I’ve already written about my experiences of producing the first season of the Mister Trippy blog at MySpace. It is obviously a little early to write about the second season in any depth since this is its closing post. There is also less need to write about Mister Trippy season two because I’ll be leaving the posts up rather than taking them down as I did with not only with the first season of Mister Trippy, but all my MySpace profiles (to protest about the platform’s support for US imperialism), in Spring 2008.
Having produced posts for the first Mister Trippy season daily, I found it far easier to blog every other day in this second season (except for the first month, which was daily). That said, at exactly a year long, this season was also quite a bit shorter than the first. While the comments remained an integral part of the blog, there were considerably fewer than during the first season. I’d view this as a consequence of hosting season two on my own site rather than a social networking platform, and also because I didn’t concentrate on replying to comments as much as I did during the first season. That said, I appear to have more readers here than when Mister Trippy was hosted at MySpace, but far fewer of them commented and those that did made less comments than on the first season of the blog. From a conventional media point of view, upping both the number and percentage of lurkers is probably a good thing, from a full-on committed to Web 2.0 perspective it probably isn’t so good, although it does make life easier! That said, there have still been loads of great comments containing both solid information and some really way-out humour on the season two blog!
A few facts and figures. Mister Trippy season two ran from 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2009, during which time I posted 193 public entries (including this one). As I write this there are 5,007 approved comments split across these posts. Likewise, between myself and the Askimet anti-spam software 10,207 comments were blocked or removed. All the blocked or removed comments were of a commercial nature. Obviously the number of approved and blocked comments will increase as time goes by, although probably not at the same rate as when I was posting on a regular basis.
I’ve found this blog and the main website to which it is attached a good way of alerting people to information I’m seeking. It has enabled me to locate individuals, unearth facts, and in particular extend my knowledge of my mother Julia Callan-Thompson and her bohemian social circle – as well as my first cousin once removed Ray ‘The Cat’ Jones (a legend for audacious Robin Hood-style thefts from the rich and famous, as well as a successful 1958 prison escape with a subsequent two years on the run). That said, while – for example – I now know that Francois Raymond who exhibited photographs of my mother in 1967 is dead and I have contact details for his brother, I’ve drawn a complete blank in my attempts to nail down the fate of Malcolm ‘Grainger’ Drake.
One of the things I’ve always tried to do on this blog, as well as the main site to which it is attached, is put information online that wasn’t previously available via the web. The pieces I’ve posted about my mother’s circle and Ray ‘The Cat’ Jones are good examples of this. When I began researching my mother’s life there wasn’t a single entry about her online. It is because of my efforts that a search engine request now brings in more than 15,000 results for Julia Callan-Thompson, rather than none (which was the result I got from my early web searches for her). There was material about Ray The Cat on the web before I started blogging about him, but by locating a primary source in the form of Ray’s testament about his life and going back to contemporary press coverage of his exploits, I’ve expanded the range of material available online and shown that recent retellings of his escape from Pentonville Prison completely distort the facts (and that the confusion appears to begin with inaccuracies introduced by Mad Frankie Fraser and his ghost-writer James Morton). However, to see this you’d need to read through all my blog entries on Ray The Cat. My research is ongoing and I revise what I have to say on the basis of what I discover. Putting material online is important, there is unfortunately a growing trend (particularly among the young), to look for information on the web and if it can’t be found there then to assume it doesn’t exist.
My research methods appear to confuse some of those I’ve spoken to, since I’ve had the odd email complaining I’ve not written up a story as the person recontacting me originally told it. I always try to find as many sources as possible for what I write. Sometimes these provide me with conflicting information, and some people even provide more than one version of the same story over a period of time. Using archival records where they are available, and all the oral history I am able to collect, I try to reconstruct events as accurately as possible. This can result in a specific person’s recollection of events being discarded; not because I necessarily think the individual in question is lying – memory can play tricks and the person concerned may simply be mistaken about what happened. Someone claiming to have direct knowledge of something does not automatically make them a reliable source for the subject. I work from all the evidence available to me and sometimes this will indicate (or even prove) that a particular individual’s memory of a specific incident is faulty or fraudulent.
Moving on, I trust that the interest of media professionals in blogging is waning, since it has had a deleterious effect on the activity. There are individuals who take up blogging in the belief that it might make them famous. Although this is unlikely, it doesn’t stop people trying and thus producing narrowly focused blogs with very limited subject matter, or else simply going in for egoblogging. One of the elements of this blog that proved particularly popular with a large swathe of readers were my reports of London art world openings. It would not be difficult to construct a blog around nothing but reports of this type, but for me it would become boring and is therefore to be avoided, despite – or rather because of – the fact that it would lead to me being viewed as a greater conventional ‘success’ than is currently the case.
