I started SHADOWS WRITER about two years ago. It has changed a bit since then. I’d like to use this post to look back at a couple of things.
The first is YOUR favorite posts. There have clearly been some winners and losers among which posts grabbed readers attention and which were quickly dismissed.
Sometimes, I am well aware when I decide to write something that it will only appeal to a select few. Other times I am caught completely off guard. Stunned even at how few people care about a topic I find so fascinating.
Conversely, more than a few posts have been happy surprises. Posts I wrote on things just because I felt like it, absolutely sure nobody else would give a damn. And then, those same posts got more attention than many others in months.
Secondly, I would like to bring a little attention to a few of my favorites that may or may not have been all that popular. Some of these may just not be of interest to too many people. Or perhaps they slipped through the cracks. Who knows? I just feel a few deserve to be spotlighted a little bit now that there are so many posts to chose from.
Lastly, I would like to use this post to announce that I may be cutting SHADOWS WRITER’s output a little bit. Rather than trying to maintain a rate of once a week (usually Tuesdays), the posts will probably be coming a little less often and a little more irregularly.
Far too often over the last year, as the rest of life has become increasingly busy, SHADOWS WRITER has felt like a chore and obligation, not a place of fun and joy. And that’s just not right.
The whole point of SHADOWS WRITER was to create a place to talk about the things I found so exciting that I was practically bursting at the seams to share them. Creating this blog, online magazine, whatever you want to call it, gave me an outlet for all that energy.
I need to get back to that.
So, no more promises of new posts, bright and early every Tuesday. They come when they come. And hopefully you will still care and enjoy them. Maybe even going as far as to be energized to discover something new or to revisit an old favorite.
One can hope.
In the meantime, here’s a look back at some of your favorites and couple of mine.
YOUR ALL TIME FAVORITES:
CHEERLEADERS OF ANARCHY
This post was far and away the most visited on SHADOWS WRITER. I’m guessing that result is largely because of the word “cheerleader” in its title and the popularity of the subject in slightly deviant ways.
The post is actually about NIRVANA and their “Smells Like Team Spirit” video.
It was one of the very first SHADOWS WRITER posts and honestly, there isn’t much to it. There’s some great photos and the video itself but not a whole lot of words or insight.
Good stuff in its own way but a far cry from what most later articles became.
Whatever happened to WONG KAR-WAI?
Although it may never overcome “cheerleaders” this post has become the second most popular post of all time on SHADOWS WRITER. I attribute that mostly to interest in the subject and a collection of great photos featured in the post.
At the time, it was real question on my mind. I love a lot of WKW films from twenty or thirty years ago. IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE, CHUNKING EXPRESS, FALLEN ANGELS…These are amazing films.
But then WKW faded away. And I, personally, wanted to know what the hell happened.
Ironically, since I wrote that post interest in Wong Kar-Wai has reached staggering proportions. The 4k rerelease of several of those older movies took place. And Criterion released a spectacular boxed set of his best films. But I wrote that before all that was still in the talking stages not a reality yet.
I still like the post for its information but, honestly, it’s the photos in the post that make it. WKW movie stills are almost as amazing to look at as his movies.
The films of meiko kaji
I’m thrilled that this post became as popular as it did. Meiko Kaji rocks. She was the star of three film franchises at once: FEMALE PRISONER 701 SCORPION, STRAY CAT and THE LADY SNOWBLOOD films. Alright, the last oe is arguably not a franchise since they only made two films. But still. How amazing…
The post gets into Quintin Tarantino’s tributes/homages/theft of her characters and her films. To say he is also a huge fan is a serious understatement. But I give him a lot of credit for bringing her back into the public eye, especially in the West.
If you’ve never seen any of her films watch the first FEMALE PRISONER SCORPION or the LADY SNOWBLOOD films. There have been a lot of bad ass female characters over the years. But none can hold a candle to Meiko Kaji.
