New web page, new manifesto

Hello. I’m Clandestine Critic. You may remember me from previous blog posts, such as ‘Sabbatical’ and ‘Goodbyee’. I like to post my thoughts for a time, stop, start again, stop and then make references The Simpsons.

I’m back.

I hope.

I’ve been away. I needed some time away to think about what I wanted to do with this blog, and why I started it in the first place. During that time, I didn’t stop writing about my interactions with pop culture; I just didn’t blog about it.

What I discovered during my time away was that I wanted to keep blogging, AKA sharing my opinions with the world, but that I shouldn’t be doing it in the form in which I started.

Before I started this blog, I had maintained various, now defunct, blogs that were different sorts of writing, from link blogging to diary-style pieces to reviews. However, upon discovering the wonderful comic blogosphere, I became inspired to start this blog with its emphasis on comic books, with some films thrown in for good measure, because of the amazing feeling of camaraderie and the sharing of a passion I witnessed, and I thought I could add to in some way.

Almost from the beginning, the feeling from writing this was great. I didn’t receive huge numbers of visitors – that wasn’t the goal – but people did read my blog and commented, and the folks who did were a friendly bunch, constructive and complimentary. The honeymoon period.

The problem came when I realised that I didn’t know exactly what was the manifesto of this blog. I didn’t have a specific direction or angle. This led to a lack of focus and drive, leading to times when I stopped blogging because I didn’t know what I was doing. I was trying to do be a comic book blog, when that really wasn’t what I should have been trying to accomplish.

This is not to say I don’t want to write about comic books; I still enjoy reading and writing about the stories I have read. But it is not the sole focus of my blogging desires, and there are plenty of entertaining comic book blogs written by better writers than I for your consumption.

Another problem was in the writing. As a writer, I make a good editor. One of the reasons for blogging was to improve my writing. I’m not sure if I was succeeding, but I couldn’t tell any more. I hope to spend more time on my writing, to ensure some quality to what is posted here.

Another aspect that concerned me was the nature of my reviewing. (I’ve always liked the name Clandestine Critic, but I am in no definition a critic in the truest sense of the word. My aim is to review, but I’ve got used to the name now …) If you peruse the archives, you will notice a lot of justifying and rationalising of my opinions, apologising for what I thought. This doesn’t make for fun reading. I realised what I was doing when I read this item by the Guardian film critic, Peter Bradshaw, particularly these comments:

That is because Searle is a real critic. He wrote, in Dr Johnson’s phrase, “not dogmatically but deliberately”. He did not shrink from forthright judgments, did not hedge them with nervy, apologetic statements to the effect that this was only his opinion. Well, of course it was, but there is no “only” about it. Opinions are fun and stimulating; opinions ignite counter-opinions and thought – but only if expressed in undiluted form. They have no force, no interest and no value if their holder starts timidly anticipating objection.

It seemed to strike a chord with me, particularly the ‘nervy, apologetic statements’. He is right; the thoughts in this blog are all my own opinion, obviously, and I shouldn’t be afraid of expressing them. Otherwise, what is the point of the blog? My writing should be deliberate but not dogmatic.

What has all this reflection led to? I have decided that I should stop trying to be a comic book blog, and start trying to be a blog that reflects me – talking about all my pop culture passions: comic books, cinema, comedy, books, theatre, museums, all aspects of my life in a reviewing manner but with strength of my convictions.

The next step was to give myself a boot up the behind to ensure that I would give the new direction the chance it deserved. So, when Blogger offered the option of custom domain hosting, I decided to go for it. I bought my own domain name – voila, the new URL:

www.clandestinecritic.co.uk

(Those who might be reading this via the original address should be automatically redirected to this URL by the powers of the internet)

I’d like to say welcome to the new (hopefully improved) Clandestine Critic. Please stick around. Have a read. Let me know what you think of the new direction. Even if the comic books are not the primary focus anymore. You won’t find me as part of the new comic weblog update, as I don’t feel I belong there, but I’ll be here, trying to maintain a regular schedule of posts – I think three a week to start – while I develop some confidence and some content.

Let clandestine criticism commence. Again.

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