View Full Version : Belle de jour

17-01-2005, 03:47 PM
From what I remember of the blog, and the bits and pieces included in the reviews I read over the weekend, I can't help but think that the whole project just feels like fiction. Maybe having spent so much time obsessing over writing some myself, I'm seeing artifice where there isn't any; but to me a novelist's mucky fingerprints are in every passage...

Does anyone else disagree and read the whole thing as truth?

17-01-2005, 05:29 PM
what thing? should i google 'belle de jour'?

17-01-2005, 05:34 PM
Oh belle de jour (http://belledejour-uk.blogspot.com) was a big blogging success, won a Guardian award etc. It is the alleged diary of a call-girl which has subsequently been bought and published to great fanfare.

18-01-2005, 08:22 AM
my feelings - for what it's worth - i bet it's a bloke and it's all a complete work of fiction.

19-01-2005, 09:11 PM
Does it matter whether it's real or not?

19-01-2005, 11:03 PM
Depends what criteria you use to judge whether something 'matters' I suppose.

20-01-2005, 10:04 AM
I don't think it matters at all, TBH. The occasional bits I've read are really good, I think she's got a strong voice and something different to say, which are all you need for a decent book.

What I find odd is that the only justifications I've yet seen for doubting Belle's identity is that she's secretive (not really surprising given her career, if she is who she says she is), and India Knight's line (God, I hate her) that she writes less like a woman and more like an idealised male fantasy of a woman.

Well, y'know, that's her job, so maybe that's how she chooses to write.

Is there really any reason to doubt that she's not for real?

20-01-2005, 12:27 PM
My only real doubt is inspired by her 'voice', I just don't buy it. And because of that, I tend to think it's crap obvious fiction rather than some unusual insight into the real life shannanigans of a prostitute. So I guess the reason it matters is that if she's for real it is forgivably crap, and if she/he isn't, it isn't. I agree that the India Knight article was awful, but has India Knight ever written anything that wasn't? I can't remember if it was her that quoted the bit where a punter says he wants to write his name in cum over belle and she snappily points out that he stole that from Martin Amis, but doesn't that just sound like a line of 'ooh that sounded good in my head' dialogue?

20-01-2005, 12:50 PM
I haven't read the bit to which you're referring Philip, but to me it sounds just as plausible that it's a punter who's read a bit of Amis and thinks he being clever; it sounds plausibly sad anyway.

I guess we'll never know. I doubt I'll ever end up reading the book (blogs as books just seems all wrong to me, you can lose so much from the change in medium), so I'm not especially bothered in the case of Belle, but it always interests me how flexible people's acceptance of authenticity can be, and how heavily this can impact on how they read/watch something.

20-01-2005, 12:55 PM
a number of female writers have been accused of being behind this, especially sarah champion, who it isn't. the sheer amount of conjecture as to which journalist it is alone leads me to think it its by one - no smoke without fire in this game. i also know a couple of people who insist they know who it is, so i'm pretty sure it's not authentic.

20-01-2005, 01:00 PM
It is real. I shagged her.

20-01-2005, 01:50 PM
may be this whole blogs into novels thing is merely aping the early novel itself - i'm thinking defoe who dressed his fictions up as honest accounts of lowlife - moll flanders etc - the readership wanted/ expected it to be true and were not best palesed when they found out it wasn't.
obviously authenticity and the desire for it are concepts that much greater minds than mine have dissected - i had my own 'authentic' dilemma recently - i played joy division's love will tear us apart - and all i could think was that the intro was much slower than i remembered, then i realised that a cover version (paul young, possibly) had somehow interposed itself into my memory - i've played the track several times now and it always sounds 'wrong' yet it shouldn't, should it?
whether belle proves to be real or not i think maybe another (possiblymore interesting)question is why has the whole thing provoked such intense mejah interest - what is it saying about the broadsheets preoccupations these days - is this yet more of what fairclough calls 'informalisation' in public discourse?