I keep getting messages from Facebook saying that my review for the year is ready – an album of my top photos of 2019 from my Facebook page. I’m tempted to take them up on their offer and would do were it not for the literally 000s of my followers who have asked me to do the review myself – my own top picks of 2019.
I would always want to do my own. I like that idea of taking back control, just getting this thing done. (I’m my own boss and not one to fall for those one-liners spouted out by people who think they can influence us). In any case, why would I want Facebook to pick my best bits? I refuse to have my life dictated to by algorithms put together by large corporations . In fact, I have just read a self-help book all about it called How To Refuse Having Your Life Dictated To By Algorithms Put Together By Large Corporations. (I got it on Amazon: it came up as one of those ‘You might also be interested in...’ when I was buying a scented candle for my wife).
So, here it is: @ianmichaelhornett’s Best Facebook Posts From 2019. If you followed me this year and read everything I posted, you will have devoured them all so this will be a lovely trip down memory lane. If, however, you had the good sense, to block me or not be on Facebook, here is what you missed.
1st January 2019 and the year was due to finish approximately one year later. In Facebook terms that was at least 365 posts but since it took me 6 months to work out that I needed some friends on the platform if this had any chance of success at all, quite a time had passed before my (eventual) fans began to feel over-whelmed by the amount of guff I was sending out. To pick out a selection that really got those chuckle bones chuckling has been hard but let’s start off with these. A shout out for all turnip fans out there...
Before you literally or virtually throw vegetables at me for such corny jokes, I should remind you that I do not get a celery for writing this and therefore can do what I peas. However, I won’t pepper you with too much more. I will try and beetroot to my word.
The year rolled on to a different time and I saw the opportunity to diversify my posts into other foodstuffs. Having been given the brush off when I asked for a bowl of porridge at a fancy restaurant which specialised in what I thought was ‘oat-cuisine’, this post came to me.
By now, I had learnt how to tag people in to my posts. It is basically a way to electronically associate people with what you are posting, even if they don’t want to be associated with it. You will see Red Lion Books and Wivenhoe Bookshop tagged here, two fine shops which agreed to sell my book. Why then associate these businesses with such dreadful puns and posts if you want them to showcase your best writing? You could also ask why spend hours at a railway station giving out leaflets about your book to busy people whose only decision they will make about the paper is whether they can be bothered to recycle it or not? What can possibly be gained by such reckless strategies? Good questions and ones you can get the answers to if, like I did, you read the book, The Headless Chicken: A Novel Approach to Marketing. (Not available at Red Lion or Wivenhoe Bookshop)
The time was still 2019 and I needed a new phone, one which took pictures that vaguely looked like the thing I was trying to get a picture of. I invested in the very latest cutting-edge technology: an i-phone 7.
I have been told that on Instagram (or Insta as I like to call it - might catch on) people like beautiful shots of books with things. Books with coffee; books with tea; books with a blanket; books with a blanket, a woman’s nail-varnished feet and tea; books with a blanket, a woman’s feet, tea and three bracelets, two rings and a partridge in a pear tree. Being an opportunist, I had my phone at the ready in case such a situation should ever arise. Alas, I was out of luck. I was going to have to engineer my own scene to attract my Insta fans. I felt a picture of my book with a turnip wouldn’t cut it so I gathered knickknacks and placed my book at the centre. I added and took away objects, trying to achieve the desired effect. But it wasn’t the same. Maybe my hairy and nail-varnished feet don’t have the same appeal. Or was it the tea-towel? Perhaps I didn’t need the cement mixer. This was so hard.
I gave up and went to a charity shop where I found lots of beautiful things I could take pictures of. No book with me, unfortunately, but I found a way to add a picture of it to form a collage. Now all I had to do was the easy bit: some dreadful puns...
The seasons of 2019 passed from one to another and back again (global warming gets everywhere!) and I decided it was time to broaden the experience I was gaining in marketing and apply it to other non-book areas. Luckily, an advert appeared on my Facebook page for a stand that looks like a TV that you can put your phone into, on which you watch TV so it looks like you’re watching TV on a real TV and not something that isn't a TV. I didn’t remember ever saying out loud that I needed such a stand but Facebook knows best. It got my commercial brain working and I tried then to think outside the box. I’m still a little unsure about the benefits of inventing a case for a TV to make it look like a phone. I guess it’s feasible but there's the issue of fitting a 42 inch screen into your back pocket.
In the end I decided sarcasm was the best way forward.
Then there was this. Was there no end to my business nouse?
2019 continued at a pace and we were now at a point in the year like no other point of the year. I was starting to think along classical lines. Our family is blessed with having the Complete Works of Shakespeare, a box-set to rival Breaking Bad or series 1 of the Game of Thrones. Some say Shakespeare is out of date and inaccessible. Not so. My laptop, the most modern of inventions, is placed securely on top of the set at this very moment, the screen at just the right height now and extremely accessible.
Will was prolific, like me. We both have a way with words but who do you think is prolificer?
An accidental encounter in a forest with a couple in a car surrounded by a bunch of onlookers – “Is this a dogger I see before me?” – inspired me to invite people to draw their own conclusions about us.
Will enjoyed a glass or two. You can draw your own conclusions about the influence of alcohol on my posts with this example.
It’s January and the year was coming to a close. My nephew and niece-in-law sent pictures of my book from New Zealand, the place where the Quarton was first thought up. On honeymoon and in the middle of nowhere, they met up with a couple who had a copy of my book on their phones too! Incredible! It was too good an opportunity to miss so both couples took photos of the others holding up their phones. With thanks to The Two Ronnies (for the sketch adapted below, not the photos).
It was early June and the nights were drawing in (global warming gets everywhere!) I introduced the world to Maggie Matheson, misspelling her surname and sticking to it in the hope no-one noticed. She features in a book I want to publish which is nearly as funny as these posts! (Despite that, please still do buy it when it comes out).
(There’s a spoof Greek tragedy in here somewhere for the future based on this picture. The jug-eared hero – Bisto – saving the (Japanese?) princess – Typhoo – from the silver cube-shaped beast – Oxo.) Or maybe there isn't.
It was mid-February and the late summer ultravox had been and gone. Thankfully, the best posts were still to be written (but not by me). I decided it was time to give one final push to my short story about Maggie by alienating Rod Stewart fans with these 3 posts.
Published by Ian Michael · 2 hrs ·
To continue the Rod Stewart theme of an earlier post, can anyone work out what lines of one of his songs this photo represents?
I will continue to post awful puns like this until I am convinced everyone on FB has read my Moggie, correction, Maggie story.
The Richard mentioned here responded to my second post with, ‘I know I keep you amused, but I feel I’m being used.’ A bit touchy I thought but I carried on with the third post. To which he responded, ‘You made a first class fool out of me!’ I had clearly offended him so I apologised profusely. Then I read the rest of the Maggie lyrics... which Richard had been quoting back at me. Doh!
So, that’s it! 2019 has been and gone and so has all the goodwill, tolerance and kindness of all my Facebook friends. If you are not on Facebook, having seen the quality of the output you will have no regrets (other than giving me your email or Whatsapp address).
My plan for the next year is to stop promoting a science fiction book by posting content that has nothing whatsoever to do with science fiction. I was not joking about my lack of marketing prowess.
I will finish with a post about this genuine (sign) post my family saw near Porto airport. There is humour to be found in most places.