"Ten years of being insensitive to trends"

pool eight ball kvadrat

You can accuse me of many things, but being sensitive to trends is not one of them. Running a website dedicated to gothic country music isn't very trendy. To be honest, this isn't a 24/7 job covering breaking news and an endless stream of upcoming events. The best days have come and gone. I like to see myself as a part of a stay-behind operation. I'm collecting information and filling in the historical gaps, documenting for posterity, keeping imposters and fakers out, and waiting for the liberation to come. And, in the meantime, writing impertinent things and speaking truth to power. I'm a private person. I like to remain anonymous and protect myself from the followers of this cult. My avatar is Mik Ezdanitoff. He appeared in Flight 714 and helped Tintin, Captain Haddock and their friends to escape. Mik Ezdanitoff is the editor for the magazine "Space-Week" and mediator between Earth and extraterrestrial influences. Flight 714 is one of the touchstones that shaped my view of the world. Nowadays, we resemble each other. I didn't see that coming. I launched the website on March 1, 2014, which is exactly ten years ago. The first blog entry I posted had the dramatic title "So it begins...". Since then I have posted an anniversary blog post every year. The second blog post (2015) had the expectantly title "So it continues...". Here, I discussed the past, present and future for the site. The third blog post (2016) had the prosaic title "And so it goes on and on and on and on and on...". Here, I did some merciless following up on ambitions and promises. The fourth blog post (2017) had the patronizing title "The necessity of content gardening". Here, I stated that a website, with proper content gardening, could live forever. The fifth blog post (2018) had the technical title "Ratchet effect through organic growth”. Here, I speculated how web indexing and algorithms drove traffic to unprecedented levels. The sixth blog post (2019) had the glorifying title "5 years and 100 000 hits". Here, I rattled off statistics lengthwise and crosswise. The seventh blog post (2020) had the dutiful title "The show must go on". Here, I concluded that the responsibilities I have towards society are too important to be calling it quits. The eight blog post (2021) had the explanatory title "7 is the number following 6 and preceding 8". Here, I complained about muddling through in the time of the pandemic. The ninth blog post (2022) had the cheerful title "Eight is great". Here, I made some random remarks. The tenth blog post (2023) had the rhyming title "Nine is fine". Today, it's time to summarize the last year in a blog post. The visitor counter indicates 261 578.

Assessment

Executive summary: The website has operated successfully for the last ten years. New content has been added with regularity and to a sufficient degree without any deterioration in quality. The website is in need of a minor review, primarly with the intent on updating existing pages and removal of dead links. A plan for this has been developed and implemented. Minor disruptancies in the operation of the website have occured, but this haven't affected production or quality. The coming year we will see a strong focus on content and the management and development of the site.  

Visitor statistics

To go from zero to 260 000 visitors took 3 637 days. The site didn't have many visits from start. Then the web indexing and Google algorithms began to kick in. The average number of days to reach another 10 000 visitors has normally been around 130-140. The last year has been a record year. More than 40 000 visitors during the last year. All time high.  

 

Hits Date Days Total
10 000 2014-11-20 264 264
20 000 2015-07-05 227 491
30 000 2016-03-05 244 735
40 000 2016-10-21 230 965
50 000 2017-04-09 170 1 135
60 000 2017-08-18 131 1 266
70 000 2018-01-09 144 1 410
80 000 2018-05-19 130 1 540
90 000 2018-10-06 140 1 680
100 000 2019-02-17 134 1 814
110 000 2019-07-16 149 1 963
120 000 2020-01-03 171 2 134
130 000 2020-05-03 141 2 275
140 000 2020-10-10 140 2 415
150 000 2021-02-20 133 2 548
160 000 2021-06-14 114 2 662
170 000 2021-09-22 100 2 762
180 000 2022-01-27 127 2 889
190 000 2022-05-24 117 3 006
200 000 2022-09-04 103 3 109
210 000 2022-11-25 82 3 191
220 000 2023-02-28 95 3 286
230 000 2023-06-17 109 3 395
240 000 2023-10-06 111 3 506
250 000 2023-12-27 82 3 588
260 000 2024-02-14 49 3 637


Department statistics
I wrote zero new articles last year. As I have stated before, new articles have no intrisic value. I don't want to lower my standards. I have a list of 4-5 bands waiting to be included in my prestigious article series. I promise to write at least one new article the upcoming year. Moreover, I listed one new artists in the table. I created zero new lists. Who knows, maybe I will make a list after all these years. I wrote 52 blog entries, which is once a week. However, "blogging is not writing, it's graffiti with punctuation" as someone have pointed out. 


