Monday 4 August 2008

Whither Canterbury? The Blogging Pilgrims Say...

The Canterbury Tales is, I guess, as important a piece of social history as you can get.
Literature? For sure, though in some ways it has less value on that front than most people realise for the simple reason that a good third of the stories are purloined straight from Boccaccio's Decamerone, and few of the remainder are original.

Not of course, that that necessarily detracts from it's literary merits. But where, I suppose, it's real import lies, is in it's depiction of a pilgrimage to Canterbury. In other words, it's not so much the tales themselves that matter, as the social observations concerning the pilgrims.
I guess- and I defer to Crashie here- a Muslim who has done the hajj can feel something on reading it that maybe a secular European fails to quite get. Because the whole point of a pilgrimage, is that it is a once in a lifetime experience; it is a journey.
Perhaps the end doesn't matter so much. I guess in many ways the secular west creates it's own pilgrimages; the gap year, perhaps, being something along those lines.

Because the characters of the Canterbury tales aren't holy people. They aren't devout or saintly people. They are ordinary people looking for something on the journey, as much as they hope for enlightenment at the end. And the Canterbury tales is about people from all walks of life, people who have never before in their lives been thrown together in such an unlikely grouping, learning from eachother, laughing with eachother, learning to understand eachother.

And we can't help feeling that the mouldy old bones of Thomas a Becket they will find at the end won't be half as much a prize as all of them have found on the way.

And I think it is so with blogging. Everyone's complaining how slow blogging has got- indeed, many seem to be dropping off. Because yet again, the medium seems to be going through a phasal shift. Because I think those of us who devote such large amounts of our time to this curious pastime have discovered that we are all indeed, kind of pilgrims. We come to tell our tales, but we come to listen too, and as with the Canterbury Tales, we learn as much- if not more- from the prologues (in this case comments) than we do from the tales.
We're all on a journey together. A journey to learn from eachother.

Anyway. A couple of fellow pilgrims have decided to favour this pilgrim with their largesse. So for tonight 'The Salesman's Tale' is taking a break.

I'm going to start with this charming little award given by Nunyaa- charming because no bank in their right mind would ACTUALLY issue me with a gold card, so this one is as close as I'm likely to get.

Now the rules to this are simple- It has to be given to four old friends and one new- the new being from another part of the globe.

Four old? Well, that's easy enough. I wouldn't give you free rein to post on my blog if I didn't value both your friendship and what you write.
Step forward Crashie, Eve, Heart and Oestrebunny.

And the newcomer from overseas? I had to think about this, but I felt the best person was the man now on a real life pilgrimage across the United States- Mr Fusion of Finding my Way.

So, here you go pilgrims. Don't spend it all at once.

A second such gift has come winging my way from the teller of 'The Nurse's Tale', jmb of Nobody Important

Now I must admit, I had to think hard about the criteria for this. How do you decide whether a blog is brilliant? And I suppose the honest answer, is how much in a rush are you to see if the author has updated. Because you know damn well, you're going to get a good read.
Well, I suppose the only way to really do this was ask myself which blogs will always get read immediately I know they've updated. Now I'll let you into a secret- I've finally given way to the tide and got Google Reader. As is my usual way, I've got it, stuck a few blogs in there, then kind of left it. I keep meaning to add a load more in, but as yet it's just the ones I want to be able to see instantly at work.

And so it is here we must go for our Brilliant list- blogs a post on which will not be missed- or so the theory is meant to go.

Helen of Helen's first Language
Princess Pointful of And Hijinks Ensued
X-Dell of the X-spot
Jim Callaghan the artist formerly known as the Tin Drummer
Sparsely Kate who has changed the name of her blog yet again
Cherie of Cherie's Place
Kimba of The Love Quote

I should add that all those awarded with the other, are likewise read as soon as I know they've posted, but I didn't want to duplicate. However, I'm going to break the rules in one instance. Although the rules on the Brilliant award say only seven, I'm going to break it (rules are there to be broken) and nominate Oestrebunny for this one as well.

