Saturday, January 17, 2015

Trevor "Dozy" Ward-Davies R.I.P.

Mick, Beaky, Tich, Dave Dee, and Dozy
Trevor Ward-Davies (better known by his nickname "Dozy"), bassist for the legendary British rock band Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, died on January 13 2015 at the age of 70. The cause was cancer.

Trevor Ward-Davies was born on November 27 1944 in Enford, Wiltshire. He attended the County Secondary Modern School in Durrington, Wiltshire. He was only thirteen years old when he saw Buddy Holly and The Crickets perform in Salisbury. He started out playing an acoustic bass before moving on to an electric bass guitar. He joined The Beatniks, which featured guitarist Ian “Tich” Amey.

It was by 1961 that both Dozy and Tich had joined the band Ronnie Blonde and the Bostons. In addition to its lead vocalist Ronnie Blonde, the band featured rhythm guitarist John "Beaky" Dymond, guitarist David "Dave Dee" Harman, and drummer Stan Poole. After Ronnie Blonde left the band, Dave Dee took over lead vocals and the group became known as "Dave Dee and the Bostons". The band played dates in the Salisbury area and even performed in Hamburg and Cologne. It was after Dave Dee and the Bostons returned from Hamburg that drummer Stan Poole left due to family commitments. He was replaced on drums by Michael "Mick" Wilson. The band was now Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich in all but name.

It was in 1964 that songwriters Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley took an interest in recording the band.  Messrs. Howard and Blaikley changed the band's name to Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich in order to stress the members' individuality. They also arranged a recording session with legendary producer Joe Meek, which proved unsuccessful. Despite this they were signed to a recording contract with Fontana Records.

The band's first two singles ("No Time" and "All I Want") failed to chart, but their third single "You Make It Move" hit #26 on the UK singles chart. Their fourth single proved to be an international hit. "Hold Tight!" went to #4 on the UK singles chart, #21 on the Australian singles chart, #4 on the German singles chart, and #8 on the New Zealand singles chart. Ultimately Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich would have a string of international hits, including "Bend It!", "Save Me", "Touch Me, Touch Me", "Zabadak!", "The Legend of Xanadu", and   "Last Night in Soho" among others. In the Sixties Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich ultimately spent more time on the UK singles chart than The Beatles. The band was phenomenally popular in Germany as well.

Despite their success in the United Kingdom and Europe, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich saw little chart success in the United States or Canada. In the United States only  "Zabadak!" reached the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at number 52. "Bend It" (whose lyrics were considerable objectionable by most American radio stations) only went to #110 and "Last Night in Soho" to #123.  Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich did a little better in Canada, where five singles actually charted. In Canada "Zabadak!"went to #1 and "The Legend of Xanadu" to #10. While Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich saw less success in North America than they did the United Kingdom or Europe, they did develop a cult following in both Canada and the U.S.

The band also released several albums in the Sixties, including Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & TichIf Music Be the Food of Love... Then Prepare for Indigestion; What's in a Name; If No One Sang; DDDBM&T; and Together.  Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich's early work was written almost entirely by Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley, although starting with their second album If Music Be the Food of Love... Then Prepare for Indigestion the band began contributing their own songs.

It was in September 1969 that Dave Dee left the band to pursue a solo career. The band continued as DBMT. It was under that name they released the album Fresh Ear. The album produced their last top forty single in the UK, "Mr. President" (which went to #33 on the singles chart). The band continued to release singles until they broke up in 1972. Dozy, Beaky and Tich regrouped in 1974 and were joined by Pete Lucas of The Troggs. They performed gigs at small clubs under the name "Tracker".  It was in 1976 that DBMT regrouped with Pete Lucas on guitar and Beaky on drums.

DBMT would be reunited with Dave Dee, resulting in the 1983 single "Staying With It". The band would continue to this day with various changes in its membership. John "Beaky" Dymond left in 1989 and returned in 2013. Dave Dee died in 2009. Through it all, however, Dozy and Tich remained with the band.

