I used to follow the blogs and Twitter account of self-proclaimed ‘Reading’s Only Restaurant Blogger’ Edible Reading and genuinely used to find their recommendations useful. Whilst I found the writing style a little grating, I know that one has to be a bit of a smug, egotistic prat in order to set up such a public blog. I know this because I am the girlfriend of Shit Things in Reading (yes, yes, he has a girlfriend…).
I had to unfollow the ER Twitter some time ago, as the mere glance of the opening lines of any of his more recent epic blogs or hugely earnest political tweets was enough to send me into an uncontrollable fit of anger. That is quite clearly personal preference and, indeed, there does seem to be a good following who enjoy his reviews and opinions. Yesterday I read his most recent post ‘2020: The Year in Review’ and have been driven to rage to the extent where I feel I have had to put something in writing.
I know what it is like to have a partner who runs a reasonably successful local social media account (12,279 followers on Facebook to Edible Reading’s 4,414 on Twitter *eyes emoji*). Shit Things in Reading can be a controversial account; however it is quite clear to those with a sense of humour that the author thinks highly of his adopted home town. Some of the posts I see cross a line where I feel the need to ask him to take it down. I feel that if I was the partner of Edible Reading, this would be one of those posts – at least a part of it.
This latest post sees ER use over 1,224 words to criticise a review from a local reporter and another local food blogger. It’s snide, it’s snobbish and it’s bullying. As a fair few people have pointed out online already. Presumably ER thinks that Hugh Fort is fair game as he writes for a local newspaper, one that ER clearly has a problem with, but should a person be open to insults for doing his job…? Hugh’s a busy local journo, he’s not Giles Coren.
For someone that clearly aligns themselves with liberal views – we know this as ER uses the platform of his restaurant review Twitter account to go on near-constant political diatribes – the often quite hateful, bitter tone of his more recent output doesn’t really chime with these values.
I could go on about the clear sneering attitude ER has towards working class people and how this is also in direct contradiction with his obvious desire to present himself as a progressive, middle class, woke liberal, but I run the risk of this stream of consciousness rant reaching never-ending ER-rivalling proportions.
I appreciate that some may find my calling ER out for being unkind to others pretty hypocritical when STiR’s main bread and butter is ripping into anything that comes across his path (particularly another unfortunate local ‘journalist’). I think the issue I have with ER is that they’re positioning themselves from what they see as a morally superior position of a serious food writer.
The fact that so many of Reading’s independent businesses are starting to speak up about ER’s attitude and unpleasantness should really be enough to make the blogger stop and wonder whether they really are a bastion of local independent eateries or whether they are in fact, to paraphrase STiR, just being a bit of a cunt.
– Annoyed of West Reading