Climbing the Internet Ladder of Infamy

I read in a blogging book that the average blog lasts about three months, which makes this place a dinosaur. Or an antique, or vintage wine, depending on your world view. Part of me was loathe to make a post today because it felt self-aggrandising, but that’s kind of the point of a blog. I wasn’t sure what to discuss – the days when I could write ten lines and get a comment thread 20 posts long? The irony of how I’ve focused what I discuss and get less interest than when I rehashed MCR news with a mildly offensive image? Halloween?

Remember this? I try not to either.
Remember this? I try not to either.

I dunno. In the last few years and months I’ve looked at other blogs and it seems like most people who have been doing it for 18 months plus have bagged themselves a book deal and half a million Instagram followers, which is really hard to reconcile with my experience of blogging. I’ve never read a whole lot of blogs but there seems to be an ocean of people tapping away at keyboards with very little response unless they a) write shit about other people, b) take photos of themselves in vintage clothing for a style blog or c) have a life-changing story. I have no interest in pursuing any of those things, and I’ve lost sleep over how to engage people. Which is stupid, because I will probably continue to write this as long as I enjoy it, and my enjoyment should not be linked to the reaction I get.

It kind of is though, because I was fortunate enough to have a relatively large audience almost from the get-go. Well, from about 2010 upwards, which coincided with the release of Danger Days and my friends’ interest in both MCR and reading my writing instead of doing homework. Course, the end of MCR coincided with a lot of crap in my life – neither of which I really wanted to write about immediately – and a growing sense that Indifferent Ignorance should keep climbing the Internet ladder of infamy. My favourite part of every post has always been the comments; I aspired to be the sort of writer who could garner a dozen every article. Typically, as I began over-thinking posts and trying to get maximum reaction from as few lines as possible, readers started dropping off the radar. My biggest audience was always my friends and family, but while I was still passionate about MCR, bemoaning the tabloid press and never getting a desk job, they were more interested in school work and clubbing – neither of which ever held any lasting interest for me.

When I started The Six O’Clock News in a bid to reconcile exam prep and my hobbies, I felt like I was back at the roots of the site; indifferent ignorance is a pandemic that’s never more noticeable than the headlines. So I decided to hone posts, to go for quality not quantity, to ask questions as much as I paraded perceived indifferent ignorance – and of course I’d never stop writing entire blogs about my dogs or the latest updates from the Musicians Formerly Known As MCR. Despite everything, I still wasn’t getting anything near the interest I was a few years ago, and in the back of my mind there was a little voice saying ‘that was your heyday. Quit while you still have a reader or two and get a proper job’.

I should probably add that I’ve always considered ‘readers’ to be people who leave a comment every handful of posts. Anyone can sign up for updates; most people completely ignore every post from then onwards. Which is okay and your business, just don’t pretend you’re a super fan if you’re not. But that voice was still suggesting I cut my losses, and while finding a new example of indifferent ignorance every week is easy, writing 500+ words and sourcing pictures is not; especially when you’re a freelance writer  and every article which doesn’t get financially compensated is technically speaking a waste of time.

Still my favourite still of  mid-work mess. The piece I was working on, a 'Danger Days' fan fiction, never got finished.
Still my favourite still of mid-work mess. The piece I was working on, a ‘Danger Days’ fan fiction, was never finished.

So I’ve forgiven myself for not wanting to make a song and dance out of today. I’ve still got a few Five Ways to Celebrate Five Years of Blogging to finalise (they have deviated somewhat from mid-August’s planning, mostly due to a lack of funds) which I will hopefully have announced by the end of the year – and what’s a celebration if it isn’t several weeks long?

I have no idea where I will go from here. Indifferent Ignorance might not make ten years, and if it doesn’t that’s okay – I’m going to prioritise my health and peace of mind over a website even if it gets 10,000 independent readers a day. I might keep taking the piss out of the press; I might talk more about social issues or pay a designer for the sidebar I’ve always wanted. I’ll probably keep being disappointed when entire essays go unnoticed, but if I’d wanted to get loads of attention from people on the Internet, I’d have opened a Facebook account aged 13. I started this site with no agenda other than to carve out a platform on which I could say what I wanted, and I’m going to try to stick to that ethos. I’m grateful to everyone who is still reading, or who isn’t but used to, because it’s definitely more fun when there’s a conversation. But it’s okay if there’s not – and I’m delighted that it’s taken nearly a thousand words to say that… continuing as I mean to continue!

So have a good Halloween (or Friday, or both) and don’t accept any sweets from creeps. Unless you’re looking for a pathway to self-destruction, in which case don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Oxi Day

Today is Oxi Day in Greece, which literally means ‘no’. It’s the day in 1940 that the Greek prime minister told Mussolini ‘no you cannot invade this country’. It’s celebrated by closing up shop and firing some canons; I think it’s become a general independence day. This is a good article if you want to learn more and read a good story about WWII.