Dozy also performed as part of a country and western duo called Woodsmoke. He also continued to write songs.

While Dave Dee received much of the attention surrounding Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich in the Sixties, there can be no doubt that Dozy and Tich were the heart of the band. They were the only members to remain with the group for its entire history. What is more, Trevor "Dozy" Ward-Davies made significant contributions to the band. The success of Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich's hook-laden singles depended largely upon their rhythm section, and Dozy's talent as a bassist never failed them. Dozy also sang lead on various album tracks and provided harmonies on nearly all of the band's songs. He wrote on many of the band's songs as well. The simple fact is that without Dozy, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich probably would not have been possible.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Cavern Club Owner Ray McFall Passes On

Ray McFall, the one time owner of the Cavern Club in Liverpool who booked The Beatles there, died on 8 January 2015 at the age of 88.

Ray McFall was born on 14 November 1926 in Gartson, Lancashire (now Merseyside), in the southern part of Liverpool. His family eventually moved to the town of Maghull, Lancashire (now Merseyside) just north of Liverpool. He attended  St Mary’s Roman Catholic College in Crosby, Lancashire (now Merseyside). During World War II he served as a Bevin Boy at the Clock Face Colliery in St. Helens, Lancashire (now Merseyside). He later went to work as a clerk at an accountancy firm.

It was on 16 January 1957 that stock broker and jazz aficionado Alan Sytner opened the Cavern Club at 10, Mathew Street in Liverpool. Mr. Synter drew inspiration from the jazz club Le Caveau De La Huchette in Paris and planned for the Cavern Club to become the premiere jazz club outside of London. While the Cavern Club was a jazz club under Alan Sytner, skiffle groups did play at the venue as well. Among these groups were the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group, with whom Ringo Starr is believed to made his debut at the Cavern Club in 1957. The Quarry Men, the skiffle/rock 'n' roll group that would evolve into The Beatles, also played at the Cavern Club while it was owned by Alan Sytner.

Unfortunately, Alan Sytner could not make the Cavern Club turn a profit, despite booking such acts as blues legend Big Bill Broonzy, saxophonist Ronnie Scott, and Acker Bilk and his band. At the time Ray McFall handled the Cavern Club's finances and also worked part time as a cashier there. Ray McFall then bought the Cavern Club from Alan Synter for  £2,750. Mr. Sytner then left to manage yhe Marquee Jazz Club in London. The first night with Mr. McFall as owner featured blues legends Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee on the bill.

Ray McFall continued to regularly book jazz acts at the Cavern Club, but soon realised that if the club was going to make any money he would have to take advantage of the "Beat Boom" that had swept the Mersey area in the late Fifties and early Sixties. It was then on 20 November 1959 that Rory Storm and the Hurricanes, with Ringo Starr on drums, first played the Cavern Club. While the Cavern Club hosted Liverpool's first jazz festival on 6 January 1960, then, it held its first "beat night" on  25 May 1960 (featuring Rory Storm and the Hurricanes again). It was on 9 February 1961 that The Beatles first performed at the Cavern Club.

Ray McFall was very impressed by The Beatles, although he did not approve of the way they dressed. Fresh from their performances in Hamburg, The Beatles still dressed in leather jackets and blue jeans, and blue jeans were not allowed in the Cavern Club. Mr. McFall said, "I felt that if people were wearing good, clean clothes, they would be more likely to behave themselves, as they wouldn’t want them getting dirty and damaged." Fortunately the dress code was not an insurmountable obstacle for The Beatles and they would return to the Cavern Club. It was on 21 February 1961 that they played their first lunch time gig at the Cavern Club. By 3 August 1963, the date of their last performance at the club, The Beatles had performed there 292 times.

