The Big 500

Yes, here we are, the big 500. My 500th blog post. I have to say that I had big plans for this post but plans, as we all know, don’t always work out. I started out wanting to write on the theme of 500: Things named 500, famous 500’s and so on. The problem is, the only thing I could come up with was the Indianapolis 500, the famous Indycar race in the USA.

That was fine of course, I’m a big motor racing fan and I do know a little about the Indianapolis 500. The Indianapolis motor speedway where the event takes place is known as the brickyard as it was originally paved with bricks. Graham Hill and Jim Clark were famous European winners of the Indy 500 back in the 1960’s. Emerson Fittipaldi, another F1 driver retired after two world championships in the 1970’s but made a comeback in Indycars winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1989 and again in 1993.

OK, that’s it off the top of my head. For anything more I’d have to head for Google. To be honest, I did do a search in Google for some ideas. Some suggestions from over there were the dog recently rehomed after 500 days in the kennels and the Fiat 500 motor car. I did hire a Fiat 500 once in Lanzarote which was fun. I’m OK driving on the other side of the road but sitting in the left hand seat and changing gear with my right hand, well I’ve always found that to be the difficult part. Anyway, the Fiat 500 was a pretty tasty motor car, even for a big lug like me but I’m not sure I can say much more about it. Glad to hear about that dog getting rehomed though.

Perhaps a quick troll through my blogging landmarks might help.

Blog 100: Mr Todd and the Sound of that Elusive Next Blog.

Looking back to my 100th blog I see I was still searching for things to write about. A blog post prompt tasked me to write about a sound and the one that came to me was Mr Todd’s projector. Who was Mr Todd? Well he was a teacher at my junior school, Crossacres Junior School in Manchester and every Christmas Mr Todd set up his projector and we filed into the hall, sat down cross legged on the floor while the curtains were closed, the lights switched out and Mr Todd’s projector took us into another world, the world of films. They were mostly cartoons, things like Woody Woodpecker and Bugs Bunny and sometimes he showed a few Walt Disney animal documentaries.

Those Christmas film shows were just wonderful for us children, sitting in the dark watching those slapstick antics on the screen. I used to like to sit near to Mr Todd and marvel at the projector. He would open up little doors in the workings and make adjustments, and little shafts of light would escape until he closed the small doors again, and the whirring of the reels and the clicketty-click sound was a sound I loved.

One day, and I think it must have been my last year at junior school, Mr Todd retired but not only did he retire, he took his projector and films with him and the last Christmas at Crossacres was empty without him. I remember sitting in the hall listening to the choir or some play or other and hoping that eventually someone would give the signal to close the curtains and the projector would be wheeled in and the fun would begin. Mr Todd and his projector however, never returned and Christmases were never the same. Still, whenever I hear the sound of a projector the memory of that Christmas film show returns to me. I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the Hitchcock movie ‘Rebecca’, but there’s a sequence in the film where Joan Fontaine and Laurence Olivier start watching their home movies and we hear that clicketty click projector sound again.

The World of the Vinyl Single

My 200th post was actually about TV Spies. It was OK but nothing exciting but for my 201st post I found myself writing about The World of The Vinyl Single. In 2022 there are still music charts although youngsters today prefer downloads to actually owning a physical copy of their chosen music. They have never known the joy of spending Saturday afternoons flipping through the singles in the numerous record shops of cities like my home town of Manchester. Not for them the allure of the soft dark vinyl or the album art or sleeve notes. No personal annotations like there were on my record sleeves with the discreet addition of the date I bought the record. The first single I ever bought was in 1973 and it was Olivia Newton-John’s version of ‘If Not For You’. Reduced to half price it was 24 pence. I sometimes wonder what was the last ever vinyl single I ever bought. One day I’ll have to search through my boxes of old records and work it out.

Edit: An Alternative 200th Post

WordPress is pretty good at showing you how many posts you’ve done but finding the 100th, the 200th and so on meant having to count back to blog number 1. I have to admit here that I made a big cock up looking back and after a recount I think my 200th blog post was actually one about photography. It was called Adventures with a Camera. I showed the reader some of my favourite pictures and talked about my favourite cameras from my first one, an Instamatic 126 to my current one a Nikon D100.

Night Shift

My 300th blog post was a poem, not one of my very best but my 301st was a post called Night Shift. What I did was string various threads together and link them to my night shift. As I’m now semi-retired I don’t do night shifts anymore so reading this post was a nostalgic look back for me at how things used to be: Trying to get some sleep during the day, the burst of activity at the start of the shift, the gradual winding down of things. The endless cups of tea, the midnight sandwich and finally the relief when the morning shift came in to take over. Going outside and getting into my car after the last one was a good feeling and so was the feeling that while everyone was off to work for me it was the other way round, off home for a sleep and remembering to set the alarm so I wouldn’t sleep away what was really my first day off.

Edit #2

After a substantial recount I found out later that my 300th post was (surprise, surprise) The Big 300. I think I was a little surprised to have got to that milestone and I talked a lot about writing and finding inspiration and also about the film and TV scripts I have written and had rejected. Writing scripts isn’t so hard but it’s what to do with them afterwards. Who will read them? Who can I send them to? Most companies are not interested in unsolicited scripts or ones from an unknown author or writers who are unrepresented by agents. For a while I paid to list one of my screenplays on Inktip.com and although I had some interest, producers weren’t queuing up to buy my script.

The Big 400

Blog Post 400 was about Things to Do During the Pandemic. Well, I guess we are all pretty happy to have put the pandemic (mostly) behind us. The things I was doing during the pandemic were watching TV, drinking wine and ordering restaurant meals to be delivered. Nowadays I’m doing pretty much the same thing although I’m actually back visiting restaurants instead of asking them to deliver food. Of course, the food is only part of the restaurant experience. Chatting to friends, having banter with our waiters and being waited on is really what a restaurant is about as well as good food and wine. In 2022 Liz and I have discovered a different restaurant called Spago and we have currently been taking advantage of their January and February offers. We have already found our favourite table (table 12) and the waiters are by now pretty used to our little idiosyncrasies (we like to pour the wine ourselves, we don’t like sweet stuff dribbled on our food, we like a lot of lemon in our table water to name but three).

The Big 500

Of course, we also like to visit our regular restaurants too like Ego (table 30 please) and Allegria (table 16). I also still watch far too much TV. Interestingly in the 400th post above I talked about watching Rocketman, the Elton John biopic. Last night we watched Bohemian Rhapsody the 2018 Freddie Mercury/Queen biopic.

Just like those earlier blog posts, in 2022 I’m still trying to flog my books, Floating in Space and A Warrior of Words. I’ve got a few more followers than I had back in 2014 when I first started blogging. Have I made any money from my blog posts? Er, no. Have my posts gone viral? No. Has writing and blogging made me a better writer? Well, those 500 blog posts haven’t hurt me in any way and more writing can’t be bad for a writer, it can only be good. Do I still like blogging? Of course, I do. The only problem is, what can write for blog #501?


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