Many happy returns to this here blog which turns ten years old today. That’s a whole decade of
writing bollocks sentimental musings. Who’d have thought it would last this long when I published the first post on December 12th, 2006? Certainly not me.
The idea for all this came about because I’d been reading a lot of elegiac books about Britain like Lost Worlds, The Likes Of Us, The Village That Died For England, and even Bollocks To Alton Towers, that had me feeling wistful about the country of my youth and all the things that had vanished since then. So I decided I wanted to write about that, but not in any cheesy “I Heart The Seventies” way. I didn’t care if anyone else but me was interested in things like what records my mum listened to or who I fancied when I was 12, and had no idea I could get a decade of mileage out of it. The original title was going to be England Made Me but there was already a (now-defunct) blog of that name, but I think the alternative I came up with (in a moment of inspiration on a train to New York) was much better anyway.
A decade is a lifetime in internet years (even longer if you add the three years I did my previous blog The Number One Songs In Heaven — sadly lost in Blogspot limbo somewhere) and things have changed a lot in that time. When I first started, mp3 blogs were the hot new thing and I got mentions in The Guardian, USA Today, Word magazine, and The Boston Globe which often caused a surge in traffic that used up all my monthly bandwidth and took the site down for days (remember that?) But with the warp-speed things move on the internet blogging has lost its youthful buzz. Now all the kidz are Snapchatting, Tumblring, Facetiming, and Instagramming instead, and the web landscape is littered with the ghosts of abandoned blogs. To couch it in terms more relevant to this site, blogging has become the vinyl records of the internet: an obsolete medium superseded by more convenient formats but still beloved by sentimental oldsters.
It’s a shame really, I think the internet has become a less interesting place since it was consumed by social media which has created more of a herd mentality than the individualism which existed before (Facebook might even be bad for democracy). I miss the frontier days when services like Geocities and Tripod (where I first learned HTML) provided a platform for anyone with a hobby or obsession to express themselves — usually with blue type on a purple background and lots of animated gifs. It was often bizarre and amateurish but it was more alive. Blogging was an extension of that, giving exposure to a multitude of new voices and opinions, but now that expression has been reduced to a “Like” button or 140 characters.
I’m no saint, I’m just as bad as anyone at tearing myself away from Twitter and doing something more useful like writing this blog or playing with my kids. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought this place was on it’s last legs and running on fumes, but I still have things to write about so hopefully next year I’ll still be keeping the blog flag flying high, even if it’s not cool anymore. Doubt if I’ll make another ten years though.
Lot of songs I could have picked to go with this post, but Pauline Murray is one of the few artists I’ve written about enough times to earn her own tag.
Download: Time Slipping – Pauline Murray & The Invisible Girls (mp3)
Between now and Christmas I’m going to be republishing some of my favourite posts from the archive. Then hopefully I’ll have my 2016 review written (if I can bear to think about this God-awful year), and then… more of the same I guess.