December 29th, 2008

operesque

Click Opera hits and misses of 2008

When a blog entry racks up a hundred comments, it doesn't necessarily mean that people love what they're reading -- they might be shouting in exasperation, correcting mistakes, or just chatting with each other. And when a blog entry only gets one comment, it doesn't mean it's a hundred times less noteworthy. It may simply leave you with the feeling that there's nothing more to be said.

That said, I'm always fascinated by the things that set people off, and the things that send them to sleep. Think of this as our annual year-end editorial meeting. This is where we look at reactions. There's no pressure to cut the kind of stories people don't respond to -- they're some of the ones we, the editors, find most useful (art and design stories, for the most part). But we do like to get a feel for what's popular and what's not. Let's see what made you vociferous -- and what made you mum -- in 2008. Here are the most, and least, commented stories, month by month.

January

Suppin was January's big story, with 123 comments. In this entry I suggest we strike a blow against the cosmetics industry by finding a positively-charged word for bare-facedness. The Japanese word "suppin" fits.



Real plants and virtual water stirred the fewest comments, a subtle, water-filled item about Planted magazine, Kaneto Shindo's film The Island, Virtual Water and Tomoko Miyata's water bowl music.

February

In a cold month, a hot topic from China stirs the most comments (112): Edison electrifies China looks at Edison Chen's sex photos and the scandal surrounding them. It's sociologically interesting because normally this kind of tabloidy scandal wouldn't concern someone from China.



February's coldest topic is me reading the third installment from my Book of Jokes -- or rather miming along to a computer reading from the book.

March

The year's biggest hit (206 comments) is Show me you, in a human information photograph!, a request to see the readers of Click Opera.

But there's a big miss for Mesmerism, an account of the performance art of Yurie Ido. Juxtapose the hit and the miss and the message seems to be that the internet wants to be phatic and meta, whereas with live theatre the maxim "you really had to be there" still applies.

April

April's biggie is about YouTube idol Magibon and self-mediation: Anne Other gets 88 comments, some of them berating me for remarks about Magibon's lantern chin and tombstone teeth.



A video of me performing The Book of Jokes live in an art gallery in Prague is the month's most poorly-performing item.

May

May sees you Fixated on the fixie, with 82 comments on the trendy bikes.



The month's comments snub goes to two talented designers, Tobias Putrih and Zak Kyes. I notice that the kind of things Click Opera readers are indifferent to are increasingly the kind of things that define my professional life; I write about Putrih for The Moment and am involved in various projects with Kyes. But for most of you this seems to be "elite designer stuff".

June

Discussions of American ugliness or arrogance are always guaranteed to raise a dust-storm of comment: The official architecture of paranoia, about the ugly new American Embassy building in Berlin, is no exception.



Meanwhile, I tell everyone there's probably no wifi on Orkney and Shetland, which means that when I get there and discover there's plenty, very few people are tuning in to follow my travels (with my mother, through the frosty lands of our ancestors). The Orcadian -- about Orkney poet George Mackay Brown -- gets just five comments.

July

One of the year's big themes is just how rotten and rubbish Anglosphere capitalism is. We'll see that with horrific clarity in the autumn, as the whole thing melts down, but in July it's still necessary to make people see the connections between a certain view of the world and certain negative consequences: Anglo philosophy leads to Anglo statistics gets almost a hundred comments. Stale fish at auction, an item about how I'm putting together a revue of my old songs, only gets nine.

August

The month's biggest story is my refutation of Adbusters' attack on "the hipster", The camera is mightier than the rock, which gets 90 supportive comments.



I want to see my mountains is the comments pipsqueak of August, an announcement that I'm off on holiday with Hisae, Joe and Emma to northern Italy to see the Manifesta art biennial. (What an expensive holiday that turns out to be: a truck rams me outside Innsbruck and I have to pay €800 of the cost, despite taking insurance and being blameless.)

September

There's a moment in September when it looks like Obama might lose the election. We therefore go Minting memes for Obama, garnering 93 "votes" during this intensely political season. Luckily, none of these arguments are needed: the collapsing banking system knocks McCain out of the ring.



Progressive music from the Osaka underground is the bane of your Click Opera life in September, as Ove-Naxx has left the Misono Building scrapes a pathetic 8 responses.

October

Tea and me -- a personal appreciation of the leafy drink -- gets a healthy 68 comments. Paris as Lazarus -- coverage of a new arts centre in Paris for the New York Times -- gets just 8.

November

As you'd expect, the American election is hogging the world's attention to the almost complete exclusion of anything else in November. So Elect this candidate with thunderous certitude and righteous rectitude! is the month's landslide post, with 90 comments.



I thought it would be quite a coup releasing the Joemus font through Click Opera, and carefully held it back until after the album came out, just so that we wouldn't see it on hundreds of album sleeves before it came out on ours. In the event, not only have I not seen Joemus used anywhere except on my Momus album, but the blog entry about it got just eight comments.

I get it: art and design topics alienate most of you. I promise to keep running them, though. We're that kind of publication -- we believe in certain things, no matter what the circulation figures or the advertising people tell us about their reception. (Wait, what advertising people?)

December

December is dominated by old Momus albums; Creation Advent Calendar 1: The Poison Boyfriend gets the most attention, with lots of syndication and 100 comments onsite.

The Pompidou Centre has 75 floors underground, a piece about a fascinating work of speculative fiction about a shadowy, anarchist Beaubourg subterranea, is the month's low-scorer, though by no means, as I see it, the least interesting thing published this month. But sometimes you just have to think of blogging as a form of prayer.