Thursday, December 13, 2012

New blogs: The cheap shills edition

Wow are there are a lot of blogs to be added to the good old Manchester Blogroll. The upside of having to trawl through the 543 blogs nominated for the Blog North Awards is finding a few good ones. And it's been so long since I updated the blogroll that whole new amazing blogs have sprung into existence in that time. Praise be! (On the flip side, some people who emailed asking me to add them have actually lost interest in blogging and wandered away to do something else in the meantime. Sorry guys.)

As you can see food blogs continue to be popular, as more of us cotton on to the fact that there is such a thing as a free lunch (kidding, food bloggers!) But more seriously, bias, transparency and independence are getting to be real issues in blogging these days. During the BNA nominations this year we were flooded with blogs that almost entirely consisted of pictures of stuff that the bloggers want to buy or have recently bought, or free products they've been sent for 'review' by media-savvy companies. I affectionately call them 'flogs.'

I'm sure they all have their audience, but for me that's not what blogging is about; It's about showing a piece of yourself, sharing your passion, and communicating something personal and unique, whether you're writing about music, football or your adventures in dog training. It's not about providing cut-price advertising. Wise up.

I'm not going to link to flogs unless they are extraordinarily original, helpful, independently-minded and well written. Sadly, most of them are not. They're all weirdly alike in tone and format, like the bloggers are writing from the same creepy script. For ages I have been building up to write a massively ranty post about PR, the commodification of blogging and the rise of the will-shill-for-freebies  blog, but then I saw that Ebba at Jenny Wren and Bella Wilfer had essentially written it, so go read it. (Thanks Ebba, that saved me some time.)

Anyway, here's some good ones for you. Happy reading.

Foodie blogs
The Afternoon Tea Club
Flavours of Manchester
Gin-Fuelled Bluestocking
The Offal Club
Two Greedy Mancunians
All you can eat

Icarus City
Manchester 503
Young Explorer
Love Levenshulme
Street Art Mcr

Life on Pig Row
Everyone and Everything

Literary Relish
The Literateur
The Endist
EM Powell
A Fine Lung

Arts & culture, design, fashion
Let's all do colouring in
32 things
Wonderman Diaries
Norton of Morton
The Mancorialist  
Silent Radio

(Image: Duncan)


Jenny Wren said...

Thankyou for mentioning my "massively ranty" piece about 'flogs' (great word!). I wrote it after several annoying run ins with PRs who make some surprising - and depressing - assumptions about bloggers. There's more to be said on the subject though...

G.M. Norton said...

I am honoured to be included on your list of new web logs, you are most kind. I have never considered what category my musings would fall under so it's very interesting to see how my illustrious readers may view me.

I read a handful of the other blogs you recommend so will be all over the rest of them like a rash (in a much nicer way, of course).

Kate Feld said...

Jenny Wren: You betcha there is more to be said on the subject. We've barely scratched the surface. More rants will almost certainly be forthcoming.

G.M. Norton: I put you in style and fashion, but if you'd like to be put somewhere else instead just holler (personal?) Sadly there is no "aesthetes, dandies and gentlemen" category as yet... but maybe one day.

Mancunian Vintage said...

Some crackers on here, particularly the Gin-fuelled Bluestocking, Norton of Morton and The Mancorialist.

Will certainly be checking out the others in the list!

Stuart Ian Burns said...

I get dozens of PR emails a day, generally culture related, mostly about London, and I always wonder: have the looked at my blog (probably not) and what would my blog look like if I actually behaved liked their digital billboard (rubbish).

If I ever do post something, it's because I'm genuinely interested, and most often only if they've sent me a review copy. Which is so rare it's barely worth thinking about thankfully.

Kate Feld said...

Yes Stu, another Manchester blogger and I have just been bitching about how many poorly targeted emails we get about London events from crap PRs. Not only does it NOT get us to cover their event, it actively antagonises us... I immediately ask to be removed from their press list. Such a waste of time.

Unknown said...

Hi Kate, just came across your blog looking for blogger meetups around Manchester! I've been blogging for 2 1/2 years, mostly around Interior Design and DIY with lots of original content. Was wondering how one goes about getting included in your illustrious list? Off to check some of the recommended reading! Woohoo! x

Kate Feld said...

Hi Kimberly, I'll be happy to add your blog in the next installment, just send me an email at with the link to remind me. It could be a while, though (just to warn you!)

Unknown said...

Excellent will do! Apologies for the rubbish timing on my part ;) By the way, I'm totally adopting 'Yankunian' - I'm a fellow Yank myself, been living in the UK since 2001. Love it. Be in touch and Happy Christmas ;) x

Unknown said...

Aw thanks Kate, you've really made the end of my year with that lovely list. I'm honoured that Literary Relish made it on there and am very excited to discover the others (especially the bookish ones..) The 'flog' comment is genius. I become a target for it myself and avoid it like the plague.

Unknown said...

Well...apart from a Kindle giveaway. Which I could hardly resist! :-O

Nick H said...

Hi Kate,

Just wanted to say a huge thank you for the tip of the hat. Very kind of you indeed - and quite a compliment coming from yourself.

Here's to some decent writing and some better food for the new year.

Nick (Panaculty)

Sarah // DOTTY said...

Haha, I have also begun wording Tweets and posts regarding "flogs" (great word) but bitten my tongue as I don't want to appear jealous and bitter. I'm pretty sure I am neither of those but you never know what you are until the trolls tell you.

I'm not sure why I haven't come across this list before; I'm a Manchester-based blogger at Despite the name I cover more than just the fash.

Nice to make your acquaintance.