Thursday, 28 May 2009

On Feeling Inadequate due to Bastard Heroes.

How dare they. How dare there be some people out there who are so good that you end up looking up to them. How utterly sickening. I get embarrassed when I realise that I have heroes - it's just something that a cynic like me doesn't like to admit. Everyone lets you down, but not only this, everyone is only human. I remember when I was younger, about 14; I was consumed by the band Muse. I looked up to their lead singer Matt Bellamy with a fervent love bordering on the obsessional - I thought he was amazing. Then I met Muse one fateful day in sunny summertime London, and he was a bit of a dick. Cue dreams shattering like a glass coffee table under the weight of a thrown husband after a violent domestic altercation. You see, people are only people after all. Yes, Matthew Bellamy was resplendent in the mid-afternoon sunlight, and yes, his voice sounded soft and enchanting, but he also happened to be a complete tool. He might have been bored or tired or hungry, whatever; I understand these things, but after travelling down from Aberdeen that morning to meet him, I probably deserved a hello.

Being a scary fan is not something I ever want to be. I try to keep my admiration for people under-wraps, mainly because showing enthusiasm for something makes me feel awkward and incredibly embarrassed, but also because I feel like the people in question get enough maniacs vying for their attention all day long, without me adding to their potential woes. Recently, however, and by recently I probably mean within the past two years, my "famous" heroes actually started being rather more average every-day people. Your run-of-the-mill, common or garden TV personality/newspaper journalist, if you will. Judging by the sheer amount of times I rip off his wordplay, you'd be right in assuming that one of these poor people who receives a lot of my glowing attention is the one and only Charlton Brooker. The thing with Charlie is, he's famous, but not that famous. He feels within reach. Which is about a thousand times worse than being in awe of a rockstar or Stephen Fry (for example), because there's that ever-present fear that he might have read something you wrote that was shit. Unfortunately, this has definitely happened.

For a long time I assumed that the day I received some kind of reply from Mr Brooker would be a really good day. I look up to him see, because he does the job that I want, and he does it well, and seemingly without effort (although those well-read on the subject that is his life – it isn’t voyeurism, he happily keeps us updated in his column – know that it is slightly more work and stress than it would appear). What a bastard. Balancing between attraction and jealousy is where I stand in my opinion of him. Strangely enough, the day he did begin replying was the day I started doubting every vowel and consonant I wrote, and every sentence I’d ever tentatively assumed was “funny” I was now scrutinising with despair. It is stress x 1000, and I think I’d be better off if he continued to be an unreachable London media-node, a person who is on the telly occasionally and would never converse with the likes of me. Because now, there’s a minute chance that he’s read things where I’ve made mistakes, or been drunk and disorderly. It feels as though my hero can keep tabs on me; and because of his selective riddlesome replies, it feels like he’s completely in control of this weird non-relationship. It’s like having a talent moderator. Who tells you you’re shit.

Feeling inadequate isn’t a new sensation for me, I constantly re-read things I’ve written, mostly articles on this very blog, and tell myself that I’m a terrible writer. I might be right. The thing is, I’ve spent too long at Uni now to turn back and take up a trade, so it looks like I’m in this writing business for the long haul, no matter how dire my expressions become. Doubt, I’m told, is felt by all creative-types throughout their lives, and I’m pretty sure that had Picasso felt completely at ease with his talents and personality, he’d probably have made horrible paintings. (This type of thinking doesn’t really work when applied to people like Rimbaud or Oscar Wilde who clearly realised they were the absolute shit, but in some cases my point is made clear. Look at Van Gough. Or Ian Curtis.) I’m stuck in a rut of shyness – on the one hand, I’d love more people to read my work. On the other, I’d never ask anybody to read it; I want people to read it because they’re interested. You can’t have it both ways though, and nobody will willingly read your work unless you ask them to – “the only interesting blog you’ll read is your own” as a friend of mine once told me (this is not strictly true, but I can see what she meant). This is now being completely flouted by people reading mine in secret, and using parts of it as mocking ammunition. Or indeed, by “famous” people who may or may not have glanced at the URL but intend to demoralise me by insinuating that I can’t construct sentences. I love you too. I mean, I’m all for passive aggressive flirting, but tone of voice is very hard to decipher over the medium of type.


