A Cautionary Tale about Blogging.


Last year, there were some memes doing the rounds about favourite books and reading habits, and I wrote a post that was my riff on the theme – about 10 books that changed my life.

One of the books was A Room with a View. It’s not necessarily one of my all-time great reads, but as I wrote

“This was the book that inspired my passionate crush on Grant Gillespie, a boy in the upper sixth who dressed like he lived on a Merchant-Ivory film set. Grant broke my heart when he left to go to Glasgow University – which may have had something to do with the fact I ended up there, a year later. Sad, but true.”

Last night, I was looking through my blog stats, as you do, and in between the alarming number of searches relating to “monkey porn”, I noticed someone searching for my lost love’s name and the word ‘sleep’.

“Weird,” I thought to myself. “Wonder who’d be Googling Grant Gillespie?”

Of course, I know the answer to this question now, because I opened my email this morning to find a perfectly lovely email from Grant Gillespie, with the subject line: “Hello There!”

Apparently, Grant was looking for an article he’d written for a sleep website and so Googled his name and the word ‘sleep’. He then found my blog – and the reference to him. I won't share the entire email but he does say: 

“Thanks for thinking I was James Ivoryesque.  Personally, I think I might have been trying too hard.”

Which is very nice really, if a bit looking-at-the-screen-through-your-fingers embarrassing. It’s not like I ever actually TOLD Grant Gillespie that I had a crush on him, after all. I checked his current website, just or research purposes – he's still cute, but lacks the crucial foppish fringe and ecru clothing that so impressed the younger me.

Then there was the killer blow:

"What was your school surname – as it were?"

Oh Grant, Grant – my name was just the same as it is now. Sob. I had your name on the back of my English Lit folder for two years, and you never even knew I was alive.


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She’s also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world’s coolest ten year old.

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  1. Chris Norton
    12th May 2010 / 10:37 am

    Sally, that is a genius story. The power of the internet never ceases to amaze me. I wrote a post on Monday about finding a stray dog’s owner all off the back of a tweet. It reallly shocked me at how quick things can be found and sorted.

  2. Insomniac Mummy
    12th May 2010 / 10:47 am

    I shouldn’t laugh, but OK, go on I will!
    *Waves to Grant Gillespie*

  3. Insomniac Mummy
    12th May 2010 / 10:48 am

    BTW, I wonder how many people are googling him right now…..

  4. MrsW
    12th May 2010 / 10:53 am

    Hmmmm I’m a huge fan of fate and “What’s afore ye will no go by ye” iykwim?

  5. 12th May 2010 / 10:34 am

    Oh deary me. Let this be a warning to anyone blogging about past loves.

  6. 12th May 2010 / 10:37 am

    That is hilarious but cringey!! I’ve got a post in draft about mine – he has a very unusual name too – but now I’ve read this there’s no way I’m putting his real name in.
    ‘name of the back of my english lit folder’ – I so did that too. And putting their surname with yours to see how it looked and lots of doodling their initials.
    That’s crazy how he found you!

  7. Rin
    12th May 2010 / 10:38 am

    Ha ha! Would LOVE to catch up with my old crushes! Like Ben Chatfield, who I mooned over for months, staring at him from the top deck of the school bus and writing ‘I (heart) Ben’ in my diary every night. The only words we ever shared were in the art room when I gathered enough courage to ask him where the black sugar paper was and he answered that he didn’t know. That was the full extent of our relationship! Sigh…

  8. mathew
    12th May 2010 / 10:42 am

    was reading that and thinking “that’s not so bad, Sal” until I got to the last bit. crushing! funny tho, thanks for sharing 😉
    back in the mid-90s i had a *major* crush on a girl from my town. at the end of the year (by which time i was in a relationship w/ someone else) i told her that i’d had a huge crush on her that year and she said she’d had one on me too.
    doh! there’s a lot to be said for laying one’s cards on the table and not just metaphorically writing your love’s name on the back of your English Lit folder…

  9. Heather Davis
    12th May 2010 / 10:44 am

    Yes I guess that’s a lesson for us all! Great meme btw I think we need to reinstate it. Had a look at your selection – some really good books on it. I also read Under the banner of heaven and 102 minutes. Didn’t know anyone else in this country had! You’ve got me thinking now.

  10. 12th May 2010 / 10:44 am

    O’course, I may have chosen Newcastle University for reasons that were much the same, only rather geekier… I blush!

  11. mathew
    12th May 2010 / 10:44 am

    …for the record, i bumped into this girl briefly on the central line in the noughties and she subsequently got in touch on Friends Reunited. we’re both happily married (to other people) now but I like to hear how she’s getting on.
    she always knew my “school surname, as it were” tho 😉

  12. 12th May 2010 / 10:48 am

    Oh sweets, that’s cute but cringey 🙂

  13. 12th May 2010 / 10:50 am

    Yep. Yep. That’ll crush a person.
    Omg the shame!! Clearly the dude missed out (or was spared? I can’t decide)

  14. Susie
    12th May 2010 / 10:54 am

    LOL-that’s not so terrible. Was expecting something really god awful, dig a hole embarresing. this was just funny (as long as it was you not me lol)

  15. 12th May 2010 / 10:56 am

    Oh dear! Nice of him to get in contact with you though but I think I’d be rather mortified too! Great post!

  16. 12th May 2010 / 10:59 am

    Is that your ego in a puddle on the floor beside you? Hilarious. Thanks for sharing – and reminding us that blogging can have consequences. Grant Gillespie will dine out on this tale for years. Particularly once he reads this follow-up. 🙂

  17. 12th May 2010 / 11:06 am

    I do sometimes feel my entire life’s purpose is to serve as a warning to others…

  18. 12th May 2010 / 11:07 am

    Thanks for your support, Natalie. It means so much. No, really. It does.

