My Not-Quite Cultural Olympiad: Introduction

We’re well into Olympic season here in the UK – there’s just about nothing else on the BBC at the moment, or in the news. I have to admit, I’m enjoying the sport more than I anticipated I would – the sheer variety is lot more interesting than your average sporting event, and it’s great to see coverage of sports that don’t usually get a lot of attention, like archery and hockey.

Alongside the sport though, we’ve also had what’s been called a Cultural Olympiad. Another admission here: I personally feel that website is a bit woolly on exactly what the Cultural Olympiad is, and I haven’t seen a great deal of evidence of the events it mentions. Still, rather than be deterred, I thought I’d do my small bit to add to the overall celebration of culture – but rather than focus on the UK, I want to spread my net wider. For the next two or three weeks, I’m going to be choosing countries from around the world (who are competing in the Olympics), to share a single aspect of their art and culture that I love.

This is really picking single blades of grass out of a meadow, I realise – I can only cover a handful of countries, and I only have the space to talk about one thing (be it a film, band, author etc. etc.) for each. However, I want to only share art that I’m really passionate about and really love, hence narrowing the selection down so much. Rather than throwing a scattershot of bits and pieces out there, I want to home in on my absolute favourites and share them with my readers. Some will be new discoveries, and others will be things I’ve loved for years. Who knows, perhaps a little bit of my passion will rub off on someone else!

As of writing this, the Olympic medals rankings are really being dominated by China, with nine golds, so it seems only fair to start there in my next post. And after that… Well, I’d like to try to cover as many continents as possible, so it’s going to be something of a whistlestop tour!


Freshly Pressed!

Well, this is quite a surprise! When I got to work last night and had a quick look at my inbox, I realised it was starting to overflow with notifications from WordPress. It took me a while to work out what was going on, and that I wasn’t just being flooded with spam – one of my posts had been chosen for Freshly Pressed!

So, thank you to WordPress for that, and thank you to everyone who’s stopped by, commented, followed the blog etc. etc. It’s great to see such an influx of people, even if it is a bit overwhelming. This is where I have a confession to make: my usual site stats for any single day that I make a post tend to be in the 10-20 views range. Tiny figures, because I’ve never made any effort to promote the site. Now? The last couple of days have accrued a cumulative 2000 views, which is really quite staggering!

This is, in some ways, an apology. I’ve been through and read every comment, and will continue to read them, but I’m well aware I’m not going to be able to reply to them all. I greatly appreciate them though, and it’s fabulous to see so many people chatting about writing and NaNoWriMo.

So, thank you everyone for dropping by. If you decide to stay and subscribe, what can you expect? I talk mostly about writing, and about fantasy/SF in particular, but I also post on anything else that takes my fancy. That could be books, gaming, films, gardening, photography, music, food or just what I did on my holidays. My regular series of posts is called ‘This Writing Life’, and talks about writing (naturally), usually in relation to my own work (and how it’s gone horribly wrong – or occasionally very right).

Finally, if – like me – you’re attempting NaNoWriMo this year: my diary tells me today is the halfway point. Good luck to everyone taking part, and keep up the good work!