Today the counter on my blog, Da Steeps Speaks, hit 75,000 unique views but never did I imagine the paths my foray into the world of blogging would take me down when I wrote my first piece back in June.
Da Steeps Speaks at 75,000 unique views
The idea of writing up my experiences began back on May 11th this year when I found myself embroiled in the Daily Telegraph’s story about a certain former ambassador’s wife, the “charity” she ran and the rather extraordinary salary she happened to receive for such. Many friends knew of my displeasure in the way exactly a year earlier, I myself had discovered the manner in which the PACT charity operated and as a result I had ceased to be involved. In the year that followed, however, I had not spoken with any member of the press about this but when the brilliant writer Henry Deedes (http://deedesblog.dailymail.co.uk) alerted me to the story I decided to contact the journalist concerned, Richard Eden (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mandrake), to give him my take on the matter. The saga of what followed is now commonly known but put simply the reaction of the tittle-tattling former ambassador, his “Chanel-clad” wife and their cronies sparked a series of correspondence, public showdowns (with one, involving a former manager of Elistano restaurant, inappropriately telling my pal Anthony Brown he was “riff-raff”) as well as nonsense about “death threats” and an “internet hate campaign.” The whole thing, frankly, turned into a comedy.
Having grown bored of these ludicrous people (who completely failed to understand that when you are in a hole, it is best to stop digging), I decided I’d move the caravan along and start a blog. I did not begin with anything on this scandal but in fact with pieces on the brilliant “photographer to the stars” John Stoddart (http://www.johnstoddart.co.uk) and a new talent named Aliona Adrianova (http://www.adrianova.co.uk). I was pleased subsequently when the Stoddart piece was later published by Epicurean Life magazine.
What followed was also a dilemma about what to write next: I could have gone down the route of focusing on the arts but the field in which I have a little knowledge, I’d say, is food and drink. I’m also fascinated by current affairs and the advice of the blogger Michael Ezra (http://www.twitter.com/michaelezra) over a dinner at The Admiral Codrington was most helpful in making me decide to cover a variety of subjects.
The subsequent journey that I embarked on has brought with it great pleasure put me into contact with an array of characters. The pieces I did on the PACT scandal itself aroused interest from the likes of Janet Street-Porter, who was inspired to write a piece on the giving sector being an utter mess (http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/columnists/janet-street-porter/editoratlarge-the-giving-sector-is-a-mess-ndash-and-thats-being-charitable-2290324.html), and I have had much correspondence with those who are skeptical about the whole Madeline McCann story such as “Nobby-Lobby” (http://www.twitter.com/veniviedivici) and “Elementary Force” (http://www.twitter.com/elementaryforce).
The next subject I became especially involved with was that of the News of the World telephone hacking scandal. My first piece on this, for reasons unknown, has achieved over 50,000 unique views - making it my most followed - and the dialogue I’ve had with Rupert Murdoch himself and the experience of meeting his inefficacious door man were quite something else.
My writings on both Lord Lucan and Heather Mills have brought in comments and emails galore. To think that so many think that the former is alive and prospering and that the latter is a “gem” have surprised me. Equally odd was the reaction to my piece on “the rat theory” that I learnt of whilst sailing with Mount Gay Rum and Andreas Widegren on the Isle of Wight during the August riots. The daily comments on these and others I receive frankly range from the brilliant to the frankly absurd.
Writing about the convicted crooks Bernie Madoff and Conrad Black brought the opportunity to study two fascinatingly bizarre individuals in greater depth. That a certain person involved in the disposal of the assets of the former put the phone down on me was definitely amusing and I very much hope to write much more about both.
On the food and drink front, reviewing Santini (http://www.santini-restaurant.com) and Joe’s (http://www.joseph.co.uk/joes-cafe/locations) with the PR supremo Sarah Canet and the charming Iris Bond were both great pleasures and the opportunity to introduce my readers to great restaurants like Galoupet (http://www.galoupet.co.uk) and The Collection (http://www.the-collection.co.uk) have been especially pleasurable. Many more reviews will follow.
The main thing I’ve gained in this process, though, has been the enjoyment of interacting with brilliant individuals from so many fields. Reviewing gins with Alexandra Abrahams (http://www.twitter.com/alexbloomgin), Barnaby Rodgers (http://www.twitter.com/barnabyrodgers) and Britain’s only female master distiller Joanne Moore was great and the chance to explore the progress of exciting brands like Nuttall Home (http://www.nuttallhome.com), Purity Vodka (http://www.purityvodka.com) and JING Tea (http://www.jingtea.com) have also been an education. I look forward to exploring many more.
Watch out – this is only just the beginning for Da Steeps Speaks.
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