Yes, the blog came into being in January 2017, meaning that a true 1-year anniversary would be next month, but conversely, given that January is the first month in a given year, then late December counts, mathematically, as a completed calendar year, no? As such, it feels a lot simpler to look already back at the year that was and evaluate how things have gone during Year 1 for Double Oh Aficionado and its host.
I hadn’t blogged in a long, long time. Not since perhaps 2012. I had forgotten the extent to which blogging is a different exercise from writing for an online publication. When lending a hand to the latter, there are rules and regulations one must adhere to. The standards, if you will, to which said publication strives for in terms of quality and content. With a blog, the writer is his or her own editor and content creator, not to mention that it’s helpful to make the site look somewhat respectable, another responsibility that falls upon the blogger’s shoulders. January was tough, relatively speaking. I can’t claim to thinking the blog looks beautiful, which is saying a lot because I tried a number of templates and background images for the homepage. I’m almost terrified of changing anything because, even though I eventually got the hang of things, that was 11 months and at this point I’ve forgotten some of the tricks and don’t want to muck anything up! Nevertheless, some time will be taken in 2018 to spruce up our aesthetics.
As for the content, 2017 was definitely a trial run of sorts. After years of writing film reviews or in depth analyses of films, it was sometimes a challenge to dive head first into dissimilar themes: overviews of the careers of certain people that worked on the films, an opinion piece on Ian Fleming himself, a personal look at the late Sir Roger Moore mere days after his passing, book reviews (both novel and tie-in), an overview of a film’s score, a mission debriefing about a 007-related trip, and articles that explored certain facets that struck my fancy when reading up on the franchise’s history. Did it all come off as clean as one would hope? Perhaps not. Looking back at the archives, one can certainly conclude that the blog consists of a hodgepodge of various articles at best tangentially related as far as structure is concerned, save for the obvious fact that they’re all about Bond in some way or another. That makes the blog’s nature a bit of a double-edged sword: there is something for everyone, but when that’s achieved (as I’d like to think), there is also some material certain visitors will skip for lack of interest.
There are some articles I’m quite proud of despite the paltry number of clicks they received. I took great pleasure in writing about the casting process, for instance. I could definitely sense a running theme throughout Some Kind of Hero virtually every time a chapter delved into the hiring of the actors. Casting a movie is a major stepping stone, and so learn that so many actors, be they seasoned veterans or newcomers, got their roles after nothing more than cordial chats with the producers, was quite revealing.
Another stimulating topic was highlighting people that shaped the Bond film but rarely get any mention, resulting in the Unsung 00 Hero series. There are people that influenced the films more than many realize, and yet their contributions have gone mostly unrecognized, save amongst the die hard fans. I take great pleasure in that series despite that none of those articles earned an impressive number of visits. That shan’t deter me, however. I already have a few more people in mind that I intend to write about in 2018.
The entries concentrating on the women of 007 were difficult for a variety of reasons. In these contemporary times, if one is a professed Bond fan, then avoiding the topic of how women are treated and written in the films is utter poppycock. One simply can’t escape it, nor should it be avoided for that matter. I stand by every word typed in those articles with the utmost sincerity. The women of Bond are glorious both on the inside and out, but even so, to this day there remains a stigma on that topic, a stigma that is still earned, at least to a degree. Writing about it as a man adds to the precariousness of the proposition. Are they perfect? Of course not. I’m a guy. I can’t go into any woman’s mind to fully appreciate exactly what she thinks of the Bond series, to say nothing that women of all stripes have a plethora of different opinions on the topic to begin with. Still, I had to get some feelings off my chest. Readers can take away from those articles what they will.
Other articles I look back on less fondly. Honestly, I don’t know what the point of the Blofeld article was. Every Bond fan has had their say on the topic of the ever-changing actors who portrayed the head of S.P.E.C.T.R.E. The blog’s article didn’t add much to the conversation.
What does 2018 have in store? I’ve never felt it’s smart to reveal plans when they aren’t practically set in stone. I could say that Double Oh Aficionado will tackle ‘such and such’ topic, and then in March and April, when I recall that I mentioned I’d write about ‘such and such’, think it’s a boring or stupid idea. In that light, announcements will be kept to a strict minimum.
Obviously the film reviews will continue, but the regularity at which I’ve been writing them might calm down a bit. I feel as if a lot of blog space has been taken up by movie reviews since September, especially since I take up two blog entries to write a single review. Every now and then a month can go by without a review and I doubt anybody will cry foul. More articles about the franchise’s history will appear. Those took a bit of a back seat in the second half of 2017, mostly due to the fact that I didn’t read any books about the making of the movies during that time. The first 3 or 4 months of the year saw me obsess over The James Bond Archives: SPECTRE Edition and Some Kind of Hero for inspiration, but nothing since. I have the books I want to read, I only need to crack them open. As previously hinted at, more Unsung 00 Heroes will have their contributions highlighted. There are a couple of other ideas that intrigue me, but I’m unsure about how to approach them in a blog format, some of which would in fact entail paying for the premium WordPress package, something I’m not ready to do just yet. Soon, one hopes. I’m already giving some money for a package that covers for the space for as many images as I could ever hope to upload.
Lastly, thank you to the visitors, especially if you’ve read something (believe me, there are days when the homepage gets clicks but not individual articles!). I appreciate it, although I’ve never kidded myself about doing this for any other reason than to jot down my thoughts and feelings on all things 007. Sure, knowing a few people tag along is nice, but it’s a bonus really. From day one I’ve viewed this enterprise as a personal repertoire, a diary, if you will. The visits are the cherry on top.
To those that do visit, I wish you a happy New Year 2018!