If you know me in real life or have read this blog or my tweets for a while you will know that I am an enormous fan of the HBO show The Wire. It's fair to say that it could be classified as an addiction.
It's a show that requires proper attention, in fact it demands proper attention. This isn't bubble gum telly, as David Simon one of the creators said on the BBC in 2008, he's not writing The Wire for the average viewer... "fuck the average viewer." This isn't a TV show that you can dip in and out of, in fact this isn't even a show that you can really watch on TV. The only way is to download it all or buy or borrow the DVD box set (you'll find that Wire addicts are more than happy to spread their addiction and share) I think that I would have found it impossible to watch one episode and wait a week for the next episode.
Rather like an addiction I think that The Wire makes you into a bit of a bore - in a way that if you're in it then it's brilliant, if you're not then it's awful. What I mean by that once you get seriously addicted you just need to lay your hands on anything else vaguely related than might help quench your hunger.
From show The Wire I moved onto reading Homicide and The Corner (two of the books that The Wire is based on), then got into the the early seasons of the TV show Homicide and now I spending a lot of time reading books by Richard Price (Clockers probably being on my Desert Island Books list, Lush Life is well worth a read too) and George Pelecanos (maybe start with Hell To Pay). I just needed more and more of the backstory of The Wire to get Wired (so to speak)
Throughout all of this the Guardian Wire community was my quasi-support group. Every week it would take and dissect an episode. They were, still are in fact, essential reading for anyone interested in delving deeper into the whole Wire experience. I can't recommend them highly enough. Earlier this week I got an email from Steve Busfield at The Guardian. He curates The Wire blog community on The Guardian's Comment Is Free space:
I have some exciting developments about the Guardian's Wire blog to talk to you about. This Christmas, we're going to be publishing a book of the best of our online coverage of the Wire. This includes blog posts, interviews and reviews, as well as many of the comments left by guardian.co.uk users. Because you contributed to a comment thread on one or more of our Wire blog posts, your comments may be included in this collection.
This kind of use is covered by our terms and conditions (http://users.guardian.co.uk/help/article/0,,933909,00.html), but I just wanted to let you know personally, as I hope you'll be as excited as we are that this content will now be available in book form.
Thanks again for your participation in the blog, and now the book, too. The blog will, of course, continue.
The discussion is here at Comment Is Free about what to call the book.
I just think that this is a brilliant initiative.
For all the talk about the monetization of UGC and whether advertising can ever deliver an ROI, The Guardian have just turned this on its head and decided to make a product out of UGC and bring in revenue that way.
It's something that I will either buy for myself, or ask for as an xmas present, and its also a book that I will buy for a number of fellow Wire addicts. I really hope that it does well. When I know more details about publication dates etc I will of course post them here.