The British don’t have an independence day, mostly because Britain was usually the country other countries wanted independence from, and it’s interesting to wonder what we’d be like as people had we a different history. I mean, we’ve got the thing about annoying the French and we were Roman at one point, but as far as I can remember, the closest we’ve come to being properly taken over in recent years was WWII (I sense a theme) so I suppose the nearest we have is VE Day?

Then again, a lot of people would probably like to say that we’re now being taken over by immigrants. But I’m in a good mood, so I’m not going to get all caps lock-y about that (I mean come on. How ignorant do you have to be to blame all your troubles on asylum seekers? Okay, okay, I’m relaxing).

I’m going to get a coffee in a minute – short walk down a hill! Past some chickens! Borrow wi fi to check Facebook! This is a very metropolitan area. It’s nice to be somewhere quiet though; at home you can nearly always hear traffic and there’s light pollution everywhere so you’re never quite sure if you’re looking at the sunset or smog. There might be another Five Ways to Celebrate post tomorrow, keep an eyeball out!

A Question About Gap Years

It’s raining hard so I’ve sought shelter in a cafe with Greek-dubbed Spongebob on the telly, which is even less sensical than US-English Spongebob.

If/when the rain stops I will go ‘back to work’ ie plotting world domination via Etsy and scratching away at a fan fiction commission. It’s a nice life, even if listening to dogs bark in last night’s storm made me miss Don and Fred, although the hot water sometimes doesn’t work and I’ve eaten out so much that I will need to go for extra Pilates classes when I get back. I was taking to an English lady yesterday who did a couple of gap years between various qualifications and went to Turkey.

Got me thinking: if you guys could take off from your current life situations and go anywhere or do anything, where would you go and what would you do? Say money was no object and your families/pets/jobs were safe and secure?

Someone’s turned the TV to the news. I think it’s either about Ebola or football…

Update: football. Something about the Albania/Serbia match the other day. I think. I think it’s in Albanian. The guy talking looks very intense.

Goats in the Road…

I can see tourists looking at goats. Goats are good, they are very relaxed and like to walk down the road with you.

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Quietly reflecting today about how a) I am never running a contest again, lazy sods and b) it’s almost Halloween, and there is no evidence of it except for an olive tree I saw earlier which was decorated with a pumpkin. It was also decorated with bits of coral, so don’t get your skeleton outfits out.

Speaking of ‘holidays’, I suppose I am on one a bit since I’m sitting in a restaurant roughly 50% of my waking hours and not getting paid. But I am also planning for another one…

CHRISTMAS!

Not celebrating (Jesus, it’s not for months) but regarding my Etsy shop. I’ve been brainstorming, as they say in school, and if things go to plan there will be very cool things there soon. Think physical items, snowflakes.

But not actual snowflakes. Bit fiddly. Quite excited to get back and put my plans into action (and endlessly talk about them here) but then, England does not have goats in the road unless there has been a motorway accident involving a lorry and livestock.

Fotoblogging Sort Of

So I promised I’d gloat about how wonderful my office is.

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That is not my office, that is a view of Zante Town, which is very nice to walk around. I’m actually typing this in a restaurant but there are tourists on the next table along so I don’t want to get all YouTubery and photograph everything I can see. Plus I’m paranoid I’ll get followed home by rabid fangirls.

Well, it’s a thought, innit?

Realised this morning that it’s getting close to Halloween, which is not a thing in Greece as far as I can tell. Realised just now that Halloween is Indifferent Ignorance’s fifth birthday… Completely forgot. Awkward. I’ll do more Five Ways to Celebrate soon!

All right back to plotting world domination and wishing I hadn’t worn jeans this morning. Don’t forget to enter the Blood of Olympus contest. Even if you don’t need/want a copy, I would love to read some haikus.

A Story About a Review About Blood of Olympus, Plus the Review

A few weeks ago I was having a day of a sort of freelancer sports day, which involves logging into a load of freelancer websites and applying for as many writing or blogging briefs as possible. Usually I shy away from product review articles, because I like Indifferent Ignorance to be my own space, and because I’m terrified I’ll find myself in Private Eye’s Street of Shame column, accidentally supporting a company that promotes the Westboro Baptists or something. A few weeks ago, though, there was a brief open to review Blood of Olympus, and to get a free hardback copy of the novel.

‘Twas like Athena herself was smiling upon me.

I’d worked out, see, that I could afford either the physical or Kindle version of the novel, but probably not both – and if I ordered the physical, I wouldn’t get it until after I came home from Greece. But the gods had spoken. Or the Internet had, anyway. I applied for the brief and got it (first time ever that’s happened, although the application was 99% me gushing about how I was planning on doing a post on the book anyway).

Since I’ve now downloaded, read and had a little dance about the novel, I reckon I’d better make good on my contract. Here is the advert, which I was told to include…

…and here is the link to purchase it on Amazon. Don’t forget that your local bookshop will almost definitely contain a copy, since Uncle Rick is hot stuff in the teenage section.

