A liveblog about liveblogging

It is easy to dismiss this new form of journalism -- but it is here to stay.

10.32am Welcome to this morning's liveblogging liveblog, where I will be updating you on today's live blogs, as they happen, across the world. I'm not actually in a position to see the blogs themselves -- I am relying on updates from wire services and people on Twitter for that -- but I can assure you that as soon as anything happens, with regards to live blogs, you will be the first to know. KEEP REFRESHING. KEEP REFRESHING. F5, F5, F5. Actually, let me do that for you. Shall I just set it to "self-refresh every 15.3 seconds" by default, just so you don't have to worry your pretty little heads about it? Yes. Let's.

This is going to change at any moment. Something new will pop up. More content. More content. More content. Don't be fooled by the slow start. Something new will happen. Keep refreshing. Please. We need the numbers. Actually, if you wouldn't mind, just keep it open in a tab somewhere, and leave it there all day. Could you do that? I'd love it if you could.

10.33am Not much has changed since 10.32am but I thought I'd split this into a couple of entries, so it gives the illusion of being two events, rather than me just sitting here, conveying one event over two entries. I hope that makes sense. Here's a video of a press conference. This is just like rolling news, but without the interminable Qatar Airways adverts and Adam Boulton: ergo, you're better off here than there. Let me tell you what's going on, we'll be fine.

10.58am Not much has changed since my last entry, but I am wading through some pretty stodgy copy and deciding that you probably won't want to read it. I am working. See, I've done a new entry. Look at me, I'm working! Gather round! Gather round and see the worker at work! There, that's another bit done. I'll link to something good in a minute, so you won't feel like you're wasting your time. Something is planned to happen at 1.30pm, so I can start building up to that.

And so on, and so on. I am blogging about liveblogging. Which is only one step down from blogging about blogging or being a blogger. The sense of ouroboros is palpable, isn't it? But liveblogs -- if you want to call them that, and no-one has come up with a better name, much to everyone's shame -- are gradually creeping over news websites. It's not just because they're easy ways of getting rather exciting numbers for your site -- though I don't think it's spectacularly cynical to notice that they are -- but they are also proving popular with readers. Why might that be, and are they here to stay?

There's a whole way of experiencing things by proxy now, via the mediated web and via the hive mind of social network, which we seem to be enjoying more and more. You can just sit and watch the Britain's Got Talent final, for example, in your living room, with the curtains drawn, with a faint ticking of a mantelpiece clock just audible over David Hasselhof's whooping delight; or you can immerse yourself in the experience by tweeting "Ooh he looks like a 1960s bass player who's been put through a mangle, or something", by reading others' comments, by looking at a liveblog which collates all the opinion and evidence in one hit.

Liveblogging is the rather more attractive cousin of stuff like sports text commentary, which I've done myself in the past, huddled over a laptop at Edgeley Park in near-arctic conditions, typing in fingerless gloves... ah, those were the days. I remember, about a decade ago, being told by someone who 'knew these things' that there wasn't any point in bothering with football text commentary, the primitive form of liveblogging I was doing at the time -- that readers weren't interested and it was all a waste of time. Ah, how foolish he must feel now. (Where is he now, the naysayer? Doing very well for himself, a quick search of Facebook reveals. Where am I, the pioneer, the trailblazer? Off down the JobCentrePlus in a couple of weeks' time.) Liveblogging is here to stay.

But it's not just event-driven liveblogging, anchored to a particular occasion, that's taking place. There are also themed liveblogs reflecting developing stories that are changing all the time with new information coming in, taking place sometimes over days rather than minutes. In that sense, liveblogs represent the experience of having someone sitting opposite you at work who is occasionally watching a rolling news channel, telling you the bits they think you might be interested in. In others, they're a handy one-stop shop, a way of being able to avoid putting yourself through a mass of unfolding data and having it all parsed for you by someone who's going to take the time and trouble to try and weed out the muck from the brass. As well as that, the longer-form liveblogs can reflect the development of a story in a way that straightforward reportage cannot.

