2010: A year in blogging

As the year reaches an end, I thought I’d crunch the numbers on blogging here on arbitrary constant.

Over the course of the year, there were 579 posts (average of 48 per month). The busiest month was May (due to the General Election) and the quietest was February (because it’s a short month).

In January the site averaged 455 visits per day, rising to 1,102 visits per day by December 2010, averaging 755 visits per day across the year.

Comments were generally quiet on the site – for example, there were 76 in total from 1 September to 29 December.

In terms of content, the top 10 entries were as follows (excluding the index page, which received 9,298 page views):

  1. The Budget and DLA: initial reactions – 8,098 page views
  2. Cuts to disability benefits already being planned? – 2,210 page views
  3. Poverty, worklessness… and DLA? – 1,858 page views
  4. DLA reform consultation: Great Expectations, Worst Apprehensions – 1,316 page views
  5. Independent Living Fund essentially closed for business – 707 page views
  6. Paul Corrigan on the Health White Paper – 670 page views
  7. Patient voice in the Health White Paper – 624 page views
  8. Osborne: Welfare cheats are “like burglars” – 601 page views
  9. Independent Living Fund (ILF) to close – 508 page views
  10. Redistributing my tax rebate: £621.97 up for grabs – 499 page views

I have to admit to some pleasure at this, since nearly all of the above are original content based on areas of expertise we have here at arbitrary constant, namely disability and equality. They are also all posts that considerable effort went into, rather than posts that were done to keep the numbers up (of which, I’m afraid to say, there were a few).

Honorable mentions should also go to my two blogging compadres, Phil and Stef. Phil has done a brilliant job bringing some much needed erudition, arts and intelligence to the blog (I’ve hugely enjoyed his contributions to the YouTune series); whilst Stef, though sporadic, has brought true panache and thinking in his posts that others don’t reach. I hope they’ll continue in 2011.

For me, I’ve been thinking a lot about blogging, partly in light of the information gleaned above. I will post something further about how my approach will change and the content I’ll be focusing on in 2011 in a separate post early in the New Year.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who has read and contributed to arbitrary constant, either here or on Twitter. I can safely say it’s been the best year of online engagement and discussion I’ve ever had, and it wouldn’t have been the same without you.

YouTune no.29: Brett Domino special

I’ll put a warning on this one straight away: if you haven’t heard or seen Brett Domino yet, and you have a slightly off sense of humour (like I do), then I recommend you come back when you have a couple of hours spare. Once you’ve seen the videos below, you’ll want to get some more.

Quite aside from the brilliance of the idea, the ability to execute these medleys in the way they are, with the production values and attention to detail, is second to none.

I commend to you Brett Domino. First up, the Justin Timberlake Medley:

Second, a cover of Bad Romance:

Genius.

YouTune no.29: Brett Domino special

I’ll put a warning on this one straight away: if you haven’t heard or seen Brett Domino yet, and you have a slightly off sense of humour (like I do), then I recommend you come back when you have a couple of hours spare. Once you’ve seen the videos below, you’ll want to get some more.

Quite aside from the brilliance of the idea, the ability to execute these medleys in the way they are, with the production values and attention to detail, is second to none.

I commend to you Brett Domino. First up, the Justin Timberlake Medley:

Second, a cover of Bad Romance:

Genius.

YouTune no.21: The Ghost of Tom Joad

I make no apologies, none whatsoever, for worshipping at the altar of Bruce. And I’m rarely happier than when pumping my fist in the air at a Springsteen concert as the great man himself winds the magnificent E Street Band up for another pounding, soulful anthem. But it’s a source of not inconsiderable frustration for us Boss-fans that Bruce’s public image, at least for vast swathes of the popular press, is determined exclusively by the bombast. When, as anyone who’s taken even the most cursory auditory glance at albums like Nebraska or Devils and Dust will know, at the core of this most authentic of artists is a dedication to spare, simple and evocative story-telling.

For Bruce is, first and foremost and always, a bluesman; able to capture and convey the heartbreak, frustration and unremitting grind of working-class America (even if his many millions mean he is far removed from such experiences; this makes his songs more, rather than less remarkable I think). One of the absolute peaks of this side of the Springsteen catalogue is this haunting tale of dustbowl California, from the album of the same name: The Ghost of Tom Joad.

YouTune no.17: The Show Must Go On

I thought it was unlikely I hadn’t covered Queen in this regular little feature of mine. And indeed it was unlikely, for they had been feature in YouTune no.8: I Want To Break Free.

Nevertheless, Queen become the first artists to get a second entry in this series, with their marvellous The Show Must Go On:

You can find the previous entries in the YouTune series here: YouTune.

You Tune 16: Rihanna – Rude Boy (TC Remix)

So I’m sure that most of you think I’m just some kind of sweary political nerd. Which is true. However I am also almost as cultured as the esteemed Mr Watts and like a nice tune almost as much as a crisp think tank pamphlet. So to give you a insight into my tastes and to prove that Rich and I are both very similar and very different, here’s my ‘You Tune’ for this Summer, I’ll bore you with my retro tastes another time.

And if you like that kind of jazz (and the real jazz kicks in at 2mins), then you may want to look up my (vinyl only!) mixes here.

YouTune no.13: The Last Polka

YouTune2.0 continues apace, leaving YouTube1.0 and all previous entries languishing in the music archive. No longer do you need to click through, dear reader. Instead you can click to play.

That’s progress, and this is Ben Folds Five doing The Last Polka:

The first I ever heard of Ben Folds Five was in a Counting Crows lyric. The second I ever heard of them was in the launderette at uni at the end of my first year, when my best friend leant me the album with The Last Polka on it. That pretty much sealed the deal.

YouTune no.12: Lump

Being the feature in which I now no longer just link to YouTube videos of music videos of interest to me, but actually embed them here for your viewing pleasure. That’s technology for you. The entries of YouTube1.0 are available in the music category.

In this edition, Lump, by the Presidents of the United States of America:

At age 17, I went with my school on a trip to Spain to play piano for my school orchestra. Somehow, myself and some school colleagues convinced our teachers to allow us to play a musical version of Lump during one of the concerts. I would hazard the suggestion that this didn’t fit in with Saint-Saens’s Le Carnaval des Animaux, which formed the majority of the programme.