Thoughts on a Friday Evening #1

ITEM: Okay, I know Intu is the name of the company that manages Chapelfield Mall in Norwich, but all the same when I see INTU CHAPELFIELD over the entrance the proof-reader in my soul cries out to amend it to INTO.

ITEM: Today I received a parcel from The Imaginary Girlfriend containing two Valentine cards and three chocolate goodies.

Either she’s feeling threatened now that I have an actual girlfriend or the guilt trip I did on her for not sending me a Christmas card worked a treat.

ITEM: So I went to Poundland intent on picking up the DVD of The Hurt Locker that I resisted buying the other day (I have will power, but apparently not very much), and I came home with Sex and the City.

No, I don’t understand how that happened either.

Staying with the land of the pound, a few weeks back I was sad to see the hardback edition of Joe Hill’s Horns in there. Oh, how the mighty are fallen.

ITEM: Finally got round to trying out the shower gel an aunt gave me for Christmas, and to my horror discovered that it is bright green. Baste enough on and I start to look like the Incredible Hulk.

Or Kermit the Frog (it’s all a matter of perspective).

ITEM: In the Gents’ toilets at Norwich bus station they have introduced a series of pictures demonstrating how to wash your hands properly. There’s a picture of hands under a running tap, a picture of hands under a soap dispenser, a picture of hands rubbing together to create lather, and so on.

Yes, really.

I didn’t go into a cubicle and so cannot testify either way as to whether there are similar instructions on how to wipe your arse.

What would be welcome though, from my viewpoint, is a sign reminding people not to stick their hands straight under the tap immediately after turning it on full. I do this at least once a week, and end up with a wet crotch nearly every time.

It’s embarrassing.

ITEM: Nietzsche said something to the effect that people study psychology for one of two reasons, either to understand people with a view to controlling them, or to understand people so that you can feel superior to them, and he expressed a preference for the former group.

In a similar mode of generalising, it seems to me that writers post links to their negative reviews on Amazon for one of two reasons, either as an act of bravado to show that they really don’t mind criticism, or as a plea for reassurance from the Facebook/Twitter friends and family that they’re really not that bad. Personally I don’t have a preference for either motive, except I really don’t like it when the latter devolves into cluster fucking the people who’ve had the temerity to express a negative opinion about the great and the good. That’s really not very pretty.

ITEM: Next week I shall be mired in real world stuff, so as far as blogging goes expect a plethora of filler content (i.e. old reviews) and naff videos.

If the viewing figures rocket, I am going to be seriously insulted.

 

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9 Responses to Thoughts on a Friday Evening #1

  1. S.P. Miskowski says:

    Hilarious post. Thanks for the wet crotch story!

    You’re so right! I’ve been meaning to write a post about the absurdity of linking to negative reviews. There can be only two reasons for someone to write a negative review: 1. He read the book and didn’t like it, which is legitimate and doesn’t deserve a browbeating. 2. He is a troll, and will greatly enjoy the attention provided by the uproar. The way to prove you “can take it” is to accept differences of opinion gracefully and without making a fuss.

  2. Ali L says:

    Oh my, if the shower gel happens to be Origins tea tree oil and mint, just don’t use it to shave your legs. Erm, not that I suppose you would 😉

    • petertennant says:

      The shower gel is Brut, nothing so fancy as that Origins stuff, and I wouldn’t dream of shaving my legs.
      I am however, now wondering if it might be possible to make a cup of tea with shower gel, which is quite remarkable as I loathe tea…

  3. Ali L says:

    And now I realise I meant Original Source, not Origins. Didn’t think it could be that posh when it cost me a quid. 🙂 Now eyeing bottle and wondering about tea…

    • petertennant says:

      Oh, you get really posh stuff at Poundland nowadays (see above). You could always try shaving your legs with Typhoo, as tea has to be good for something (that’s a generic ‘you’ by the way, not a ‘you you’, so to speak).

  4. There’s an author on Twitter who’s been quoting from lots of their one-star reviews, and one of them was complaining that the publisher had disabled text-to-speech on the Kindle version. Now that’s not really a great reason for a one-star review, but it is very petty of the publisher.

    What really bugged me was when someone else said “I think authors should always be given low marks for factors outside of their control”. The idea that reviewers are marking authors, that reviewers should ignore all faults except those that are clearly the author’s fault… Ugh.

    • petertennant says:

      I do think reviews should be about more than simply literary merit, in that we are helping potential readers decide if they want to spend time/money on a product. A novel could be the greatest work of fiction ever, but if the book looks like it was printed on barely recycled toilet paper, has typos in every other sentence of migraine inducing text and costs at least eight times the price of a normal paperback, then that’s stuff I want to hear about, and any reviewer who knows this to be the case and doesn’t tell me isn’t doing their job. I may still decide to purchase the book, but if so then it’s an informed choice.

      Of course context is everything, and the review does need to tell me the story is most excellent, not just fulminate about the flaws in the physical product, and should take both into consideration for an overall rating.

      The big problem I see is with Amazon, where occasionally a review ignores the book and simply talks about the customer service experience with the merchant itself. While Amazon does invite and allow ratings and feedback on all the dealers in its Marketplace, as far as I know it doesn’t have a similar mechanism in place for itself, so unhappy customers who wish to emote have no choice but to use the reviews to do so. I’d imagine most browsers on Amazon intend to shop there and so may find feedback about the merchant itself useful, but have enough sense to realise that if a title gets a one star review because the book turned up badly damaged this wasn’t the fault of the publisher or author. On the other hand I do have some sympathy for an author who subsequently finds their overall star rating cut back, with a knock on effect on search algorithms etc., none of which was their fault. It’s an unfair world.

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