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Did Register staffer mastermind ‘call-girl weblog’ conspiracy?

Of course not

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The Register's very own San Francisco reporter Andrew Orlowski has become the latest and surely the most unlikely name to be associated with Belle de Jour.

Bell de Jour purports to be the work of an anonymous London call-girl-cum-weblogger who recently bagged a five-figure book contract from Faber. Since then British newspapers have entered a race to unmask the author. The Sunday Times, The Times, The Independent and The Standard are all convinced that Belle de Jour is the work of a literary hoaxer, but all have come up with names. Different names.

London's Standard on Friday, 18 March, notes that our Andrew is "a cult figure amongst fellow webloggers" - which is indisputably true - the fellow was described by Karlin Lillington "as one of the best things to happen to blogging" and he's only too happy to return the love. The Standard notes that our man is acquainted with editor Sarah Champion, The Times' second attempt at naming the real identity of Belle De Jour, who rebutted the claims in today's Observer newspaper.

(I'm afraid this is true. I have seen them together more than once).

Add in the fact that as The Standard points out - Orlowski is from Yorkshire and that Belle de Jour writes about going to Yorkshire is evidence enough for some webloggers to be convinced that a terrible collusion is taking place. Blogger Troubled Diva (really Mike in Nottingham) wonders, "How curious, therefore, that - as Darren discovers - Andrew Orlowski should have such close connections with Sarah Champion. Indeed, both Orlowski and Champion are both currently residents of San Francisco."

(Gets a bit closer than that, mate. At least from what I've seen.)

"The conspiracy theory that logically follows [sic] from Darren's findings is so delicious that I find myself longing for it to be true."

"Namely, that Orlowski and Champion cooked up a fake weblog last year - firstly to take the piss out of gullible bloggers, secondly as a parody of 'washing your dirty laundry in public' personal blogs, and thirdly with the express intention of winning the Guardian's "best written weblog" competition." Perhaps Mike is 'projecting' there with number three.

"If any of the above is true, then the people involved are certainly taking their deception very seriously," he writes. "How many games of double-and-triple bluff are going on here?"

Well, Andrew?

"I'm shocked, shocked - to find a conspiracy theory on the Internet of all places," he tells us. "Newspapers have space to fill, and bloggers have time to fill. Lots of time."

But what about the allegations?

"It is true that a photographer from The Times staked out The Register this week," he confirms. "I'm shocked. To be accused of being a whore is one thing, but to be accused of being a weblogger is actionable," says our man, quite conclusively. ®

External Links

I was branded a call-girl blogger - The Observer
Internet Call Girl Author Unmasked - The Times
Who is the real Belle de Jour, the internet's best-read whore? The Independent er, fingers our Andrew
Sarah Champion homepage
Belle de Jour weblog
I Am Belle De Jour

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