If you have been reading this from the beginning, I'd just like to say thank you. The blog is now on over 20,000 words. This means that, by now, you would be third of the way through an Iris Murdoch novel, or have finished a short Doris Lessing novella. Both of which would probably have been time better spent. So, once again, thanks. If you are relatively new to BalletDadBlog, please don't worry; no-one expects you to go back and read what you have missed. Life is too short. It's summer. There's other things to do, and iPads only work well in the shade.
The number of readers that this blog gets is uplifting and surprising. To be honest, I only expected two regular readers. And I thought one of those would be my Mum. So, the fact that so many people take the time to read this, is wonderful, and it brings with it a responsibility: if people are still reading, I feel compelled to keep writing. The readership of this blog is larger than both my published books put together. So, if being a ballet dad is a niche interest, then my other writing clearly targets the most marginal. I tell the children that my books are slow-burn long-tail classics, and after I am dead they will be wealthier than they can ever imagine. After all, coming from such a modest background, how much wealth can an eleven-year-old and six-year-old really imagine?
One of the reasons I wanted to write this blog was because I thought it would be funny; a source of endless humour - the incongruity of a middle aged man being introduced to the ballet world through his son. However, it's the sad blogs that get the response; the ones that strike hard on the topic of abandonment.
Accompanying this unexpected response have been some trolls - whom I have refused to feed. This is something a lawyer advised me about many years ago when I was getting an abusive Twitter account shut down. This lawyer had integrity and told me that he could shut the account down for me for £10,000, or he could teach me how to do it myself for £250. Either something was wrong with his business model, or he was a lawyer who valued his free-time more than his income. I took the £250 option and the account was shut down within a fortnight.
The most damaging comment I have received about this blog was someone - whom I don't know - taking the time to get in touch to tell me that I am self-obsessed. Was there ever any doubt? I ignored them, not because they were being abusive, but because they were stating the obvious.
Every week, a different PR company gets in touch, out of the blue, to ask if I will write about a product in return for getting the product for free. I always politely decline. It's not really in the spirit of what I am doing here. But I might change my mind. So, if the next blog is about a male-grooming experience in Hove, you will understand. I've also just been offered sixty pounds to gamble away at a roulette table in a casino with no pressure to blog about it afterwards. Is it a scam? Or a recruitment drive? I'll let you know, because I've agreed to go next Wednesday.
The most common positive response - apart from the PR companies offering me stuff for free - is being told that someone has just forwarded the link to their mother. This has happened many times. It seems that balletdadblog has become a conduit between adults and their mums. I am flattered and honoured. The fact that people want to share this particularly exhibitionist form of self-therapizing is one thing, but the fact that some people wish to share it with their mums is heart-warming. I receive comments like, 'I wanted my mum to know that this is what it was like when I went to school' or 'That's what we both went through when I was at university'. Apparently, the topic of separation between parent and child resonates. Perhaps discussing it is a taboo. The transition into adulthood is a difficult one. We read novels and watch films about the rites of passage of youth, and we tell hardly any stories of the adults left behind.
This one is for all the mums.
Next time ... Birthday Presents.