Not only would the Cavern Club help establish The Beatles as the Liverpool beat band, it was on  9 November 1961 that Brian Epstein visited the club to see the band about which he had heard so much. Mr. Epstein would become the band's manager and would eventually get them a recording contract with Parlophone  Records, a division of EMI. It was on 19 August 1962 that Granada Television filmed The Beatles' lunchtime performance at the Cavern Club. It would be The Beatles' first appearance on television.

Ray McFall's eye for talent extended beyond The Beatles, so that he booked many other soon to be famous Liverpool bands at the Cavern Club. The Searchers, Gerry and The Pacemakers, The Swinging Blue Jeans, Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders, and The Scaffold all played at the Cavern Club. Ray McFall also booked some legendary acts from beyond the Mersey area, including Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated, The Hollies, The Kinks, and The Who.

At the height of its success the Cavern Club even had its own weekly show broadcast live from the club on Radio Luxembourg. Ray McFall would even found his own short lived recording label, Cavern Sound Recording, with a recording studio installed in the club.

In the wake of Beatlemania, The Beatles became too popular for the Cavern Club. It was after their last performance on 3 August 1963 that the club's fortunes began to falter. While the Cavern Club was still extremely popular, it was also increasingly in debt. Ray McFall declared bankruptcy and the Cavern Club closed on 28 February 1966. It would reopen under new management on 25 October 1966 and remained open until March 1973. It would later be reopened as the Cavern Club on 26 April 1984. It would close again in 1989, but was reopened in 1991 by its current owners.

After having owned the Cavern Club Ray McFall and his family moved to Balham in South London. He sold insurance and later adding machines. He eventually went to work for a home furnishings company. In 1999 he retired.

There can be no doubt that Ray McFall played a pivotal role in rock music history. He certainly played a pivotal role in the history of The Beatles. In signing them to play the Cavern Club the gave The Beatles exposure that they might not otherwise have. It was at the Cavern Club that their soon to be manager Brian Epstein first saw The Beatles and at the Cavern Club that their first ever television appearance was recorded. While The Beatles' success at the Cavern Club certainly added fuel to the Beat Boom in the United Kingdom, Ray McFall would further help the Beat Boom by showcasing other bands at the Cavern Club.
The Searchers, Gerry and The Pacemakers, Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders, and other Liverpool area Beat groups all performed at the Cavern Club. Still later such bands as The Kinks and The Who would also play at the Club. The Cavern Club then played a major role in the Beat Boom beyond being The Beatles' regular venue. Of course, the Beat Boom would eventually lead to the British Invasion of America. The rest, as they say, is history. In the end, then,  Ray McFall would be one of the most influential club owners of all time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Anita Ekberg R.I.P.

Anita Ekberg, the Sixties sex symbol who gained fame for her romp in the Trevi Fountain in La Dolce Vita (1960), died 11 January 2015 at the age of 83.

Anita Ekberg was born on 29 September 1931 in Malmö, Skåne, Sweden. As a young woman she worked as a fashion model. It was in 1950 that she entered the Miss Malmö beauty pageant at her mother's insistence. She went on to win the title of Miss Sweden and to compete in the Miss Universe pageant in the United States in 1951. While she did not win the tile of Miss Universe, she was signed to a contract with Universal Pictures.

Miss Ekberg made her film debut in an uncredited role as a Maid of Honour in The Mississippi Gambler (1953). She appeared in bit parts in the films Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953), Take Me to Town (1953), and The Golden Blade (1953). Her first role of any significance was a guest appearance on the television show Private Secretary in 1953. In 1955 she received her first significant role in a  film, as a Chinese woman in Blood Alley (1955).

