As the decade-long mid-life crisis ensues, I yet again damaged my back a couple of weeks ago. I won’t bore you with the finer details of the ‘sacrum’ but suffice to say I was full of self-pity as I handed over copious bundles of cash to chiropractors and prayed hourly for my mobility to return.

Anyhow, as I sat upright in a garden chair rested on two Dunelm cushions resplendent with tassels (what is the point?), I decided to teach this dog a new trick and read, cover to cover, a book on ‘blogging’. It was as exciting as is sounds, yet excitement wasn’t the end goal, knowledge was and a new mission to get my teeth stuck into: the ‘middle-aged blog’ was born.

The number one rule with blogging is, apparently, to write about something you know, followed in quick succession with ‘finding a niche’. Being a jack of all trades and master of none, as regular readers will concur, is my stock in trade, so I sat and undertook some basic level introspective on myself and my chi.

The only thing that I kept coming back to was the fact that I am the world’s number one, purely by luck, not judgement ‘middle-aged man’ (on Google images).

I am also of the belief that the middle-aged are the forgotten species when it comes to marketers and entertainment output. Kids are targets, blatantly, with bright lights and unmissable deals as the middle-aged pay for their excitement and entertainment. The aged are in a subset of their own with Saga magazine subscriptions making it one of the most popular magazines in the UK, as cruises, incontinence pads and equity release companies all attempt to get their claws in as the memory outs.

So, as I sat, teeth gritted, and set a website up, along with Twitter and a Facebook group, I looked on, less than admiringly, at the world’s most popular bloggers. Already on a losing wicket as it seems that the market leaders are: a) generally women, and b) those who write incessantly about fashion and make up (both things I am no expert in). Yes, there was the odd outlier male, writing, stereotypically about ‘fast cars’, but one man's defeat spells another man’s victory I thought, as I felt I had truly uncovered a new blogging niche in the ‘middle-aged blog’.

I kicked off proceedings with, less than a week in and nigh on three hundred members, a post that is still the most ‘liked’: that of a dictionary definition for the term ‘binfluencer’. For the uninitiated, it is the person who puts their bins out first the night before and the ones who the other middle-aged, mortgaged-up homeowners follow. It is a system that works in its simplicity and success rate. Having used this technique weekly for decades now, I have only got the wrong bins once and it’s a record I’m strangely proud of.

To really write a blog, one needs to know what the crux of the topic area is. I proceeded to brainstorm words and terms that related to middle age: medication, bad fashion sense, spotting a bargain, collecting odd items, magnet fishing, slippers, dressing gowns and the use of the term ‘that’s reasonable’ and ‘its comforting’ all got listed, as well as ‘bags for life’. They all eventually made the cut and only a few days later, fully buying into the concept and trying to get the membership numbers to treble figures, I found myself in the changing rooms at Primark, Derby as I tried on, and photographed myself, in the full range of ‘Greggs the bakers’ clothing. After I posted one such monstrous picture, the true meaning of being a blogger hit me: the need to be self-effacing and humiliate yourself, publicly, was a key concept to reach the upon echelons of the blogosphere.

Marrying that with my full-time profession is of course a consideration but I mused that, as long as the pictures and bouts of public humiliation did now show me in a state of undress or have a crude or rude underlying nature, I should be OK and could be the Jake Paul of the shires.

And so, it came to pass: although not yet describing myself as a ‘blogger’, that is the end goal as I write about early nights, parking restrictions and the scandal of council tax charges. No doubt it will be another middle-aged inglorious failure, but at least when I reach my dotage, I can say I tried and that’s all any of want to be remembered as, a tryer, isn’t it?

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher