Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Girl With A One Track Mind - Spinsterella weighs in

(Quick intro, just in case any of you’ve got a life or something. After landing an extremely lucrative publishing deal and newspaper serialization, the woman behind sex-blog Girlwithaonetrackmind has been outed by the Sunday Times.)

I stumbled across GWAOTM a few times back in my early days of blogging, but didn’t like it much. It’s not that I don’t like reading about sex, I just found it a bit dull, and never made the effort to re-visit.

Luckily, I don’t work in the publishing industry, because look what’s gone and happened. The book has already sold a shedload, and for a brief moment after she was unearthed there was an astonishing amount of chatter about it.

Yet despite her success, the Girl is pissed off about her loss of anonymity.

I have some sympathy for her, I’d hate anyone I know to read this blog (and there’s not even any shagging in mine). But really, what did she expect? Any book written under a pseudonym is going to attract interest – remember Primary Colors? Add in the fact that it’s sold pretty well already, that the whole blogging versus old media is a current fixture in the newspapers (and the Indie), plus it’s extremely sexually explicit - well of course there’s going to be a determined attempt to find her.

Oddly, she seems most worried about what Mum & Dad will make of it all: "Who wants their parents reading that stuff? It's private." Um, no love, I would suggest that a book available to buy in any branch of Waterstones is fairly public. She’s lucky enough to have "professional, liberal" parents; surely they’re not all that astonished that their thirty-something daughter has a sex life?

She’s rather less concerned about the people who feature in the book. They’ve had their sex-lives exposed as well, without any positive benefits (apart, perhaps, from being able to say, 'Yeah, I've had her too, page 63').

Many people have suggested that the whole thing been a publicity stunt (and if so, it’s certainly worked). But let’s assume not. Which means that we’ll have to settle for accusing the Girl of a gargantuan level of naivete.

Belle Du Jour remained anonymous! she cries. True, but it certainly wasn’t for the want of trying. Practically every journalist who has ever put pen to paper (and Toby Young) was accused of being Belle at some point. It all died down eventually. I guess the media eventually figured out that maybe, just maybe, a woman working as a prostitute was capable of writing so well.

It would, perhaps, have been expedient for the Girl to flee the country in advance of publication. All very well in hindsight I suppose, but I really do find it hard to accept that she didn’t see it coming. She’s thirty-three, not some wet-behind-the-ears ingenue. She works in the film industry, surely that has given her some insight into how the media works? The sex lives of all public figures are bread-and-butter for the red-tops (and increasingly the broadsheets); any fool knows that loss of privacy is the price you pay for the fame and money.

Ah, the money. A six-figure-sum, apparently. Which changes things ever-so-slightly. Plenty of bloggers have been dooced – they’ve lost jobs and friends and all the stuff that goes along with people reading your diary. Except they haven’t made a tonne of cash out of it.

For that sort of money, I’d post up my birth certificate, photographs, the contents of my knicker drawer, and directions to my house. Sympathy has evaporated, sorry Girl.


  • Too fucking right.

    By Blogger UnderCrackers, at 12:48 PM  

  • I disagree - if she had put her real name to the book and then whined about how horrid being rich and famous is, fair enough - but many people get huge amounts of cash for something they've created and they don't end up being sneaked up on and outed like this.
    Journalists do this sort of thing because they are obsessed with their own careers and are so hungry for the next big thing, caring little for the feelings of who they're exploiting for their story.
    And is it me or why is it only blogs that dish out every detail of an over-active sex life get publishes? People assume that if a blog is about sex it'll have something interesting to say?

    By Anonymous undercovercookie, at 2:22 PM  

  • I'm with ucc, I followed the link to the Times online article and basically was overcome with a strong dislike for the f**ker who wasted time finding out who this girl was - as if it makes her blog any better or worse. Why did it matter? I confess to having never read the blog, but if she didn't reveal the identities of the men involved or make them obvious, then her right to anonymity should have been respected.

    yes, she was naive to think no-one would try out her once she got so popular, but that's a sad comment on the media, because it shouldn't be like that.

    By Anonymous riddledwiththepox, at 3:09 PM  

  • I'm with Spinny (and UCC to a point).

    The Sunday Times' actions are reprehensible but TheGirl has shown a distinct lack of respect for the privacy of her parents, friends and even former lovers by agreeing to a '6 figure' deal to publish the ins and outs (pun intended) of her sex life. It's one thing to have an anonymous blog in a small corner of cyberspace but when (if) you a multi-format publishing phenomenon then you have some serious moral questions you need to answer.

