I’m not an angry man. In fact, I’m so cowardly, weak and placid that my bottled up rage will almost definitely one day manifest itself through me rampaging around the streets of Kinross, naked besides a blood red bandana, maniacally thrashing around with a crude homemade machete - possibly screaming and weeping about the time that Jamie Webb stole my Golden Charizard card in primary three. Today was so very nearly that day.
As I mentioned in my last entry, this blog was featured in The Independent on Monday. It was a very easy process, I was asked to choose five or six of my favourite entries, edit them down into a 3000 word article and have it ready by the weekend. Monday came, the article looked good, I had an obscene amount of hits on the blog and my Twitter army of cancer fans reached an astronomical 143. That may not sound like much, but ask yourself how many Twitter followers Stephen Fry had when he was 20. I’m not saying that this makes me better than Stephen Fry, but that is exactly what I’m secretly thinking.
As the day went on, many nice people got in touch to say that they enjoyed the article or wished me luck for my scan next month. Not everyone thought this was necessary which is probably just aswell, I don’t want to end up berating anyone who attempts to contact me like Ringo Starr, but there is one group of people who I would have appreciated a quick note from - namely the entire features team of The Scottish Sun. Apparently, they loved the article so much that they decided to publish 2000 heavily-edited and copyrighted words of mine in a double-page feature, complete with photographs of me that I’d never seen before. This was without asking me, notifying me, paying me, or consulting me. In fact, the first I heard of it was when someone texted my Dad this morning.
In any media coverage of this blog, I’ve painstakingly made sure that it’s been presented for what it is - an attempt at comedy writing about a situation I happen to find myself in. This isn‘t what The Sun decided this was about, though. Apparently, these thirty-thousand words are just one massive faltering cover-up which helps me pretend to the world that I don’t spend my entire current life perilously close to drowning in my own tears.
They led with the stomach-turning headline of ‘Blog of Courage’ and tediously droned on about what a “brave teen” I am. I’m astonished that it didn't come with a huge cut-outable photo of my smiling, pale face for housewives across the country to hold their shriekingly oversentimental candlelit vigils next to - most likely with ‘Kinross Princess’ emblazoned in massive lettering across it. There seems to be some insane belief amongst idiot headline writers that having cancer instantly makes you brave. It doesn’t. It makes you bald, podgy, ill and bored - ‘Blog of Sheer Tedium’ would have been a far more appropriate headline. I had to wake up my Mum at 4am last week specifically so she could remove a below-average sized spider from my room - that‘s your sodding megahero, The Sun.
It’s not just the sheer, horrific tweeness of the article that makes it amongst the worst things ever to happen to me either:
They edited it to within an inch of its life, as if they were hell-bent on whittling it down to the twenty least entertaining and most disjointed words of each blog. It makes me look like an utterly abysmal writer who got in the paper thanks to a dying wish foundation scheme.
They put words such as “MOCKED”, “FORCE” and “SILENCE” in huge emboldened letters outwith the main text, presumably for the benefit of the vast majority of Sun readers who can‘t read full sentences. They've specifically chosen words which make it sound like I’ve been living in a Nazi concentration camp for the past seven months. I may have used these words at some point but, if they really had to summarise seven months of weekly entries in three words, I'd have suggested “TESTICLE”, “BALLS” and “COCK”.
They inexplicably used a picture I had never seen in which my eyes are closed. They used a family photograph which I only allowed to be used in The Independent. They made me inadvertently write in the fucking Sun, effectively destroying all the good work that‘s gone into my writing CV recently. All of this, need I repeat, without asking me, notifying me, paying me or consulting me.
Since sending them a massive, furious and pretentious email whining at them to "respect my artistic merit" (piss off, I was angry) they’ve come to the conclusion that stealing the copyrighted life’s work of a 20-year-old cancer patient isn’t really the coolest thing to do. They’ve offered me a fee, although it’s far smaller than the one I got for The Independent despite the fact that it‘s almost exactly the same content, albeit terribly edited. Apparently, this is because “it’s already been in The Independent” - as if it were I who had forced these dreadful people to spit out 2000 of my words in their gutter paper, seemingly in an entirely random order. What an awful bastard I am.
Well, The Sun, lest ye forget that I have a full 143 Twitter followers.
Minions - unleash hell.
I did have the link to the article here but it's since been hastily removed from their website due to an increased realisation that what they did was both twatty and illegal. If you want to voice displeasure about it you could get in touch with David Dinsmore, the editor of the Scottish Sun. You can get his email address and follow developments of this at http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2009/04/david_dinsmore.asp.
I also linked this specific blog entry in a comment at the bottom of the Sun article under the cunning guise of 'Jamie_Brave_ Ross' which was swiftly removed. It's my sodding story!
Anyway, here's the lovely, authorised Independent article.