13 September 2013

The best blog you're not following

    


Well, some of you may be following it. After all I stumbled upon it a few years ago no doubt from some other blogger's blogroll. It certainly seems to get lots of traffic, but if any of you are paying attention to it you must be lurking because I don't notice you leaving comments.

The Age of Uncertainty is written by a man who goes by the name Steerforth, sells books for a living and lives in East Sussex. A book seller of one sort or another for most (all?) of his adult life, one of the jobs he had recently was working for a business that culled saleable volumes from bins of books on their way to being pulped. For those of us who love rooting around in piles of old books, can you imagine something more fun than that? (Although, like everything in life, I am sure it begins to feel like a job at some point.) In the process of executing his duties Steerforth discovered lots of wonderful things which he shared on his blog.

In addition to books, music, art, culture, and travel, Steerforth has some great posts about the world of selling books, crazy vintage covers, things found in used books, and a multi-part series on the diaries of a man named Derek.

In recent months his posts have been less about books and more about life in general, but his writing is so good that all of it is compelling. I commented recently that I think his writing is a lot like Calvin Trillin. Smart, witty, a tiny bit snarky--but never mean--all with an economy of prose that makes him a writer not just a blogger.

In his most recent post, Steerforth visits the tiny island of Lundy located in the Celic Sea just outside Bristol Channel. A barren and magical place with no phone, no TV, no Internet, and no electricity from Midnight to 6:00 am. I would love to spend a few days in such a place.



In addition to a wonderful narrative describing his mini-break on Lundy, Steerforth also posts a wonderful video he made during his visit that I find quite transporting.





Just two examples of the old photos he has come across over the years.



Steerforth posits that D. Greaves might be the oldest 13-year old of all time.

Lots of great illustrations.





Funny book covers.




He also writes the odd post, usually with great YouTube videos, about classical music.

I think Steerforth is roughly the same sage as me (mid-forties) and many an observation hits squarely in our age cohort.  Some of you kids may not understand why this quote (from this post) is funny:
The problem with Concorde is that there weren't enough people who wanted Phil Collins to play two concerts on each side of the Atlantic on the same day.
As I combed through older posts on The Age of Uncertainty to come up with some of the images here, I was again struck by the rich diversity of blog topics and just how funny it is. It really would be worth your time to go back to 2010 or 2009 or whenever and just have a look around.

11 comments:

  1. I'm a long time reader/lurker - his writing is a delight. I too would say go back to the beginning, as there are many treasures to be discovered - some of the early photo albums he rescued are amazing.

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  2. Thanks for that Thomas. Sounds wonderful. I will put it on my list of blogs I follow so I don't lose it. Love it so far.

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  3. Thanks, Thomas -- it looks great. I'm heading over right now to take a look.

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  4. Thank you Thomas for your very generous recommendation. What a lovely surprise.

    I'd agree that anyone who visits the blog should try 2009/10, as I was lucky enough to have a constant supply of ephemera from my day job. The photo albums and diaries have largely dried up since I set up my own business, which is a pity, but I still get enough content to publish the occasional post.

    As far as my age goes, I'm younger than Brad Pitt, but sadly older than Russell Crowe, hurtling towards the 50s with a terrifying velocity!

    I'm particularly pleased that you like the classical music stuff as it's my main passion, but I can tell from the stats that it's a huge turn-off for most people, so I ration it.

    I hope you have an opportunity to visit Lundy one day - if you really want to get away from it all, this property doesn't have any electricity at all: http://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/search-and-book/properties/tibbetts-12578#tabs=1

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  5. Added to my blogreader! Thanks for spotlighting such an engaging blog.

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  6. Another Steerforth fan here, I couldn't agree more about his writing.

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  7. Sounds wonderful. Thanks. *shuffles off to have a poke around*

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  8. I've loved Steerforth's blog for years - it's just wonderful.

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  9. Vicki: I don't think I would have gotten any work done if I had a job like that.

    Pam: It really makes for nice reading.

    Harriet: Hope you enjoy.

    Steerforth: I rarely blog about classical music for the same reason. I suppose you have to become a hardcore music blog to cultivate folks who might be inclined to comment.

    Amanda: Make sure you go back and look at older ones. You will find much that amuses.

    Hayley: I knew there had to be fans out there in my blog world.

    Serenknitity: Have fun.

    Gaskella: I thought it deserved some extra attention.

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  10. Lundy is owned by The Landmark Trust and they have cottages that you can rent for a very reasonable cost.

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  11. I've long be a dedicated occasional reader of Age of Uncertainly. I've found some very good reading there.

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