Likewise, most newspapers seem to have given up on investigative journalism, or even research, and at a time when we need much more of it; clearly it is those with particular interests and specialised knowledge who are far better qualified to do this than so called media professionals, and blogging is a cheap and efficient way for the ‘real’ ‘experts’ – in other words, amateurs like you and me – to gather and disseminate information. I’m not seeing as much research based blogging or other web reportage as I’d like, but hopefully there will be more of it in coming months and years – and far fewer blogs being updated via Twitter feeds. I’d also like to see the majority of bloggers trying a little harder with their writing. While splurging something out is a great way of getting it down, you do then need to rewrite and revise. I’ve always tried to compose my blogs the night before I posted them, so that I could give them a final rewrite in the morning. Too many blogs look like their author hasn’t read through what they’ve posted even once! If you’re not prepared to read your own writing, you shouldn’t expect anyone else to do so either!
In conclusion, while I wouldn’t rule out a third season of the Mister Trippy blog, I’m not committed to doing one either. I’ll just see how things go. For now I’d rather concentrate on other pursuits. I will continue to update the main website to which this blog is attached – check the new additions page if you want to see what is being added. Wow, this may also be one of the least humorous blog I’ve written over the past year, so I obviously do need a break from Mister Trippy!
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!
Comment by arse on 2009-12-31 10:40:01 +0000
This is all bullshit, you’re still blogging as Belle de Jour and I know you wrote the complete works of Shakespeare.
Comment by Zen Master K on 2009-12-31 10:47:35 +0000
Don’t forget he also blogs as Robert Scoble, among many others….
Comment by cassandra thomas on 2009-12-31 11:13:35 +0000
you aren’t going to let one of your other personalities take it over?
Comment by Blog Comment Counter UK on 2009-12-31 11:20:39 +0000
I make that 5011 now including this one!
Comment by Justin McKeown on 2009-12-31 11:25:34 +0000
Well I enjoyed reading it. Yes, have a break and come back less sober.
Comment by Dave Kelso-Mitchell on 2009-12-31 11:27:47 +0000
Nice one Stewart!
Onwards and upwards!!!
Comment by Lara on 2009-12-31 11:43:59 +0000
I’ve come to your blog this year and (almost) always enjoy it. But I have one request for 2010: please remove or change or use less frequently your final note about ‘checking stewarthome etc you know it makes (no) or non or whatever sense’. It REALLY irritates me. I’m sure this will provoke a whole load of defenders to write in… but please, at least, consider it. Or change it. Or something. Juts don’t leave it as it is.
Happy New Year.
Comment by Big Cheese on 2009-12-31 12:03:30 +0000
Disappointed to see you go … even if it’s only for a while. Yours was one of only two blogs I’d check each time I logged in. I’ve enjoyed the regular updates. Now I hear the other one is going too. Bugger.
I’ll just have to go out and get a life in 2010. Not sure I have the time or energy.
Thanks for all of it.
Comment by Easy Blogger on 2009-12-31 12:40:29 +0000
This post is a bit of a downer. Couldn’t you lighten up a bit?
Comment by Lara on 2009-12-31 13:28:32 +0000
For all my complaining, I realise that you might not come back. Which is a shame. I’d rather you came back with that annoying message than disappeared altogether. But blogs take time and if you want T.O. it’s best to take it than resent it.
Comment by Tim on 2009-12-31 13:43:15 +0000
Sorry to see you go, Stewart. Glad you got some good research out of it. But yeah, blogging takes time, energy etc. And people are commenting less. I wonder about the usefulness of it sometimes . . .
Happy New Year! Glad that crap decade is coming to a close.
Comment by fi on 2009-12-31 16:45:07 +0000
blog, Stewie, blog! You rock!
Comment by Michael Roth on 2009-12-31 17:47:06 +0000
Toot toot, Mr Trippy. It’s been a wild couple of seasons. I will certainly catch you in re-runs and will wait patiently for the box set release.
Comment by So Sad About Us on 2009-12-31 18:02:36 +0000
It’s a mod mod mod world! Don’t leave us!
Comment by fi on 2009-12-31 22:17:36 +0000
And when you return, please leave the final line as it is – “And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – http://www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) sense!” It’s just lovely!
PS Now I did say that
Comment by ben slater on 2010-01-01 05:18:27 +0000
Although I was mostly a lurker/reader, it’s been really good to catch up with you on the blog.
Ciao for now.
Comment by misterdog on 2010-01-01 15:03:20 +0000
Personally, I’m really glad. You’ll have more time on your hands and I’ll get taken out of your sock drawer more often. Hell, that’s me out already this year and it’s only Jan 1st!
