So I’m writing a non-music, non-books, non-gaming post. Shocking, right? Right. But it’s because of the date, as today is the 15th anniversary of the first GBlogs blogmeet, and I was there. See?
So I thought I’d write a little bit about blogging, which is something I never really thought would become as ubiquitous as it has. But then again, I always thought we’d get online using 33.6k modems, so obviously I know fuck-all about technological trends.
In 1999 I moved to London for a job. After sharing with a family friend/coworker for a couple of months, I ended up flatting with Meg in Kilburn Park, just around the corner from the street where Withnail leans out of the car to yell at schoolgirls in Withnail & I. It was a pretty good place to stay – LONDON! – and it introduced me to some great people, and one am-dram nutcase. Living together helped me get through a lot of the difficulty of moving across the world as a first time out of home (and taught me that Smash alone does not a dinner make) and helped me become a better person. (Marginally – that’s obviously a work in progress in a similar way that erosion is something still occurring.) It also taught me to drink, which was a bit of a revelation to someone who never used to do so. But then, that’s the London steam-valve for you – if people didn’t have ready access to pints I suspect there’d be unbridled murderousness to a higher degree than there usually is.
Anyway. At the time, Meg worked for AOL and was pretty techy – techier than me, anyway – and had a blog. (You can read a bit about that over here.) I was intrigued, and presumably after a couple of those pints, I decided to give it a go. I started blogging (using Netscape Navigator!) on a page called |lukelog| in May 2000 in the classic web-log manner: links and commentary. None of this op-ed horseshit, unless you count occasional snarkiness. Lengthier posts came later – at this point the sort of diary stuff which has come to be most commonly associated with blogs was more the preserve of places such as Livejournal, I think. I didn’t yet know what to say – that often-wanked about ‘voice’ – but eventually I settled on some kind of funny writing with an OCD-heavy level of posting. I was using Blogger – a new and exciting development at the time – and coded the terrible design of my homepage myself, so I was proud of my little corner of the WWW, odd as it was.
My job at the time was basically a web production gig – a content manager with a fancy title – and I suspect I was awful at it. But I had a lot of time to poke around the web, and so I did, putting lots of stuff in there. I spent a lot of time at the office, I had a webcam which took snaps of me (wearing Elvis glasses, farting about, occasionally working) and I was fairly dedicated to putting interesting stuff up because I figured people would like it.
It’s strange, looking back at my older stuff through web archives. It’s like reading a diary from a younger you. It’s fairly cringeworthy, and very apparent that I was lonely and wanted people to like me. Don’t we all? Probably, but I kept telling myself that my blog was a way that people back home could check up on me and see how I was doing in the UK. It was probably the result of the unspoken hope that back home there would be someone who cared enough to do so.
The GBlogs meeting occured about a month after I’d been blogging. GBlogs was a site which served to link all UK blogs from one place, though I’m a bit iffy on the history of it. It was the inaugural piss-up and I vaguely recall it was at a place near Kings Cross Station. I can’t remember more than that, though there’s more photos of the blogmeet to be found over here, should you want to see snaps of people who’ve gone on to bigger and better things. My hair has improved somewhat, though I believe there’s probably less of it hanging around these days. I certainly know that giving up dyeing it was a good move.
I don’t remember much of the meet itself, but I do remember the feeling of friendship and camaraderie was pretty good, largely because blogging wasn’t yet something everyone did – there was a little bit of tribalism, helped along by social lubricants. Nerds together and all that. Looking back, though, it seems more innocent.
Funnily, I was nominated for a Bloggie in 2001. For best European weblog! I didn’t win, naturally, though that didn’t bother me – everyone else nominated was someone I knew. It was weird, though – I was a European thing now, not Australian. Hello, digital writing equivalent of Kylie’s accent.
The blog continued for a while. Posts became longer and longer and eventually I was [over]writing some kind of stream-of-consciousness stuff. Things reached a head when I left the UK – work had gone to shit, and it was a pretty terrible time – and I fell out of regular updating. I tried to do it when I arrived home but found I couldn’t, really. I didn’t have anything much to say. I was missing people and didn’t feel at home anywhere. I spent a lot of time on the Barbelith forum trying to keep in contact but I felt so out of the loop that it wasn’t satisfying.
So I had a break. And now I’m back. Today’s blog – and the name should clue you in – isn’t really concerned with whether people like it. I mean, I’d like to not write shit, and hope you do enjoy it if you’re a returning reader. But that drive for acceptance isn’t really what fuels this place. It’s resurrected and reborn so I can try to keep my arm in, so I can stop some of my reviews from disappearing into the ether, and so I have a record of what I read so that I don’t reread by accident. (It’s a big problem, trust me.)
Do I like blogging? Probably not as much as I used to. I’ve changed in 15 years – a good thing! – and this is probably more for me than for an audience than it used to be. It is strange to be doing something again which I was doing all that time ago, though. It’s as if this domain name – captainfez.com – is a thread linking me to the uncertain guy I was those years ago. Some kind of etheric cord of ones and zeroes, spun round with shit links and hyperbole. I can recognise parts, but less as we go forward.
Let’s see what another 15 years brings.