It is quite extraordinary. I had no idea, when I posted, yesterday, the first in a projected series of photographs of notable authors sitting on swans, that it would prove to be the most popular item to appear anywhere on the interweb, ever. According to the statistics churned out by my Blötzmannometer, attached to the computer via a pneumatic funnel, that one blog postage has been viewed by billions of people, in every nation on earth, as well as by further billions of beings on far-flung planetoids, those, obviously, which have interweb connection infrastructure in place. Clearly there is something about a notable author sitting on a swan which speaks to people’s deepest yearnings. The picture is more popular even than such interweb hits as a video of a cat behaving foolishly, an amateur diva belting out a songlet, or the e-book download of The Anatomy Of Melancholy.
And now my postbox is crammed full of photographs – many quite brazenly counterfeit – of other authors sitting on other swans. Many of these seem to have been sent by the writers themselves, keen to jump on the bandwagon. (Note to Jeanette Winterson – please desist. In any case, by the look of it, that is not a real swan.) Others are crude Photoshop fabrications showing, I presume, the sender’s favourite writer superimposed on a swan. I must admit I never realised just how many fans A S Byatt has.
I have taken on a team of otherwise unemployable ragamuffins to sift through the mountain of pictures and to pick out the ones that appear genuine. Also, I have drummed in to their scruffy little heads that the series title is Notable Authors Sitting On Swans, to make sure they discard the Zadie Smiths and Adam Thirlwells of this benighted world.
Oh, and it goes without saying that I am doing my utmost to track down a photograph of the twentieth century’s titanic pamphleteer, Dobson, sitting on a swan. I am not holding out much hope, though, for Dobson was notoriously camera-shy. Indeed, he usually attacked with a hammer anybody trying to take a snap of him with their box camera. He was that kind of pamphleteer.