My loyal band of (three) followers. It seems almost careless at this early stage of my blogging career to break what conventions I may appear to have set up, but here goes. Think of this more of establishing a model for the future.
Ali Mason's The Blog is, it turns out, a two-man project - I am one of the men, but not the other. He, bewlideringly, is remaining nameless for the time being. He will also feature on the forthcoming almost-certain-never-to-happen podcast, Ali Mason's The Podcast.
So here is an introduction to the way the man's mind works. Read, digest, enjoy. I'll put everything he writes in italics. This is a convention.
"Last month I broke free from the welcoming confines of the house twice in three days. Granted, the 20-year-old version of myself may not have deemed this noteworthy. It may not even have registered as a deviation from the norm.
"But, truth be told, it’s a hard push to get me out and about these days. I don’t count work because, you know, it’s work. I don’t count the pub down the road because it’s really just a part of the house I don’t own yet. I have, though, been buying pint-sized instalments for the last four years.
"On the other hand, I do count two gigs in 72 hours. A respectable achievement given that the closest thing to a music scene in the town I currently call home is the ailing in-store radio in the Co-op.
"But venture I did, leaving behind me the five unwatched DVDs I bought on a whim on my last day off and temporarily abandoning my work with Annan Athletic on Championship Manager. You’d be surprised how hard it is to leave behind a squad of computer simulations and their fictional sporting endeavours. But they coped. They and I.
"The first involved a trip to Hull to see indie-folk darlings Mumford and Sons (consider this my early tip for Mercury Music Prize recognition in 2010), while the second, on a discernibly different tack, saw me take on Leeds’ harrowing one-way system for a meeting with the impossibly cool forefathers of trip-hop, Massive Attack.
"Now, lest this turn into a music review - wrong place, wrong time - let is suffice to say that both were excellent.
"They couldn’t, of course, have been more different.
"Mumford and Sons were on the verge of releasing their debut album, combined whisky-worn harmonies with lilting mandolins and twanging banjos and played in a curious venue that was equal parts common room and working men’s club.
"Massive Attack, meanwhile, are two decades into their genre-hopping career and peddle a live show that flits dizzyingly between soul, dub, rap, reggae but settles most often on a sound the band themselves have called ‘phantom funk’. Lovely.
"Now, Nick Hornby fans will be well apprised of the fact that men of a certain ilk like nothing more than music and lists. Nothing, that is, except combining music and lists. By the time the weekend hit I was already unneccesarily mulling it over. Which band was better? Which night offered the most entertainment? Who was first and who came second?
"A more incomparable pair of subjects one could not have asked for, but the temptation to compare, contrast and rank proved irresistible.
"In the end, the factor that swung it was derisory. A small, already crumpled piece of card. Yet there it was, my Massive Attack ticket.
"Slightly curled around the edges, torn a little by the attendant at the venue but nevertheless ready to take its place in my collage of wristbands, stubs and passes. Time, date, price. Conclusive evidence that I was there.
"I will look on it in years to come and, when it finally joins my other ticket collages on the wall, maybe somebody will strike up a conversation about it. Mumford and Sons, no less enjoyable on the night, employed a pay-on-the-door policy and issued no lasting reminders.
"To a hopeless muso like myself shouldn’t this be an irrelevance? Mere frippery. An irrelevence designed to ease passage into the building.
"I should rate the two gigs on some kind of innate sense of sonic satisfaction. I should. But I won’t.
"I’ve got a ticket from Leeds. 'Phantom funk' wins. Spooky."