The question I’ve been asking myself for a few month now is, who exactly reads this blog? This week the statistics hit 3000 visits since I started it last year. What this means in terms of actual readership is impossible to gauge. What I want to know is how many people have read it because they want to. Compared to how many people have stumbled upon it by accident; read some strange meanderings about some guy called Blogley and pressed delete. Quickly followed by BLOCK SITE.
As a city guide I admit, it’s practically useless. Half the roads, places and sights are made up. My directions lead nowhere. And the restaurant section could be written on the side of my hand. In my defence though, it was never meant to be a Lyonnais manual. More an oil painting in which the city’s boundaries and buildings are blurred by thick dabs of fantasy and illusion. A vague observation. A collection of contradictory anecdotal fragments glued together to form the fictional vase that is Lyon according to Blogley.
Despite my gushing commentaries about my walks up Mt. Verdun and Mt. Thou, they were in reality, tame, nondescript outings. Nothing mystical or enduring about them at all. Piffling two-hour trudges up muddy paths to see views over a sprawling city shrouded in urine coloured smog. A sentence from In Lyon 48 reads: ‘head up through the fields which are as picturesque as anything you’re ever likely to see. It’s a total lie. It was a boggy field with a few flowers pinned into it for decoration.
But it’s difficult to communicate anything without embellishment. When we tell stories we exaggerate. It’s a function of conversation. Wherever there’s a tale, there’s always some shameless bending of the truth. It’s always better to increase the size, the cost, or the weight to ensure you get a laugh or a nod of approval. It’s human nature. Before mass entertainment, before books, before gramophones, before civilisation, stories were saturated in lies, half-truths, make-believe and fantasy. Making people laugh. Promoting debate and discussion. Furthering human development. Until some clowns hijacked the whole thing and called it religion.
The iron cold truth, is that life isn’t that interesting. We have to make it up. Embellish it. For me, Blogley is a half factual, half fictional world where my other self, my alter ago if you will, acts out his days. If it was an accurate account of my past 16 months here, there would be barely enough material to cover a postcard to send back to myself when I leave:
Arrived safety. Weather been nice. Food OK. People are friendly. Missing you. See you soon. Love Phil/Blogley