I’m as surprised as anyone, but Strange Flowers turns ten today. On 30 October 2009 I blogged about German polymath Alastair, who died 50 years ago today. Even in 2009 the idea of blogging about your private obsessions – in my case, under-heralded life stories from the margins of cultural history – was starting to look a little creaky; in 2019 it is positively antique. So now … now we just sit tight and wait for the retro cachet to come round.

While I don’t have the time to post as much as I would like, the blog will be continuing and over on Twitter starting today I will be tweeting at least once a day; it would be great to see you there. Under the label of #AYearofStrangeFlowers, each day for the next year will be dedicated to one of our miscellany of misfits. And once that year is up, I will … start again from the beginning? Put out a book? Let’s see.

Coming up soon here on Strange Flowers is a trip to Vienna in the spirit of our explorations of Berlin and London. And if you remember our book recommendations, like the 19 books for 2019, or the Strange Flowers Christmas shopping Secret Satan – buckle up. Satan has come up with a yooooge list this year, in fact there are so many I’ve had to split them into two, one of which is dedicated solely to works in translation. Meanwhile one of my own contributions, Antisemitism, originally published in 1894 by the Austrian author Hermann Bahr, is now available through Rixdorf Editions.

My love and curiosity for the exiles from banality who inhabit these pages remains undimmed. And finding readers who share my passion for these strange flowers has been a true joy. To everyone who has been there from the beginning, who has joined along the way or has just encountered this shadow realm for the first time:

thank you.


  1. alen111

    Fascinating, that social networks replaced blogging — the law of the lowest common denominator asserting control, society reproducing itself online.

    • And unruly content corralled onto a handful of platforms. It feels perverse to hold out, but this has never been anything but an exercise in perversity.

      • alen111

        I was thinking about how social media blend the social and the personal, to the detriment of both. On the one hand, there is little scope for personal expression or sincerity because the networks are open. Though it is possible to organise Facebook in such a way as to limit posts to a small circle of friends, few people make rigorous use of this option, preferring instead the self-censorship, bland semi-anonymity of a larger collective. This is what I meant by society “reproducing” itself. Where “content” is concerned, for a while folks were collating their own RSS feeds, but the sheer number of possibities makes it overwhelming. So half of Twitter consists of links to content, understandably. The problem is that the medium is indeed the message, engenders a haphazard, superficial, ever-contingent state of consciousness.


    Congratulations. Yours is truly one of the most fascinating, knowledge able, and literate blogs I have read.
    And, through you I met the lovely Suzanne Stroh, whom I am so privileged to call my friend.
    I will watch for you on Twitter.

  3. Andrea Natasha

    Thank you for my favorite blog – please continue this fascinating and very enlightening read.

  4. When I first encountered your blog, I had a sense of coming home, of finding my people. Thanks so much for connecting me to my tribe of unrepentant dreamers, beautiful freaks, and delusional hedonists oh-so- divinely debauched.

    Thanks as well for your brilliant introduction to some new obsessions like Vali Myers, and for expanding on my already-extant fixations (La Casati, Sissi, et.al.), though I’m not sure I can exactly thank you for making my crush on Annemarie Schwarzenbach even worse… 😉

  5. Mel

    Whenever I see a Strange Flowers in my inbox it feels like Christmas morning. Speaking of which, I LIVE for your book lists. I’ve purchased several for myself and friends. I’ve luckily been able to buy several on the US Amazon – such as The Third Sex. Thanks for ten years of thrills, chills, bum-outs and turn-ons. Will also segue over to Twitter for you, James! Lots of love from California!

  6. Congratulations! It’s always a joy to see a strange flower on my inbox. 🙂

  7. William

    Congratulations, James! SF is always one of the highlights of my feedreader, as I share your weakness for the sublime & the ridiculous.

  8. John Kuhlman

    Love your blog. Keep up the good work.

  9. I had written my comment yesterday but somehow it din’t show up. I hope itwon’t pop up twice now 🙂
    So Happy 10th Anniversary!!! I really love your blog and I am very glad to read you will continue to write it. Such good news that you will explore Vienna and write about it. Can’t wait to read it. I have been to Vienna this year and so all is still fresh in my memory.
    Thank you for a wonderful blog and so many interesting posts.

  10. Congratulations, my talented and inspiring friend!

  11. Good to see someone persevering with a longform blog (though I did give you a follow on Twitter – let’s see how all this filters down to 140 characters).

  12. Kat

    Thank you for all your work. I love your blog so much and I hope you don’t stop writing. I was recently in Vienna and the two posts on the city were amazing to read ❀

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