I’M ONE of those rarely-met people who don’t like the sound of their own voice, so I suppose I should be grateful that this is my last column for the Yorkshire Evening Post.
Except that now I’ll have to do even more speaking-up so that I can revive my career as a freelance journalist by promoting myself on the social media. This, after a lifetime of self-effacement, won’t come easy.
Regular readers of this column may have noticed over the last 15 or so years, that I hardly ever talk about myself, just about things I’ve noticed from the sidelines. I’m on Twitter and Facebook and greatly enjoy catching up with what other people are doing, but I’ve never contributed to social debate because I don’t think I’m interesting enough.
But now my clever partner Lynne has launched a website for me (oliveracross.com) and it’s now up-and-running after some time it spent up and stumbling around like a drunken duck.
It includes a blog and a rich cavalcade of cutting-edge articles (this is what they call selling yourself, which I’ve never tried before ) and I’ll also be posting Twitter-bits @oliveracross.
It’s as if I’ve had an electronic personality transplant, which is an alarming advance for someone who started his journalistic career using technology inherited from Caxton.
The internet is almost as big as the universe and the newspaper column now looks very small indeed.
My column-writing strategy so far has been to write at least twice as many words as I need, then to cut out those words which can’t justify themselves. It’s a good discipline and I don’t know that my blogs will be improved by being freed from the physical restrictions of print. We’ll see.
And before I go, I should do a little bit more self-promotion by pointing out that you really did hear it here first.
I was writing about the perils of inequality, the certainty that western intervention in the Middle East would end in disaster and the vapid nature of contemporary politicians long before any of those issues were hoisted to the top of the political agenda.
Now I can’t mention any of them in case it looks like I’m copying from other columnists.
And finally... thank you for reading this column for so long and for saying nice things about it, although I also know it drove some readers to fury because they thought that a proper newspaper column should put on a serious face and not give way to playfulness or idle speculation, which I think is rather the point of life
As a former page designer, I have always written columns with an awareness that they have to be illustrated, which isn’t going to be easy in this case.
So can I please have, in lieu if a leaving bonus, a charming picture of Mariella Frostrup or an orang-utan?