I have a habit of creating alter-egos for my different books, blogs and projects, and, whenever I create an alter-ego, I usually ensure there's an email account attached to it. I'm not in the habit of counting them but for the purpose of the next sentence, I've done just that and even I was surprised at the result. I currently have 50 email accounts.
Not all of them are still active. A few are to domains I no longer own. However, there are plenty that still get regular emails. It means, for example, that if Google or Yahoo send a newsletter to their users, I'll get that newsletter about 10 or 15 times in the course of a day. This morning I've been sent a dozen free copies of an Olly Murs mini album. Only, I have no idea who Olly Murs is.
I keep seeing Olly Murs's name in various places and I keep thinking to myself: must look him up. I should probably know more about Olly Murs yet I'm also convinced that I shouldn't look him up. I like not knowing anything about Olly Murs. I like being out of that loop.
I like not knowing about Olly Murs because Olly Murs has not come to my attention as a natural by-product of his talent. I didn't suddenly hear a song and think: I really need to know who sang that. I only know of Olly Murs because of marketing campaigns or seeing his Brad Pitt chinned jowliness plastered across newspapers above articles I never read. I suppose he's a species of ultra modernity where fame is a thing created by press releases and the drip drip drip of the media machine. It's like the name 'Tara Palmer-Tomkinson'. Many people could describe what Tara Palmer-Tomkinson looks like and sounds like. I bet nobody could actually tell you what she does.
Somebody recently pointed out to me that The Daily Mail report every tweet by Harry Styles (spelling?). Whenever he tweets his thoughts about any world event, The Daily Mail run a headline that includes his name. There's no real story, of course. His name is the story and it feels the same about Olly Murs. He has a name that stands out. It's a thing unto itself. There doesn't need to be anything beyond it. I won't download his new mini album but their job is already done. I'm now even more aware of Olly Murs and I've now stupidly written about him, which only (minutely) increases his fame. I should end with the pun about it all being a case of Harry Styles over substance. I guess it would attract a certain crowd.
This afternoon I intend to create email account 51 for a dumb idea I've had. It might become a new project but it will probably go nowhere. Yet if it works, perhaps I'll issue a press release and let the name go global. It might even become the new 'Olly Murs'. A gateway to a larger ambiguity.