If you blog with WordPress, you receive little notifications from time to time, telling you when people “like” your posts, or if you have followers, sort of thing. They also have a virtual trophy cabinet, marking your significant achievements in WordPressery.

The Mortal Bath has been publishing for five years, I discover today. Five years! Hoopla. During which time I also changed career, helped make a child, managed to stay happy in the face of near-constant provocations from The Man and all his little wizards… as well as doing some writing.

Here is a selection of my favourite posts from the last five years:

2009: Fat Duck and Little Chef, an everyday tale of nostalgia and terrible food.

2010: Tiger Feature, Disneyesque Metro parody that also contrives to include reference to Wildlife Photographer of the Year controversy.

2011: Has to be the Iron Maiden Powerslave one, which remains my most viewed post, I like to think for the honest writing although I suspect it’s actually the enormous image of the album cover. I am rather fond also of That rumble in the chest.

2012, the year I wrote a lot of drafts that never saw the light of day: A bit of semi-fictional Dylan-nodding in stompingly yours, Lazy Henry. Or, writing about writing, and a game changer announcement, and a chance to turn the pages over.

2013: Consider her ways, concerning gender bias in kids’ products.

Well, happy browsing. All The Mortal Bath output is solid gold genius, of course.

Having said all THAT… in fact, there is actually only one thing that happens in my brain when I hear the words “five years” – FIVE YEARS!

So here it is: some vintage Derek.

“I suppose it’s another quotation from Derek Bowie is it?”

The Mortal Bath was invited round to the Rantings of an Amateur Chef blog to do some guest post cookery.

Exciting! Next to words, food is one of the most significant items on my list of Favourite Things. I don’t tend to post recipes here so much, but I do love a feed, and always like to share ideas for tasty goodness.

Read all about this delicious recipe for Lentil Bolognese (Len Spag Bol, if you will) at the Ranting Chef’s blog. You can also pick up a bunch of other interesting ideas for foods, meals, kitchen tools and the like.

If you’ve come to The Mortal Bath via the Ranting Chef, welcome! Hope you find something tasty here too.

One of the sites I like to read, have them in my RSS Live Links thing, is Three Quarks Daily. The other day they had this video link, from someone called Andrew Sullivan, on How to Blog (like Andrew Sullivan).

“If it isn’t updated at least twice a day, it’s not a blog, it’s a website.”

Well, that gave me the fear a bit, I have to say. To me, ‘website’ implies singing and dancing graphics and that, not occasional wordy thoughts on random items. At least I’ve now been edged even closer to having that uber-website I mentioned in the previous post.

It wasn’t, like, proper anxiety, though, not really. However, it did make me have a whisk through the wordpress dashboard to see what I might have started and not finished, what rough nuggets might be polished for display, what tasty treats in the freezer (etc, etc). I also had a glance to the site stats, to see what had piqued my readers’ interests. It was both gratifying and slightly worrying to see that someone had reached this blog website by using the search phrase “is their a cure for the zombie disease”. This despairing cry at the internet led the quester to a slightly impatient article I tapped out in 2009, ‘Zombies are a disease, meet The Cure’.

Reading that again, I was most interested by the titles on the links, which I’d forgotten I learned how to do in a rush of late-onset techie enthusiasm. I was so pleased I came and pressed this out. Thanks, Andrew, and thanks whoever it was fearing the zomblogalypse. Hope it all works out.

Hey, look, I’m sorry, o my readership, for the dilatory updates. I am. There are many reasons why I scarcely float anything remotely ducky here in the Mortal Bath of late. No home internet, working too much… and I was just saying to Mr Ward, of the superb Eb’s posterous, the other day how I sometimes feel like my blog, indeed, writerly mojo has been bottled and nabbed…

Then I think: the best bits, such as they are, tend to emerge on the page unbidden anyway, so I’m not going to force it. It’ll come when it’s ready, as Mao Zedong once shouted through the cubicle door. I feel as though I may at last be beginning to accept that just because one can say something about something – anything – it does not necessarily mean one has to.

