Sunday, November 15, 2009

Belle de Jour, anonymous no more

Part of my original inspiration for becoming a blogger was the infamous blog Belle de Jour, the Diary of a London Call Girl. I hadn't heard of her when she stopped blogging back in September 2004, however a couple of days afterwards I spotted an article on the BBC web site which was reporting the fact that she had given up. When I looked at her blog, it occurred to me that it might be fun to become a blogger, but it wasn't until five months later that I wrote my first post.

For years, the true identity of Belle was a mystery. Another woman who blogged about her sex life was outed as a film assistant Zoe Margolis in August 2006, but still no one knew who Belle was. Today however, I get a txt msg from LWW telling me to go and look at a web site, and when I go to the site it turns out to be a story about who Belle really is. Finally, Belle herself has decided to reveal her identity through an interview in the Sunday Times.

It turns out that we have one thing in common. When I wrote a post titled Things I'm glad that I did in my life so far last year, one of the things that I said was that I was glad that I did a PhD. It turns out that Belle's real name is Dr Brooke Magnanti, because she also has a PhD, in informatics, epidemiology and forensic science in her case.

Belle's blog about being a call girl was only active for about a year, but it's now been over four and a half years since I wrote my first post, and I'm still posting about two times a week :-). I still enjoy it, so for now at least, I have no plans to retire!

Update 19-Nov-2009: An interesting footnote to this story in The Guardian

10 comments:

Antony said...

Yeah, I read that story too. I felt sorry for her. It seemed an ex boyfriend and the papers were dertmined to out her.

I have never been anonmous, but can understand the advantages of being so.

A x

Anonymous said...

You have a PhD GB?

GB said...

Indeed Antony. I wrote about the need to tell boyfriends about one's blog last May, if one is serious about them. So I think she was right to tell her boyfriend if she was serious about him. And now, she's probably done the right thing by coming out on her own terms, even if it's a pity that she's been forced into it.

And yes, anonymous commenter, whoever you are. You can call me Dr GB if you like :-).

GB xxx

Jake said...

Belle de Jour rocks, I think she's brilliant.

Anonymous commenter 2, whoever I am said...

PhD - Pretty hairy Dick.

SuperchilledTrevor said...

I thought of you when I read about her... But I'm still waiting for your book, movie and spinoff TV series...

Anonymous said...

Any chance you're inspired to divulge your identity?

Okay I heard your answer. One can always hope. :P

Anonymous said...

Are you gonna come out Geraint Anderson-style GB?

GB said...

I'd be surprised if any of my readers know who I am in the offline world (apart from the tiny number of other bloggers who I've met). So even if I were to 'come out' and tell everyone my name, it wouldn't mean anything to most people! In any case, as long as I'm still working in the banking industry I don't think it's a sensible thing to do. If you think about it, it took Belle de Jour 5 years to reveal her true identity after she left her profession!

GB xxx

Sarah Hall said...

I enjoyed reading your story... Your infamous blog is my original inspiration. It took more than five years for Belle de Jour to reveal her true identity and she left her job. This is kewl! Stay tuned with this resume writing centre!