Comment by And ttpmake check – hs n’t ://t it .org – you knodostewartho() yomesocietyw sen whilno aforget to eit www.u’rese! on 2010-01-01 22:19:37 +0000
And sen whilno check – httpmakes n’t ://t it .org – you knodostewartho() you’rese!mesocietyw eit http://www.aforget to
Comment by And ttpmake cyou’re – http://www.stewarthomesociety.org – you know it makes (no) senseheck – hs n’t ://t it .org – you knodostewartho() yomesocietyw sen whilno aforget to eit www.u’rese! on 2010-01-01 22:20:54 +0000
And while you’re ..org –csendon’t forget to check – http://www.stewarthat it .org –stewarthomesociety you know it makes (no) sense!
And while !
you know it makesat it don’t forget to And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – http://wwwomesocietyseheck (no) !
Comment by Mark Hancock on 2010-01-01 22:21:41 +0000
yeah, I know what you mean. Having already deactivated my Facebook account on christmas day, I’m debating culling my blog to replace it with some video/film nonsense. I’m feeling a bit like a want to leave the internet behind completely, but that’s probably just a new decade thing? Great observations about new media and blogging. So, yeah, chuck it all in and pursue other things Stewie, you know it makes sense.
Comment by MsMarmitelover on 2010-01-02 12:06:27 +0000
one of your best posts actually… as for your comment about blogging will not make you famous…i suppose my blog has made me infamous! ( I guess because I combine it with real world activities such as cooking, being merely virtual is not enough). But you are right, many bloggers are under this misapprehension.
I will take on board your suggestion to edit and reread my own posts more..for me it’s more a matter of lack of time…trying to keep up with everything
Comment by MsMarmitelover on 2010-01-02 12:21:32 +0000
just been having a look back at your posts…are you kidding? You get loads of comments!
Now maybe Michael K will start his own blog rather than doing it through the backdoor…his combined comments are often longer than your blog posts. Or is this his blog equivalent of slipping his ‘books’ onto the bookshelves of legitimate book shops?
Comment by mistertrippy on 2010-01-02 13:38:03 +0000
Hey Marmitelover, yeah I know I got a reasonable number of comments on this blog, but if you’d seen the MySpace blog you’d know I’d often went up to around 500 comments on a single blog there, whereas here there is only one or two that went over 100, and most were far less. I think the factors are as I mentioned – not being on a big social networking platform and also me not responding to everything (which could easily make up 50 or even more of the comments on a MySpace blog) – but also the one I didn’t bring up but Tim did, I think people are commenting less on blogs now than a few years ago (has the novelty worn off?). Actually there was a plan with K to start a kind of collective blog which didn’t happen, this might be better coz one person could go away for a break and others still keep it going.
Interesting that despite cut-backs at The Guardian they are still investing in online stuff and were recruiting local people for what they called Beat Blogs very recently. So I don’t think this stuff is gonna entirely disappear but maybe it will be professionalised (good if the blogs are better, bad if it takes the audience away to corporate sites where the bloggers aren’t as clued up on what they are writing about and there is a drive to create revenue streams pushing the content in a particular direction). I understand the problems of time making it hard to re-write, the length of your blogs is impressive too! But there is too much bad writing out there, and you’re not one of the guilty parties!
Glad people have enjoyed this, and it’s been good for me, and I’ve always thought writing to order is a good discipline and something anyone should be able to do – I certainly don’t believe in metaphysical bullshit about ‘inspiration’ (you work on your writing to improve it, rewriting is an important part of this process). However, I wanna spend more time doing other things for now, including writing much longer pieces… I’ve really made no decision if I’ll come back to blogging here later or not….
Comment by Christopher Nosnibor on 2010-01-02 17:47:36 +0000
Toot toot! Well it’s been a blast and a groove sensation and all the rest… and isn’t there a book due out later this year?
Comment by mistertrippy on 2010-01-02 19:50:42 +0000
Blood Rites of the Bourgeoisie out with Book Works in April!
Comment by kjlkh on 2010-01-03 11:03:05 +0000
At all events, I am sure the bourgeoisie will remember your carbuncles until their dying day! What swine they are!
Comment by teifidancer on 2010-01-03 15:11:30 +0000
got into this lark quite late, just something to pass the time, found your blog a few months ago , always most interesting. As for some people seeking fame I couldn’t give a…. but I have been guilty of extremely lazy writing, which I hope to correct hopefully, anyway thanks anyway best wishes heddwch/peace
Comment by Old Rope on 2010-01-07 01:13:52 +0000
Don’t cry for me, I’m already dead. And all that. If this allows Trip more time to get back to his real passion, cock-fighting, then I’m all for it. You are much missed on the cock-fighting scene, Trip.
Joshing aside, some valid points and deffo some things I am guilty of myself.