    To summerise: TheGirl deserves everything she gets and the real victims here are the people who don't have a huge mountain of cash to console them when the the hacks come calling.

    By Anonymous Scarlette O'Harlot, at 3:42 PM  

  • I'm with Spinny on this one...When someone makes money on writing as she does, she's really running a business. And running a business means that you have to accept the rules, written or not, of the business you're in. The media business is a rough one and by accepting money from a publisher she implicitly also accepted all the bad things the media business can do to a person.

    By Blogger Finray, at 4:08 PM  

  • And what about all the other poor bleeders who respond to her posts and feel that there's some sort of community thing going on here?

    Pillocks to us, right??

    By Blogger Robert A. Swipe, at 5:05 PM  

  • Yeah I shagged her and I bet I don't get a frigging penny!

    By Blogger UnderCrackers, at 6:07 PM  

  • well done. i don't buy her distress either.

    anyway, girlporn. ew.

    gimme bearporn any day!

    By Blogger First Nations, at 7:35 PM  

  • Much as I dislike journalists (ahem) I've got zero sympathy. If you don't want something that inherently interesting to the public to become public write it in a diary and stick it in your drawer. Don't go and get a fucking book deal and then whinge about being outed.

    I've already pondered the public/private dichotomy involving blogs but I have no doubt about what books are.

    I haven't read the blog - I'm not greatly interested in her sex life but frankly if she has to write about it, she should try being grown up like Catherine Millet and putting her own name to it.

    I do however feel sorry for her partners (which I concede is somewhat hypocritical of me).

    By Blogger GreatSheElephant, at 8:12 PM  

  • of course, I may just be jealous. She after all has a sex life and a literary career.

    By Blogger GreatSheElephant, at 8:20 PM  

  • I'm with you on this one Spin. I generally think lots of journos are chancers and don't care who they trash - for the sake of their own careers - hence i dislike them - and i suspect the journalist who chased up this story is probably a piece of crap. BUT...Girl was being a bit naive. I read her blog a few times. Got bored. Found more interesting blogs to read. Any concerns i might have had disappeared when i saw a bloody several-page-article-plus photo in...was it the guardian or observer magazine? At that point i had no sympathy for her. Like many others who've posted here, i feel more sorry for the other people whose lives she's started advertising. Without their consent i'm sure.

    Naturally i wish i could get a several figure advance. But i'm sure she's playing fast and loose with the whole privacy thing.

    By Blogger the whales, at 10:21 PM  

  • I'm afraid I've got rather pissed off with the paranoia that everybody knows who she is. No one I work with immediately has ever heard of her.

    Storm in a teacup.

    She got her book deal. Some of us blog because we have the need to write. not to get a book deal.

    By Anonymous Gert, at 10:31 PM  

  • I'm with ranter... wtf?

    Did she cash the cheque before or after she realised what was going to happen?

    I guess sex sells.

    By Blogger hen, at 12:57 AM  

  • "I’d post up my birth certificate, photographs, the contents of my knicker drawer..."

    Yeah, but The Girl posted the contents of her knickers.

    By Blogger Tim Footman, at 3:52 AM  

  • I didn't like the tone of the outing, nor the Daily Mail's follow up. And I do think people should be allowed to be anonymous. Story of O, anyone? But I also think she rather gave herself away by giving too much detail and being too honest - Belle de Jour really knows how to cover her tracks. And I also think that that same "candour" didn't work out so well for the people she slept with.

    Mind you, as someone who's read the book, I think she's far too candid about herself. Wayyyyy too open about some feelings. Sometimes it compromises the feminist angle.

    Oh, and "six figure sums" are rare in publishing. And usually at the low end of six figures. Nice, yes, but broken down to three years (which is what happens), not a vast amount for someone in London, compared to, say a job in the City, or something exciting in advertising.

    Oh and indeed eh. It's interesting how angry bloggers get when one of their ilk gets a book deal, why not just say, "good luck to her"? Rather than "she got a book deal and deserves every piece of crap she gets!" Hm?

    By Blogger Bowleserised, at 7:23 AM  

  • Spin,
    You're actually a very fine writer when your a mind to.

    My opiion: She knew/knows what she's doing/done. Now she's just issuing disclaimers.

    By Blogger Remiman, at 9:51 AM  

  • "But I also think she rather gave herself away by giving too much detail and being too honest"

    Yeh Bised - honesty - can't be having that, can we?

    By Blogger Robert A. Swipe, at 1:54 PM  

  • With you all the way, Spin (great post too). I've no sympathy whatever for her. She should definitely have expected to be unmasked, and more fool her for thinking she wouldn't be. It's the British media, fergawdsake.

