Tag Archives: Wordpress

Reasons To Be Thankful – Precious Gifts

I started out blogging, mostly about music, less than three years ago. Little did I imagine that a hobby I started as a creative outlet would give me so much pleasure and lead to the making of a huge number of new friends and a second career.

My site now sees around 30K visitors a week and has led to paid work as a writer.  More importantly to me is that i now get numerous requests from artists and musicians asking me to review their work.

I can’t possibly meet all these requests, especially during the summer months, but I am really honoured that people are prepared to put their work into my hands to ask for a review.  An artists work is an extension of their person, every note in every song took thought, creativity and a huge amount of work to create.  An artist trusting me to review their work fairly and objectively is a huge leap of faith.  Every time I listen to a new piece of work I am aware that I have been handed a truly precious gift, a piece of work that someone has poured their all into.

I try very hard to that each piece of work with the respect it deserves.  I listen to an album numerous times before finger meets keyboard and I try to only review things that resonate with me on some level.  If I hate something I recognise that others may love it, I know that my view is not going to be shared by some who read my writing.  It is hard to tell an artist you won’t review their work because you don’t connect with it.

I am so thankful that people like to read my work.  As any musician will tell you it is incredibly difficult to be heard in today’s music industry.  It is equally hard to build an audience for your writing.

That is why it is such an honour to see musicians sharing your posts and reaching out to thank you for a review.

If you want to write about music it takes endeavour but much more importantly it needs total honesty if you are to gain any sort of credibility.

This week is something of a case in point.  I am off to Europe’s best and biggest rock festival, Download, on Thursday.  I have been inundated with requests for interviews and coverage of bands performance at the festival.  Of all the bands I have asked to interview not a single one has turned me down (though I still await two responses).  Those I will be interviewing are amongst the biggest names in rock music and they have agreed to be interviewed by me.

I do realise that bands are keen for any sort of coverage that will help to keep their name out there, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling that I am blessed to be able to do “work” of this nature.

This has been a very very good week.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Monochromatic.”

I did a photography course at Bournemouth Arts University last year and one of the things our tutor recommended whilst we were out on a location shoot was to shoot in Black and White sometimes as it gives a totally different perspective to our photography.  I took these shots on the banks of the river Clyde in Glasgow during a visit earlier this year.

Glasgow Street B & W-4 Glasgow Glasgow Street B & W-6

Reading Festival 2015

Saying Farewell To Old Friends – What I Learned About WordPress

It has been a funny few days.

Earlier this week I decided it was time to prune the number of blogs I am following on WordPress.  I didn’t want to lose any blogs that I read frequently or bloggers with whom I interact.  As a result I decided to go through every account I was following and prune the ones who don’t actually post on their accounts.

I was really surprised at the number of accounts I was following that had been dormant for years.  As a result I decided to prune any blogs that had not been used in the last six months.  It was interesting to see that the vast majority of the blogs that were dormant had very few followers and that they all followed a very clear pattern.

I suspect that many of the people I unfollowed abandoned their blogs because they didn’t have a readership and as a result they lost interest and gave up.  I believe this demonstrates a few simple truths about blogging.

We all blog for different reasons, but I think we all share something in common.  We believe we have something to say, and of course we want others to hear us.  A blog without a following is simply a public diary.  We use our blogs to express ourselves whether through our writing, photography, art, craft,  cooking or whichever medium we choose.

The thing is if you want people to buy into your blog you need to work at it.  It takes time and effort to build a following and it is a slow process, but the more you put into your blog the more readers or viewers you will attract.  It is important to post regularly, but it is even more important to interact with other bloggers, especially those with whom you share an interest.

WordPress has something like 13 million blogging accounts and you really need to be a part of the community if you want to gain followers.  With that many blogs around your relationship with your readership needs to be a personal one.  I was sad to unfollow so many accounts, but following those accounts was a pointless exercise.  My blog is important to me, but so is being part of the community.  I enjoy blogging but interacting with others is important too.

I hope to be here for a long time, my blog is a part of my day and I hope it will remain so for many years to come.

It’s My Birthday – I Have A Wish – Could You Help Me Achieve It??

Today has been a lovely day.  It is my Birthday and I have reached the ripe old age of 54.  I don’t feel like I am 54, sometimes I feel like I am only 18, sometimes I feel like I am 81.  I feel very lucky, I have my physical health and most of the time I am on top of my depression.  Life is pretty good.

By coincidence my blog also also had its birthday last week.  It is now a year old and it already has some mileage under it’s belt.  I those 12 months I have built my blog from nothing to having over 46,000 during the month of May 2015.  Truth be told it has surpassed all of my expectations.  I have built a good following, built some good friendships both online and in real life as a result of my blogging.  It has lead to networking with PR companies, bands and festivals and has lead to a huge increase in my proficiency as a photographer.

After my retirement I started the blog as a hobby and it has already grown beyond all expectations.  However I really do love what I do, so much so that I would love to continue to expand.  That’s were you come in.

It would be great to collaborate with other music bloggers to the benefit of both blogs.  My idea is this, if I could get other people guest writing on my blog then I could also write on theirs.  This would mean that the number of posts on collaborators blogs would increase and hopefully traffic would increase too.  We would all be introduced to more artists and provide even more support for the artists we love.

My interests are primarily in punk, post punk, celtic, rock, folk and folk rock music but I am willing to look beyond that.

Of course you don’t have to be a WordPress blogger, I would be happy to have best contributors from any walk of life.  If you would be interested in such a collaboration let me know on alan(at)soundofsummer.org and we can work it out.

Cheers and here’s to the next year and beyond.

PS. The little lady in the photo is Faye.  Like me she loves her music festivals.  I met her and her parents at a festival last week and she wanted to take a selfie with me 🙂

A Post A Day Photo Challenge – May 31 2015 – out of focus

Hi folks, I am taking on a challenge to post a photograph every day for a full year startingon New years Day.  Please join in by uploading a photograph of your own and leaving a pingback here :

I am not really sure why I decided to try this yesterday, probably just a case of my wanting to play around to see what effect I could get shooting a landscape either out of focus or by having a long exposure and deliberately moving the camera, either a little to a lot.

I also tried using my Nikon D750 in its in-camera HDR mode and moving the camera a little as I released the shutter.  I think the effects are strangely pleasing.  What do you think?

A Post A Day Photo Challenge – May 26 2015

Hi folks, I am taking on a challenge to post a photograph every day for a full year startingon New years Day.  Please join in by uploading a photograph of your own and leaving a pingback here :

This little lady should stand as an inspiration to us all.  Despite Faye’s physical challenges her love of life, music and festivals is incredible.  She always has a big smile on her face.  Well done Faye 🙂

Faye-5 Faye-4 Faye-3 Faye-2

Dorey The Wise

A Post A Day Photo Challenge – May 17 2015 – Dorey The Wise

Hi folks, I am taking on a challenge to post a photograph every day for a full year startingon New years Day.  Please join in by uploading a photograph of your own and leaving a pingback here :

I really should have had these shots up ages ago.  Sussex based Dorey  The Wise performing at the Larmer Tree Breakthrough Music Awards last month.  A great band who are set for great things.