As I look back on 2021 I think it’s safe to say that it wasn’t the year I or anyone else for that matter had hoped it would be and blogging took a bit of a back seat in my life as I tried as best I could to navigate my way round this dreadful pandemic
As I look at my stats for the last 12 months I see that there has been a drop in numbers which I put down to two factors. The first of these was obviously the pandemic and the second was lack of motivation due to the impact that the aforementioned pandemic was having on my life
When I look the figures from a purely arithmetical point of view I see that the figure for post views went down by 5% from 12,696 to 11,942. That said there were several mitigating factors in play some of which I have already mentioned though the most pressing one was needing to get a new phone and due to technical issues being without the use of either of my blogs for just short of three weeks and this had a massive impact on posts in the late autumn/ early winter of the end of October to early / mid November so all things the drop was nowhere near as much as it could have been. The number of site visitors was down from 7.4 thousand to just over 7.0 thousand, post likes were down from 208 to 92 and comments decreased from 214 to 164.
Now I move to the most popular posts of the year and this year’s top post and the top five posts of 2022. Four of the top of this year’s selection had a common theme to them and that theme was Celtic Football Club. So my top five posts of 2021 were as follows.
(1) What It Means To Be Celtic 499 Views This poem shows what Celtic means to me and all our supporters and why it’s such an important part of both of our cultural and political identities and I’m in no way surprised that it was the most popular post of the year.
(2) Open To All. 304 Views. In this poem which like the next two on the list was actually written in 2020. I looked at the way Brother Walfred set out the values and the mission we still hold today. This was that Celtic was a club who though founded by the Irish Catholic Community would be open to all who wished to play for us or support us regardless of faith. In the poem I make reference to Celtic greats of different faiths , traditions and nationalities as well as referencing our past and current achievements and make absolutely no apologies necessary for doing so.
(3) The 90 Minute Man 298 Views This poem which relates the story of former Celtic stalwart Pat McCluskey was last year’s most popular post. and for it to finish in the top five for the second successive year with almost 300 views is I think a magnificent achievement to the memory to both the player and the man he was.
(4) A Royston Lad 292 Views This poem in tribute to Stevie Chalmers the man who scored the winner in our European Cup Win in Lisbon was written around the first anniversary of his passing. Though somewhat ironically it did rather better in its second year than it did at the time of writing
Identity Problems 211 Views This poem was written to illustrate the kind of violence can and does actually happen when transphobic gender critics go too far in their demonising of the trans community and transwomen in particular Now I appreciate some people may find my sentiments a bit too controversial but that’s tough because if I ever really started on those of the self important tendency believe me they would know it and they wouldn’t like it one little bit.
As a geography and politics graduate the geography of my readership has always intrigued me and the top five countries had a slightly different look to it than is usually the case. Don’t get me wrong the UK, and USA, still claimed the top two places with Ireland in third but the big surprise came with Germany who finished in fourth place with Canada completing the top five and Australia just missing out though along with Spain, Finland , France and New Zealand they comfortably made the top ten. There were also respectable showings from Sweden , The Netherlands , India, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Belgium, Gibraltar, Jersey and Greece,
When it comes to the posts that received the most comments the results were I have to admit that my results rather unexpected even to me. Don’t get me wrong I’m proud of the poems concerned but they weren’t the ones I would have predicted would have generated the most interest. This only proves the wisdom of the bard when he wrote in To A Mouse ‘Wha’s the gift, the gift tae gie us, tae see oorselves as ithers see us’ as one had ten comments and the other two had eight So much to my surprise the top three posts are as follows.
(1) Would Be Heroes 10 Comments This poem was written in the early part of last year when Celtic were going through far darker times than now. I wrote it in the voice of a former player who had played for the club in the bleak days of the 1990’s. In it the player wonders how the team a far more talented team than the one he played for could ever plummeted to such depths after winning four consecutive trebles and expresses his concerns for a club for which he clearly still has an affection and reassures the supporters that the good times will come again and the glory days will come again to paradise.
(2). Gatekeepers / The Day I Almost Went To Roscommon 8 Views In Gatekeepers I looked at the combination of cultural conservatism and toxic masculinity which can and so often does result in transphobia which leaves the transgender community and transwomen at the risk of both verbal abuse and physical attack. In The Day I Went To Roscommon I took a light hearted look at how my misadventures on an afternoon visit to Sligo almost resulted in me taking a very different route to one I actually needed to. Which would have led me going south to Roscommon instead of getting back to Donegal and safety and good times of the Ballyshannon festival.
Of course tartan tights would be nothing without a brilliant and loyal core readership which is growing year on year However special acknowledgment must be made to those who are amongst the most regular readers and commentators be it on the blog itself or other forms of social media so thanks go to Ailie Wallace,Alex Frew, Alison Thewliss. Amie Cadwallender, Andy Fleming, Angela Haggerty,Angie Strachan,Annemarie McMahon,Beccy Kiernan,Blogs All Beautyy,Bob Leslie,Carla Woodburn,Carol Allen,Caroyln Paterson,Charlie Gracie,Charlotte Dougall aka By Charlotte Ann,Chloe-Rose,Curvaceous Vegan,Danny Boyle,Death,Deirdre Gaughan,Derek Read,Eileen Kennedy,Evelyn Bell,Fay Roberts,Finola Scott, Hannah Cooper, Janet Crawford,Jasmine Lawrie,Jen Hughes,Jessica Lauren Hatcher,Katharine MacFarlane,Laura at Autumn’s Mummy, Laura Wilkie, Leanne MacKay,Lesley Traynor,Lisa-Marie Ferla aka Last Year’s Girl, Matt Panesh, Molly MacLauchlan,Paddy Callaghan,Peter Clive,Peter Russell,Rachel Cairns,Rebecca Alison,Rebecca Gallagher, Rishi Sunak,Robin Cairns,Romania,Rose at But I’m Beautiful,Samantha Naidoo, Shaun Moore,Sheila Templeton, Stacey McFarlane,Stephanie Heaney,Stephen Watt, and Suzanne Egerton,
As for my personal blogging achievements in 2021, I think it’s safe to say that there weren’t many in the 12 months nor could I expect there to be in a year where a global pandemic dominated all our lives. Of course the greatest achievement of all is the fact that by putting my thoughts out there I connect with all of you and that’s something I hope to keep doing throughout 2021 and beyond. I hope you’ll stay with me on the journey wherever it might lead me in 2022
Till next time