"When you sleep, I will creep into your thoughts like a bad debt that you can't pay." You know what this is: the annual shakedown. It's been roughly a year since the last Lenin's Tomb appeal. I left you alone for that long. Now I'm back and I'm turning the guilt up to eleven.
To be fair, I had a lot more success last time in persuading a small number of you to 'subscribe'. In fact, some people were far too generous - although I like to think they were subsidising the other readers. But, as I say, it's been a year. And over that time, necessarily, subscriptions are either cancelled or reduced or just get indefinitely suspended: maybe because people's situations have changed, or because they feel they've given enough (quite reasonably), or because their evaluation of the blog has changed (*sputter*). Individual donations, though always welcome, are very rare. Anyway, as a result of this gradual diminution of blogging income, I've already shot the puppy. Yes, I shot his big fuzzy head off. And it's all your fault. This kitteh is next, if my usual list of threats, incitements and cajoling doesn't result in at least some new subscriptions or a wave of unreasonably large donations.
Before going any further, a résumé. By this summer, I will have been at this for a decade, by which time I will probably have had something approaching seven million unique visits, most of them in the last few years. In the last year, this blog had more than a million unique visits. Probably most of those were from trolls, Googlebots, spammers and stalkers. But let's pretend they weren't. I would estimate, based on my followers and friends on social media and the hit count on this blog, that there are a few thousand regular and occasional readers of this blog. If all my Twitter followers read the blog links that I post in their feeds, which of course they don't, that would be about six and a half thousand semi-regular readers. So let's pretend they all do. Adding Facebookers might push it up another two and a half thousand. You could add some from other sources, bump the total up another thousand or so, but the point is that there are quite a lot of people to guilt-trip here.
Now, you people know that you pay cash money to read the capitalist press. I know you do. I've seen you at conferences and protests with your broadsheets and scowls. I've been through your bins. Don't even pretend. But, somehow, Lenin's Tomb is less deserving than the FT? Well, let me ask you this: does your broadsheet swear at you? No. Does it bewilder you with random, scattergun theoretical polemics with misused 'big words'? No. What about lengthy posts about dead marxist theorists where the comments thread is filled with violent, sectarian abuse? Never. Has it ever attempted an amateur psychoanalysis of the state of Israel? I think not. Does your broadsheet give you long series of articles obsessing about the nature of the police, or the Syrian revolution, or Kony 2012, or Syriza, or racism, and then threaten to kill a small animal? Manifestly, no. So what do they have that I don't?
Anyway, if you are planning your Christmas presents for this year, why not give the old fellow a subscription to Lenin's Tomb? It'll be utterly useless to him, but it'll also be fun to see the expression on his face. What's Christmas for if you can't disappoint someone you love?