THE GODZILLA HOTEL
This was the most “liked” post of anything put up over the last two years. Which is incredibly surprising because it got roughly one fifth of the views that “Cheerleaders of Anarchy” did.
Basically, if you were interested enough in the topic to bother, you probably liked what you read.
The subject was the hotel I stayed it during my very first visit to Tokyo. It has a Godzilla theme including a massive Godzilla head perched on it which breathes steam and flashes its eyes.
The post dealt with my impressions of the hotel, of Tokyo, and of my love for Godzilla. The very first post ever on SHADOWS WRITER was about Godzilla. I wrote additional posts on him here, here, here,and here…..I love that guy.
This post was about that love but also the weirdness of Tokyo and how much I enjoyed it. There’s also a companion piece called FIVE LIES ABOUT TOKYO which got a very similar reaction. Almost nobody bothered to read it but those that did seemed to like it.
alexa and the VERY warped world of demon seed
This was one of my first “break out” posts. I lot of that I attribute to it being linked from a well read blog about author Dean Koontz who wrote the book the film was based on.
Koontz not only wrote it. He wrote it twice. He published it once in the slightly sick, twisted, version that the movie was based on. Then he drastically rewrote it many years later and republished that version as the official version of the story.
The article is about the book and the seventies scifi movie of the same name. The film stars Julie Christie as the beautiful wife of the genius that invents an early form of “smart home.” And it all goes very, very….very, wrong.
It’s a super-fun movie that is well worth watching if you’ve never seen it. However, it has relevance now that it wouldn’t have had even ten years ago.
The “smart home” in the movie is oddly like Amazon’s Alexa in many ways. Disturbingly so. It is hard to watch without finding yourself questioning what you have done by embracing such an intruder into your home, no matter how helpful.
But it’s just a movie right? A smart home could never actually DO those things, could it?
eno, ferry, Bowie and the alien invasion of 1972
This post was fairly popular but nothing like “Cheerleaders” or the post on Wong Kar-Wai. It was liked well enough but it was no Godzilla Hotel.
There are two reasons I wanted to put this post on this list. I think it’s a good, solid, well-researched article. It also briefly got me republished regularly at another blog.
This post was about the incredible influence three men had on the sound of music. An influence which lasted decade. They were three extraordinarily talented, productive, and unique individuals that touched many of my all time favorite songs and LPs in some way.
It’s also got some great little stories in it. Eno being tossed out of ROXY MUSIC after becoming too popular for Ferry’s liking. Bowie’s Berlin years…Hard stuff to make boring even if I tried.
And like I said, it also got the attention of someone who ran a blog called VINYL WRITERS. They reposted a number of my SHADOWS WRITER articles for a while. It was great until I was tossed off their blog for defending THE BEATLES and LED ZEPPELIN after they were attacked in one of the VINYL WRITERS articles.
Yeah, true story. And, honestly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.
SOMe others I just wanted to mention
There are a few other posts which either due to their popularity or just the fact that I like them still hold a place close to my heart.
Among them is the story that goes with the above photo, SOME TWISTED ANIME OF DECADES PAST. It’s about my, sometimes uncomfortable, embrace of anime about as far away from HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE as you could get.
Then there’s some posts on photographers I love. There’s one on each of the following: WOLFGANG TILLMANS, MORIYAMA, THOMAS STRUTH, WILLIAM KLEIN, and quite a few others if you dig around. I tried to make sure the photos did the talking in most cases, instead of me.
There’s a post on why records in Mono rather than Stereo really can be better in some cases with clear examples of reasoning why. If you’ve never heard a good Mono mix of THE ROLLING STONES you owe it to yourself to check this post out.
And finally, there’s this post. The one you just read.
I know how much stuff is out there jumping up and down, screaming for your time and attention. The fact that you chose to read anything on SHADOWS WRITER, no matter who you are, no matter where you are, means a lot. More than you may realize.
See you soonish…