines you might be able to find a more interesting angle,
but communicating that in a web log would be difficult, especially
as I wouldn't want to write things that give too much away. It's
one thing to give people an insight into your life, but to give
every Tom Dick and Harry a key to your front door might not be the
Besides which, the world wide web is awash with people bearing the
souls and an awful lot more than that too. I have sometimes killed
an evening reading various web logs from people dotted around the
globe. One which I find amusing is written by a thirteen year old
guy in Australia who it seems, hates anything to do with everything.
He often goes on what surely must be liables tangents revealing
way too much about the lives of those around him, it crakes me up.
I wonder if these people are aware that their characters are so
ferociously attacked on a near daily basis.
Then there is the diary of John. A Christian youth worker from the
South of England. John appears to be on a drive to become one of
the most boring human beings walking the face of this planet. His
web log reads like the back of sick bag on a plane! It's factual,
concise and quite unimaginatively tedious.
Of course, being a Christian youth worker, John is way past his
youth and probably by all accounts never actually had a youthful
moment in his life. But still, I read him, though I don't know why.
Maybe I am just drawn in, hoping for John that something shakes
his life out of what seems to simply be an endless succession of
gray days filled with little more than prayers and 'praise the lordisms.'
The other day I found a website where you could control certain
cameras in Boston. I must have sat there for at least
ten minutes training the camera on a guy with a 'will work for food'
sign walking up and down a line of traffic waiting at a stop light.
He was of course completely unaware that I was remotely spying on
him from the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. And I wasn't the
only person doing this, there were lots of other anonymous users
also peering into the lives of others. At busy periods you have
to get in a line for three minutes of camera control!
I wonder what caused this explosion of voyeurism and so called 'reality?'
Where did all these real lives come from? I suppose it's nothing
new. People have been slowing down to look at car wrecks for as
long as we've been able to wreck them. But what I'm interested to
know is what has made being a voyeur 'the new big thing' all of
Maybe we've all been spoon fed make-believe for way to long, and
this thirst for reality is somehow a backlash against the cam-glam
color saturated wide-screen world that's been intravenously administered
to the us for years through cable TV, movies, infomercial's and
the like. Perhaps the entertainment world has finally pushed our
imaginations so far that we simply aren't willing to believe the
screen anymore unless we see something we can relate to?
I quite like it really. It almost feels like couch rebellion. An
uprising without actually up-rising at all. Of course like all things
driven by the masses, it will soon be taken over by the corporations
and media monsters. Reality TV is already becoming anything but
real, and there are all kinds of so called web logs (or 'blogs')
appearing on corporate dollar driven web sites these days too. Reality
now has commercial breaks.
Who knows, maybe 'meanwhile' will be brought to you by Coke or Compaq
at some point? I'd like to say that would never happen, and though
I am confident it won't, I can't say that confronted with a stack
of cash I wouldn't sell out to a brand. Anything could happen I
suppose, especially as you and I are now living in the entertainment
hotbed that is... reality.