Friday, 1 January 2016

New year rambling thoughts about this blog

I saw New Year in with my brother and sister in law: she was on the red wine while my brother and I drank a 5 litre mini-cask of Wychwood Hobgoblin. Not a fashionable beer, but we enjoyed it, and it was much preferable to beer out of bottles. We hit the sack at around 5.00 a.m.

Today I've been thinking back over my blogging year: I was off line for 6 months until late April 2015, and I did wonder whether I'd be able to revive this blog after such a long period of inactivity. However, looking at the stats, I see that I've had 1035 more unique hits over the year than in my previous peak year (2012), even though that year consisted of a full year of posting. The last two quarters of 2015 were each approximately 30% higher than any previous quarter since I began the blog in March 2009. It's pleasing to know that I'm getting more hits than ever before.

Of my pages (links to the right), the most popular by far is my beer festivals page, and second most popular with a fair number of hits is forthcoming music events. While posts about music are much less likely to attract comments than those relating to beer, I can see that quite a few people do read them.

I saw that Curmudgeon wrote in his review of the year: "Beer blogging itself seems to continue to wither on the vine. I’m likely to record my lowest tally of posts since 2007, which was only a half-year, and it looks as though Tandleman will do the same. I blame Twitter!" I seem to recall Tandleman rhetorically asking about 5 or 6 years ago whether the golden age of beer blogging was over.

I don't know whether there ever was a golden age, but I can't see Twitter taking over from blogs: they serve very different purposes. A detailed analysis, a carefully constructed argument or a comprehensive description cannot be condensed into 140 characters, which seems better suited to saying things like: "Great pint of Old Mudgie in the Sam Smiths Arms tonight, although the Tandleman's Craft Lager was disappointing." I still cannot see much point to Twitter, which is why I'm not on it. Besides I don't have a smart phone, so much of its purpose would be lost.

Dare I suggest that some beer bloggers simply aren't as enthusiastic as they once were? No, I'd better not.

When I began ReARM in 2009, I aimed to post an average of better than one post in every two days, and if you take out the two periods when I was off-line (which total nearly 10 months), I've just about managed that (for info, this is my 1184th post). As I'm sure most other bloggers would agree, while you always want your blog to be current, there are times when you struggle to come up with something to write about, but if you let it fall behind too far, people stop looking at it.

Anyway, enough of all this self-indulgence! It's 1st January and you have a choice: you can go for Dry JanuaryTryanuary or even Try January. Personally, I'll be going for Try2016.

P.S. A Trip To Planet Zog
I was just about to post this when the BBC radio news announced that they are thinking of bringing in new drink guidelines: a recommendation to have two days per week off the booze, and the suggestion that they may bring the limit for men down to match that of women. While I expect most drinkers usually do have a couple of days off, few people take the current limits seriously. As far as I'm concerned, they can announce what they like but I'm sure licensees would be delighted if drinkers limited their consumption to a pint a day. What planet are these people on?

At least they give us bloggers something to write about, so every cloud ...


  1. I know I'm not the only one who was very pleased to see your blog make a return.

    On the Twitter point, I know that in the early days I would often make blog posts that were little more than a link to a news article, which now I would just post on Twitter. The average length of the blog posts I now make is much greater than it was back in 2007-08, even though there are fewer of them.

    And I admit to occasionally having a bit of writer's block.

  2. Thanks very much, CM.

    I'm sure we all go through lulls, and I sometimes wonder why we do it. Because it's there, I suppose.

  3. I think we probably do just do it, because it’s there, Nev. I’m talking about writing, of course, and like Mudge, I occasionally get “writers’ block”. Like you, I’m not on Twitter – life’s too short to be posting inane ramblings all the time.

    The main purpose of me commenting though is that I too saw the latest scare story about drinking. It was the second item on the 6 o’clock news, right after the story about possible terror attacks in Munich The news team were in a pub, a Fuller’s one, judging by the beer range, and rather predictably the clip showed pints of real ale being pulled. It might look good on camera, but focusing on a pub where people were drinking in a responsible manner hardly gives a true picture. There was no mention of the youngsters who tip shot after shot of spirits down their necks; and tis is after they get tanked up (“pre-loading”), prior to going out.

    As well as the two days a week off the booze, the report also stated that the maximum daily intake for men would be brought in line with that for women, at just three units. A pint and a half a day isn’t exactly worth going to the pub for, so who do these so-called “experts” think they are kidding?

  4. I really enjoy your posts on Southport, which is a bit of a barometer for pub developments in general. Keep going !

  5. You're right, Paul: the media always shows beer being pulled. In my nearest pub, I often see at weekends young people standing in a circle all throwing back their drinks in one. Hardly the same as someone who takes 20 or 30 minutes over one pint, is it?

    I hadn't thought Southport as any kind of barometer, Martin, but I'll do my best to keep that up!


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