An update on my blog so far, or ‘Crikey, this has all got rather exciting’.

I’ve been working for a friend, Daisy Foss, helping run her healing retreat centre and put together her new website and blog. I didn’t really know much about blogging, so I had been looking at the course materials for the course she was doing with a blogger called Sarah Akwisombe  I really liked the way Sarah said blogging was about putting across your own authentic voice and writing about the things that interested you most. Sarah was sweary and funny and honest.

People have been telling me I should write for years, but I’d been too intimidated at the idea of writing a book to start.I figured I could start blogging myself, experimenting with my blog to see what might work for Daisy’s. I find Glastonbury and it’s characters endlessly fascinating so that was obviously going to be my subject matter, plus I often found myself frustrated and annoyed by the clichéd terms in which the town was presented by the mainstream press.

Benedict Street Glastonbury
Glastonbury Tor from Benedict Street

I launched the blog on April the 22nd with 4 posts, the main one being ‘What’s Normal for Glastonbury?’ I figured I might get a couple of hundred views in the first week. I posted it up on my personal Facebook page and my Facebook friends enjoyed it enough to share it, within 24 hours I’d had 1000 viewers. This was great, but also a bit scary. I started to panic, quite a lot. This now gave me a responsibility to keep producing content. Could I keep up being funny, entertaining and produce content that celebrated Glastonbury?

I realised I was going to need lots of material if I was going to carry on producing regular posts. I set up a Facebook Group page for the blog Normal for Glastonbury to give people I didn’t know personally a chance to interact, and so I could to pick other people’s brains for their own tales, luckily they are happy to oblige. (I managed to produce Overheard in Glastonbury almost entirely using stories culled from Facebook!). The Facebook group now has over a 1000 likes.

My second post ‘Nude, but not lewd, in Glastonbury‘ (29th April) did OK, my mate Janetta had already warned me it’s reception might be not so enthusiastic – like an unknown band who got an unexpectedly largec response to their first album, I might suffer from ‘Second Albumitis’, but the feedback was still positive enough to make me think it was worth continuing, I reached 3000 viewers by May 1st.

The Raw and the Cooked – Food in Glastonbury’ published on 7th May seemed to tickle a few more funny bones, and I noticed I even got a share from an academic nutritionist, which was nice. I got a few more followers too and a useful troll – an angry Glastonbury local who posted my blog up on a Glastonbury town Facebook page (which I hadn’t even been aware of before) with the comment “Apparently normal for glastonbury and you say people don’t laugh at the town”. I decided the most useful reply I could make was “Thanks for advertising my blog, I really appreciate it. Xx”. Although I had just promoted the post with “This should annoy a few vegans” a Glastonbury vegan blogger became my main defender. The thread runs to hundreds of comments now, covering topics including zombies, whether people buy jeans from market stalls, immigration, Islamophobia, Henry VIII and the dissolution of the monasteries and features several pictures of poo. My only comment since has been “Blimey, I write a few words about pasties and tofu and all this kicks off. Anyone fancy a nice cup of tea and a biscuit?”

Glastonbury Tourist Map
A handy map to help you find your kind of people in Glastonbury Town.

I published the ‘Glastonbury Town Tourist Map’ on the 12th May and it all went a bit bonkers, over 80 people shared it on Facebook, and it’s now reached 11,000 views on the blog and has reached 12,500 people on Facebook. People messaged me saying they recognised themselves (sometimes it wasn’t them I was thinking of!) and others complained that I’d forgotten to include them. I was annoyed with myself for forgetting David, the Glastonbury Town Crier, and Declan the busker with the 3 legged dog. Another version of the map will be coming soon…..

Less than a month since I published the blog, I had over 23,500 page views from over 15,500 visitors. The blog has gone global, in a small way, with over a thousand views in the USA, hundreds all over Europe, 5 in Russia and even 2 in Vietnam (though that was my brother who is over there working so I guess it doesn’t count!) It just goes to show how much interest there is in Glastonbury and the comments on my posts demonstrate how much love there is for this small Somerset town across the world.

A very nice lady from Austin, Texas  commented “This is hilarious, I’d pay just to spend time with this woman”. I’ve been thanked by a Glastonbury resident for making her feel more ‘normal for Glastonbury’. Several Glastonbury teenagers have thanked me for the blog, one, messaged me saying that she’d been having trouble describing Glastonbury to her friends at Uni, but now she could just show them Normal for Glastonbury.

Town Crier Glastonbury
Glastonbury’s Rather Magnificent Town Crier

My favourite moment though has to be the lady in the shop asking “Excuse me, are you ‘Normal for Glastonbury’?” What made me giggle was the thought that someone might get it wrong and ask an unsuspecting tourist who had absolutely no idea about the blog whether they were ‘Normal for Glastonbury’!

I’ve decided to move over to a self hosting site, which should be up soon. It’s being hosted by Glastonbury Online Ltd, who host the rather marvellous fount of local knowledge that is www.glastonbury.co.uk. It means I’ve got to get my head round the grown up version of WordPress, I can’t even work out how to change the fonts at the moment and all the pictures have disappeared! I’ll make an announcement as soon as I move over to the self hosted site. I am hoping the blog brings me some work in, there are already some possibilities in the pipeline. Please see my Hire Me page!

 

Armour Glastonbury
A man in armour at Glastonbury Medieval Festival

Sorry about the lack of posts last week, but I was in a field at Fanny’s Meadow festival, hosted by the rather wonderful Fanny Hatstand, having a rather splendid time watching some fantastic musicians and drinking cocktails. There was absolutely zero internet so I couldn’t post anything up. Over the next few weeks I’m working at Glastonbury Festival (field managing for Glasto Latino) and at Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, where I book the bands for the beer tent. I don’t get paid for this, but do it for the pleasure of watching French men in armour doing the Conga while singing lewd songs. A similar event happens here Glastonbury Medieval Fayre.

 

I’m really pleased with the success of the blog, I think that the residents and visitors to  Glastonbury Town deserve recognition as a fascinating, tolerant, creative and broad minded community, exemplifying the very best sort of eccentricity. I hope to bring more attention to the creative side of Glastonbury – the many fine musicians, artists and writers who live here, as often that gets overlooked.

Thank you to all of of you who have liked, shared, contributed and commented on the Normal for Glastonbury blog and Facebook pages. I haven’t had to pay a penny to promote the blog, which is lovely as I know you are sharing it because you like it. Every share gets hundreds more viewers, so please carry on sharing. As we say in Glastonbury ‘Sharing is Caring’, only some of us say it in a slightly ironic tone in case we are mistaken for hippies.