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Eyewear Is Two

Eyewear is two today, friends. If that seems astonishing to you, imagine how it feels where I am sitting. On June 1, 2005, when I sat down to start "blogging" the whole fad was about as likely as riding around on those old bicycles where one of the wheels is giant and the other tiny - you know the ones. Parasols. World Fairs. 1902.

Then, for awhile, everyone was blogging - reports of a million new blogs starting a day. Blogs became popular. Blogs became books. Then blogs became big business. In 2006, The Guardian, the BBC, and other major media outlets starting pushing their blogs on us. The blogosphere began to look, read and feel, just like any other clone street in the UK, Tescoised and manipulated by corporate interests. Or worse, not - for every sleek blog there is one that is amateurish and rubbish.

Meanwhile, social networking began to evolve. Myspace. Beebo. Facewhatsit. Everyone linked to everyone, saying zilch. Actually, saying, look at me, I am cool, too. In the age of celebrity, this instant messaging, this instant reporting, this blogging, offers the winner's circle for free. Zap. Here I am.

It isn't all bad. Blogging is addictive, though. I've wasted a lot of time here I could have wasted on TV. I have learned to write shorter blogs. I also now try to only write about issues and things and events and books and films and music that really turn me on. There's very little knee-jerk writing anymore. Sometimes, I get personal, but not always. I don't think you need to know about my hair cuts.

In two years, the most surprising thing about blogging has been, how many people will read a blog. Famous people have told me they've read my blogs about them. If you write about them, they will Google you. That brings responsibility. I try to write well, wittily, clearly, and delight and inform equally.

Just after I began this blog, 7/7 happened. Then my father became very ill with brain cancer, fought it for awhile, then died. Other people I love died, too. Good books and movies began to pale beside the horror of the world, which is real. However, I allowed myself to have fun here, too, to try and play again, as well as warn. One of my key messages is that God exists - or rather, that she might. In a very secular (British) society I am sure this has alarmed some readers. But I don't preach, really. In fact, I find it funny how, in the absence of a god, the media, in the UK, which has stepped into the void, so obviously offers no conscience.

Another message of mine is tolerance - especially in the literary world. You know, most of it is hype. The people that market books are just estate agents with better glasses. Most books are crap (get stewed, as Larkin might say) and most writers - well, best left to the imagination. The media wants a new star author every day, every week. Sex, violence and football sells, often not in that order.

I enjoy sharing poets with each other and my readers during my features, to help tip the balance in favour of good new writing.

Will I keep writing this for another year? Maybe. Blogging is a tiring spectator sport.
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Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:


THE BARBAROUS CENTURY, Leah Umansky
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