    By Blogger patroclus, at 3:21 PM  

  • As far as I'm concerned blogging is about freedom of expression - honesty isn't built into that. I'd hate to think that the blogosphere at large felt it had the moral right to smack the wristies of someone for writing what they wished.
    Some people write fiction, some people write "faction". I suspect Belle rearranges her stuff in a way that makes it "factional", whereas The Girl stuck a little too closely to real life.

    By Blogger Bowleserised, at 3:24 PM  

  • It's not that we aren't happy for her Bowleserised. It's her appalling behaviour that we are objecting to.

    I would also point out that £100,000 (purely as a second income let's not forget) may not be a lot in your world but for the rest of us without "a job in the City, or something exciting in advertising" it represnts at least 50% above the national average wage.

    By Anonymous Scarlette O'Harlot, at 3:28 PM  

  • Um, in my world? You don't actually know what that is... But I'm not about to out myself or start a flame war on a blog that I love to read.
    I won't do the financial breakdown, but would refer you to The Girl's latest post.
    I do have an issue with her writing about "real people" without their consent, but also think that being naive is not a sin in itself.

    By Blogger Bowleserised, at 4:12 PM  

  • "As far as I'm concerned blogging is about freedom of expression - honesty isn't built into that."

    "I do have an issue with her writing about "real people" without their consent,"

    So she's free to express herself, as long as she asks permission of the people she's blogging about?

    I see, B.

    Orwell's very good on the way that language exposes muddled thinking, I believe.

    I think you've listened to too many duplicitous Tony Blair speeches, my sweet...

    By Blogger Robert A. Swipe, at 4:43 PM  

  • Naivety can be excused but in a 30 year old who works in the media? That's not naivety that's being a stupid arse

    By Blogger realdoc, at 5:06 PM  

  • Bobbers - I said she was too honest. Backtrack a little.

    By Blogger Bowleserised, at 5:14 PM  

  • I reckon I could live on £100K for the best part of a decade (I am very frugal).

    By Blogger Spinsterella, at 6:47 PM  

  • Um...does anyone fancy a pint?

    By Blogger Kellycat, at 6:50 PM  

  • Am I the only person who looked at her blog occasionally and didn't believe a fucking word of it?

    By Blogger Wyndham, at 8:25 PM  

  • "Bobbers - I said she was too honest. Backtrack a little."

    And you implied that Belle de Jour held the moral high ground because he/she had been less than honest and managed to pull off the scam....or have I not backtracked to the right bit here (i.e. the one that suits your current position, Bowelsized????)

    If you want to discuss issues like honesty/integrity/the polemics of the blog or anything you damn well fancy, you can mail me in meat land here:


    I'll tell you anything you want to know, no holds bared - I don't *give* a fuck, because I can live with myself, my life and my past (assuming for one nano second you're remotely interested, of course) But don't you dare lecture someone who has expended a *fuck* of a lot of mental, spiritual and emotional energy into trying to do something creative with the blog thing - something that ***a-fucking-voids*** the ***bull-fucking-shit-duplicity*** of ***The-fucking-Me-Jah***
    proper about how *fucking-brilliant* a shrewd operator business woman like GWAOTM is - alright?

    We're playing by different rules here.

    Good night,


    By Blogger Robert A. Swipe, at 10:24 PM  

  • Umm...i'd have fancied a pint...but i've had a few too many tonight. Was someone arguing about something? Spin - you know how to set people off, hey?!

    I still think we haven't heard enough about first/second choice. Will you see him again?

    By Blogger the whales, at 10:27 PM  

  • Having read TheGirls latest post…

    I don’t think she’s rich (wouldn’t care if she was)
    I don’t think she’s a sellout
    I’m not speculating about how she was outed
    I agree with TheGirl – the hacks that outed her are backstabbing scum
    I’m glad the blogging community has rallied round her, she needs all the friends she can get right now.
    I don’t care what her motivations for blogging were (boredom, desperate desire for her 15 minutes)
    I know writing a book isn’t as easy as writing a blog
    I wouldn’t turn down a six figure book deal either

    In fact my argument still holds water. She didn’t think (or care) about the likely consequences of her actions. Worst of all she didn’t give two hoots about any of the people she wrote about.

    By Anonymous Scarlette O'Harlot, at 10:56 PM  

  • Completely by the by here, but Spins, could you please go over to Bob's blog and tell him how gorgeous he looks in the picture because he is threatening to put an end to it all or summat. Love is a many splintered thing.

