I’m up to my neck right now finishing off Issue 16 of The Beestonian: for such a tiny magazine it sucks up an enormous amount of time, patience and shoe-leather. I think we’ve put together a masterpiece: you can judge for yourselves on Friday when we print and distribute.
The turmoil of the final ten days before print has a pattern; one of growing panic, coupled with a plethora of stuff happening: stuff I’d normally feel dead grateful for as it lends to me great blogging material; but it seems to dump itself into my life exactly when I’m too busy to do anything but edit submitted articles and run a legal fine-comb over the whole thing less I trigger an Oz-style lawsuit. It normally finishes on print day, where I stagger to the printers, a broken man, collect the issue and then revive myself by distributing it to our predominantly licensed distributors.
So here’s a cop-out. I’m going to do a Best Of. Yep, like the best bands do, and The Simpsons and suchlike do on telly, I’m stop-gapping with a retrospective. I can claim some mitigation here: Beestonia recently went whizzing past the 100,000 hit mark, which means that either every single man, woman and child in Beeston has read the blog around five times; I have a good chunk of regular readers here; or there are still a huge cohort of people looking for the short-lived Baltic Tourist Board site ‘Be Estonia’.
I’ve had a glance at the stats of this blog over the time i’ve been writing it: I won’t bore you with the details as I have with my girlfriend and anyone in earshot. Yet I can tell you I’ve written 222 more posts than the average blogger (223, to be precise); have had the majority of hits in the last 8 months and am a bit embarrassed to say the top search terms after the obvious (Soubry, Beeston, Wilkos) are ‘ EVIL CATS’; ‘KYLIE PENTALOW’ and ‘JIMMY SAVILE SHAKING HANDS WITH PETER SUTCLIFFE’.
So before I link to my favourite three posts, I best explain why that search entry is so popular. When Saville died, and I assumed he was, like, not evil; and as such found a clip where he fixed it for a little Beeston boy to meet Luke Skywalker on the set of The Empire Strikes Back. Perfectly innocent. I also stuck up a rare and forgotten photo of Saville, Sutcliffe and Frank Bruno:
I can’t recall how I found the photo: was something I remember seeing many years ago and managed to source. Yet very soon after posting it, the Savile scandal broke, and the BBC broadcast Have I Got News For You, which had the host, Alexander Armstrong, put up the picture as something ‘found on the internet’. Within twenty minutes of broadcast, I’d had 250 hits on that article, which swelled to ten times that amount with a day. So yes. The most popular post in three years of writing has been one that, as an afterthought, had a picture of a hideous abuser, a multiple murderer and a mentally troubled boxer thrown in.
It may have cribbed me most hits for a piece, but it doesn’t really shout ‘Beestonia!’, does it? So over the next five days, I’m counting down in reverse order the bits I’ve written I’m most happy with. Indulge me. I just hit six figures. I’m busy. Possibly insecure. I seek your approval.
So in at Number Five! It’s Theresa Lou. It’s no longer actually viewable on Beestonia: it was my first hit and, as such, had to flee the nest as it became far too big. I deal in polemics, politics and whimsy: Theresa Lou was a different entity whatsoever.
You probably haven’t read it if you’ve found this blog within the last three years. When I wrote it, I had maybe 50 readers per article. Theresa Lou went viral, for a short period, and was snapped up by Radio 4 and is still awaiting production as a play: yet I hold no hopes of it coming off ice and into development. It was fun while it lasted, it got people to come to the blog, and it gave me confidence to carry on.
Before you click the link, a warning. The whole thing is HUGE. It’s little more than a transcript of conversations I had with a Malaysian scammer while (mainly) drunk over the Christmas and New Year of 2009/2010, so will take up your time. I still have people approach me to tell me how much they love it: and I’m not going to stick up any false modesty here although I never embarked on the whole thing for public consumption. It was only after mentioning a couple of exchanges on Facebook was I persuaded to publish it on-line: it then span into madness and lots and lots of readers.
Put the kettle on. This is my War and Peace compared to the normal Mills and Boon I churn out. But with sofas stuffed with cash, goat sacrifices and promises of fire engines. Comfy? Then click here…