Monday, April 14, 2014

QUQ: a progress report

When I started this blog the intention was to put online material from Quote Unquote the magazine (1993-97) because, as Rob O’Neill, a contributor to the magazine, observed over lunch at Squid Row in December 2008, “If it’s not online, it doesn’t exist.”

Although he is a Fairfax journalist, Rob is not always wrong. I realised that all the interviews with New Zealand authors and other NZ literature-related material that Quote Unquote and its contributors had spent so much time on would be invisible to today’s students who think that Google is a research tool. So the next week Quote Unquote the blog was born.

The posts which are not from the magazine have been just a way of keeping the thing alive until the next blast from a past issue (and to amuse my friends). The main thing was to make available whatever was in the archives that might be of use to students and other interested parties. But I was never sure that schools were using it the way I had intended. Until late last month.

In one day there were more than 30 hits from a South Island school – not sure if it’s a single school, possibly from a content aggregator – on this post from 30 August 2012 of Kate de Goldi’s interview with Owen Marshall in the November 1993 issue. There have been other visits to the blog over the years from schools, and private queries to me from students who had been directed to me by their teachers, but never such a concentrated burst on one post.

Thirty-plus hits a day since then and 463 in total so far don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy blogosphere but are a big number at QUQ. Last week there were dozens more hits from schools on that post, and still they come. Good. It’s also good to see that students are interested in Owen, Kate or both. (Owen has a new novel, Carnival Sky,  out on 2 May. Just saying.)

Other recent visitors to QUQ have been sent by Google because they were looking for:
1. allen curnow skeleton great moa
2. shonagh koea
3. judith baragwanath
4. oscar kightley profile
5. topless strippers
6. guitarist dressed like zorro
7. 18th century philosopher chamfort.

The first five search items are indisputably New Zealand culture. I have no recollection of the sixth – it is possibly something about Gore or Taihape. The seventh is frankly French. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

So here is French singer Francoise Hardy singing “Suzanne” with French musicians and French people in the audience:


helenalex said...

Actually, topless strippers are more of an American thing, thanks to various state laws forbidding them to remove their undies. New Zealand strippers tend to be bottomless, too.

Stephen Stratford said...

So I believe, helenalex. My experience of these establishments is limited, due to lack of interest. In Auckland in the 70s I was taken to one in K Rd by a choreographer, who criticised the young women's moves. In the 90s I was taken to one in O'Connell St by an actress of a certain age, who criticised the young women's deportment. In the 00s I was taken to one in Customs St by two male poets, a male novelist and a male professor, who found nothing to criticise at all.

Rob's Blockhead Blog said...

Last comment - GOLD.

Disclosure - I have never darkened the doors of one of these establishments,