Will the Real Jack Scott Please Stand Up?

Google sits astride the internet like a leviathan. Forget Yahoo or Bing or a host of smaller search engines, only Google counts. Their search algorithms can make or break an online presence. If you don’t show up in the first few pages of Google, you may as well not be on the internet at all. It’s all about search engine optimisation (SEO) and ways to make it better. There’s an entire industry dedicated to improving it (or trying to cheat the clever geeks at Google). How’s a humble little jobbing blogger in a faraway country most people couldn’t place on a map ever going to make his mark? Well, Perking the Pansies does well. Google favours fresh, frequently renewed content and my content is frequently renewed, if not fresh. Sorted.

1923 -2008

Little Jack Scott, though, struggles. The name is a curse. It’s eclipsed by other more illustrious Jacks plastered all over the web. Who are these pretenders to my rightful throne? Well, there’s Jack Scott, (AKA Giovanni Dominico Scafone Jr) the Canadian singer ‘undeniably the greatest Canadian rock and roll singer of all time,’ apparently. I’d never heard of him. Sorry. Then there’s the late Jack Scott, buck-teethed weather man who died in 2008. He was everyone’s favourite weather guru and brought magnetic weather symbols to live broadcasts on the BBC. Unfortunately, they often slipped down the board or dropped off altogether. My final Jack is the now infamous Mayor of the little town of Cordova in Alabama which was flattened by killer tornadoes earlier this year. Mayor Scott refused to allow trailers into the town to house the newly homeless because he didn’t want to encourage trailer trash. Sounds like a fine and upstanding pillar of the community.

So, what’s a diminutive, washed-up ex pretty boy with his best years behind him to do? Change his name to Dick Stillhard (no wait, that’s already taken).

Thanks to Spainstruck for the inspiration for this one.

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Top of the Blogs

I was flush with pink pride. Perking the Pansies briefly occupied the top spot on Blogroll Centre, one of the (many, many) blog directories I’ve joined. Sadly, the honour was short-lived, a temporary aberration caused by a transient interest in Now That’s What I Call Old, a post that resulted in 2,700 hits. The next day, Perking the Pansies dropped to 3rd place. A one day, one hit wonder. Doubtless the blog will continue to slide down the charts like an X Factor has-been that never was. To be honest I’m not entirely sure if any of these blog directories is worth the effort or the repetitive strain injury. I joined them on the off-chance they might broaden my audience. I think some are sophisticated enough to help with Google rankings but I wouldn’t know which. All I can say is that I would never consider paying for the dubious privilege of a listing, preferring to spend my dwindling assets on booze, fags and leather thongs.

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Happy Birthday, Perking the Pansies

When Liam and I came to Turkey, we intended to retire early, put our feet up and watch the pansies grow. With a ridiculous amount of spare time on my hands, I decided to amuse myself by starting a blog. Maybe it would delay my inevitable descent into alcoholism? At the time, I assumed I would end up talking to myself.  Twelve months, 400 posts, 2000 comments, 6,000 spams and 120,000 hits later, Pansies has just reached its first birthday. To celebrate this minor miracle I’d like to share what I think are some of the major milestones (Pansysteps).

08/10/10 – In the Beginning

Perking the Pansies was launched onto an unsuspecting public. God help them. I knew nothing about this blogging business, how it worked or what would happen. This was my debut post.

24/11/10 – Are You Mad?

I knew something was up when the blog exceeded 12,000 hits. Shit, someone was actual reading my inconsequential, irreverent ramblings. I started to understand blog promotion and search-engine optimisation, joined Faceache and that tweet, tweety thingy to build a virtual social network. Well, it beats actually talking to people.

04/12/10 – Clapped in Irons

My blog was banned by the Turkish Internet police just as it was taking off. I was expecting a knock at the door by a scandalised conscript in latex gloves, demanding to conduct an internal investigation. I nearly gave the whole thing up in despair.

10/12/10 – Pooing on a Paddle

After a frantic, fretful week, Perking the Pansies shut up shop at Google and moved lock, stock and barrel to begin life anew at brand new WordPress premises. Fear of imminent arrest subsided. This naughty little number was my first post on the revamped, re-launched site.

14/03/2011 – Hold the Front Page

Perking the Pansies was featured in the Turkish national press along with a select group of illustrious fellow jobbing bloggers.

01/04/2011 – Bubba’s Gobbler

Perking the Pansies reached 50,000 hits. This was my April Fools’ piece. It was partly inspired by thumbing through the gaypers in a Soho watering hole.

06/04/2011 – Perking the Pansies – Bound and Ungagged

The blog has spawned a little book which is about to go off to the publisher. The book covers some of same terrain as the blog but with much more spice, bite, depth, pace and pathos (Well, I hope so).

10/05/2011 – So You Think You Can Write a Pop Song?

This was the first mega post attracting big numbers. Pansies were bursting out all over the place. My pansymap ended up resembling a nuclear attack on Western Europe and North America. All very Cold War.

24/07/2011 – Amy Winehouse, RIP

This is by far my most popular post, 4,600 and still growing. I think it just caught the mood. It also caught the attention of some wanker who left a vile comment. I don’t generally censor comments. Free speech and all that. However, I didn’t publish his nasty little words.

17/08/2011 – I’m Coming Out

Perking the Pansies reached 100,000 hits and I exposed myself to the world. No, I didn’t get arrested or receive a congratulatory brick through my window.

Many happy returns, Perking the Pansies. Make a wish and hope you make it to the terrible twos.

Gaygle It

Last December Perking the Pansies was permanently blocked by the Turkish internet police. I threw a hissy fit at the prospect of a firm hand on my door knob, a frisk by a frisky conscript and instant deportation. It all turned out to be a storm in a çay cup. My inconsequential contribution to the blogosphere was simply caught by lazy censorship that uses a scatter gun approach to punish the innocent and the guilty alike. Perking the Pansies became, as the Americans say, ‘collateral damage‘. I had to abandon my old site hosted by Google and move lock, stock and barrel to WordPress. A couple of days ago I noticed that the page hits on my new site overtook those of the old for the first time. Nowadays I need only the slightest excuse to make merry so I raised a glass in thanks.

I’m endlessly fascinated and bemused by the search terms that bring some surfers to my website. I’ve already mentioned ‘Yalikavak Sex’  and ‘Gay Hairy Turkish Men’ but there is also:

  • Porn Torkish
  • Gumbet porno
  • Turk Gay Sitesi
  • Thermal Bloomers
  • Sex Sitesi
  • Gay Calis Beach
  • Middleaged Sexpats
  • Gundogan Gay
  • Lyrics to I’m as Gay as a Daisy

A definitive gay guide to Turkey for the curious traveller seeking a little relief in the sun is sorely needed. Sadly it would be a thin digest and probably banned.

Clapped in Irons

The screens have gone blank in Turkey and I hear there is much speculation about whether I should expect a knock at the door. I must confess, I have been slightly worried; have I unintentionally transgressed some Turkish Law or other? The explanation is both more prosaic and more ominous. It seems my blog has been caught in a blanket ban on hundreds of thousands of websites hosted by Google. When I first set up my site, Google assigned what’s called an ‘IP Address’ which I share with tens of thousands of others. At least one of these other sites has fallen foul of the authorities so the IP address itself has been blocked. So it’s one out, all out. I’ve looked at some of the other sites affected; they include many Turkish businesses and a lady in Istanbul promoting her pretty sketches. How sad.

As Churchill famously said “We’ll fight them on the beaches”. That’s the wartime prime minister by the way, not the nodding dog in the car insurance adverts.