For the remainder of the Fifties she appeared in such films as Artists and Models (1955), War and Peace (1956), Hollywood or Bust (1956), Zarak (1956), Interpol (1957),  Paris Holiday (1958), Screaming Mimi (1958), and Nel segno di Roma (1959--known in English as Sheba and the Gladiator). It was in 1960 that she made her star-making appearance in La Dolce Vita as Sylvia, the movie star and dream woman of Marcello Mastroianni's Marcello Rubini. The film catapulted Anita Ekberg to international fame as a sex symbol. That same year she appeared in the films Apocalisse sul fiume giallo (1960), Le tre eccetera del colonnello (1960), and Anonima cocottes (1960). She also appeared on television in the late Fifties, making a guest appearance on Casablanca.

The early Sixties would arguably be the peak of Anita Ekberg's career. She appeared in the anthology film Boccaccio '70 (1962) in the segment directed by  Federico Fellini), "Le tentazioni del dottor Antonio".  She also appeared in the Bob Hope vehicle Call Me Bwana (1963) and she co-starred with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Ursula Andress in the Western 4 for Texas (1963). She appeared in Frank Tashlin's The Alphabet Murders (1965), the Jerry Lewis comedy Way.. Way Out (1967), and If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium (1969) as well. She also appeared in such films as I mongoli (1961--The Mongols), Bianco, rosso, giallo, rosa (1964--known in English as The Love Factory), Il cobra (1967--known in English as The Cobra), Malenka (1969), and Il divorzio (1970--known in English as The Divorce). She appeared on television in Federico Fellini's The Clowns in 1970.

With the Seventies Anita Ekberg's career slowed considerably. She appeared in the films Northeast of Seoul (1972), Casa d'appuntamento (1972--known in English as The French Sex Murders), La lunga cavalcata della vendetta (1972--known in English as The Deadly Trackers), Anno Schmidt (1974), Suor Omicidi (1979--known in English as The Killer Nun), and S+H+E: Security Hazards Expert (1980).

In the Eighties she appeared in the films Cicciabomba (1982) and Dolce pelle di Angela (1986), as well as the mini-series Quando ancora non c'erano i Beatles. She appeared as herself in Federico Fellini's Intervista in 1997. In the Nineties she appeared in the films Il conte Max (1991), Cattive ragazze (1992), Ambrogio (1992), Bámbola (1996). and Le nain rouge (1998). Her last appearance on screen was in the Italian TV drama Il bello delle donne in 2002.

Anita Ekberg was not necessarily the greatest of actresses. Aside from her famous role in La Dolce Vita most people would be hard pressed to name her most impressive performances. That having been said, she was perhaps a better actress than many gave her credit for being. What Anita Ekberg brought to her roles was a sense of honesty, a sense of openness. This was on full display in her turn as Helene in War and Peace, it was on display in Paris Holiday, and it was on display in La Dolce Vita. Indeed, it must be pointed out that only an actress with some talent could have brought off the scene at Trevi Fountain--the success of that scene cannot be credited to Federico Fellini's direction alone. It is true Anita Ekberg was not Ingrid Bergman or Audrey Hepburn, but then she did not have to be. She had enough talent to insure that she'll always be remembered.

Monday, January 12, 2015

He Did Quite a Good Job: The Late Great Brian Clemens

It was on a rainy Sunday afternoon when I was five or six years old that I discovered a television show that was new to me. The show featured a dapper Englishman, who wore a bowler hat and carried an umbrella, and a beautiful woman skilled in the martial arts. The two of them battled diabolical masterminds and criminal conspiracies, often of a fantastic nature. That show was The Avengers and it became my favourite show on television. It has remained so ever since.

I am not sure which rerun of The Avengers I saw that afternoon, but I am thinking that it was probably "The House That Jack Built". That episode, like many others, was written by the show's associate producer Brian Clemens. Although The Avengers originated with legendary producer Sydney Newman, it was largely Brian Clemens who shaped the show as we now know it. He was with the show at its beginning, writing some of its earliest episodes before becoming its associate producer in 1965 and later a full fledged producer in 1967.

