A blog by Patrick Crozier

February 25, 2003

Back in the saddle
Patrick Crozier

It was a bad week to be both ill and moving house. Not only did we see the introduction of the "Congestion" (in reality and anti-car) Charge to Central London - a truly landmark development - but the BBC also broadcast a Panorama special on transport - something I hope to comment on as soon as they have the on-line transcript up and running.

I thought it would be a case of jumping back into the saddle once the dust had settled but the break and the gearing up brought back to the fore many of my usual blogging traumas.

First of all, there's all the stuff I want to write. A lot of it is about transport - but a lot of it isn't. So, what should I do with all the non-transport stuff? CrozierVision, Samizdata or both? And in what order should I do it? Do I regard TransportBlog as the main deal or should I say "To Hell with it" and do what I like?

And then there's the tyranny of blogging. The whole point of blogging (originally at least) was that it made it easy to maintain a web site. And it made it possible to get things off your chest - those great thoughts that otherwise would die with you. Right, fine, but the problem is the tremendous pressure to to do Something Every Day (SED). Brian Micklethwait openly acknowledges this and tries (successfully so far) to produce at least one new piece every day. But even he admits it can be a strain. Meanwhile many others have found the pressure all too much and had hiatuses or given up blogging altogether.

Not only is SED tough but it has damaging side effects. Because if you are spending a lot of time churning out average stuff you have less time to produce Good Stuff.

I am a great believer in Good Stuff, nuggets of gold and silver bullets. Good Stuff can come in all shapes and sizes: from single lines to whole pamphlets (though rarely books). Sometimes it is as a result of pure inspiration but more often than not it requires hard work. Actually, I suspect the inspirational stuff is usually the result of many hours of quiet contemplation.

Good Stuff matters. It is the stuff that is going to convert the unconverted and inspire the existing believers. [Incidentally, I am a great believer in preaching to the converted - people need the company and support of the like-minded.]

But Good Stuff cannot be written to order. At least it can't by me. It is something that comes out of moments of clarity - moments that by their very nature cannot be timetabled.

Good Stuff also demands a different distribution system. Blogged material is distributed by date. Good, bad or indifferent, the stuff that gets flagged up is the most recent. But Good Stuff isn't like that. The best stuff is literally timeless. It needs to be flagged up by category and personal recommendation.

How we go about that and what I should do in the meantime I simply don't know.

February 04, 2003

Patrick Crozier

I have been rather reluctant to get involved in the war debate. This is partly because I'm not that bothered, partly because many others have thrashed out the issues perfectly well without my intervention and partly because by predicting a Vietnam-style quagmire, I got the Afghan War completely wrong.

However, as we are now on the verge of war I think it is about time I came off the fence and state that I am in favour. Mostly, because those people whose opinions I respect and value are also in favour and those people whose opinions I disrespect are opposed.

February 02, 2003

VHS v Beta
Patrick Crozier

I haven't actually read this article (link courtesy of Newmark's Door) but I'm looking forward to it. I wonder if it'll end just like the Dvorak keyboard.