Monday, 1 October 2012


Last week’s post (which I wrote moments ago/months ago) was all over the place for a reason. I was describing my writing projects, which were all over the place for many reasons. This week, I thought I’d talk about junk messages that reach you across the internet’s airwaves.
   This has nothing to do with the purchase of a Jaguar internal combustion motor vehicle. That is a determinant of whether or not you’ve made it as a cad. Bought a Jag? Cad. Had your wife’s sister over for more than dinner? Cad. She doesn’t have a sister? The old standby then. Mother as well as the daughter? Cad.
   I have veered off. How can you tell when you’ve made it in publishing? Made what? Publishing what? If I decide that having been given a prize for writing fiction in my schooldays marks me as an award-winning author, then by Jove I am one.
   Perhaps I should point out that I don’t own a Jaguar internal combustion motor vehicle.
   Yes, there are all sorts of tricks writers will stoop to. I don’t post my own reviews of my work on Amazon. Occasionally I’ll plug other authors on Twitter, but I won’t post Amazon reviews of authors whose entries you’ll find on my blog. That handy page on other fugitives, since you ask.
   Finding an audience takes time. The 0.75 persons who habitually read my blog stumbled on my site by accident and became stuck in the glue. It would be nice if visitors to the blog considered purchasing my books. Those of you who didn’t drop by looking for cockroach porn. You’re a tad early for that.
   Sales? Irrelevant. Reviews? Not an indicator. Bank-balance? Tells you nothing. Forget all that real-world financial stuff. There’s an easier way to tell how you are doing. It’s unseen. For it is filtered. Yes. Spam.
   My blog has started receiving spam. Every attempt to plug my work on Twitter. That’s spam. Twitter is a giant spam-generating machine. The only fun I had on Twitter was in creating a few bad writing tips for a thread on #badwritingtips.
   This spam wasn’t Twitter-related. My article on KDP Select was described as an article that couldn’t really be written any better. No? Mechanically-recovered praise indeed. The spammer’s invented roommate talked about that topic (Amazon KDP Select) constantly. I was thanked for sharing. There then followed an exhortation to visit a particular website. For the life of me, I couldn’t think why.
   What if I hadn’t written about Amazon KDP Select? Suppose I’d written about the curious side-effects of using fulminate of mercury as barrier contraception? I’m leaving aside the main effect of EXPLODING, showering fragments of ex-copulators to the four walls and beyond.
   Fantabulosa! World-class article, dude! My Rabbi swears by it. He’s always getting down and non-dirty with that cleanliness-is-next-to-gnarliness approach that the old fulminate of mercury provides. Now visit my blood diamond exchange site.
   Oh yes. This blog has made it. I’ve finally cracked the eggshell of social networking to discover the soft runny yolk that is spam. My name in coloured chalk, at last. Admittedly a step down from seeing my name in energy-saving lights. Still, a Darth can dream.
   How long before the quality of spam dips? Oh, spam post two. The honeymoon ended in a heartbeat. No more praise for my scintillating wit. Just breadcrumbs leading to a site sure to help me with that particular problem.
   Of course I can’t list the problem. That’s doing the spammer’s work. Besides. Chlamydia is no joke. How did it come to this? It didn’t. The spam filter catches these messages. I should just let them through. In the sick twisted minds of needy bloggers everywhere, those spam votes count.
   I wonder if it’s something I’ve written. A blog post on a subject that has swept my blog into the spammer’s sights. If not sites. Perhaps this is geographical. Colour-coded. Arranged alphabetically. I have no clue.
   Time-lag? Months. The e-mail contact address for REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE was hit by spammers almost as soon as I started the blog. Why no spam in the blog’s comments, during all that time? Who knows.
   As for those e-mail scams, I don’t habitually bank with two banks at the same time. This is a technical issue which appears to lie beyond the purview of your typical scammer. If you are trying to hoodwink me into handing over my financial details, shoe-size, and eye-colour, then don’t pretend to be two banks.
   Randomly guessing my actual bank at the bottom of an e-mail won’t aid your nefarious cause if you open the top of the e-mail by pretending to be an entirely different bank. Why don’t I come to your house and scam you? Don’t have the time.
   Parcel-wise, I know what’s coming through the post and when. So I won’t be taking up any Royal Mail offers to urgently confirm my urgent confirmation. Urgently. If you receive an e-mail asking you for confidential bank information and a sperm-count, look askance at the screen.
