The third and fourth blogs to be featured in this brief series are Ian Visits and Diamond Geezer. The former began life purely as a blog just like others. Over time it developed into a more serious proposition with advertising as a means of generating revenue, whilst Diamond Geezer has always remained a pure blog. With the other blogs (Londonist, London Reconnections) any work is split among a number of staff or in the case of Diamond Geezer its on a hosted platform (blogger.com in his case) which far more time can be spent on the written output.
A blog run by one person on every level is pretty damn hard going and any actual content that is written forms a very small part of the work. With this in mind Ian Visits clearly has the hardest job of the four London blogs reviewed. Its no mean task to undertake a blog of such extent and scope. I am sure a lot of us don’t realise just how much hard work is needed the further we get down that road of becoming a more professional blog. I regularly rue the day I moved away from wordpress.com because the amount of work is sheer.
The very first Ian Visits. Pure and simple! It began around April 2006.
Ian’s site began in 2006 and was a fairly barebones blog in those early days. The name apparently comes form the idea of organising visits, tours, and events and those subscribing to his blog would be able to join him on these. This was indeed the main focus of Ian Visits – to visit interesting places – as can be seen from the next screencap of the blog itself.
In October 2006 the earliest archived substantial web portal on Ian Visits could be seen.
As these early pages show Ian promised a soon to come ‘sexier’ page. Those early pages show us what it would basically contain – events, mailing lists, and so on. Lists of previous visits were regularly listed and potential new ones also listed with an invite to people to subscribe to be able to go on these visits or simply find out more about the places visited.
It seems the actual blog side of things began in November 2006 as shown above. If this was indeed the ‘sexier’ page promised earlier, its a little bit of a let down!
An even less ‘sexier’ page! Ian Visits in February 2007.
Ian Visits’ Interesting Places 26 June 2007. Sadly all the content images are missing. The Internet Archive is sometimes poor at rendering pages properly.
By November 2008 (the earliest archived sample I can find) the site had taken on a more serious look and featured the election of US President Barack Obama.
The site remained in this format until 2011 when the earliest of the now recognisable formats was adopted, including the silhouette of London’s skyline – essentially a magazine style layout.
From 5th April 2011 the blog took on the semblance by which it is generally known today.
Ian Visits consists of a main portal page which links to his blog – the bit with all the interesting features and write ups. The other pages consist of a calendar of things to do in London, a list of historical anniversaries (for example you can find out the main London anniversaries for each day of the year), and a comprehensive list of London’s museums.
Ian Visits in February 2016 – a short lived new look – seems there’s no complete version on the Internet Archive.
By April 2016 the site had reverted to using a London specific header. Again no complete version available.
The pages archived a little further along have a fully rendered look such as this example from February 2017.
The latest version of Ian Visits began in August 2018 (note these are the dates the Internet archives these, but maybe not the exact dates the pages were changed.)
Basically Ian Visits has two main pages the front portal which links to everything, or the blog which is what most will probably arrive at. This is where the latest news and features can be found.
The site is full of very useful information and publishes well in advance many events, gallery talks, exhibitions etc (as well as reminders that exhibitions are about to finish.) One may not know of certain events in advance but in perusing Ian’s pages one will be informed of what is happening well beforehand.
The anniversaries pages are of great interest – should anyone wish to refer to a particular day on which something happened in London (or even the UK) Ian Visits is a good place to find this information.
Ian Visits Donorbox page.
Ian Visits is one of an increasing number of blogs that asks for donations to support the site, its a bit like Just Giving that sort of thing, one gives as little or as much as they would wish.
The site as it is today has a somewhat simpler look – gone are the London specific headers. Its a much cleaner layout.
The latest Ian Visits portal just before the new year. The Internet Archive had not got that far at the time of writing – it has the previous week’s issue instead.
Ian Visits blog page 2nd January 2019.
Finally, as most will expect, the most interesting of all these four blogs has to be Diamond Geezer’s. Its simplicity and lack of any styling does not make any difference to what it is because its without a doubt one of the most successful of the London blogs. DG writes loads and loads of content and the fact its hosted on blogspot.com means much of the work is cut out so he can write to his heart’s content.
Another aspect of Diamond Geezer’s blog is he has a great sense of humour and an unique insight into many subjects. Right from the very start DG has been a great story-teller and can turn even the most depressing, mundane, subjects into an enjoyable read.
I just had to collapse with laughter when I read some of his early works in preparation for this series. Take the following for example.
‘Diamond Geezer’ March 2004 on the Golden Age of our railways (post is actually from a different source…)
Basically Diamond Geezer keeps a journalistic blog. Its also likie a diary at times. It doesn’t do anything specific (not like Ian Visits or Londonist) which is to keep people informed of things going on in the capital – although it does from time to time tell people about future events or recommend places that should be visited.There are some things I would have never known about had it not been for Diamond Geezer’s blog!
I find myself looking at it every single day and most of the time its an education for an idiot savant such as me! I couldn’t tell you really what it is that makes the blog work – language/linguistics/social irony/comedy are not areas I have much understanding of. I am sure others could explain DG’s approach or writing style better than I.
The very first Diamond Geezer page – still can be found on his blog.
Diamond Geezer’s blog is the oldest of the four blogs featured and actually began in 1999! That very first page was a one off. In September 2002 it took off properly and from there it has become extremely popular. No doubt its the unique content which draws. What is quite surprising is Diamond Geezer doesn’t want a single penny for his efforts which is most admirable.
As he has pointed out in a couple of posts, people/organisations/promoters of all sorts approach him for the purposes of reviewing/testing/promoting their products. He doesn’t want any of this. There are a couple of posts where he has discussed emails of this genre and he sorts of deconstructs the language these people are using and makes fun of it. Interestingly he could have been a millionaire by now had his content been monetized. But then again, promotion, fame and money isn’t everything.
One can still look at his blog and delve all the way back to the very first entries however it kicked off properly in 2002 with entries practically every single day from that point onwards. In terms of Diamond Geezer’s ghosts the earliest sighting anywhere else on the internet besides his own pages is in the Internet Archive. These early captures are very different to what can be seen now.
The first archived Diamond Geezer page – 3rd February 2003.
The Internet Archive does not take up Diamond Geezer’s blog until February 2003 however if one looks at these early pages on the archive it is quite different to the style we know now. The colour is different, the links to other blogs is different – quite a few of these early blogs have expired. There are also links to other websites, many of which have expired.
On this very first archived page – there is a link about somewhere that goes to other pages under his real name and those pages too have been archived. If you really want to know such information feel free to take a look at the February 2003 page – after all its in the public domain! To get there you just need to let the server first give a HTTP 302 error page before it redirects to a different page…
The first Diamond Geezer page of the new year – 1st January 2019.
Basically Diamond Geezer goes from strength to strength and the recent exploits of Bus stop M among many other things give testimony to the incredible skills he has writing. Who’d have thought a mere bus stop could give way to a whole new comedy!
Hurry before the remaining stocks of this extremely popular publication sells out! Make it a present for next year’s xmas! Diamond Geezer’s Bus Stop M The Complete Compendium.