- The Opinionated Diner. Simon Grigg's formula for happiness is a simple one: find difficult places to live and then complain about it. Simon lived in Auckland in the late 1970s which was one of the most arduous settings on the time/space continuum but topped this by moving to Bali and has lately settled in the easy going, getting-things-done climes of Bangkok. Next year he will travel back in time to Dresden in 1945 where he will reside in a cardboard mansion shaped like a bull's eye. When he is not complaining Simon writes about music a lot, and well.
- Crime Watch. When crime fiction reviewer Craig Sisterston started this blog devoted to New Zealand crime writing I found myself wondering how long it would last, but the fact that he has already found so many local authors to write about suggests that the genre is a fundamental part of our literary stock. As such the blog is both nurturing and topical, and it brims with cross-media potential. The smart money would be on building the Crime Watch name and then branching it out into, say, an annual crime anthology. Just sayin.'
- Isaac Likes. Gentle-faced Isaac Hinden Miller is a testimony to good parenting: well mannered, hard working and freshly laundered. He posts about fashion every day, moderates user comments and remains cheerfully informed. Isaaclikes.com is an entertaining blog whether you're interested in fashion or not. It's well-edited, basically, and he has a voice. I'd predict that he would move on "greater things" if there was a post in old New Zealand media that would accommodate his style but there isn't. In fashion, the web is the greater thing.
- Quote Unquote. Editor Simon Stratford might be my friend, but then again he may not be. I cannot tell, and this is his strength. Simon is the George Smiley of New Zealand letters. If you are standing in the safe house lounge about to split infinitives with a Russian (or merely someone hasty) it will be Simon sitting in his socks in the kitchen with a piece of string tied to the door. When he is not monitoring members of the literary Circus Simon listens to terrible prog and classical music which he indexes according to time signature. He posts items that are often funny and sometimes critical and mocking of people who go on to like him regardless.
- Beattie's Book Blog. NZ book industry figure Graham Beattie retired (or something) and took to blogging with all the unbridled enthusiasm of a member of A Previous Generation. He refers to himself in the third person as "The Bookman," conjuring images of a jaunty caped avenger, and posts several times a day. The result would be merely charming were it not so well-informed. Graham blogs everything in the field of letters, with a focus on New Zealand. He also doesn't limit the number of articles on display, so loading the site towards the end of the month can be challenging. It's better to view the RSS feed, which I do, often.
- People Points. "Fun's fun but to hell wi' nonsense" is a favourite saying of Paul Reynolds' and also the mission statement for this blog which goes on about a lot of things I don't understand before swooping down to mention The Archers or building a house out of a glider and disappearing again. Paul once yelled at me that I was "thinking too fast for everybody" but I replied, nae sir, that would be yew. Or rather, I would have replied but he had already moved on to another subject. Paul is A Scotsman Thank You Verra Much, and my genealogy requires that I share his love of knowledge, complexity, structured jackets and telling people to fuck off. He's more professional than that, however, and his grasp of the web's potential as libraries evolve is the sort of forward-thinking that not enough people are thinking about.
Thank you notes #1: Chattering class
In the first of a series of Thank You Notes, a tip of the hat to the blogs I've enjoyed this year. They're all from NZ because I'm not there and you can't believe everything you read in the fucking H*rald. Really I should link to these in the sidebar but I'm not blogging, and you're not reading.