Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Strangest Google hit ever

This blog has been going for a year now. The idea was to post material from Quote Unquote the magazine, but I don’t have the digital files any more and it’s quite hard OCRing the text, proofing it and getting the writers’ okay. I don’t strictly need to for most of it, but it’s polite.

And most people are happy for the articles to be posted – after all, these days if it isn’t online it doesn’t exist. But some people are not.

Exhibit A: Tim Wilson, who was a taxi driver when I discovered him for Metro and launched his career, but having lived in New York for a few years and working for TV he is now too grand to respond to email entreaties, the ungrateful wretch.

Exhibit B: There was a serious objection from the subject (name on application) of a Nigel Cox piece so I had to pull it after posting – that was after about four hours’ work.

So there has been less from the magazine than I had planned, but hey, next year will be different. Don’t we all always think that?

What I have noticed over the last year is the weird ways people around the world come here. There are a number of regular readers in New Zealand, which was the plan. There are also a number of regulars from overseas, which is a pleasant surprise. Hello, Vila! Hello, Hong Kong! Hello, Rarotonga! Hello, Sandwich! (No, really.) But hundreds and thousands of people have come here by googling for images of Toby Young. That is weird. Why would you?

Most recently, there has been a spike from people looking for information on Ike Turner. That is weird too. The hairy sausage was also a hit. (As, less weirdly, have been Witi Ihimaera, Phil Judd, Frank Sargeson, and that stupid, stupid book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.)

But the weirdest of all Google searches is this one today: “hilary barry xmas cake recipe”. I really like Hilary, who is a friend of my wife’s: she is one of the funniest people I know, she is gorgeous and she can really cook. So, three out of three. But why on earth is someone in Napier trying to find her Christmas cake recipe? Isn’t it a bit like trying to find Elizabeth Knox’s gardening secrets, or CK Stead’s favourite knitting patterns?

UPDATE: I take it all back about Tim Wilson. He is not an ungrateful wretch. He has been in touch and has granted permission to post. Watch this space, and watch for his novel due next year from VUP.


bk drinkwater said...

Fun game.

1: Think of as strange a Google search string as you can.

2: Click through to about the fourth page of search results. Look for blogs.

3: Visit the blog.

4: Monitor the blog for two weeks.

You get a point if the blogger, in that fortnight, posts a "weirdest google hit ever" post.

My personal best is 3 points from a four-hour googling session. A friend beat me with an amazing six. Six! He has a truly twisted mind, which helps.

Stephen Stratford said...

What a good game idea. Could regular readers - and yes, I am looking at you, Laughy Kate, Dave Hillier, Bob Smith, Lord Sandwich and Penny Wise, among others - try this and report on their results?

Anonymous said...

'There was a serious objection from the subject (name on application) of a Nigel Cox piece so I had to pull it after posting – that was after about four hours’ work.'

'Name on application'. This is an application. Who was it?

Stephen Stratford said...

CK Stead. I'm not sure what his objection was - he didn't approach me directly. I'll try to find out and maybe I'll be able to reinstate it later.