  19. 12th May 2010 / 11:08 am

    Yes – my top tip for today would be “change the name”

  20. 12th May 2010 / 11:10 am

    Yes, I think the only time he ever spoke to me was when he got his a-level results and was (presumably) very drunk in a club and told me which uni he was going to. GOD, I was such a loser. Not any more, though. OBVIOUSLY.

  21. 12th May 2010 / 11:11 am

    I had the same thing. That same year I also had a crush on Edward SoNotUsingHisLastName and the week before I went to uni, he admitted he liked me, but I’d just got together with someone else. Sigh.

  22. 12th May 2010 / 11:12 am

    I bet loads of women did. Not just us. Cos that would be a bit pathetic. *cough*

  23. 12th May 2010 / 11:12 am

    Oh yeah, he’s so going to read this. My mortification is now complete.

  24. 12th May 2010 / 11:13 am

    He’s the actor and writer – not the footballer. Just FYI.

  25. 12th May 2010 / 11:14 am

    Spared, I expect. I was terribly high-maintenance at that age.

  26. 12th May 2010 / 11:15 am

    I know. There’s nothing worse than being mortified AND realising he’s still obviously really lovely. Argh.

  27. 12th May 2010 / 11:16 am

    Yep, I hereby give him free reign to tell all his friends about this. Maybe one of them will remember me, who knows? (year below you, very short, listened to a lot of Smiths)

  28. 12th May 2010 / 11:26 am

    Of course he’s going to read this now and find out all about your English Lit book scribbling. And he’ll notice all of us giggling as we comment.
    Many thanks for the heads-up on this one though – so I now won’t blog about my encounters with Nick or Rob or Martin. Sorry chaps.

  29. 12th May 2010 / 11:55 am

    Sorry lovely but did do a bit of laughing out loud which frightened dog and small child when I read this.
    Thanks for sharing. That’s made my day.
    MD xx

  30. 12th May 2010 / 11:59 am

    Sorry, couldn’t help myself, had to google him. Quite a dish. Question is, are you now Twitterstalking him? 😉

  31. Liz (LivingwithKids)
    12th May 2010 / 12:14 pm

    So he forgot your surname. Still sounds like a come on to me.

  32. 12th May 2010 / 12:16 pm

    Also have googled… oh my, Grant… I would have totally written your name on my English Lit folder too.
    Best blogging story ever. In fact I’m quite tempted to surreptitiously drop in a few names now.

  33. 12th May 2010 / 12:23 pm

    This really made my morning, I used to do things like the English Lit folder and a weird adding up of letters and stuff to see if me nad my crush would aver be compatable. Sadly mine committed suicide at 19.

  34. 12th May 2010 / 1:15 pm

    Over from Susie’s blog when I saw the blog title.
    You poor thing – I would have been mortified! At least he’s still lovely 🙂

  35. 12th May 2010 / 5:22 pm

    Way harsh

  36. 12th May 2010 / 5:42 pm

    How crushing. I’m so glad none of my cruches ever returned the affection. Some of them were spineless twits and the rest were fairly arrogant looking back!

  37. 12th May 2010 / 8:12 pm

    But did you buy that line about “writing for a sleep website”?

  38. 12th May 2010 / 8:14 pm

    He’s an actor and writer? God, how annoying. Wouldn’t it be much better if he were a no-mark?
    After 20 years of hearing nothing about someone I would rather hear nothing about, he has started turning up on the damn BBC radio. They ought to just shuffle off, really.

  39. Nikki
    12th May 2010 / 8:50 pm

    Love it Sally, love it – thank god it didn’t happen to me though :-)))

  40. 12th May 2010 / 9:55 pm

    Oh, I couldn’t breathe reading this post. How lovely/awful! And a good reason never to use someone’s real name on my blog. Or a good reason to use real names – I haven’t decided yet.

  41. 13th May 2010 / 10:48 am

    *laughs laughs laughs*
    Oh that has made me grin 😀

  42. 14th May 2010 / 11:18 pm

    LOL I can’t bear it – that is SO unfair!

  43. Liz@VioletPosy
    15th May 2010 / 2:56 pm

    That is my *worst* nightmare. I loved Room with a View, both the book and the movie. At the time the movie came out I had a massive crush on a boy at school who looked just like Julian Sands in the movie, and yes I made an utter fool of myself over him – like yours, he didn’t know I existed. I shudder at the memory!

  44. 17th May 2010 / 5:20 am

    That would be so embarrassing, but it would make me very curious as to who he became. Ah dear hehehehe

  45. 18th May 2010 / 1:24 pm

    Grant’s line about the sleep article is real (even if anything else he told you wasn’t – I can’t promise that). You can read it here: http://www.thesleepclub.co.uk/The_Sleep_Club/Sleep_Articles/Entries/2010/5/11_Confessions_of_a_Sleep_Addict.html
    And there’s another picture of him. Just sayin’.
    I’m working on publicity for Grant’s novel and, just so you know, I have a big pile of signed photos which I have to climb over to get to the sacks of fan mail every day. I’d like to say it hadn’t all gone to his head but, well…
    Just kidding.

  46. 20th May 2010 / 12:42 pm

    Thanks for commenting Emma. I hope Grant’s novel is a roaring success, he seems like a thoroughly nice chap and I’m sure signed photos would go down a storm. But, to me, Grant Gillespie will be forever 18 with a natty scarf and floppy hair.
    I should also point out that a year later, I was dating someone called Simon, almost entirely because he looked like Morrisey and had an amazing quiff, which just goes to show how fickle my teenage heart actually was.

  47. 26th May 2010 / 6:28 pm

    Ha! I wondered what he was buying all that hairspray for.