Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

I am legion.



FIRST, an apology. Normally I write about the news story of the day I think would interest you most.

But today I'm going to write about me.

This blog started almost exactly one year ago, mainly as a way of proving to my boss that I could write a newspaper column, and this week it has gained its ONE MILLIONTH READER.


In fact - let me just check - today we're on 1,010,205 readers. In blog terms that's pretty good, and in newspaper terms it's not to be sniffed at either.

That's more people than buy the Daily Fnar, The Depressed, The Wellygraph, The Pfft, The Groaner, The Windy, The Jockman, The Tims, The Obscenelyboring and the Sunday Person. And no, it's not the same because their readers buy them every day or every week and it's taken me a year to reach that figure, but I'm not a newspaper, don't have a marketing department or proprietor, and I reckon that's not bad going for some daft twonk with a keyboard.

Some of you hate me, and some of you like me, and most are somewhere in the middle but you all still read me, which is what I've always thought was the main ingredient for a good columnist.

Because of this blog I've had lots of great opportunities and made some good friends. I've got my book deal, which as soon as the lawyer stops gibbering and comes down out of his tree will be published in August - available to pre-order here.

And I can reveal there are already offers on the table to turn the book into a TV series. Fox on the Box! Imagine!

There's merchandise and a phone app and in a few months I hope to be able to tell you about a new computer game the Chief Geek is producing in which you can take on the role of a Fleet Street reporter and learn how to land a splash, circumnavigate the police and get one over on politicians.

(Early versions are very, very cool.)

A few months ago I was invited to join a group of influential women who are taking part in the Moonwalk to raise money for breast cancer research. The most amazing thing about this to me was that anyone thought I should be included in their group, but maybe I've just been a hack too long. Training's going well, my calves have the consistency of oak trees, and if any of you can make it to the streets of central London overnight on May 12 and see a plonker in an orange furry bra and a pair of sequinned ears, that'll be me. Come and say hello.

I've been on the radio, I've been on Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe which is the most money I've ever earned in 90 seconds, and I've been asked to pop into several universities and colleges to talk to journalism students who probably found my knob jokes quite off-putting.

More important to me though - and I hope to you - is that I've been able to sit and tell you about things from the journalist's point of view. The things you learn when you go in the side door, stand at the back, take careful notes and learn that the best way of working someone out is to look at their shoes rather than their eyes.

And sometimes their bins. But don't tell anyone about that.

This blog has covered superinjunctions, the closure of the News of the World (RIP), phone-hacking, corruption, the cuts, the death of Bin Laden, the abomination of the Pasty Tax and how difficult it is for a journalist to tell a lie, as well as the fact that Johann Hari seemed to manage it with ease.

I hope you liked reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them, not least because otherwise I might as well just go to the park and shout at the birds. None of it makes much point unless The Reader makes the effort to read, to share and pass it around. It means the world to me that you do that.

That newspaper column still eludes me - *hard stare* - but I'm sure it's not far away. A lovely lady wrote this yesterday - "This woman says it all and says it better and manages to be profound in her summation all at the same time than most columnists on the pay-roll of our main dailies and Sundays" - and if one person thinks that then there must be more. And if there's more, an editor will hopefully think the same. If only that damn Samantha Brick would wind her neck in and let the less attractive have a go...

In the meantime I'm touched that those of you who read my story about cervical cancer booked yourselves in for a test as a result, and that the tale about my Nana moved so many of you to donate to the Moonwalk team. That you did those things because of something I wrote is so amazing I can't put it into words.

Sorry this post isn't more thought-provoking, insider-y or has more knob jokes. I just wanted to say thank you very much for reading, clicking, tweeting, Facebooking and sharing. I've always felt my job was worthwhile but you've made it even more so, column or no.

And better than anything else I've ever done in the whole world, more people seem to be calling him Gideon.

And that makes me happy.
Have a lovely day, you lot x