April Fool

What better time for returning to my long-lost blog than April Fool’s Day? I stopped blogging in early 2015 and didn’t come back for a long time. When I did start taking an interest earlier this year, I couldn’t get access to the mechanical gubbins that lets you write a post or get beneath the hood. I thought about starting a new blog, but it seemed such a waste to throw away all the work I’ve put into this one.

Then a remarkably quick response from the WordPress help forum solved the problem – I was logging in with the wrong username. Hence the relationship of this post to its title.

You will be pleased to know that I’ve removed the advertising from this blog, because I’m not prepared to inflict on you, dear readers, something I loathe. It will take a while to relearn everything and make some necessary changes. Looking back at an old blog is sort of comforting in a way, like reading an old diary, but there are things you wince at.

That’s all for now. I want to get my April Fool post in on time.

william mcgonagall as performance poet


Dewey Decimal Dunderhead

Melvil Dewey

Melvil Dewey – It’s all his fault.

Right up to the Mayan Apocalypse, I was using a complex, hierarchical system of Categories to identify the posts on Beautiful Railway Bridge. No Tags – they seemed too freeform to deal with. I wanted to be consistent and logical, as much for myself as for you, dear readers, who probably don’t care. I needed to find posts by some “objective” criteria, rather than saying, “well, what did I call it last time?”

So I adopted a bastardised version of the Dewey Decimal System, as used in libraries, with subject names instead of numbers. It quickly became a burden since I wasn’t well-versed enough in the system to use it properly. When I couldn’t think of a suitable classification, I invented a ragtag rabble of categories, stuffed into a heading called “Culture,” and used in the anthropological sense of anything to do with human societies. I was only happy with the “People” category, which contained, well, people.

My system was a nightmare. I seemed to spend more time trawling through the hierarchical categories, in search of terms I’d used before, than I did in writing the post. Or I would have to insert new terms in the right place. The inevitable classification fatigue occurred, and I found myself using fewer and fewer categories, while at the same time becoming ever more frustrated because the system was not working.

I did not heed WordPress’ quite sensible advice about the enervating effect of proliferating categories, and its solution – tags. Until the eve of destruction, that is. A new era called for a complete rethink. I took their words to heart and converted all my hard-won categories to tags, destroying in the process their hierarchical relationships. This is akin to a Bolshevik Revolution in which even the Bolsheviks have no authority. Truly liberating or, as Yeats would say:

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world

But I still needed categories. I decided on a few, extremely broad categories, and only allowed myself one per post. I made pages to hold links for the posts in those categories – you can see them under the blog title. Trouble is, I now have almost a thousand orphan posts, unreachable from the search bar. It’s called throwing out baby with the bathwater.

Never mind. New era, new methods, and I’m working backwards to add a category and rework the tags in previous posts.

It should take less than 3 years.

Beautiful Railway Bridge: 2012 In Review

Winged MonkeysMany thanks to the WordPress Flying Helper Monkeys for putting our yearly statistics together. (Dubya, is that you?) All year round they bang away on their typewriters, just to keep the code flowing so we can enjoy a seamless blogging experience. We don’t ask for the complete works of Shakespeare, and they don’t supply it, but they and the Orwellian Happiness Engineers keep the WordPress ship afloat.

I’m probably a customer service representative’s worst nightmare – impatient, ungrateful, quick to assume it must be the fault of WordPress, and profoundly ignorant of the cause of a problem.

Well, I’m often wrong.

One of my resolutions was to show a bit of humility in 2013. That was it. Normal service will now be resumed.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 45,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 10 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.