When I first started The Bloke, it was a result of me making a few significant changes in my life, namely, stopping working in nightclubs doing the sound, less focus on DJing and Music, and wanting to get back out into the bush, tramping, and, as it turned out, hunting and shooting.
I have spent over a decade in the music industry – I was jaded, cynical, and ready for change.
However, I still had an interest in the content creation side of things – I thought, even then, the writing was on the wall for the traditional style of media output – magazines and TV. It seemed obvious to me that the internet delivery methods, then primarily the early days of YouTube (and probably still myspace), were destined to take over the old methods. I really liked the idea of documenting what I was doing and was also keen to ‘reclaim’ the notion of what indeed, the definition of a good bloke was.
By my observation, being ‘blokey’ meant playing rugby, drinking beer, driving cars and objectifying women. The stereotype of Barry Crump was strongly associated with the image. I didn’t really think that was what being a man, bloke, fella really was, and thought claiming the name would be a start of redefining the image and term.
Ironically, at the time, NZ Blokes was also growing – which was mainly girls, cars and electronics – which, to be fair, are still all things I was interested in – maybe it was simply the design esthetic and way it was presented I wanted to reframe.
It was also just me – i.e. The Bloke. Singular. Rather insipid and borderline self-absorbed.
For various reasons, some of which I am working on dealing with only now, I have managed to keep most people at a certain distance from myself. This directly relates to events in the past that have left scars in regards to trust that I am still only recognising and working with dealing with.
I am not sure if it is age or parenthood, or just hitting a certain low point in life, but one day you realise that there are actually plenty of people around you, offering and willing to help out, become friends and generally interact, and you also realise, that you have been telling yourself, and the public that the reason for the site was about educating others, not some long term solo project.
What I have basically realised though, is this site is not about me. Otherwise, my Instagram feed would be full of selfies of me in front of whatever it was I was doing. Which has never been my style. It has always been about trying to provide information for others because I was looking for a lot of it myself, and not finding it. This site was intended to not be about ‘The Bloke’ but about all blokes – and helping all of us improve.
I have also been working to refocus the podcasts and interviews recently as well. The original intent, waaaaay back in audio days, was to create a show that captured those late-night conversations between guys, you know, those ones where you solve the world’s problems, or at least, share some of the challenges and issues that you might be facing. It has occurred to me, that not everyone has actually had the opportunity to have those conversations, and simply modelling them, publically, is likely to do more good than talking about the need to have these conversations. I am very aware that #mentalhealth has just been turned into a hashtag – and the reality is, we simply need to open up more and trust that others are wanting to hear what it is we want to say.
Precision Shooter will be staying around for a while – and I will be working to move most of the shooting related content over to there – not because I am trying to distance myself from it – but because I am aware that more focus on areas also helps people find the content they are looking for. Good Blokes will be more general, developing ourselves as better blokes, Precision Shooter will the competition shooting and reloading, GunSafe will be the firearms safety, Gearlocker the eCommerce, and who knows what else might pop up. Also, whatever your thoughts on it, it’s a simple fact that most social media site algorithms do gun-related content no favours – regardless of its intent. The AI isn’t very nuanced when it comes to intent. A gun is a gun is a weapon. I am a little tired of battling with that system.
So, here we are. Good Blokes. Better Blokes. Blokes on the Ropes, and no doubt a pile of other catchy taglines I will come up with!