Posts Tagged With: random

Freshly Pressed and Famous!

Freshly Pressed WordPress Collage Armistead Maupin

What a crazy week! I blogged about my favourite author, Armistead Maupin and within hours my daily hits went through the roof! The amazing Mr. Maupin then came to The Vibes to see what all the fuss was about, and left a heartfelt message in my comments section. I can’t really describe how happy it made me feel to get such a great reaction from someone who is one of my heroes – but it didn’t end there.

After the surprise discovery of a Moroccan Market in Manchester, I posted some little Instagram pictures I took on my iPhone and suddenly my email alerts went insane. For the second time my daily hits were meteoric and when I mentioned it to my friend he said, ‘Have you checked to see if you’ve been Freshly Pressed?’ I stopped to think: it’s the ultimate accolade in blogging, and to be honest I’d never expected to get ‘Pressed’ so I never even looked. There I was on the front page! Over the next four days I got about 13,500 hits, with my personal best of 203 dailies getting trumped by an unbeatable 4,527! On top of that, my Moroccan Bazaar post got 323 Likes, when I never managed more than 30 in the past. I got reblogged all over the place. Requests came tumbling in to redesign people’s blogs and countless enquiries arrived about my theme, the Adventure Journal.

WordPress stats Freshly pressed

The bizarre thing is, we sat down just the night before I posted and tried to work out the secret of getting on the front page. We deduced that less is more: not too much to read and not too many pictures. Perhaps a bit of stringent editing means we end up presenting the very best of our work in an easily digestible chunk. I guess busy people want a quick fix. Who knows? – but I think this strategy was in the back of my mind when I put together my Moroccan post. A big thank you to the WordPress team for rating my post and giving me the exposure!

My followers rocketed from 95 to 320 and I realised that I could never fully respond to all the Likes, the 100 or so comments or check out the blogs of all my new followers. And to cap it all, in the middle of all this madness, The Sunshine Award arrived, which was very welcome because I think that’s what this blog is all about – a bit of colour to blow away the shadows, or ‘sun in wintertime’ as my tag line used to read.

I’d like to say thank you to everyone who Liked, commented and followed – and if I haven’t responded, I’m not being rude: I will try to acknowledge everyone, it’s like being buried under an avalanche of emails, so…

Thank you note lined paper


Read Tales of the City and Moroccan Bazaar

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Categories: Random, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , | 54 Comments

Tales of the City

28 Barbary Lane Victorian house san francisco

Picture it: San Francisco, 1976. Big hair and hedonism, disco dancefloors and decadence.

 

Armistead Maupin chronicled life in San Francisco in the 1970s in his newspaper column, and then in a series of captivating novels centered around the bohemian homestead of 28 Barbary Lane, high on Russian Hill.

It’s the home of one of the most fascinating and ingenious characters in modern fiction, garden-variety landlady Mrs. Madrigal, the enigmatic Earth Mother who views the world from a unique perspective, embodying both yin and yang. Whether she’s wafting around in a kimono and a cloud of smoke, or out-facing an adversary with the steely gaze of a gunslinger, she shines like a beacon as the disposessed are washed up at the gates of number 28.

Four years ago, one of my best friends gave me the complete set of novels, which became an instant addiction. Maupin was describing a golden age in the first three novels, which are rich, warm and humorous, humanitarian like Dickens, with a dark undercurrent straight from classic Hitchcock. The first great mystery in Tales of the City is Anna Madrigal herself. The name’s an anagram: a key to the door of her secret past…

Arguably the pivotal quote from the entire series is where Mrs. Madrigal refers to the logical family, as opposed to the biological, and here we see how gay people, rejected by their families, adapt in the face of homophobia. This forms the firm foundation on which the wonderful world of Barbary Lane is built. Maupin has talked about emotional reactions from fans at book signings and as strange as it sounds, it highlights the serious lack of positive depictions of gay people in popular culture, and how he threw us all a line. No one was writing about aspirational happy characters, and there were consequently no real gay role models.

He also deals with subjects like racism, and religious zeal with wit and ingenuity, and then he stands back and lets the bigots have it with both barrels. Maupin was the last American serviceman to leave Vietnam and the first mainstream author to write about Aids, as a major character dies in one of the early novels before the advent of drug therapy.

Maupin captures the natural rhythms of speech and observes human behaviour so acutely that he adds a whole dimension of realism that few authors can achieve, one of the reasons for his phenomenal success and the enduring love for his characters over the years.

On May 26th it will be 36 years since the first Tales of the City column appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle and more than a quarter century later, we have e-books, three epic TV mini series and a musical. Stay tuned for more about the Tales of the City series…

Golden gate Bridge san Francisco

Check out my trip to San Francisco

http://www.armisteadmaupin.com/

Armistead Maupin on Facebook

Here’s an update for you: we’ve been visited by the man himself! Scroll down to comments…

Categories: Random, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Lady Tache

Moustached Mannequin

According to the mannequins in Harvey Nichols department store in Manchester, waxing your upper lip has taken on a completely different meaning. Rather than removing the hair, you should tease it into the curly points of a silent movie villain. Of course. Cheryl Cole will be relieved to hear this…

Categories: Design, Photography, Random, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Instagrams: Part 3

Instagram Buddhist prayer wheel

Buddhist Prayer Wheel

instagram molly house garden manchester

The roof garden at The Molly House

Instagram Fyg cafe coffe cup manchester

Coffee cup, Fyg Cafe

Instagram Tardis police box london

The Tardis, Kensington Olympia, London

Instagram Euston Station enamel sign

Euston Station, London

Instagram kitchen vegetables

The Vibes kitchen

The Vibes desk instagram

The Vibes desk

Check out Instagrams Part 1 here
and Instagrams Part 2 here
also The Best of The Vibes in pictures here

Categories: Photography, Random, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Instagrams: Part 2

Wallpaper, Polari Bar Manchester

Continue reading

Categories: Photography, Random, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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