Department 2024-03-01 2023-03-01 2022-03-01 2021-03-01 2020-03-01 2019-03-01 2018-03-01 2017-03-01
Articles 68 68 68 67 66 65 62 62
Artists 172 171 143 142 141 138 135 128
Lists 42 42 42 42 42 42 32 27
Blog 300 248 214 184 158 129 99 84


Most visited pages
The five pages below are the most visited. The order has shifted over time. The start page (Home) is and have always been the most visited page. Not very surprising. The second page "Artists" is a simple list with links to Discogs and articles. Still, very popular. The third page is the list "10 essential gothic country albums", which comprises a canon of must-have gothic country albums. The "10 best version of Wayfaring Stranger" list has become quite popular in recent years and is placed as number four. Review of "Fossils" (Sons of Perdition collaborative album) is placed as number five. The Sons of Perdition article page belonged to the five most visited pages for many years. It's now placed as number eight. 

 

No Page 2024-03-01 2023-03-01 2022-03-01 2021-03-01 2020-03-01 2019-03-01 2018-03-01 2017-03-01
1 Home 261 578 220 038 182 591 150 601 124 031 100 813 73 857 46 277
2 Artists 30 474 28 414 22 312 19 410 16 228 13 312 9 983 5 513
3 10 essential gothic country albums 30 444 28 662 26 981 24 663 19 722 14 372 7 540 3 946
4 10 best versions of "Wayfaring Stranger" 22 757 18 632 - - - - - -
5 Review of "Fossils" 21 498 19 972 16 942 13 390 - - - -


Flaws
The website has been up and running twenty-four seven. No disruptions of any kind. On December 27, 2023 a spam bot made 5 000 calls to the website. Nice try. I have done a lot of maintance, but still has a few things to fix. If you stumble over any obsolete or incorrect information or any dead links don't hesitate to contact me and I will fix it. I take some pride in that the website is updated. The website has succesfully been migrated to Joomla 5.  

Reflections
Nothing to report under this section. 
  
Future
I will go on untiringly within the limits of family, work and other duties.

"Muddy Roots Music Festival 2024"

Giving My Bones to the Western LandsMuddy Roots Music Festival is a recurrent musical event in Cookeville, TN. I don't have any plans to attend, but I checked up the line-up. I'm familiar to a couple of the bands and artists: Slim Cessna's Auto Club, Munly & the Lupercalians, Gogol Bordello, Viva Le Vox and Possessed by Paul James. They are all renowned. However, I have never heard of the other artists and bands that are announced. I don't know what to make of this. Is this a sign of the festival becoming a minor-league event or just the sign of the times? Or could it just be that I'm living in oblivion and have not yet discovered all the new branches and twigs that are growing in the darkness. Hmm, I venture to doubt that this is the case. I do credit myself for having some insights in the dark roots genre. The pricetag for these two days is high, $175. This include entrance, free camping, free hot showers and bring your own beer. Personally, festivals are not on my bucket list. I have never had any desire to crawl in mud, to engage in crowd surfing or use portable toilets. In Sweden, there's an urban legend that has flourished since the 1980s. It's about the "poop man" who allegedly appears at music festivals, where he is said to overturn portable toilets when people visit them. The result: people were covered in urine and feces. It's also said that the "poop man" smears feces on people, in tents and on bicycles. A few events have occurred in Sweden that include at least some of what is described in the urban legend. To be honest, that is all the basis of information I need. No hot shower in the world can change that. 


"Philately, anyone?"

aimlowandhit1I found this badge on an auction site and it triggered childhood memories. Back in the early 1970s, I wore the badge myself. This is the member badge of Bridgnorth Stamp Club, located outside Birmingham in the UK. The stamp club had members all over the world. In retrospective, their business model was of Byzantine dimensions. This is how it worked. You received a booklet with stamps in the mail, and selected the stamps you wanted to keep, and returned the booklet together with your payment. The payment was, if I remember correctly, made in unstamped Swedish stamps. They must have been redeemed in a mysterious way. In hindsight, randomly chosen stamps in booklets are in conflict with serious collecting. But, nevermind. I was young and at the bottom of the collecting pyramid. Back then, you didn't need to be a nerd to collect stamps (but it helped). It was quite common. If you are an ambitious stamp collector, a certain monomanic disposition is an advantage. I could spend many hours trading stamps or arranging and re-arranging the stamps in my albums. Not to mention, the time-consuming procedure of removing used stamps from envelopes, rinsing and drying them and, last but not least, putting them under pressure to wrinkle them out. This process was conducted in an almost industrial scale.      

