Friday, 21 January 2011

Doing the Wrong Thing

Douglas Quaid: Where am I?
Johnnycab: You're in a Johnnycab.
Douglas Quaid: I mean, what am I doing here?
Johnnycab: I'm sorry. Would you please rephrase the question?
Douglas Quaid: How did I get in this taxi?
Johnnycab: The door opened. You got in. Hell of a day, isn't it?
[Johnnycab rolls his eyes]

-Doug Quaid (Arnold Schwarzeneggar) tries to back-track- with the aid of a robotic taxi driver- in Paul Verhoven's Sci-Fi gem, Total Recall.

You may not have found this blog via a robot-driven taxi straight from the ghettos of Mars, but it seems Arnie has. Sorta. Other people have still found themselves on these pages- albeit in the reading sense- by very more normal ways.

I've manually syndicated this blog's content to a variety of blogging websites, and I'm aware that my Blogger site ( receives only a fraction of my exposure. However, Blogger has a fascinating “Stats” page (Well, it's fascinating to me. Jesus Christ) that tells me how many readers I have- and more.

On my stats page I can now see where people are finding this blog. Recently I've been slamming comments on loads of other sites, and doing this on big blog names like has provided a chunk of traffic all of a sudden. I'm also listed on , sort of a scrolling slideshow of blogs from around the world. Where the hell they found mine, I've no idea.

At the bottom of the page, blogger tells me the key search terms that people have used, and hence stumbled across my insane scribblings. Three people wanted to read some “whisky poetry.” I expect I did not disappoint. One person, bizzarely, googled “poem I am a lighthouse”. I Am A Lighthouse is a poem written by guest writer Lynn Myint-Maung, and appears on this blog. It couldn't have been her searching, because I gave the poem the title after she'd given me the text.

The strangest search term was “better business bureau complaints against p&e construction”, something I have never written about. What's p&e?

Aw, shit, I have now. Here comes more of the same.

I have also never written about the need to “think like a mushroom”, although that phrase did bring someone to my site. Perhaps they were looking for this story over at Mel Bosworth's Lit magazine Flash Fire 500, and home to my first publishing acceptance...

Moral of the story? Comment, comment, comment. If you want traffic to your blog, comment loads on really popular blogs and provide a URL for them to follow. And say something funny or unusual. Not that I'm a social media guru or anything, but I've read from those that ARE, like Denise Wakeman, that commenting is how readers find you. I'd agree.

Moving on. Last week saw the demise of a legendary Manchester haunt. Brannigans, on Peter Street, has closed its doors forever after parent company Cougar Leisure Ltd went into administration. I have fond memories of working there in 2003, when 50 Cent's In Da Club had just dropped and Brannigans' DJ helped mainstream radio to overplay the song until no-one could stand it any longer. I also remember cleaning out the supposedly-haunted church- the club itself was set up in the basement of the building at street level. There was a rumour that, a few decades ago, a minister had gone insane and raped a child on the altar, and his ghost still resides in the dilapidated room. Before I worked there, people had told me about glasses flying off the shelves while the staff were cleaning up. (I never saw anything like that happen. One or two might have been thrown by customers, but only rarely.)

I cleaned out the church only once. It was a proud moment, being an iconic part of Manchester. Only a few weeks previous to this, TV ghost-hunter Derek Acorah had presented his show from Brannigans and had become possessed by “Godfrey Parks.”

As you can tell, it was laughable shit (as these ghost shows always are) but Brannigans has always had a connection with the paranormal. I heard the odd clunking noise during my cleaning task, but I put it down to central heating. In a church. That hasn't been used for, what, thirty years...

In other Manchester-related news, you may have heard that the beautiful Jennifer Grace Cook has arrived in town with a mission: to find a husband in twelve months.

Ms Cook, 44, whose script “Joy” was made into a 2009 rom-com movie, has jumped the pond from LA to visit the coolest city on Earth and is now checking out Manchester in search of a “noble man.” I tweeted her to ask if 28 was too young. “Very funny,” she replied. “It's all relative, my dear.”

As Jim Carrey says in Dumb and Dumber, “So you're tellin' me there's a chance!?”

Jennifer, I'd like to welcome you to this fantastic city. If you don't find a man out here, well, then there really is no hope. But I'm sure you will.

If you' like to see how Jennifer is getting on with her quest, check out her blog here:

Or see her Twitter:!/jenngracecook

Celebrity update- I got a reply on Twitter from none other than the lovely Natasha Nice. Y'know. From “the industry.” She's awesome.

I've finished reading Don DeLillo's Libra. It's one of the best novels I've ever read. A semi-fictional biography of Lee Harvey Oswald, the book follows three CIA agents as they devise and execute what was intended to be a failed assassination attempt on John F Kennedy, with the intention of scaring him into attacking Cuba. As we know, it didn't go to plan. The fall guy they set up- a downtrodden ex-army guy who happens to be Oswald, they coerce and utterly betray. Very convincing, with a surprising plot and beautiful descriptions throughout. Without DeLillo, there is no James Ellroy and no Bret Easton Ellis.

Finally, I'd like to inform you that none of this officially matters. No, nothing I say has any relevance. Do you know why? Because I didn't vote in the bi-election. I got there too late on the day. So my opinions on everything are null and void for the next two bastard years. I was going to vote Lib Dem, even though they've been pretty much forced into breaking all their promises by the archaically-minded Tory party. I was massively conflicted. I should have taken the advice of deceased Northern Ireland politician Brian Faulkner.

“You can do three things in Irish politics,” Faulkner once said. “The right thing, the wrong thing or nothing at all. I've always thought it's best to do the wrong thing than nothing at all.”

I can't even comment on this.

1 comment:

Jason said...

I have a habit of commenting on people's blogs that have little to no comments. I figure it just makes them feel better. I post comments on more popular sites but I typically get back a few hits that spend 0 seconds on my site. It probably means that my site is boring, but I'm not changing it. It makes me happy.