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October 12, 2010



We've all been single. It's the default position. With the possible exception of some people from arranged-marriage cultures, we're all born single and stay that way till we do something to change it. Only some of us know what it's like to be married. And unlike being single - which needs no skills at all (being the default position), being in a relationship of any sort takes certain interpersonal skills. Whether you find these admirable or not surely depends on the position you're coming from.


Which is not to say that being single isn't a valid choice - and the one that will bring the highest level of life-satisfaction to a number of people at that. You could say the same for working for a living or having children. All are lifestyle choices that we make and that cause others to judge us.


Am I the only person scared to click on the link at the end of this post during working hours?


Guardian headline tomorrow: "Top blogger declares lots of mass-media journalists seem to be socially comfortable, attractive, married, elitist middle-age men sitting in their North London period properties and ranting."


I think he's feeling smug because despite having a face like a bag of spanners, he's still managed to persuade at least two women we know of to give it up for him.

I was wondering what bloggers he's actually met? Young enough to be pimply, staying with their mothers *and* bald? Hmmm...

Tom Addison

"Am I the only person scared to click on the link at the end of this post during working hours?"

Nope, I had exactly the same reservations.


Marr in 2003, why would anyone listen to a word he says again?

“I don't think anybody after this is going to be able to say of Tony Blair that he’s somebody who is driven by the drift of public opinion, or focus groups, or opinion polls. He took all of those on. He said that they would be able to take Baghdad without a bloodbath, and that in the end the Iraqis would be celebrating. And on both of those points he has been proved conclusively right. And it would be entirely ungracious, even for his critics, not to acknowledge that tonight he stands as a larger man and a stronger prime minister as a result.”


We're all single - even when we're married. We all have relationships - even when we don't live with someone.

Andrew Marr shows how perceptive his journalism isn't in a few short paragraphs.

Love the idea that to be a real writer you need to be unattached though. I think it's still possible to engineer this state *within* a relationship - but I can see how being married encourages you to compromise with truth when you shouldn't. And how this may leak into other areas of your life.

For what it's worth, my definition of writer is very simple (I think I borrowed it from García Márquez): if you need (within yourself) to write daily, you're a writer. If you don't need to write daily, you're not.


IIRC back in the 1940s Cyril Connolly listed 'the pram in the hall' as the leading 'enemy of promise' - and prams in the hall are generally associated with relationships...

Bertrand Russell (much-married himself) also wistfully talks in his History of Western Philosophy of the freedom to think and write enjoyed by the resolutely single Kant and Schopenhauer.

Mark Brinkley

Funny, I wouldn't have thought Jools Holland was your type.

Chris Purnell

Ah yes! But what of those who add comments to blogs looking for a shadowy limelight


Blaire is a war criminal and should be in Prison along with his buddy Bush – these kind of vitriol attacks are from someone who is scared stiff of justice knocking on his door and is desperately trying to divert attention. He thinks if Jones can do it so can I. The man has no integrity and no moral fiber that alone fiber at all.

Churm Rincewind

“the job of the newspaper columnist is not to be original, but to echo the readers’ prejudices.” I cannot let this remark stand unchallenged.

This very blog is a newspaper column in all but mode of publication. Are you really asserting that Stumbling and Mumbling is written with an eye to unoriginality and in order to echo its readers’ prejudices? Or conversely that its readers are uninterested in challenging or original ideas, and merely seek to have their prejudices confirmed?

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