Nowadays, stamp collecting is dead. It peaked in 1980, and has been declining ever since. There are many reasons for this development. The hard core of collectors have grown older or/and died. There's no younger generation standing by to take over. When I grew older and lost interest, I always thought that I would give my collection to some deserving kid. However, very few kids are interested in stamps. In fact, I haven't even found an undeserving kid to give it to. I still got my collection. The prices of used stamps have plummeted. Many older stamp collectors finds this fact hard to take in since they lived under the impression that their collection would be worth money some day. However, if you have one of these gems, read more here (opens in a new window) you can retire. The rise and fall of stamp collecting isn't just about the actual collecting. The internet and use of e-mail have reduced and replaced letter writing, resulting in lower stamp sales. Metered postage have replaced stamped postage för business and government agencies. And moreover, self-adhesive stamps contains oil-based glue, which means that stamps can’t be soaked off paper anymore (they can still be removed, but it's a more complicated process). Stamps are definitely not a collectible item anymore. The development is not unlike cds. Some, but far from all, will be valuable in the future.    

Whatever happened to Bridgnorth Stamp Club? They became insolvent and went belly-up. A meeting was held "on 26 February 2009, at 11.15 am, for the purpose of having an account laid before them, showing the manner in which the winding-up of the Company has been conducted and the property disposed of, and of receiving any explanation that may be given by the Liquidator, and also determining the manner in which the books, accounts and documents of the Company shall be disposed of." And so ends the tale of Bridgnorth Stamp Club.

"A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs"

Giving My Bones to the Western LandsPodcasts have become an outlet for the chattering classes. Very few have any content worth listening to. But there are brilliant exceptions. A good friend introduced me to "A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs" created and hosted by Andrew Hickey. The floodgates opened, not to be closed again. Andrew Hickey presents a history of rock music from 1938 to 1999, looking at five hundred songs that shaped the genre. The project started in 2018 and will take nearly ten years. This is "slow podding" at its finest without mannerism. Andrew Hickey reads his manuscript in a monotone voice, only interrupted by short music clips under the (non-existent) 30 second "fair use" rule. The, to say the least, fact-filled episodes are truffled with dry british humour and quirky understatements. However, the source criticism is razor sharp and the myth-busting is brutal. Andrew Hickey is tackling this enormous task with a broad approach with references to economy, history, philosophy and psychology. In some episodes, I get the feeling that this time he has derailed, but he always manages to get back on track and connecting the dots. And there are a lot of dots to connect. The podcasts contains more names than a novel by Tolstoy. So far I have listened to seven episodes*). The episodes vary in length. Some episodes are about 40 minutes. No. 165, devoted to "Dark Star," by the Grateful Dead, is 4 hours and 36 minutes. The podcasts are highly educational and equally addictive. Andrew Hickey goes above and beyond and leaves no stone left unturned. He gives you the facts and the context, but always leaves something for you to think about. The episodes ends in the same way: "If you have enjoyed the show and feel it's worth reviewing, please do leave a review wherever you get your podcasts, but more importantly, tell just one person that you like this podcast. Word of mouth, more than any other form of promotion, is how creative works gets noticed and sustain themselves." Now, I have told you. 

*)
Episode 170: “Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison, 1h 40min
Episode 169: “Piece of My Heart” by Big Brother and the Holding Company, 2h 05min
Episode 167: “The Weight” by The Band, 1h 56min
Episode 165: “Dark Star” by the Grateful Dead, 4h 36min
Episode 158: “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane, 1h 22min
Episode 130: “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan, 57min
Episode 53: “I Put a Spell on You” by Screamin' Jay Hawkins, 40 min



"Retirement planning gone wrong"

aimlowandhit1Music is a young man's game. It's a hard fact. Even the longest, the most glittering reign must come to an end someday. When you retire, the best you can hope for is that your music will live on. Maybe just in some close-knit circles or to a limited extent. But, still live on. Some artists are keen to prolong their career. The latest of abominations is becoming an avatar. Kiss is known for their merchandise. According to some figures, Kiss has sold more than a half billion dollars in merchandise. Kiss played their farewell concert at Madison Square Garden last year. When the band walked off the stage, they were replaced by avatars projected above the stage. These digital avatars will continue to earn money. "We can be forever young and forever iconic by taking us to places we’ve never dreamed of before" said Gene Simmons in a statement. Kiss was active 1973-2023. I only acknowledge the original line-up with Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Peter Criss and Ace Frehley. I was never a huge fan. I never understood the shock value. Kiss is more of a cartoon for me. To be honest, after Kiss Alive! (with its post-production fixes) in 1975 and Destroyer in 1976, it was downhill. What is wrong with this picture? It should depict avatars in their seventies. However, the hair colour is darker and the skin is more smooth than most men in the same age. When you retire, you have to plan your exit thoroughly. Retirement planning includes identifying income sources, sizing up expenses, implementing a savings program, and managing assets and risk. Kiss has went through all the steps and are future-proofed when it comes to securing revenue streams. However, this latest craze with avatars lacks all dignity. It's just retirement planning gone wrong. 


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