Hello everyone! This is Niels, and I’m here to look back on my first year writing for Love In The Time Of Chasmosaurs. I figured after a year of writing I deserved to toot my own horn a little. My first article, the write-up of TetZooCon 2019, appeared exactly one year ago! A little while before that, Marc Vincent invited me to write for this blog, which I had been a fan of and through which we met. Of course, he mostly didn’t feel like writing the TetZoo article himself, but I’m still thankful.
TetZooCon itself is, of course, a fading memory from a different time, as are all large-scale social events. It’s obviously not been the year anyone was expecting. Everyone’s plans went down the gutter, including mine. But nevermind the worries of the present. Our blog is, after all, about the past.
When I started writing for the blog, I promised myself I’d turn in about two to three articles a month. I’m happy to say I’ve kept to that schedule fairly consistently, with Vintage Dinosaur Art reviews, attraction reviews, interviews and random observations. I also promised myself I wouldn’t try to imitate Marc’s style too much; I don’t know if I succeeded at that at all. As a rule, if I make a particularly funny joke I probably stole it from him.
Speaking of Marc, and of memories. A warm memory I have is of the time Marc took me to see Paradise Park, a place on the south coast of England he’d visited and reviewed for the blog many years ago and couldn’t wait to hear my take on. I couln’t help but be enchanted by a place this eclectic, plus it’s always fun to have a cheap laugh at the expense of a cheap animatronic. I’m preversely fascinated by ugly dinosaur models and animatronics, especially when they are almost unblievably wrong, and you can expect me to bring more of that fascination to the blog in the future. For better or worse… and possibly a bit of both.
When it comes to the true meat and potatoes of the blog, Vintage Dinosaur Art, my favorite book I’ve reviewed remains the singularly unique Verdwenen Werelden by unlikely heroine Maria Hubrecht. Here are part one, part two and part three. I stumbled upon her work first at the palaeoart exhibition at the Teylers Museum, and quickly realized that the book was a must-have. Not only did the book itself exceed my expectations and become one of my most prized posessions, I’m also chuffed I got the chance to introduce this forgotten, eccentric artist to a new generation of palaeofans.
One of my most controversial contributions was surely my review of Zoë Lescaze’s massive and popular book Paleoart. I like to think I gave it a “tough but fair” treatment. It certainly resonated with some people while rubbing others completely the wrong way. If Lescaze herself ever read it, she certainly hasn’t commented; I suppose that is for the best. It also, sadly but inevitably, meant I had to delete my first troll comments. Yep, I must be a real Internet personality now. Onwards and upwards!
If there’s any piece I’ve written in the past year that I’m proudest of, it’s my interview with René Fraaije, the director of the Oertijdmuseum of Boxtel. Not only am I very pleased with how it turned out, that day was one of the best of my 2020 (and the bar is higher than you might expect from this year). The Oertijdmuseum has consistently been one of my favourite dinosaur attractions – Sorry, Naturalis! – and whenever I go there I always end up having an excellent time, having nerdy conversations with interesting people.
So what else do I have to say but thank you? Thank you to Marc for having me over, to David for giving me a place on the table, to Natee for their kindness and encouragment, to Nick for being a pretty swell guy (we should hang more) and most of all to you, our wonderful readers, for reading, sharing and commenting, whether here, on Facebook or on Twitter. I love your comments especially, so please keep that up. You too, Bill.
Whatever next year will bring, dinosaurs will keep being awesome and I’ll keep being here to tell you about them. See you then!