Stanley Devia said...

"I constantly re-read things I’ve written, mostly articles on this very blog, and tell myself that I’m a terrible writer. I might be right."

No. You're wrong. I'll simply reiterate what I told you on Twitter. Your op-ed pieces are personal, well thought out, beautifully written, original and honest. That's why they're so good. You only *think* you're a bit shit because you *care*.

I think it's healthy to use "heroes" as inspiration to improve something about yourself, but not to emulate them completely. You just keep doing your own thing and you'll be OK.

Katie said...

Awwwhhh Stan. If you carry on like that I might end up with something bordering on confidence!

(Thanks for the kind words :) You are a gem and a diamond geezer)

Katie said...

(And a bobby dazzler)

Stanley Devia said...

You are very welcome.

chestymorgan said...

Curious how it's the talented people that have the self doubt isnt it?If I had been as witty,insightful and erudite as your writing is at 21 I'd have had a monstrous ego.

Katie said...

Maybe I'm lying. Maybe I actually have posters all over my house that say "You are fucking amazing" on them.

(Thanks :) )

Richard Vivmeister Hirst said...

You write better blog posts than Matt Bellamy writes lyrics.

That sounds like damning with faint praise, but I don't want to release some kind of embarassing effusiveness-bomb in the comments. So I'll just say your blog is one of the few I do genuinely enjoy reading, and this post is a good example of why.

*delivers matey arm punch*

Also, I have the same weird hero-thing about various people. It's *all* about Marina Hyde at the moment.

Katie said...


Sorry, but the caps were the only way I could express my surprise. I do love Marina :)

(And thanks for the nice words from you too *matey arm punch* I seriously didn't write this blog in order to recieve praise from people...but it's nice to get some for a change! haha)

the_man_in_the_middle said...

Thought you might like this...

Katie said...

Haha, that's so....0_o

I like it though. "How do you eat your burger?" um...I doubt she's eaten a burger before in her life!

Portobello Mushrooms win.

the_man_in_the_middle said...

Marina's a diva! I've been watching her show for years. What a brilliant format - smoking hot blonde bimbo fakes intellectual prowess by reading out entries from a dictionary of etymologies she got for Christmas. Cock-tickling genius!

I watched your Kinder Egg cake video. I know where you live now. Mu-jahahaha. But seriously, that was really entertaining. Being cautious not to misdirect your talents, it would be good to see more of that. Katiewipe, The K Word, 8 out of 10 Kats or whatever. Plus, subtly sexy presenter with substance - definite win. You're the cutest!

Katie said...

Aww, shucks. You've made me blush. But that now means you have to tell me who you are. It's only fair.

I'd love to do something like a Katiewipe, but I think I rip off Brooker too much already to be able to do that. Maybe I'll come up with my own format though...who knows, or indeed dares to dream?

(I really shouldn't have given away where I lived, should I? Erk.)

the_man_in_the_middle said...

I met you once briefly on a night out in Leeds. Months later, I saw a tweet syndicated on a Facebook status that had a link to a blog on which this site was on the blogroll. (How that sentence makes sense I'll never know...) I remembered you from your picture and started reading and didn't stop. I've read every post and have your feed on my homepage. Basically, I think you're awesome, and thanks to the anonymity of the internet, you can trust the sincerity of the that statement. :)

Katie said...

Speechless. Thanks! I am now *really* hoping you didn't ever meet me at my drunken belligerent worst - but judging by the fact that I can't think who the hell who could possibly be, I reckon I might have been.


I'm really fucking chuffed you like the blog. Really chuffed. Thanks :)

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