Review Time

  It’s probably the best thing I’ve picked up in the last six months, and I recently started The Da Vinci Code. For what it’s worth, I reckon Uncle Rick’s writing is more engaging, and his characters are more interesting. That said, I’ve known most of them for nine other books. Dan Brown might go into more detail about history and god stuff, but Rick definitely has the edge on toilet humour – although there was a fun crossover when they both mentioned the term Pontifex, which I believe is the Pope’s Twitter handle.

In terms of the novel’s characters, some of which I care about more than I do people I actually know, most of them get what they deserve. The rest of their lives aren’t written out in a prologue, but there’s enough there that Uncle Rick could do short stories or a miniseries if he wanted (and regardless of whether he does or not, fan fiction writers will probably never be bored again). There are parts I want to read over and over and it’ll probably take another read before everything settles into my head – but when I finished it, I did not throw my Kindle across the room, which was my instinct at the end of Mark of Athena. There are no huge cliffhangers, at least not to the point where I want to march up to Uncle Rick and bop him on the nose. I’d love to pick his brain about the novel and I’d love to read short stories about certain characters more, but I’m also intrigued to see his next work. It was a solid end to two huge, detailed series, but most of all I’m jazzed that there are children reading them who have characters and plots to which they can genuinely, clearly relate. Not bad for a story about the pagan gods, huh.

I guess none of that made much sense unless you’ve read the book. Go and do it. Go.

Competition Time

  Oh, didn’t I mention that before? Well, snowflakes, the people who listed the brief also asked if reviewers would like to host a competition to win a hard copy of the book. Course I would, I said, I love my wonderful fellow readers. Apart from the shitheads who post spoilers, anyway.

So if you’d like to enter a competition to win a copy of the Blood of Olympus, please leave a review on this very site with a haiku stating what you think of people who post book spoilers online. Nothing too gross please, I’m in a good mood. But gross enough that I think ‘darling, you deserve to work in the Fields of Punishment’. One haiku per bitter person, please, and be don’t forget to include an email address. Aim to have it done by Monday 20th and I’ll pick my favourite and post the winner by Saturday 25th. The dudes who ran the brief will send you the copy directly, which is good because I’m not home for another three weeks.

Happy poetry-ing!

Portable Parlour Game of the Week: Tattoo Watch

Stories no one wants to hear: Why Francesca Can Write a Blog Post But Can’t Publish Her Blood of Olympus Review, Why Flip Flop Blisters Won’t Heal and When Another Frappe Is Too Many Frappes: A Saga.

What larks eh. You know what I like about being in a warm country? The popular parlour game Tattoo Watch. It’s free, it’s funny and the only issue is when you find a piece cute but someone you’re with thinks it makes the wearer a pillock. I’m sitting on my own, so I’m free to play covert ops behind my phone.

There’s a bloke a couple of tables away who got either a Pegasus, an eagle or a very angry sparrow on his forearm about twenty years ago. I can also see a person with what could be part of a crucifix or an upside-down sword on their shoulder blades. A few years ago my dad and I actually got binoculars out to establish whether a bloke had the Grim Reaper or the Batman logo on his back.

I can’t remember which it was.

If I ever get inked, I want something like the Fair Trade logo, which looks like tadpoles from a distance and turns out to be a little dude waving. I’ll get a cute spiral on the small of my back which up close says ‘STOP STARING, CREEP’.

Maybe not. So, who likes playing Tattoo Watch? Has anyone been an object in the game? Or have you made any really loud comments about a pice that turned out to be a skin complaint? Share your stories, snowflakes, we could make a collection of anecdotes.

A Quick Question About Getting Too Social Justice-y

Darlings,

Wifi where I am at the moment is definitely iffy, so although I can’t download Blood of Olympus to my generation one Kindle, I also can’t stumble upon any spoilers. Schrodinger’s novel I suppose.

Anyway I have an indifferent ignorance question. I’ve been chatting about the whole Tory ‘we’ll get rid of the Human Rights Act’ conference claim. I personally am not convinced that scrapping rights-based documents are a good idea – call me a hippie, but I appreciate legal equality – and I’m not convinced that the government, whoever it ends up being, will make a British bill that’s as watertight. I can just see the rich white dudes making loopholes to make deportation easier, or cheap labour more accessible, or reducing gay rights – partly because they don’t understand what it is not to have those rights and partly because they want to appease Daily Mail voters.

The people I was chatting to reckon that I’m taking the other side of the argument too seriously; believing the leftie Mail-esque rhetoric. I had never thought of that. I mean, Tumblr has a lot of those other-way-extremist viewpoints (I think they’re called ‘social justice’ bloggers?) like that ‘white people are inherently racist’ post the other week. I thought I was pretty middle of the road in terms of understanding political arguments, but have I been hoodwinked a bit? Am I just as indifferently ignorant in my own way?

My phone battery’s going and I want to sunbathe so I’m going to shut up now. It might take a while to reply to comments, but please do leave them so I’ve got some nice emails to look forward to when I’m clicking the wifi buttons and wondering if I should just use a typewriter!