Saturday, September 6

Buy the ticket, take the ride

Walking in the rain.

A lot of rain.

From the feel of it, rain meant for someone else as well. Perhaps a few extra clouds diverted by Met Office scientists as a subtle retaliation? A penance for decrying the dumbed down CGI that passes for a TV Weather Forecast these days. Ah but down that path lies paranoia, so lets turn off that track right now.

For naturally we outdoor folk are suitably equipped for these adverse conditions.

As I walk my M3 player feeds me the erudite tones of
Steven Fry and his latest podcast (No. 5) A guilty pleasure in listening to his Anglo Saxon littered tirade against Compliance Men In Suits (Don’t you just get a snickering tingle when a cultured gent cuts loose - lol)

But a different feeling when he reflects on the description of those traps awaiting a regular weekly columnist with space to fill, and little to say. Mr Fry identifies two pitfalls.

Firstly - Nostalgia: Remember how it was all so much better; Secondly - Anger: This makes me so mad I will rant. And you will agree or fight me.

The sort of articles you may spot as you browse your weekend newspaper. Even identified, how simple a trap they may remain.

For me a lesson to absorb as I turn it to Blogging, my own media. Or more precisely the easy ability to simply Churn Out Stuff.

Something that I have on my mind at present following various interchanges on the use and abuse of this communication media, and a few practical examples of just how little effort an article can be created using cut, paste and a little personalisation.

I’d add a couple more pratfalls of my own.

Comment: This is what I think about that report/news/action; Googlese: Look what I've found, lets all go and look.

Commonly these cosy up together in the same piece, feeding off each others lack of originality.

So easy to trip. 'Tis but a short fall, without any noticeable impact. Then taken over a period of time it becomes an all too comfortable existence.

Look - I'm doing it now. A reference to something I found, that entertained, and is being followed up with a commentary.

In mitigation it's my explanation of the catalyst behind my thought process. Being only too aware that my logic can go from Here to There too rapidly at times for others to catch the references that link the path of logical thought. Well logical to me at least.

With me so far? For its time to sharply veer away now.

Blogging is rather too comfortable.

There I've said it out loud.

But before you dash off to the Comment Box for one of those Mr Angry moments let me qualify that this is a reflection only of my own site & content.

Shock! Horror! Has old Johnny succumbed to water on the brain and started to lose it?

Let's try to explain. Many of the articles on here I personally find less than satisfactory when looking back over them sometime later. Don’t get me wrong. If it was simply crap writing, or was becoming a chore, I’d stop.

It's just that all too often I find this site has become a conduit for another's thought, observation or experience. Something down to me as editor, proof reader and senior writer to control of course.

As a public service, be it identifying outdoor information or bring some entertainment value, I trust it provides something positive. That part I'm relatively happy with.

But as for the rest, that's not enough. It's never been the main urge that keeps me hunched over this clacking keyboard for far too many hours each week; Reading, researching, thinking and finally, for some items, putting it down for you to browse over for a few minutes before skipping on elsewhere.

(Stick with me here folks - that wasn't a suggestion!)

I believe that this site has delivered much since it first sidled onto the net.

FAQ information for backpacking newbies & tips for the more experienced. Routes and travel suggestions to fan the flickering impulse to visit new areas. At times crusading, not just the
Legalise Wild Camping Campaign, but also in support of the Mountain Rescue Teams & other backpackers personal challenges. Even kit reports occasionally, where the gear is something that interests me.

And always a medium for interchange of ideas and a mutual exchange of experiences.

Still most of this stuff can be found elsewhere on the web. Done better. Done in more detail. Or just done more regularly.

Back in January I tried to draw a line, to summarise what makes this pleasurable for me, and sufficiently different for you to return for more of the same.

My line in the sand. To step beyond the well established safety zone of trite conventionality. To offer material that provokes in others a recognition of something deeper than the nuts & bolts elements of what we do outdoors. To quote myself (another trap?)

"to attempt to express the feeling and emotion which accompanies my deep enjoyment of movement, the outdoors, and related activity. To touch that sense of deep fulfilment that comes after a day on the hills, and a night in a strange and remote place"

A tough gig maybe, but one that gives me that special buzz when it works.

Perhaps the above wittering comes across as a ramble or disjointed tirade. Maybe even an indication of failure (which I don’t accept BTW)

But as the rain continues to fall, and Stephen Fry concludes his podcast, you may spot mine host. Alone in a sodden maize field, save for a confused collie dog, watching as his master mentally kicks himself for having been snagged by the biggest trap of all.


Time to regroup and hire myself a new editor here at JH Towers.

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Crikey, its just past 8 am on Sunday morning and now you want me to think as well as read.....Arrrhhh! You should know very well that men cant mult-task John :-)))
I think some of the problem is that we wish to make regular posts and this sometimes mean that we have to add content that isn't always some we would want to add..

So we grab news stories and add our own little piece to it; my last 3 out of 4 piece have been like this :-(.

One problem I have is what content should I have on my blog, it's mainly a blog about walking so I write mainly about walking and the accessories that go with it; equipment, trips, and some news, be it podcasts or news stories.

I don't get out as must as I like so my posts can be far and few; I could write about, as Mr Smith calls it, 'My Boring Ass Life' but I'm not sure people would want to read about my console playing life or the trials and tribulations of my other life outside walking.

Sometimes I feel that us bloggers are fighting against each other on some of the news items; take Bob's podcasts, I'm happy to post about new podcasts available from Bob but sometimes I wonder what 'readers' think when they see 3-4 blogs posting about the same thing without any difference in the content.

As for most of us blogging is a hobby; sometimes originality is hard to come by on a regular basis, especially on a niche blog.

Just my 2 cent :-)
Valiant Bloggers
I guess it is good to introspect occasionally but do not doubt the value of your sometimes esoteric postings, rants, duplicated references(we your audience can forgive these). Its comes with having an active brain an a non cloned personality.
In short what I am saying is that it sounds as tho you dudes tend to be your own harshest critics and we forgive you.
London has it right - if you consume much broadcast media you see that they have the same problem multiplied a thousand fold. Too much space to fill. The ' plastic bags - love em or hate them ....' type pieces that they(broadcast media) have to churn out to fill the void.
You are talking to a specific audience who are intersted in what you have to say - mostly. How many times have we come off the hill and listened and talked stuff for a few hours which would not stand up to being printed, over a few pints...and had a great time.
Keep it up....Feedback Fred
Blogging is also dangerous John. Sometime I will explain more fully but as you are aware, I have a second blog where I air personal thoughts and feelings. The police have actually been checking on my scribbling Please do not ask me to explain, it is fact though. Gosh, big brother is watching!
George - dup content - Yep I feel the same rather more often than I like these days. OK if we're promoting a good idea or worthy cause. Otherwise the one to get to the pc first looks original and the rest less so. It's not a competition but a dangerous precedent if we weren't all so easy going with each other and prepared to share and care.

Fred - cheers for the vote. We'll try to stay independant minded. Well enough so we can still communicate rather than rant

Dawn- if its true, say it, but be preapred to back it up. Nobody ever got hung for the truth. Oh er hang on a mo' ........
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