Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Genesis Of A Blog

The Genius Behind The Blog

Several months before my 70th birthday I indicated to my son Stephen that I wouldn't mind operating a blog and that as somebody or other was already using the title "Harry's Place" I could call it "Three Score Years and Ten".

But as time moved on and my PC skills had not improved, I pushed the idea from my mind. Stephen, however, did not.

Unknown to me, he set up a site in May 2006 using the identification I had suggested and adding a favourite quotation of mine from Kierkegaard which appears just below the heading. The initial item he posted was of a letter I had had published in the New Statesman".

For my 70th birthday itself he added a second item taken from my introduction to the TUC book "Hadi Never Died : Hadi Saleh and the Iraqi Trade Union Movement". The Blog was then presented to me as part of a bumper 70th Birthday celebration which took place at his home - hence the photo in the top right corner of me with a balloon.

A Slow Learning Curve

My PC skills were so limited that from July up to Xmas Eve, the only means I had for posting items was to type them on my word processor and send them via e-mail to Stephen. He did the rest.

In all 27 items (some rather lengthy) appeared via Stephen, before I acquired the abilities to post material directly and add the necessary links. The 100th item appeared yesterday. So this is now the 74th which has appeared under my own stewardship.

88% Labour, Iraq, Football, Blogs and Gods

The main subject areas covered have been -

34 on the Labour Movement; including the Labour Leadership contests, the Fabians, Compass and Labour History. Much as you would expect from an ex-Labour MP.
Here is my review of Nick Cohen's "What's Left?"..... I am.

29 on Iraq (including Iran); again to be expected from a Vice-President of Labour Friends of Iraq. This is a version of an early speech.

16 on Football; which arise from the glories of retirement. This one was published in the Sunderland Football Fanzine "A Love Supreme".

5 on Blogging itself; here is a go at Oliver Kamm.

4 on God and Philosophy: here is an atheist's criticisms of Richard Dawkins.

The remaining 12 were a wide mix.

"Things Can Only Get Better"

Well, for this blog if not for Labour.

There are no photos to enliven the text, beyond the initial one placed by Stephen. They are beyond my skills, so I can pretend that I am Normblog.

I did not even get round to using sub-headings on a regular basis to try and jazz things up until the New Year.

Some of my best bits probably appear in other blogger's comment boxes, so they have disappeared into the ether as far as I am concerned.

I can maybe keep my current handle until I am 80, by which I need to think up something snappier than "Four Score Years".


Mark said...

I've really enjoyed reading your blog and have it linked from my own rather more recent effort as one of my favourites. Do keep up the good work -- and I hope you'll master uploading pictures some time before you relaunch as fourscoreyears.
Best wishes

Harry Barnes said...


Thanks for getting in touch. At a glance your various blog material seems to be exactly my sort of interest. I will look at it carefully.

Your Chartist photo from Kennington Common in 1848 is already next to me in my study on a post-card.

95% of Tony Banks sedentary comments had most people in stitches. Some made you crindge, but he did not care if they went wrong. His art was aided by the fact that he had a voice which carried across the Chamber, without needing to yell. My favourite was when a Tory was speaking on the famous Clause 28 about the evils of teaching homosexuality in schools. Tony completely destroyed his speech by commenting - "Oh! shut up and give us a kiss."

susan press said...

Harry - uploading pics is dead easy.Go for it!