It's easy to dismiss this new form of journalism, as all new forms of journalism, or anything, are dismissed. But I think that would be to ignore the fact that people use these things, and get something out of it in return. I suppose it's a bit of a timesaver, too, having someone else do all that ferreting around for you; as a punter you can just sit back, relax and let some poor hack gaze into a screen all day on your behalf, while you... well, while you gaze into a screen all day yourself, but look at different things. We are all of us gazing at screens, but some lucky folk are getting paid for it.

Patrolling the murkier waters of the mainstream media
Steve Garry
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The footie is back. Three weeks in and what have we learned so far?

Barcleys, boots and big names... the Prem is back.

Another season, another reason for making whoopee cushions and giving them to Spurs fans to cheer them up during the long winter afternoons ahead. What have we learned so far?

Big names are vital. Just ask the manager of the Man United shop. The arrival of Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger has done wonders for the sale of repro tops and they’ve run out of letters. Benedict Cumberbatch, please join Carlisle United. They’re desperate for some extra income.

Beards are still in. The whole Prem is bristling with them, the skinniest, weediest player convinced he’s Andrea Pirlo. Even my young friend and neighbour Ed Miliband has grown a beard, according to his holiday snaps. Sign him.

Boots Not always had my best specs on, but here and abroad I detect a new form of bootee creeping in – slightly higher on the ankle, not heavy-plated as in the old days but very light, probably made from the bums of newborn babies.

Barclays Still driving me mad. Now it’s screaming from the perimeter boards that it’s “Championing the true Spirit of the Game”. What the hell does that mean? Thank God this is its last season as proud sponsor of the Prem.

Pitches Some groundsmen have clearly been on the weeds. How else can you explain the Stoke pitch suddenly having concentric circles, while Southampton and Portsmouth have acquired tartan stripes? Go easy on the mowers, chaps. Footballers find it hard enough to pass in straight lines.

Strips Have you seen the Everton third kit top? Like a cheap market-stall T-shirt, but the colour, my dears, the colour is gorgeous – it’s Thames green. Yes, the very same we painted our front door back in the Seventies. The whole street copied, then le toot middle classes everywhere.

Scott Spedding Which international team do you think he plays for? I switched on the telly to find it was rugby, heard his name and thought, goodo, must be Scotland, come on, Scotland. Turned out to be the England-France game. Hmm, must be a member of that famous Cumbrian family, the Speddings from Mirehouse, where Tennyson imagined King Arthur’s Excalibur coming out the lake. Blow me, Scott Spedding turns out to be a Frenchman. Though he only acquired French citizenship last year, having been born and bred in South Africa. What’s in a name, eh?

Footballers are just so last season. Wayne Rooney and Harry Kane can’t score. The really good ones won’t come here – all we get is the crocks, the elderly, the bench-warmers, yet still we look to them to be our saviour. Oh my God, let’s hope we sign Falcao, he’s a genius, will make all the difference, so prayed all the Man United fans. Hold on: Chelsea fans. I’ve forgotten now where he went. They seek him here, they seek him there, is he alive or on the stairs, who feckin’ cares?

John Stones of Everton – brilliant season so far, now he is a genius, the solution to all of Chelsea’s problems, the heir to John Terry, captain of England for decades. Once he gets out of short trousers and learns to tie his own laces . . .

Managers are the real interest. So refreshing to have three young British managers in the Prem – Alex Neil at Norwich (34), Eddie Howe at Bournemouth (37) and that old hand at Swansea, Garry Monk, (36). Young Master Howe looks like a ball boy. Or a tea boy.

Mourinho is, of course, the main attraction. He has given us the best start to any of his seasons on this planet. Can you ever take your eyes off him? That handsome hooded look, that sarcastic sneer, the imperious hand in the air – and in his hair – all those languages, he’s so clearly brilliant, and yet, like many clever people, often lacking in common sense. How could he come down so heavily on Eva Carneiro, his Chelsea doctor? Just because you’re losing? Yes, José has been the best fun so far – plus Chelsea’s poor start. God, please don’t let him fall out with Abramovich. José, we need you.

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 27 August 2015 issue of the New Statesman, Isis and the new barbarism