Passing The 3,000 Article Mark

Christopher Fowler
hancock_radio_ham_330Since 2008, when I started running this pub punch-up of a site (as well as posting on Twitter, Goodreads and two separate Facebook pages, I'll have you know) I've just realised that I've managed to clock up more than 3,000 separate pieces, usually posting at least one a day unless I'm travelling somewhere without technology, like Wales. The amount of time it takes out of my day means this is a serious commitment, but it's possible if one follows the journalistic principle of preparing non time-specific pieces in advance (or the modern journalistic principle of opening a press release and regurgitating it onto the page). What makes it tougher now is that I no longer write extended pieces for the press that can be fed into the online machine, because paper press is shrinking. I gave up reviewing for the national newspapers because the amount of work required for such a pittance made it unsustainable, and there are others who'll do it simply for the kudos. Or lunch. I still get asked to write occasional pieces when I remember to prompt a dozing editor. There's my cinema book round-up in the Independent this Sunday, but we started out with 1,200 word features which are now 600 words, and you can't review 18 new cinema books in that. I've given up on Goodreads because the site is so clunky to navigate, and I don't want to be recommended any more books because who has time to read? Besides, I enjoy doing this site. It's feisty. It's put me in touch with some people I'd cross the street to avoid. To quote Tony Hancock, talking about ham radio: 'It's given me friends all over the world. ALL OVER THE WORLD! None in this country.' Since we began, some readers have remained from the outset, including Helen, Snowy, Pheeny and of course the endlessly enquiring and tireless Dan Terrell. Subjects touched upon have included Sarah Palin's resemblance to the woman who lived next door in 'Bewitched', how to write short stories, pigeons riding the tube, the acting ability of Kristen Stewart, corrupt bishops, the Chatham House Rules, London's most secret streets, why Dan Brown can't write, horrible statues, rubbish mayors, great writers, kind and/or insane Londoners, plus a piece on how the King of Sweden ruined my trip to Oman. The work really clocks up. Hardly any of this material appears anywhere else, either. What it does do each morning is give me a warm-up for the day ahead and the writing it holds. What's changed since I started is that the short story market has all but collapsed, features are vanishing and books are ever harder to sell. Writers are out of work because nobody wants anything that hasn't sold before. These are deeply conservative times. So here's where I can have some fun, inside a site that's the equivalent (said one 'friend') of 'The Wicker Man - The Musical'.  


Simon (not verified) Tue, 17/12/2013 - 10:48

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Congratulations on passing your 3,000th article. I enjoy these eclectic articles that always manage to tickle my brain cells. May there be many more to follow. Love the books too.

RH (not verified) Tue, 17/12/2013 - 12:36

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Funny, I thought the Wicker Man was a musical! Thanks for all the craft and graft - the site's a daily treat. Richard

pheeny (not verified) Tue, 17/12/2013 - 15:16

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

(and thank you for the constant stream of entertainment)

Jo W (not verified) Tue, 17/12/2013 - 17:03

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Writing as a person even I would cross the road to avoid, well done,Admin, on passing your 3000! Please keep up the good work. I do enjoy having my brain stretched a little everyday. Btw, it is ah not raining here also!

Steve (not verified) Tue, 17/12/2013 - 17:59

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Keep it up Admin - I don't comment a lot but get a lot of stimulation reading here every day - thanks for that. I tend to live otherwise in an intellectual vacuum.

Dan Terrell (not verified) Tue, 17/12/2013 - 18:47

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

"...endlessly enquiring and tireless," but in a good way, I trust.
(Have you been channeling my departed mother, who used to say she went to bed with her ears ringing from questions in proto-Klingon that if answered incorrectly earned her immediate toddler trouble.)
Why come back to your blog daily or often? Because it's simply a really great blog, updated daily, with pieces that 'stretch the brain' and do indeed 'fill an intellectual vacuum.' It is really a 360 blog, with great topics, stimulating discussions, fine give and take, respectful treatment for all, and the wonderful pleasure of: what's it going to be today? Oh, and a fascinating trip through London and a visit to ye old curiosity cabinet.
I drop in first thing in the morning to get set up for the day, coffee too, and return whenever I need a break from my own writing and more frequently when I am suffering from editing blindness.
So, Admin, great job, well done. Your work and your 3,000 pieces are appreciated. Thank you.

agatha hamilton (not verified) Tue, 17/12/2013 - 22:30

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Congratulations, Admin - admire the variety of topics and your energy, enormously.

Helen Martin (not verified) Tue, 17/12/2013 - 22:54

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Congrats, indeed, Admin. This is my "save the best for last site" and it sets me up nicely. Things are going well - my copy of the Casebook just arrived so I'm set for a while. It's the Old Guys I really enjoy so all the rest is like whipped cream on the hot chocolate (to strike a seasonal note). Here's to great times and another 3000 pieces. If things get tough I just read a blurb from The Royal Literary Fund which makes grants to published authors.

Reuben (not verified) Wed, 18/12/2013 - 00:13

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

This is the only blog I regularly read because it's varied and always interesting, so thanks for continuing to write it.

BangBang (not verified) Wed, 18/12/2013 - 07:22

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Pretty sure I've read all of them and will continue to do so as long as you are willing to write them. Many congratulations and thank you!

James (not verified) Thu, 19/12/2013 - 00:36

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

This is the best blog on the internet and a genuine inspiration. I can barely get around to updating my own blog every six months, and I'm still just an aspiring writer. How a busy professional like Chris manages to produce an endless variety of such well-written and interesting articles on a daily basis is nothing short of astonishing.

Shuku (not verified) Tue, 24/12/2013 - 06:53

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I have long periods of silences in between visiting this blog mostly due to work and RL, but whenever I come back, it's a delight and an inspiration. 3000 articles! Congratulations indeed Chris - I think I still have your message somewhere enquiring about why I was sawing acrylic in my bedroom and turning it into a faux cocaine den!