Editorial: May 2018

So here we are. It’s almost June, and I only just shared my first blog post of the year.

Frankly, I’m disappointed with myself. I think it’s fair to say this website has been stagnating for a while, and lately I’ve been brainstorming ways to give it a new burst of life. You may have noticed the new design elements – the streamlined Home Page menu, the search bar, and so on – and I think these elements help make the site more user-friendly. But now it’s time to focus on the really important stuff: content.

I have hinted recently that I’m planning to share an awful lot of new content this Summer. Seeing as the blog has basically sat dormant for a while, I want to kickstart it again by putting out as many as two new posts per week on the public page.

To do this, I’ll be sharing some shorter posts in between my longer articles. The way I’ve been going for the last few years, it takes me weeks or even months to research and write each thing I share. At this rate some of my favourite photo sets are just never going to see the light of day, which would be a shame. I won’t charge my Patreon supporters for posts that didn’t take me long to make though, and I won’t charge more than once a week – so any second post in a given week will be a freebie. Sometimes it might be a photoset you’ve already seen… or occasionally it might be something I’ve recycled from the Exclusion Zone.

That’s the other thing. I currently have 41 longer articles sitting in the Exclusion Zone, the private, patrons-only area of this website. A lot of them belong there. Stories with titles like: “How I really managed to sneak into X,” or “That time I got arrested in X,” are probably best left exactly where they are. But over the past few years there are other stories I’ve set to private which, actually, I would sort of like to share with a few more people.

Most of those 41 private posts will always stay private, though there’s maybe a dozen of them that I’d like to start reposting for the public whenever I don’t have time to write something new. But don’t worry, because I’ve got new private posts to add too! I’ve also got a redesigned Exclusion Zone page almost ready to launch, following the same updated design as the Home Page, and over the coming months I’ll be filling it with plenty of new material. I’m simply shuffling a few things around, and rethinking what belongs where.

So here’s how the next few weeks are going to look. It’s Monday today (or at least it was, when I started writing this) and I just shared a story about Soviet monuments in Armenia.

On Thursday this week, I’ll re-share my article about that semi-abandoned nuclear city in Cuba. It has been sat in the Exclusion Zone for a few years now, but it’s so relevant to everything else I’m doing that I’d really like to see it on the front page. You’ve all read this one (or at least had the chance to) already, so it won’t be a charged post.

Next Monday, all being well, I’ll share another paid post through Patreon – the one about Abkhazia that I’ve been promising for ages now.

Thursday after that, maybe something quite visual – a nice set of photos, with a relatively short essay to explain them. (Perhaps it’s time to finally unveil those abandoned factories in Prague.) This one will be a freebie too, as you’ve seen the photos already and I won’t be adding a massive story to them.

And so on. No more than one paid post in any given week, but a second, smaller post (or occasionally a recycled one) as often as I can manage.

This new content scheme is not my only news, of course… I just got home last week from a hectic two months away, during which time I visited Canada, France, Portugal, Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina. I finally got to visit the Paris catacombs (sort of), I went looking for Illuminati symbolism in Lisbon, I took a trip around Manitoba searching for lake monsters and I ran a couple of really fun tours too. But I’m so tired right now, and I’m still processing it all. I just wanted to explain my content plans here first – then over the coming days and weeks, I’ll tell you all about the rest of it. (Maybe that’ll be an early June Editorial.)

For now I’m just going to put on some nice, relaxing music, sit back in my comfy armchair, and keep on ploughing through this huge collection of new photos. You’ll be seeing them soon enough.

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