My website and how it came about

A while ago my publisher suggested I get myself a website so that anyone who likes my book can find out more about me.

Although that seemed to make a lot of sense (the same advice led to my Twitter account) I didn’t really fancy making a website about myself. Despite the fact that I write this blog, which is a series of my personal opinions, I’m somewhat uncomfortable with the idea of a Ben Kay-based site, particularly as there is very little about myself that I would consider to be interesting to a wider audience.

I was also concerned by the amount of money it would take to build something that would not be considered shit. I’m too technocrap to make the site myself, so the only option would be to skin with a WordPress site or similar and hope the available themes would be OK.

Then again, there was option two, which was to ask my friend Paul Belford at This Is Real Art if he could help. He immediately said yes, insisting that he would do it for free. In return I declined to charge for some freelance I writing I had done for him and promised that he could make whatever he wanted, just as long as it presented some basic information about me in a way that was clear and navigable.

He asked me if there was anything about myself that might work as a foundation for the site, and I suggested that I’ve tended throughout my life to be somewhat irreverent. A few weeks later they showed me the idea that someone else was compiling an online dossier about my subversive behaviour. That seemed great, although my one stipulation was that I would not look cool in any way.

I was then placed in the hands of Andy, Natalie and Megan at TIRA who, along with Paul, suggested ways in which information on me might be collected (surveillance footage, bank statements, medical records etc.). It was then up to me, 99 times out of 100 to agree to these (so long as they made me look like a bit of an arsehole) and either write them or be filmed or photographed by Paul, Nat and Megan.

So here we are:

I think it looks brilliant, and it certainly presents ‘me’ as something of a cock, so as far as I’m concerned that’s the job done. There’s also a gratifying attention to detail (click on any of the sites in the ‘Web History’ section).

Yes, it sends you round the houses to some degree, but to me that’s all part of a personal website: the style and the content should reflect you. Laying things out in a dull, straightforward way would be simple, easy and the way my publisher might prefer things, but this is an opportunity to be creative, something that I believe motivated all concerned to do a good job and enjoy it. I loved writing the copy, and I get the impression that the others liked the fact that I was game for whatever they suggested (I can’t complain about the rarity of that in advertising then practice the same lack of trust when the opportunity came my way).

So the bottom line is: I hope you like it.

If you do, get in touch with This Is Real Art (particularly if you can pay them properly). If you don’t, that’s fine by me. Get in touch with TIRA anyway because they’re really good at what they do, and a pleasure to work with.