Because she deserves it.

Enjoy folks!

Pass on the goodwill, pass on the vibes, get giving, get posting, get commenting!

Spread the love!

Savour the journey!
Or enjoy the ride, if you prefer :)


Anonymous said...

See you get the Brilliant award for this post alone, how to entertain us while doing an award post.

Actually I'd say I was the teller of the Apothecary's Tale you know. I never could have been a nurse, Pharmacy suited me just fine.

Well rules were meant to be broken, the little ones anyway.

Anonymous said...

:) thanks Crushed

Anonymous said...

This was a nice happy post Crushed! thank you for sticking by with all my name changes and url swaps :)

I am so glad you put Fusion down...he has been on a big journey, I like his blog a lot.

Also, nobody writes in the way that Bunny does. She is rather clever.


Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for the award, Crushed! :-)

I agree with you on Fusion; the first time I read his blog, I added it to my favourites tab right away :-)

Anonymous said...

This is a very generous post, Crushed, and I thank you. I also congratulate

It's been my observation that blogging doesn't slow down, but that bloggers do. We each come into a social circle that changes and evolves over time as some come in, and others leave.

BTW, I have made a pilgrimage to Canterbury. Miserable trip. Kent's cool, though, and it's right next door.

Anonymous said...

Good vibes to you too.

How would we know if blogging had moved on to some other medium ?

The trend setters and 'in crowd' are a fickle bunch.

Anonymous said...

jmb- It kind of wrote itself really.

I suppose I do muse from time to time on this phenomenon. I feel the journey is somehow significant.

The Apothecary's tale, yes thjat has a ring to it. In fact i've just remembered that the Thesiad- the Italian romance the Kinight's tale is a condensed version of, is one of those things I want to search for online.

Oestrebunny- Don't mention it :)
It was thoroughly deserved.

Kate- :) Keeps us all on our toes.

Fusion's journey does seem to have ben a major one on many levels- I've only caught the most recent stages, but that's how pilgrimages work- new people pop up along the way.

She is, yes.

Eve- Well, it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge such fine poetic compositions. Long may they continue!

X-dell- Well, myself I'm thinking it's time to speed up again. This lethargy seems to be contagious. It's hard during weekdays to do much visiting, but I'm hoping more effective use of Google Reader will change that.

Canterbury actually means 'Borough of the men of Kent', Kent being one of only two English Counties that bear the names of pre-Saxon tribes- Devon being the other. From our perspective Canterbury is quite posh- although parts of Kent are less so. Still, the South, though built up in large parts, still shows in many places why this was once thought of as the green and pleasant land.

E-K- No, I just think we're seeing the back of most of the chatroom freaks. Not sure that's a bad thing. I just think every summer we get a cull, and each time those that remain are just that little bit more serious.

I'm pretty sure now this is something I'll never give up.

Anonymous said...

to quote sally field:

"You like me, you really really like me"


Thanx & cheers mate!

Anonymous said...

Thank You :-) I didn't know you felt that way about my blog.

Will be posting and forwarding the award later in the week ;-)

Anonymous said...

Hey thanks Crushed, that's very kind of you. By a staggering coincidence only this morning I decided I was fed of being a 70s politician so I've gone back to my original moniker.

Anonymous said...

Crashie- Well, you know I've gone on the warpath on your behalf ;

Well earned, Crashie, well earned.

CherryPie- It's a hard one to define, really. I think a blog needs to find a good balance somewhere in subject matter, yet still hit an individual note. There are so many lifeless blogs out there which just don't really stand out from the herd. I like to get sense of the author, and yours does that.

TD- The shade of Jim departs...

Of course, Jim, I think is smiling up there now. He did a rather better job of carrying the can when the Wilson edifice came crasing down once the master had departed, than is happening in the remake of the movie...

Anonymous said...

Completely agree, CBI. Jim Callaghan has gone up in my estimation since I've seen Brown cock everything up.

Anonymous said...

Muchos thanks, sir!!