Sadly, Brian Clemens died this past Saturday, 10 January 2015 at the age of 83. According to his son, Samuel Clemens, the very last thing Brian Clemens did was watch an episode of The Avengers. His last words were, " I did quite a good job." And there is no denying that Mr. Clemens did do quite a good job. Short of Doctor Who, The Avengers may well be the most popular British show of all time. In addition to The Avengers, he also produced The New Avengers and The Professionals, and wrote episodes of everything from Danger Man to Remington Steele. He also wrote the classic Hammer films Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971) and Kronos (1974).

Brian Clemens OBE was born on 30 July 1931 in Croydon, Surrey. It was when he was only five years old that he decided he wanted to be a writer. He was ten years old when his father bought him a typewriter, and he sold his first short story when he was only 12. It would seem that writing runs in the Clemens family, as Brian Clemens was related to Mark Twain himself, Samuel Clemens.

Brian Clemens left school at age 14. He fulfilled his National Service as a weapons training instructor in the British Army, stationed at Aldershot, Hampshire. Afterwards he went to work as a messenger boy for the J Walter Thompson advertising agency, where he eventually worked his way up to the position of copywriter. It was while he was a copywriter at J. Walter Thompson that he submitted a play to the BBC, "Valid for Single Journey Only" (1955). The play brought Brian Clemens to the attention of Edward J. Danziger and Harry Lee Danziger, the two brothers best known for producing low budget films. Over the next few years Brian Clemens wrote such films as The Betrayal (1957),  Operation Murder (1957), The Depraved (1957), Three Crooked Men (1958), .A Woman Possessed (1958),  Great Van Robbery (1959), The Tell-Tale Heart (1960), and others for the Danzigers. He also wrote several episodes of their TV series The Vise, White Hunter, and Man from Interpol. In the Fifties Mr. Clemens also wrote other material beyond the films and TV shows he wrote for the Danzigers. He wrote three episodes of The New Adventures of Martin Kane, six episodes of Dial 999, and two episodes of The Invisible Man.

While Brian Clemens continued as a staff writer for the Danzigers into the early Sixties. his big break came when he wrote the first episode of the legendary spy show Danger Man, "View from the Villa", which aired in 1960. He wrote several more episodes of Danger Man in its first series. He also wrote episodes of such shows as Top Secret, The CheatersSir Francis Drake, and Man of the World.

He also co-wrote the teleplay for the first episode The Avengers, "Hot Snow",with Ray Rigby (it was based on a story by Patrick Brawn). At this point the show centred on Dr. David Keel (Ian Hendry), a police surgeon swept into a world of intrigue by the mysterious John Steed (Patrick Macnee). Ian Hendry left The Avengers after its first series and was replaced by Honor Blackman as Mrs. Cathy Gale and Venus Smith (Julie Stevens). The latter only lasted for one series. While Mr. Clemens wrote only one more episode during The Avengers' first two series, he became a regular contributor to the show with its third series (the last to feature Cathy Gale). It was during the third series of The Avengers that Brian Clemens and the other writers further refined the show as it would come to be known--a blend of tongue in cheek humour with witty dialogue and often fantastic plots.

It was with the fourth series of The Avengers (the first to feature Dame Diana Rigg as Emma Peel) that Brian Clemens became an associate producer on the show. As the show's associate producer Brian Clemens further refined the show until it was the perfect blend of British upper class wit, sex appeal, diabolical masterminds, and fantastic plots. It was with the show's fifth series (the last with Emma Peel) that Mr. Clemens became a full-fledged producer on the show, a position he maintained except for a brief period between the fifth and sixth series when he and fellow producer Albert Fennel were replaced by John Bryce. In his time with The Avengers Brian Clemens wrote some of the show's most iconic episodes, including "Build a Better Mousetrap", "A Touch of Brimstone", "How to Succeed.... at Murder", and "Epic".

While working on The Avengers Brian Clemens continued to write for other shows as well, including The Protectors, ITV Sunday Night Drama, Love Story, Intrigue, Adam Adamant Lives!, The Baron, and The Champions. In addition to his work for the Danzigers, he also wrote the films Station Six-Sahara (1963), Curse of the Voodoo (1965), The Corrupt Ones (1967), and And Soon the Darkness (1970).

