Sunday, 1 February 2015

Views looking back - the Eclectic Ephemera Top 10

Here I am again, then, saying "What ho!" after another long dry spell at Eclectic Ephemera.  I seem to spend half my (few) posts lately apologising for my absence, and can only do so again.  I dislike constantly using work as an excuse, since I know so many bloggers who successfully juggle a good working/writing balance - it just seems I'm not one of them!  Having said that, it seems that a few of my favourite bloggers have gone quiet as the new year got underway, or have just emerged from the woodwork after months of silence, so perhaps I am not alone after all.

Anyway, enough navel-gazing, for a quite remarkable milestone was reached by this blog at the start of 2015 and it is this that I intend to celebrate in this post (for lack of anything really newsworthy!).  Quite appropriately, the start of my sixth year as a vintage blogger saw Eclectic Ephemera pass 400,000 pageviews.  Now of course that doesn't mean that 400,000 individual people have viewed this blog - some of those will have been me looking at the thing to see how it's doing (and forgetting to select "Don't track my own pageviews"!) and many, many more were probably spammers, bots, bits and other assorted members of the æthereal interweb - but the majority would have been fellow bloggers, followers and interested parties.  You, in other words.  And that deserves celebrating.  What I thought I'd do to mark the occasion, therefore, is to "run down" (to use the modern parlance) the Top 10 posts from Eclectic Ephemera's 6-year history - a sort of "best of", as it were, chosen by you the readers.

So, in ascending order they are:

10. Home linked to P G Wodehouse's Blandings Castle up for sale


From November 2010, the news that Apley House in Shropshire had been completely restored and was up for sale for the princely sum of £1¾ million.  I found it to be of particular interest because it is generally agreed among scholars to be the inspiration behind P.G. Wodehouse's Blandings Castle, which was the setting for one of his other book series.  With Plum being one of my favourite authors and creator of that arch-chap Bertie Wooster, even though it was not directly related to the Jeeves stories I fancied including it here.  Eclectic Ephemera was barely a year old at this point and still evolving into the blog we know today, so at this point the stories I featured were sometimes more wide-ranging than they are today.  Still this one had a vintage bent about it and has obviously proved popular, for whatever reason (perhaps the Wodehouse connexion, or just its magnificence as an English stately home).

9. Liebster Blog Award #2


Jumping forward two years to November 2012, this blog received its second Liebster Blog Award.  Having largely given way to other blog awards (probably due to the demise of Google Friends) the Liebster nevertheless contained most of the things we recognise in today's examples.  Given to me by Lil of the now defunct Little Lil of London blog, it contained the usual x number of questions about myself to answer and I obviously made a decent fist of it since it is the most popular award-based post on the blog!

8. Historic wooden car floated at auction


November 2010 again and one of my many vintage motoring posts - this time featuring a one-off wood-bodied 1932 Talbot.  This car had an interesting history, which is why the story appealed to me (and everybody else too, it seems!), having started out in 1932 as just an ordinary 14/65 saloon before some time in the 1960s acquiring a fantastic roadster body fashioned entirely from boat-grade mahogany!  Despite this it was only valued at £20,000 to £30,000, eventually being sold for almost smack dab in the middle at £25,300.  As I said at the time, I hope the new owner enjoys varnishing!

7. Cary Grant - Style Icon



February 2012 and number 2 in my personal Style Icon series is obviously number 1 in your books - Mr Cary Grant.  Proof of the man's popularity even today, my thoughts on his impeccable dress sense - and more importantly the pictures that illustrate this - have gone towards making this everyone's favourite Style Icon post from a list that included David Niven and Fred Astaire!

6. Model of new Routemaster bus unveiled



The classic [red] AEC Routemaster bus has come to symbolise the city of London, not just for those of us in Britain but more especially for people living around the world for whom this simple, long-lived vehicle is part of their own external view of our capital.  Therefore it should perhaps come as little surprise, given the international nature of the internet (and thus, this blog), that the unveiling of its spiritual successor should prove to be so popular.  The idea of modern technology meeting classic, tried-and-tested design was much in evidence throughout the story of the NB4L (or New Routemaster, as it has become known) and this has always been the most appealing aspect of things to me, as I hope it has been to all who have followed the journey of the NB4L from drawing board to now, five years later, actually carrying passengers around the streets of London.  Having since seen one or two up close I can confirm it more than lives up to the hype and it's been fascinating to see its progress all the way from inception to now.

