Today is a momentous one. After two years and countless trips – since if I’m honest it took far more than the 33 listed here – finally I’m launching The Devil’s Plantation website. For anyone reading, especially those who subscribe to this blog, I want you to be the first to see it. Naturally I’m quite nervous from several angles – whether the site actually works, or if anyone will look at it and if they do, will they get it? Looking at the webstats for this blog, I’m delighted by the number of people who’ve visited, even if some of the search terms used tell me some visitors are more interested in say, dogging at Gleniffer Braes or Murder in Carmyle than in the Secret Geometry of Glasgow.
So for anyone willing to go along with this, I have a favour to ask. Having spent the last week testing the site to destruction on four different computers – my shed looks like a branch of PC World – I’m asking you be the first to preview it. There’s still a bit of housekeeping to do, odd bits of sound and text, before the official launch early next week, but I hope you’ll find it relatively easy to navigate and I’d be interested to know how people find their own way around, or if you have any problems.
On entering, by clicking on the dots, each representing a site, a short film will appear showing the places I visited to recreate the journey taken by Harry Bell in his search for Prehistoric Communication Lines. They are also the journeys taken by Mary Ross, a woman whom I first met in 2008 and who, by sheer coincidence, visited almost all the same sites as Bell. Maybe I was reading too much into this but Mary entirely changed the way I looked at the project and how I could tell the ‘story’ of Glasgow.
Gradually, as more sites are highlighted, lines will appear, linking them together. A pattern soon emerges. The viewer is free to choose which path to take. Some sites have several lines radiating from them, offering a multiple choice of routes. It’s up to you to choose which direction you travel. Having tested the site, I know it can take a long time to ‘bag’ all the various places featured – there’s 66 films to get through – which is why it’s possible to save your journey. When you return, the website will remember where you’ve been, allowing you to pick up from where you left and continue at your own pace.
Each short film ends with a small passage telling part of both Harry Bell and Mary Ross’ stories. These are told according to the site they’re linked to but by the end of the journey it’s possible to read the two complete stories in sequence. For those viewers who visit all the sites, there’s a reward waiting at the end that I’m not revealing here – you have to make the journey to find out.
Some people will get it, others won’t. Some will enjoy seeing the odd corners in and around Glasgow while others will enjoy the stories. I certainly did. My hope is that most of you will complete the journey and see what lies at the end.
So please, take a look. I welcome any comments or queries. You can visit by clicking on this link. Bon voyage.