The Seventies saw Brian Clemens write two movies for Hammer films now regarded as cult classics: Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971) and Kronos (1974). He also wrote the films Blind Terror (1971), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973),  and The Watcher in the Woods (1980). On television he served as the producer on the sequel to The Avengers, The New Avengers. He also wrote several of the show's episodes. Mr. Clemens created the sitcom My Wife Next Door and wrote several of its episodes. He also created and produced the action/adventure series The Professionals and wrote many of its episodes. Although sometimes criticised for its violence and sexism, The Professionals proved to be successful both in the United Kingdom and internationally. It ran for five series. He also wrote the majority of the British TV series  Thriller, as well as the failed American pilot Escapade (a proposed series loosely inspired by The Avengers).  He wrote episodes of the TV shows The Persuaders, The Adventurer, Suspicion, The Wide World of Mystery, Quiller,and The Expert.

In the Eighties Brian Clemens continued work on The Professionals. He also wrote episodes of Darkroom, Begerac, Fox Mystery Theatre, Remington Steele, The Secret Servant, Worlds Beyond, the revival of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Blaues Blut.

In the Nineties Brian Clemens wrote the story for the film Highlander II: The Quickening (1991) as well as the screenplay for the feature film Justine: A Private Affair (1995). On television he created and served as executive producer of The Professionals reboot CI5: The New Professionals and wrote several of its episodes. He co-created the TV series Bugs with Brian Eastman and Stuart Doughty. He also wrote episodes of the shows Father Dowling Mysteries, Highlander, and The Wrong Side of the Rainbow, as well as writing several of the "Perry Mason" TV movies. In the Naughts he wrote the TV movie McBride: Fallen Idol and the story for the TV movie Jane Doe: How to Fire Your Boss. He was most recently working with his sons George and Samuel Clemens on the film The Still.

In addition to producing TV shows and writing both TV shows and feature films, Brian Clemens also directed the film Kronos. He wrote several plays as well, including a stage version of The Avengers in 1971 (with Terence Feeley), Shock! (1971), Edge of Darkness (1975), All About Murder (1982), Inside Job (1993), and  Murder Hunt (2008).

It is quite possible that Brian Clemens had more impact on me than any other television writer. The Avengers was one of the first shows of which I can say I was aware and the first British show I ever watched with any regularity. Along with The Beatles, The Who, and knowing that I was English in descent from an early age, The Avengers is largely responsible for the fact that I am an incurable Anglophile. The Avengers also had an impact on my tastes in television shows. Not only do I tend to prefer British shows to American shows, but I tend to like action shows with tongue in cheek humour and a skewed sense of reality best. It should be little wonder that Brian Clemens, along with Rod Serling and Gene Roddenberry, was one of the first television actors of which I was aware and he was the first of which I can say I was truly a fan. Indeed, it is quite possible that if it was not for The Avengers and Brian Clemens, I might not even be a writer.

As to what made Brian Clemens such a great television writer (not to mention as to why he had such an impact on me), I would say it was a number of factors. He had a knack for creating memorable characters. John Steed and Emma Peel from The Avengers, as well as Cowley, Doyle, and Bodie from The Professionals, have achieved iconic status for a reason. He also had a knack for creating very original plots, whether it was a modern day version of the Hellfire Club in the Avengers episode "A Touch of Brimstone" or a bet made by a man that he can vanish from the face of the earth in the Protectors episode "Disappearing Trick" Mr. Clemens could create plots that quite unlike those typically seen on television shows. Of course, if Brian Clemens had a talent for creating original plots, much of it was perhaps due to the fact that he had a talent for taking concepts and turning them on their heads. With the movie Kronos he created a vampire movie that takes place almost entirely in daylight and plays out like a spaghetti Western. With Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde he came up with the revolutionary idea of making Hyde a beautiful woman. Perhaps more than any other television writer of his time, Brian Clemens could take ideas and entirely turn them inside out.