And anyway, I ain’t complaining. It’s summer, which means when I do get to leave the office (as I do frequently, being an independent note taker about town), I get to indulge one of my favourite activities, which is snapping reflected glories such as this:

8 Canada Square: chosen for its auspicious numerological position in the pantheon of filthy lucre at Canary Wharf. 8 is also my lucky number, as it happens. [Insert own interpretative readings here… consider the 8 of Coins, The Sun reversed] Why! One might commence a blogworthy babble about ‘beliefs’ from such a prompt… but not today, for the sun shines and I feel favoured by fortune. And alliterative, which means it’s time to stop this bibble bobble and get on with some actual paid work.

“Tea break’s over, back on your heads!”

In the interests of protecting the environment, here is a recycled Groundhog Day meditation, in keeping with the repetitious genius of both the film and the meteorological forecasting festival.

The article first emerged blinking from the Gobbler’s Knob of my mind two years hence, as seen on slalom-speaking:

“Today is ‘Groundhog Day’, both in the ‘here we are at work again, let it end, let it end! like in the film starring Bill Murray’ sense, and in the actual-festival-in-America sense.

Proving that Americans can do whimsy as well as the next anthropomorphed rodent, the massy marmoset Punxsutawney Phil emerged – live via webcam! – from the burrow at Gobbler’s Knob – NO, REALLY – in his official capacity as Prognosticator of Prognosticators to project an early spring, (which might be due to global warming, but the President of the Inner Circle was being loose with the translation from Groundhoguese to avoid controversy with the 15,000-odd strong crowd that had turned up). Loud cheers and feasting commenced. And rightly so, given that it is only the 14th early spring announced in 111 recorded predictions.

Phil, 112, noted it had been ‘a good gig’, and promises to be back in the summer with his new game show ‘How Much Wood Can YOU Chuck?'”

Phil (now 115) predicts six more weeks of winter for 2010.

I’ve been writing zines for quite some time now (first one was ‘Thingy’ in about 1996) and have always found it hard work, what with other things to do (working for money, eating, drinking heavily, having sex, enjoying the sunshine, writing and listening to Adam and Joe again… etc…)

This is why I’m quite glad of the instant publishing appeal of the blog format, because you just go ‘blaah’ and hit ‘publish’. However, it’s a bit unsatisfactory because you can’t really take a laptop into the lav (and the wap on my mobile is unreliable in the smallest room), and anyway it’s NOT THE SAME, dammit, as cutting and pasting using actual scissors and actual glue, constructing an actual object…

So! Issue 3 of Whaaat?, the zine me and m’colleague Julia at the Ministry and ‘other contributors’ have been putting off compiling a new one of for far too long is ON, it’s IN HAND (well, in pieces on the table next to me), and coming out in time for Zineswap.

There, I said it. It’s been announced, so it has to happen. Setting out the equipment here – scissors, paper, glue, pics, printer, slicing board, all those accoutrements, bof alors, I may don a beret I’m half-cut with left bank ponce excitement – I am actually beside myself with glee. I don’t get that waiting for the computer to finish dicking about with the virus checker.

You can see a scanned version of the first edition here. Meanwhile, in the trad ‘fanzine’ spirit, here’s my new favourite band, Mumford and Sons who I wouldn’t have heard unless I was skulking inside snipping, sticking and eating boiled eggs instead of going out and enjoying this delicious September blue sky, so the interweb’s good for some stuff I spose…

Oh, and then Dr Buckles and Dr Sexy stuck the Ballad of Dorothy Parker on… and now it’s Gruff Rhys! Well, maybe I’ll make it out by noon.


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Hello. This is the first post of The Mortal Bath blog. Commentary on various items, intended to be a nice, refreshing soak.

The name for this blog comes from a sketch featuring future King of the Internet Stephen Fry, may god bless him and all who sail in him, and Brit actor Hugh Laurie. The sketch is rendered slightly foxed but still audible here:

So there we go!