    (see, we all look out for each other in the blogging *community*, eh?)

    By Blogger Betty, at 8:57 AM  

  • I'm enjoying this example of the blogging community rallying round her.

    I dislike the judgemental tone behind the press presentation of the outing but the 'backstabbing scum' were doing their job.

    I dislike a lot of what the press does in terms of interfering in the lives of ordinary people, but really, if you write publicly in great detail about something that fascinates most people and you then accept a large sum of money to further publicise that work, how can you not expect people to want to know who you are? It's that I don't get. It's part of the package and frankly much of what she was paid the £100k plus for. It's the whole Faustian bargain thing. Extreme naivety to think you can escape that.

    By Blogger GreatSheElephant, at 8:58 AM  

  • quick survey - when you were reading her blog (if you ever did) how many people spent any time wondering who the Girl was?

    am actually genuinely asking. I love this blog, and knowing her spin's real name or where she works would make no difference to the fact that its well written, interesting and very funny.

    i suppose what I'm getting at is that it might well be that media outing her was simply fulfilling a public demand to know who she was - but it's a demand I just don't understand. why does it matter?

    By Anonymous riddledwiththepox, at 11:13 AM  

  • Both sides are unpleasant and annoying.

    That article reads more like a red-top than the Sunday Times with the author blatantly delighting in the sauciness and "excitement" of it all - all stereotypical journo hack stuff.

    But if she's going to whinge and complain, whilst simultaneously pocketing a cool £100k then I don't really give a shit about her either.

    Sounds like they've all won whatever competition they were trying to win, and should now shut up about it.

    By Blogger Ant, at 11:41 AM  

  • i think she was naive but i do, in general, think 'public' figures have a right to privacy and a private life (not having people camped on their doorstep day in, day out, hounding their friends and family etc.)

    By Blogger Urban Chick, at 12:54 PM  

  • Urban Chick - it has to be said that there are some people who are involved in journalism who seem to be amoral scum who'll do anything to further their own careers and don't care about people's private lives, regardless of whether they're dealing with public figures or not. My sister in law used to work with a woman whose partner died in the Paddington rail crash. While she was having to cope with his death there were journalists outside the house trying to ask her questions about him. I don't think any of us would want to face that sort of intrusion into our private lives.

    By Blogger Betty, at 1:54 PM  

  • You make some sound points. I do feel sorry for Girl, but you're right, she should have seen it coming. I suppose the problem is that everyone wants to be famous without the downside. You say, "any fool knows that loss of privacy is the price you pay for the fame and money," but I reckon most people would conveniently forget that point if they were offered a six figure sum for writing a sex book. May Girl's story be a lesson to us all..

    By Anonymous emma, at 5:02 PM  

  • Emma: "...everyone wants to be famous without the downside."

    Not me, mate. I want to be rich and anonymous.

    I hear that Ron Jeremy has bought the film rights.

    By Blogger Istvanski, at 9:45 PM  

  • I'm with wyndham. Who says she's being 'honest'? Apart from the legion of hand-picked fans who comment on her blog?

    By Blogger dh, at 4:23 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Spinsterella, at 12:51 PM  

  • This is the blogging community being supportive and rallying round?
    The loss of anonymity has resulted in the loss of her job, so even if the advance is 100k - and I am most definitely not a croney, hand-picked or otherwise. I think a lot of the Sh** is because even women think it's 'unladylike' to enjoy sex. Victorian attitudes are deeply engrained, however if you read your history, the Queen Vic herself wrote about how much she liked Albert physically.
    Am new to this blog, have you also posted adverse comments about the books by Tom Reynolds 'Random Reality' (see The Guardian 30/08/06), Frank Chalk and David Copperfield 'The policemans blog' ?

    By Anonymous j, at 2:25 PM  

  • Howdo -

    Sorry for tardiness, but couldn't agree with you more. It's turned into the canonisation of some bastard daughter of Saint Diana and a Rabbit.

    And suggesting "she might not be the best writer in the whole world ever, ever, ever" appears to be heresy.

    I find it amusing that she's nicked a tired old print format herself (BJD, though sans satire, as you note), wanked it up for an adult audience in a competent (at best) stylee...and then the fucktards in papers/publishing have creamed themselves over it as an example of how great blogging is.

    I appear (I can't be sure, but I can't find my posts) to be banned from her site now. All I did was offer a cock to cry on during these hard times. I don't know, littlest thing with some people, isn't it?

    Btw, respect n that, your blog's ace - must come round here more often.

    By Blogger infinitemuppets, at 3:28 PM  

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