“Dreams, nonsense, mind dribble …”
“Dreams, nonsense, mind dribble — it’s uncertain really what this blog is actually about. The author doesn’t seem to know, but it doesn’t seem to matter. Here you will find beautifully written night thoughts about disappearing, short stories about overweight whales and generous squirrels, meaningless lists, jokes and some quite astonishingly dull pictures of chairs, road signs and headache tablets. The thing that stops this from being run of the mill rubbish is that every entry makes you ever more curious.” — Review of An Unreliable Witness by Johnny Dee; The Guardian, Saturday 1 September 2007.
There are more questions than answers
What is this place?
It’s a site called An Unreliable Witness. It has been in existence since 20 May, 2006. Which was a distinctly unremarkable Saturday.
Is this one of those blog things I keep hearing about?
Oh dear. Yes, it is. But let’s not tell everyone.
Can I go now? Please?
No. I demand your unwavering attention and slavish devotion.
Why is it called An Unreliable Witness?
It starts with an A. Such a ruse is guaranteed to get me near the top of most people’s reading lists. Unless they try to be clever and omit the ‘An’, in which case I send them an aggrieved email pointing out the correct title.
So what is your site about?
It’s all about the words.
No, really. What’s it about? This is an about page, after all.
It really is all about the words. There are lots of them contained within these virtual pages, since I am not known for my brevity. I love words and adore experimenting with language. Whether the sentences are strung together in paragraphs, without paragraphs or punctuation, on post-it notes, on crumpled pieces of paper, or on notices and advertising hoardings, it is for ever and for always about the words.
Why don’t you write simple, straightforward entries about going shopping, doing the washing-up, putting together a flat-pack wardrobe purchased from IKEA, or watching an interesting television programme about ferrets?
Because it bores me witless, and because my life is reassuringly dull and uneventful. I used to write more everyday posts on my first site, between the years of 2000 and 2005. If you prefer that sort of material, you may wish to visit a section of the site called Preserving, where you can find a selection of entries from the blog that preceded this one, called Wherever You Are. You’ll be relieved to discover that I omitted anything that was obscenely dull or very much of its time, written back in the dial-up mists of history, so the remainder is almost readable.
You’re very mysterious, you know.
Thank you. You say quite the loveliest things. To show my gratitude, I shall smile sweetly and pat you on the head.
No, that was a subtle way of asking who you are.
Gosh, you’re far too clever for me. Well, that would be telling. I’m either someone extraordinarily famous who does not wish for their identity to be revealed to the general public, or I’m simply one of those awkward people who wants to avoid having seventy-six pages of results about themselves appear on screen if their name is typed into Google. It’s probably the latter. My identity is no great secret, but I just don’t like it to be splashed everywhere. I’m quite shy. I used my name on my first site and ended up with at least twelve unhealthily obsessed stalkers.
No. I adore obsessive fans, though. So please apply within, using the handy Stalker Hotline page. Be sure to include a photograph of the exact location where you have managed to spray paint the URL of my site, thus confirming the depths (and hopefully the depravity) of your utter devotion.
I’ve read some of your posts. I don’t understand them.
Hush. Don’t tell everyone. Just nod knowingly and pretend you do.
Do you own a thesaurus?
Finally, tell the truth: your writing is all about me, isn’t it?
What you said
“It’s a long time since I read such pompous crap … you have a very high opinion of your own writing. It’s a wrong opinion too, pretentious twat.” — Turtle Features
“Did anyone ever tell you that you have really cute eyelids?” — The Goldfish
“This list alone has me feeling seat-wettingly compelled …” — Morgan
“This post is about me, isn’t it?” — Andre Jordan
“It must be art, because I don’t understand it. But I know I like it.” — Angelalala
“I haven’t actually read all of this yet because I accidentally sprayed my computer with ginger shortbread crumbs and had to wipe it down.” — Katy Newton
“Absolute magic. Every last word. Your words have that insight to take a step back and view everything under a different light, painting … a different tainting.” — Miles Away
“There is a smoothness to your prose which is very compelling. I read one of your posts the other day, a lot of words, and by the end of it, I couldn’t think what they were and yet I was enthralled throughout.” — Edvard Moonke
“I would so love to trace a finger over your pages and carry an old, worn out copy of you in my bag.” — Ani
“You never finish any of your stories. It’s so annoying. Most of the time I haven’t a fookin’ clue what you are on about. Why can’t you just write something proper for a change? With a beginning, a middle, and an end? You know the sort of thing I mean: today I went to town with my friends. We went for a dead posh meal. Then we went home again. I love my friends. They are great.” — Andre Jordan
“Some people spend far too much time blogging. Thankfully An Unreliable Witness is one of them.” — The Overnight Editor
“Sometimes you make me think I couldn’t properly capture an emotion to save my life. In the best possible way.” — Jess
“An Unreliable Witness: better than sex with an unattractive psychopath.” — Petemaskreplica
“These posts where you give free rein to your imagination, your feelings, your words and your internal dialogues are by far my favourite. Though i can see too why others might think they are impenetrable and obtuse.” — Mizyake
“As I read this, I felt special and I wished I was there in the dark listening to this song while you — the faceless you that I only know through t’internet — held my hand. Very powerful words those.” — Ariel
“*Sniff* I’m so proud to be one of your stalkers!” — Jack
“This encapsulates so many situations, could be interpreted in a hundred different ways, or might mean a million and one things, but I know what it means to me. And within that thought lies the essence of excellent writing. Beautiful.” — Miss Vertigo
“Don’t want to be rude. but I don’t get it. I don’t mean to break the spell of everyone fawning over what you write here, saying it’s wonderful and perfect and you should be published. But what’s it all ABOUT? Emperor’s new clothes, I think.” — Anonymous
“I’m going to steal this post and tell everyone I wrote it.” — Ben
“I’d like to write something profound. Failing that I’d settle for sarcasm, but it would appear I have been rendered (mainly) wordless in the face of this piece of your mind.” — Cheerful One
“I want to avoid sleep forever, taking respite only through your words.” — Ani
“I wish I could say I understand completely. What it is you are saying. But somehow without knowing the meaning it is still intoxicatingly moving. Beautifully confusing.” — Camille
“Have you thought about writing poems instead? I always have this urge to read your posts as if they were poems.” — Timbo
“This is all about sex, isn’t it? Yes, I thought so.” — Melograna
“I think you are mad. I am trying to decide if you are mad in a good way or not.” — Another Girl, Another Planet
“Mr Witness, your blog has clearly become a haven for insanely coloured squirrels. Well done. Unique.” — Bohémienne
“One who can write so boldly, with such searing honesty and pinpoint accuracy of all that embodies life, from the bloody awful to the bloody brilliant and all the infinite layers in between.” — A Kite Rises
“In some of your other pieces, you lose your discipline and become indulgent, lush in your writing, verging on purple.” — Nut
“Sometimes. I’m afraid to come here. Precisely because of things like this. (Yes, I mean that as a good thing. To be clear.)” — Imogen
“Although I find the ego-massage rather sickly, I am tempted on occasion, just on occasion mind, to join in. I like. It made me jittery on reading and made me want to ask whether you’ve been doing a lot of coke recently?” — Boudica
“Thank you for writing the most beautiful words. Even if you perhaps do not think them as beautiful as some others; different people find beauty in different things.” — Miles Away
“Wait, so your real name isn’t Unreliable Witness? I feel jipped.” — Kermit