5. Vintage Rolls-Royces honour Spirit of Ecstasy



As if to reinforce its position as "Best Car in the World" this 2011 post about the centenary of Rolls-Royce's mascot, the famous Spirit of Ecstasy, makes it into the top 5.  As well the story about the anniversary celebrations featuring myriad Royce models from down the years, I took the opportunity to throw in a bit about some of my favourite examples and it has obviously struck a chord with many people for whom the Rolls-Royce is still the very epitome of luxury motoring.

4. Film Friday - Scarface (1932)


The third of the Film Friday: Gangsters series that I began back in 2010 with Little Caesar (and which sadly I've rather let slide since) this post focussed on the plot - and, more importantly the fashions - of Howard Hughes' and Howard Hawk's classic 1932 gangster drama Scarface, starring Paul Muni, Ann Dvorak and George Raft.  This post has proven to be popular with both vintage film and fashion fans alike, which are who I hoped would be the target audience and which has made me think that maybe it's about time I brought this series back!

3. All aboard the song train


This is the most recently-written post to make the top 10, containing a selection of railway-related tunes to celebrate (if that's the word I want!) my first foray back into the world of full-time work and commuting by train.  While that job didn't last and I now commute to the latest office by bus, this post really seemed to build up a good head of steam(!) and powered its way into the "most popular" list.  I suspect this is just through people searching for the phrase "song train", but then I live in hopes that there are several thousand visitors with a liking for the music of Glenn Miller, Paul Whiteman and Bob Crosby among others!

2. Rare photographs of comedian Stan Laurel are auctioned


Proof of the enduring popularity of two of the funniest comic actors to have ever lived, this story regarding the auction of rare photographs of (mainly) Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy proved inordinately popular (again probably just through people Googling "photos of Stan Laurel", I reckon).  Including some very rare images dating back to 1897 and showing a young Arthur Stanley Jefferson playing with his siblings these photographs came from a family collection owned by a great-niece of Stan's living in Sunderland, near to North Shields where he grew up.  The 54 lots eventually sold for a total of £8,000.

1. Classic car firm Morgan building new three-wheeler after gap of 60 years


This would certainly be in my top 10 favourite vintage news items that this blog has covered since 2009, so I'm delighted to see it make the number one slot with my readers too.  And why should it not?  Here is an almost perfect example of traditional, vintage design being married to modern technology and - even better - one that has been an unqualified success for the Morgan Motor Company.  For it is now the company's best-selling model, having sold more than 600 in the first few months after it went on sale and over 1,000 in the four years it has been on sale.  While that may not sound like much, for a niche manufacturer like Morgan - who still use the same construction methods and work out of the same factory in Malvern, Worcestershire that they have done since the company's inception in 1909 - it is a very big deal.  In 2014 a whole raft of updates were applied to the car in response to customer feedback and I see no reason why the 3-wheeler, having taken its rightful place back in the very heart of the Morgan range, should not endure for decades just as the other models have done.

There we have it, then - the 10 most popular Eclectic Ephemera posts from the past 6 years and 400,000 pageviews.  I hope you've all enjoyed this little reminiscence as much as I have writing it and I look forward to seeing what the future brings for this blog amid the hope of many more readers and followers to come.

1 comment:

  1. 400,000 page views! That's a massive achievement. Well done! I miss your regular posts, but a new one is always well worth the wait.

    I have fewer than 150,000 in four years. I am a crummy blogger. Seriously considering giving up, to be honest; I never seem to be able to devote the time I want to to it.

    Hey, have you heard of the Temple At War Show? It's a new 40s show in Essex; they contacted me via Twitter and as soon as I saw it I thought of you!


Don't just sit there, type something! I enjoy reading all comments.


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