   Anyway, I was considered fair-game as soon as I had an e-mail account. I was propositioned by a woman who remembered meeting me in the city. She was looking to connect. Horizontally and financially. But mostly financially. If anyone offers you sex on a first e-mail, look askance at the screen.
   On no account travel to Nigeria to meet the hot 21-year-old destitute heir of Sani Abacha who happens to be aged 19 two paragraphs down. I don’t care how much money you have to throw at her to unlock all those fictional millions trapped in Swiss bank accounting hell.
   How many Rolex watches am I expected to wield on my arms? If I actually confirmed all the concert tickets I was asked to, I’d spend my life at concerts. The people who know me would think I’d been kidnapped. Or whisked off somewhere for an alien probe. That’s not a euphemism. Genuine aliens with genuine probes would be involved. They’d have to be, to make the pain worthwhile. I’d be guaranteed a ten-book series out of it.
   Occasionally, I’ve had the odd e-mail drop in by mistake. The most annoying was from one service that I couldn’t talk to unless I was a member. Membership was free. Legitimate organisation. So I joined by creating loads of fake info about myself just in case, in order to ensure that no more rogue e-mails came my way. Two rogue e-mails, and I was done.
   Spam messages resemble those people in the street who want to stop shoppers and talk about the state of the world. Or, as I prefer to think of it, why don’t you have SKY TV? The crowd-stoppers are easy to see and easy to swerve.
   Filters catch spam. Or do they? Isn’t everything spam? Every book you ever read. All the movies you watched. Hell, the thoughts you have. The stars in the sky. Particles in our universe. It’s all spam. Every keyboard button I hit. The meals I’ve eaten – including ACTUAL spam. Going to watch SPAMALOT. Visualising a tin of the aforementioned meat product.
   Songs I’ve heard and songs I sang. (Rule. People who CAN’T sing SHOULDN’T sing. I sang along at the end of SPAMALOT. There was an audience to hide behind.) EVERYTHING is spam, including the concept that everything is spam.
   We detect, filter, reject. Or we detect and absorb. Even spam has its uses. This blog post is currently powered by spam. My blog intercepted it. No. This blog intercepted it. I have a signpost blog that leads here. RLL AUTHOR. That blog, just being a signpost, doesn’t have room for spam, it seems.
   The amazing audiovisual radio station that is the interconnected network is full of wonderful things. Every ocean has its bottom-feeders. That’s not to denigrate bottom-feeders, or to pour scorn on the arrangements within oceans.
   All the world’s spam is probably sent out by one guy, living in his impregnable castle on the far side of the moon. Even he gets spam, inviting him to test-drive Donkey Viagra®. Calm down, I’m not spamming him in revenge. I have nothing to revenge over.
   Suddenly I feel as though I’m a rock-star. Spammers have found me. The adulation is too much. It’s a matter of which rock-star I feel I am. Mm. One of those with a DEMISE. Maybe I have tickets to the farewell concert. Must confirm those. Urgently.
   Now, as the blog post winds down, I come to the multiheaded hydra that is Google. People affected by spam may turn to Google and Google the word SPAM to find remedies. Eventually, my blog post labelled SPAM ALERT will show up on the trail.
   So yes, this is spam. Of a sort.
   We should put out fun spam. In bright colours, with flashing lights. No need to sell anything. We aren’t providing a service. Just having a laugh. Not driving people to awkward sites dealing with awkward problems.
   Someone followed me on Twitter and started a chain-reaction of followers who were looking for followers. Don’t ask who kicked that off – I am uncertain. They are all happy to have 5,000 followers. I know that, as they constantly tell me so in banal automated messages.
   Missy Biozarre, who has kidnapped a Twitter following in the low zillions, wouldn’t care if plague struck half her followers dead – except in the sense that her primary texting thumb would have to go into near-light-speed overdrive to recover from the losses.
   Why are so many people so keen to be seen as so keen when using the internet? You should know by now that my idea of being cheery on Twitter is to sarcastically announce my novel LYGHTNYNG STRYKES by describing it as EPIC PORN. At which point, the sarcasm wears off and I seem like a jolly chap.
   Announcing a novel as EPIC PORN is, of course, spam…


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