The sheer quality of most of Brian Clemens's work is even more amazing when one considers how prolific he was. He wrote around thirty episodes of The Avengers alone. He also wrote several episodes of several other shows, as well as many plays and feature films. Working for the Danzigers, it was not unusual for him to produce as many as five movies a year. That most of his TV show episodes and feature films turned out extremely well, then, is a testament to his talent as a writer.

Given the fact that he produced The Avengers and The Professionals, not to mention that he wrote for several other shows, it should come as no surprise that Brian Clemens was very influential.  Mark Gatiss, who co-created Sherlock with Steven Moffat, has cited Mr. Clemens as an influence. Not only did The Avengers (along with Danger Man) lead to such further adventure shows in the Sixties as Man in a Suitcase, Adam Adamant Lives!, The Champions, and Department S, but more recent shows as far afield as Scarecrow and Mrs. KingXena: Warrior Princess, Alias, and many others. Beyond The Avengers, it seems likely that the entire "monster hunter" genre so popular today--from Constantine to Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Supernatural--can be traced back to Kronos in 1974. Ultimately, Brian Clemens may have had so much influence on pop culture in the Anglosphere that it would be impossible to list every single TV show, movie, book, or comic book that felt the impact of his work. When Brian Clemens said, "I did quite a good job", he may have made an major understatement.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The Famous 2500th Post

On 4 June 2014 A Shroud of Thoughts tuned 10 years old. Today I am making my 2500th post, this post. To be honest, both milestones have me a bit gobsmacked. When I first started the blog about ten and a half years ago I never dreamed I would be writing it for so long or that I would produce so many posts. I know of only a handful of blogs that have reached or are close to reaching the 10 year mark (I discussed them the other day). I have no idea how many blogs have reached 2500 posts.

As to how A Shroud of Thoughts has survived about 10  and a half years and 2500 posts, I think most bloggers worth their salt could do it. I think more than anything else it simply a case of making a commitment to one's blog. When I first started A Shroud of Thoughts I decided that I would write a minimum of three posts a week. My reason for doing so is that I had noticed too many blogs in 2004 that only had a post every so many weeks or even months, and yet others that had apparently abandoned. I did not want my blog to go that route so I settled upon three posts a week as a means of keeping A Shroud of Thoughts alive. For the past ten years, then, I have made at least three posts a week. I won't say that every single one of the posts was necessarily good--I rather suspect many of them were probably rubbish--but at least I wrote something. As Nora Roberts once said, "I can fix a bad page, but I can’t fix a blank one.”

Of course, to maintain three posts a week one also has to blog when, well, he or she really does not feel like blogging. In the past ten and a half years I have written in the wake of a fairly bad break up, problems at work, the loss of  a job, and the death of my best friend, not to mention various bouts of the cold, flu, and other illnesses. During such periods I generally only produced three to four posts a week, but at no point did I stop blogging. In some respects, at least for the serious blogger, I guess blogging is a bit like a regular job--one can take a few days off, but at no point can one afford to stop for weeks at a time.

Beyond my own commitment to A Shroud of Thoughts, I think the other thing that has allowed the blog to last so long is simply its readers. I feel like I have been very fortunate to have faithful readers who have followed the blogs for quite some time, some of them from its earliest years. There aren't necessarily a lot of them--A Shroud of Thoughts is hardly The Huffington Post--but there are enough that it makes me feel that writing this blog has been worthwhile. I don't know if the blog would have lasted as long as it has if not for the loyalty of my readers. I certainly appreciate them!

To wrap this post up, then, I would like to thank the many of you who have read A Shroud of Thoughts over the years, as well as my fellow bloggers who have offered their support over the years. I honestly don't think the blog would have achieved 2500 posts without you!