O the competition!
Any chance of your posting a blog?
Our web editor this morning was polite but firm.
It is true that I have not posted since December 20.
But I was away in Argentina for a while – and since I've been back in the country I have not got back into the habit.
And then there is the fierce new competition of our TLS internal market.
On Monday, for example, I presented the prizes for the Translation Awards. I have posted on this in the past, nornally on some failure of mine to pronounce properly the name of the Flemish or Arabic winners.
But before I had even begun to collect my thoughts about why Adonis is tipped to win the next Nobel Prize for literature (it cannnot just be because he is Syrian), my colleague, Thea Lenarduzzi, had posted an immaculate account of the evening.
Then, on Tuesday we had a TLS toast to Dickens in the Calthorpe Arms. But I am not going to compete with the contents of our excellent 200th anniversary edition.
The Calthorpe toast from us all, as I recall, was 'to raised eyebrows' but I don't quite remember why.
Afterwards, Mary Beard and I went together to the Omnivore Hatchet Job of the Year Award in Soho – for which she had been shortlisted for her very restrained views on Robert Hughes' Rome.
It was great night. We both enjoyed the comic duet by the young Omnivoristes, Fleur Macdonald and Anna Baddeley, about the rise and fall of the literary logroller. Maybe they will put up a podcast or whatever.
But by the time that I reached the office next morning Mary had already posted on the event and the plot (and put up a photograph, republished above without fee!), not even leaving me the culinary sponsorship by the Fish Society upon which to opine. By 10 am my inbox was filled with Facebook wails from a writer who did not like being hatcheted and her friends who told her it was unprofessional to complain.
Not much more to say on that. And so many people saying it.
Internal competition? The TLS is becoming like the Conservative vision for the NHS.
So what now? I have been spending a good deal of time on novels for this year's Man Booker Prize. But the Chair of the Judges can hardly post a commentary on that without attracting unwelcome Omnivorist attention.
Tonight I am off to the Harold Pinter theatre for the opening of Alan Ayckbourne's Absent Friends.
With any luck I will be the only TLS blogger in the aisles.