In a shock announcement last night, the authors of unpopular UK diabetes rag Shoot Up or Put Up revealed that they have decided to finally shut up.
Prime Minster David Cameron, announced to a packed emergency session in the House of Commons “the soaraway Shoot Up has been a bastion of diabetes-related guff for over seven years. I speak for the nation when I say that this badly written and inaccurate blog will be sorely missed.”
Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, echoed Mr Cameron’s views saying “Tim & Alison’s rather sketchy website has added little to the diabetes community but I quite liked the made-up-dog-as-a-reporter thing”.
As your soaraway Shoot Up’s dedicated canine reporter, I gained exclusive access to Tim & Alison for one final, but still rather self-indulgent, interview:
Neville: So, Tim & Alison, why have you decided to call it a day?
Tim: We always said that Shoot Up should be about diabetes and not about us. Equally, if we had nothing to say then we wouldn’t say it. Unfortunately, 500-odd articles about diabetes later, I’ve got nothing left that I want to say. It’s rather sad, as I really, really enjoy writing Shoot Up but I think our recent two-year hiatus shows that we’re done.
Alison: I started blogging because Tim made me. And because way back in 2009 in the UK pumps were rare, CGM was pretty much unheard of and there was a pitiful lack of real-life info about either of them. Or about what it was like to have diabetes and a sense of humour. We’ve come a very long way since then. I no longer feel I’m waging a single-handed battle to raise awareness of CGM amongst a medical profession who at the time thought it was akin to witchcraft. So, my job here is done. And Tim has promised to stop bullying me.
Tim: I’ve never bullied you!!!
Neville: What’s your favourite article on Shoot Up?
Tim: I’ve always liked Neville’s article “Diabetes reporting in newspapers” as I get to trot it out time and time and time again as newspapers, yet again, publish some inaccurate report about diabetes. I also really like Terry’s review of the Accu-Chek Mobile because of the sheer number and variety of comments after the article – a great example of the Shoot Up community at its best.
Of course, I’ve enjoyed my co-writer’s articles too – I’m very proud that Alison charted every step of her pregnancy online and that it’s proven to be such a useful source of information for others who are also navigating the choppy waters of a diabetic pregnancy. There are, literally, too many articles of Alison’s that I’ve enjoyed to mention – some have been funny, some thoughtful, some silly but they’ve all made me think “hmm, that’s an interesting thought!” I’d suggest reading every single one again!
Alison: Oddly, one of my absolute favourites is our tips for agencies contacting us to promote the diabetes related tat they peddle. It makes me smile every time. It’s a classic bit of Tim writing and sums up everything you need to know about Shoot Up’s style.
I’ve always enjoyed Tim’s ability not to be restrained by the truth or modesty when writing – which led to him starting the now legendary urban myth that pump giant Medtronic drown puppies in Lake Geneva and posting about his own diabetes results with such understated headlines as “Bathe in my munificent glory“. And there are many, many more.
Neville: What’s your proudest Shoot Up moment?
Tim: Possibly the meet ups in Edinburgh and Liverpool; I found it very, very gratifying that people actually turned up to meet some weird strangers off of the Intermaweb and that we all (well, I certainly did) had a fab time, with lots of useful chat, silly jokes and non-diabetes-related stuff too.
I’m also very, very happy that we managed to make a few people feel a little better about their stupid, chronic condition (most of all, me!) We just started the blog to write about our diabetes, not to campaign or change the world in the slightest way, so to make the tiniest of tiny differences is very gratifying.
Alison: I’m really proud that by sharing nothing more than the random thoughts in our heads, we’ve helped people make life-changing decisions – to get a pump, to take control of their diabetes, to use fruit pastilles as a hypo treatment, to change their lancets on a bank holiday or to consider what a pancreatic trade union would be like. Diabetes can be a real bastard, and if a bit of badly written opinionated nonsense can help lighten the load, I’m very pleased to have been part of it.
Neville: What’s your most hideous Shoot Up memory?
Tim: The great database disaster of 2010. That’s why the earlier articles don’t have any comments on them – they were lost in the ether. Damn!!
Alison: Yes, logging on to the blog that morning and discovering it was no longer there was a little bit perturbing.
Neville: So what will happen to the website now?
Tim: I’m going to make a read-only copy without comment or forum functions. So all the articles and forum posts will remain but you just won’t be able to, uhm, comment or add forum posts. This means all the article goodness will remain but I won’t have to deal with all the bastard, bastard spammers who make my life a misery posting crap all over the site every single day! Huzzah!
Alison: I’ll keep posting poor bewildered souls towards any bits that might help – because there was bugger all of any use out there about insulin pumps, CGM and diabetes and pregnancy when I first needed it, so I’m not going to let others have the same struggle.
Neville: And what about you two. Have you resigned from the diabetes world?
Alison: I tried to resign but my pancreas was having none of it. So I’ll continue to be a nightmare patient, meddle now and then on various committees looking at how we improve diabetes care, probably speak at the odd conference because I enjoy it and maybe do something in the future with diabetic kids and their parents, because if you get a positive attitude into them at an early age, there’s a far greater chance the pancreatically-challenged will ultimately take over the world.
Tim: Sort of; I was never very interested in campaigning or standing up for diabetics on Issues of Great Importance, so I think I’ll slink away and do other things on the Intermaweb now. It’s a pain having diabetes, but it’s nowhere near all of me – I’m more than a one trick pony, dagnabit!
Neville: Your final words?
Tim: So long, I’ll miss you all; unless, of course, you just chat with me via my non-Shoot Up twitter account.
Alison: Thank you for giving me a reason to be diabetic for the last 7 years. I’d rather tackle a pizza banquet on MDI than Tweet, but you can find me on Facebook.