Ms Marmite makes a good point re time (and Steward you prob hit the nail on the head re novelty and posting comments). I would write much more (and longer pieces) when I had time on my hands on work. As that freedom dininished things dropped off and suddenly flim-flammish hack-pieces started to crop up to keep things ticking over.
Still, we learn from our mistakes and those who go before us.
Laters Trip, I’ll send you a postcard from Argentina!
Your oldest of ropes,
etc etc etc…
Comment by Rick Terror on 2010-01-11 20:02:18 +0000
I think blogging is to join punk and postmodernism in the dustbin of posthistory yesterday. All what you say makes a lot of sense. Please write another book and make sure to post the old ones at aaaarg.org! Who knows, maybe after a while this can start again in a new fashion. Best wishes!
Comment by CLASS on 2010-01-14 08:50:56 +0000
Dear Kettles Yard and Lutz Becker,
We are gravely concerned by the content of your upcoming exhibition
“Modern Times”. Judging from the promotional material that we have come across, the works selected are all “4 Dimensional” works – and as such are promoting Fascist and Nazist perspectives. Also, besides the uncritical exhibition of Fascist and Nazi material, the exhibition, in mixing 4D with revolutionary “n-dimensional” work, lumps together and thereby confuses works supporting and supported by the Fascists, Bolshevics (Futurism, Constructivism, Suprematism) as well as their contemporary counterparts such as the CIA (Abstract Expressionism) – with Revolutionary Communist work (Dada) whilst also pointedly excluding other Revolutionary Left and Anti-Bolshevik Communist work (Surrealism, Lettrism, Situationism) which would clarify political differences within Modernist Art.
The 4th Dimension – I am sure you are aware, is a theory expounded by both
the fascist Boccioni – as a method to influence both artists and audiences
with political memes – as well as the Nazi Heidegger who saw the 4th
dimension as one of time – along with many others at the start of the 20th
century. The theories were taken up in different ways by the different
modernist art movements – Futurists, Supremacists, Constructivists,
Dadaists (indeed these groups can be defined by their different approaches
to the question of Euclidean space) – and while revolutionaries moved
forward into n-dimensional theory (Duchamp, Jorn) which broke with
Euclidean space, reactionaries remained trapped in the 4th dimension and
trapped the viewer in it too. Of particular note in this situation is the
tactic of the proto-fascists of Vorticism to compress many dimensions
worth of information into the one extra (4th) conceptual dimension. In
this way they could make statements at a sub-conscious or subliminal level
without having to engage in defending their political positions. However
the 4th dimensional viewpoint/ forcefield, whether as an ‘intuitive’
dimension or as a spatialised dimension of time (intellect), only served
to shut down consciousness, precisely at the point when Capitalism itself
was under threat during the First World War. The intellect was dismissed
as bourgeois – rooted in the the mechanical universe so beautiful
elucidated by Baron Kelvin. Intuition then became fetishised as a mystical
device which rapidly turns in on itself, becoming an essential aid to
remote control manipulation through codes and symbols, reaching its apogee
as a sequence of 0’s and 1’s.
It is Duchamp, whose Large Glass made the most public break with the
Euclidean 4th dimensional space to theorise an n-dimensional space. Asger
Jorn with Situgraphics continued in this trajectory out of the Euclidean
4th dimension. This struggle of course continued and continues into new
mediums. In film it was the Lettrists whose Hypergraphics overcoming
abstraction and introducing new dimensions of meaning into the 2D surface,
was continued into their critique of cinema, using dimensions of sight,
sound, thought, touch and taste which caused the creation of the Prix
d’Avant Garde at the Cannes film festival in 1951.
By lumping together 4th dimensionalists and n+1 dimensionalists, this
exhibition serves to trap us in the 4th dimension. Similarly, films such
as Swastika and Vita Futurista only serve to glorify Fascism and National
Socialism. They simply present the propaganda of these movements without
adding any new dimensions to our understanding and perspective. We are
surprised that you exclude from this exhibition filmic works such as those
of Lettrist Discrepant cinema whose radical critique of cinema would
reveal this. We are also very surprised that there is no consideration of
the politics behind these artists which would further reveal this.
2009 began with celebrations of 100 years of the proto Fascist Futurist
movement (see http://antisystemic.org/SW/AntiFuturist.pdf). The year went
on to see the British government sharing a platform with the fascist BNP.
So you must understand why this issue is of vital importance at this time.
It is not humanising of ‘monsters’ that we need to do, but realise that
rather than just individual celebrities and demigods, it is social
conditions and movements – class as well as individuality that creates
social change. Refugees, travellers and other persecuted groups in this
country in this time are fighting what they see as a holocaust and
genocide perpetrated against us by the British government. As cultural,
data and psychic workers, we must combat the very real dangers we face
today and to do this we must understand those of the past.
We look forward to your comments,
the Cambridge Lettrist And Situationist Society