Happy 5000th Anniversary!

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What did I want to create? A place of ideas.

This shot is from my very first blog post, taken on the South Bank.

Actually it’s 5002 now – articles, that is. I passed the milestone this week, having written and illustrated an article for this blog nearly every day for eleven years.

When I started a writer’s blog in August 2008 the concept of blogging was a relatively new thing. This site was built by an old art director mate, Simon Moore, using Flash, and was far more glamorous-looking than its current utilitarian state, as it had a photographic sleeve depicting 12 different night views of London.

Flash was gorgeous but designed for viewing on powerful computers, not phones or tablets. One simple system replaced it but doesn’t look anywhere near as cool. Eleven years is a long time in tech terms, but the principal of the blog has remained the same. I wanted to do something a bit different, so rather than endlessly plugging my own books (which I suspect readers get sick of)  and wanted to be able to range over any subject that took my fancy, although if you’re into cars, recipes or sports you’ll find a site just for you somewhere else.

When I was a toddler there was a show called ‘Picture Book’ which consisted of random bits and pieces that might just about interest a four year-old – speeded-up footage of a flower opening or rabbits (see here for Jane Horrocks’s deathless parody). So that’s what this blog became, especially when joined by readers like Dan Terrell and Terenzio and Helen and Brooke and Martin and Jan and Jo and the rest, who submitted comments that nearly always made the wheels fall off whatever we were discussing.

When I first thought about starting the blog, there was much that didn’t appeal about the idea. I didn’t want to create great swathes of type about the Brontë sisters or HP Lovecraft. There are too many academics and historical non-fiction writers who are doing a far, far better job than I ever could, and my personal reading tastes tend to be wilful and complicated.

I didn’t want to detail everything about my books or describe in grisly detail the poorly-attended signings, leaky church halls, overheated book basements and empty libraries where the average author ends up appearing through the bleakest months of the year. And I didn’t want the blog to be just about London, as there are so many dedicated London sites.

So what did I want to create? I suppose a place of ideas. What I ended up with was a bran tub of fact and fancy that may not be to everyone’s taste but seems to appeal to a few deeply disturbed individuals (you know who you are) and powers me enough to keep at it over a decade later.

As I write it first thing each morning, it sharpens my mind for the rest of the day’s work. I read all the comments submitted and try never to censor. I post links to some articles on Twitter, but came off Facebook because I don’t approve of what they do with data (if you want to experience their pernicious grip, try leaving completely).

I don’t post as much moving footage as I’d like because the links don’t age well (please report any which are broken and I’ll fix them). I’ve stopped reviewing and only occasionally post on other sites because online eats time and I’ve pressure on my hours. Research swallows whole days; at the moment I’m reading books on Anglo Saxon Britain and watching all of Shakespeare’s history plays in order in different versions, don’t ask.

But I still get a kick from this, and think of it as mental exercise. There’s nothing more exciting than sitting down on a sunny morning and plucking an idea from the clear, cool air. And I’m glad you’re there with me.

 

21 comments on “Happy 5000th Anniversary!”

  1. Brooke says:

    Indeed. Proud to be numbered among the deeply disturbed.

  2. Mrs Fever says:

    I like “wilful and complicated” as a descriptor for personal reading tastes. I am right there with you. 🙂

    Five thousand posts is an incredible accomplishment. Congratulations on your milestone!

  3. Wim Es van says:

    Congratulations!

  4. John DLC says:

    Congratulations Chris.
    Ah, Picture Book- now I’ve got the theme tune in my head.

  5. Brian Evans says:

    Congratulations Chris. Whatever you write about always hits the right note.

  6. Rh says:

    Thank you; it’s always a highlight of the day!

  7. Stephen says:

    Congratulations Chris,your blog is among the best.

  8. Jo W says:

    Ok. Congratulations etc on your 5k blog post. Right,now to the nitty gritty – how are you Chistopher? How is your cold? I must say,you sound very perky. Did you use any of the remedies supplied by your blog chums? And could you recommend any? Well must go now ‘cos I’ve had a night of it at a Big Band Concert in Sidcup, ( yes,I did say Sidcup although it might be hiccup). Btw whatever became of Terenzio,with the purple dressing gown?

  9. Ian Luck says:

    Well done, sir! I was brought here by Messrs. Bryant and May, and I’m glad that I was. The sheer diversity of subjects on this site is what keeps me returning. And often scribbling gibberish in the comments box. Here’s to the next five thousand!

  10. Helen Martin says:

    I’m flattered to be included. Terenzio turned up once not long ago, but only once I think.
    It was my son who suggested I visit your site and it has been a tremendous pleasure to visit every day. Congratulations on reaching the 5k point and thanks for persisting with something which must sometimes drive you mad.

  11. eggsy says:

    Congratulations, Admin, on this milestone (and I hope you’re feeling better). Five thousand posts – and I’ve read nearly all of them – just three months to go, with comments too (you lovable mad lot out there). Keep writing in all forms, and we’ll keep reading.
    Anglo-Saxon England you say?
    Sir Charles Oman, A History of England Before the Norman Conquest – old school, kings and battles, _extensive_
    Dorothy Whitelock, The Beginnings of English Society, vol2 of the old Pelican History of England. Much lighter, but very good on re-creating A-S life, including the intellectual side.
    Available in a second-hand bookshop near you!

  12. Mike says:

    Congratulations!
    I too hope your cold is better
    I’m up to January 2010 on your backlog, started following 2016.
    Here’s to your next 5000

  13. Martin Tolley says:

    Wow! 5000. Just Wow! I stared writing a blog once. Once. And that as they say, was was that. Well done sir.
    It’s always interesting, and I’ve met some wonderful folk here, and been educated and entertained in equal measure. And it’s cost me a small fortune in hunting down “odd” books and recommendations which pop up from your goodself and others. As my great-uncle Sidney was won’t to say: If you can do, keep it up.

  14. Roger says:

    I only got on board fairly late in the voyage, but it’s been very enjoyable! Keep going!

  15. Bernard says:

    Mr Fowler,

    I’m sure you have seen this excellent piece by Bob Hoskins: https://twitter.com/BBCArchive/status/861997601029337088/video/1

    Where does John May live?

  16. Colin says:

    A big thank you, really appreciate all the effort that goes into this blog

  17. SimonB says:

    Congrats on the large number, and again hope health is returning.

    Now, will post 10,000 still be words on a screen or piped directly into our brains?

  18. Peter Tromans says:

    Congratulations! It’s an achievement and one for which us readers are most appreciative. It’s easy to tell you that you’ve done well, but 5,000 daily articles out of the top of your head, each one saying something interesting or thought provoking, is spectacular.

    Don’t worry about the flash, it’s the content that counts.

    Thank you also for allowing us to comment. I enjoy seeing where everyone’s thoughts evolve. I’m not sure what I eventually did to eventually qualify, to demonstrate being suitably disturbed, but participation adds to the pleasure.

  19. Peter Dixon says:

    A true gentleman is never flash.

  20. Wayne Mook says:

    Congratulation and jubilations, I want the world to know how happy we are for you.

    Well done on the mighty landmark and more power to your elbow.

    As a sports fan I of course come here and go on a forum for British Horror films new and old, as I’ve said on there you’ve not lived until you’ve seen Tod Slaughter’s Leer.

    Wayne.

  21. admin says:

    Admin’s note:
    Mr Dixon’s joke was first broadcast on the BBC Light Programme in 1946 and subsequently entered into the Eurovision Joke Contest 1972, where it failed to place.

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