I promised that Chart Watch UK would move to a new permanent home, and so here it is. chart-watch.uk is entirely owned and created by me, my chance for the first time in 20 years to put up columns on my own terms, to my own preferred format and to my own schedule. Other than that everything is exactly as it always has been, a week by week account of what is taking place (or as the current situation would have it what is not taking place) on the Official UK Singles and Albums charts.
The other big draw I hope is the fact that eventually it will be home to the complete archive, the full set of James Masterton chart columns dating back to 1992. I’ve wrestled for a long time with just how to exploit that archive, whether to just stick the files up for download, whether to turn them into E-Books for people to buy or whether to continue to deny their existence (which I used to do in the past). This however seems to be the most elegant way of exploiting them, feed them into the database that powers the site that hosts the very latest ones.
I warn the casual reader however, this is no small task. Each one has to be checked and re-formatted and out of a sense of professional pride checked for errors and occasionally annotated to put things I’ve said into their correct context. So it remains a work in progress, although for now I’ve posted up all the original ones from 1992, a handful of pieces from the summer of 1996 relating to the birth of the Spice Girls and am almost halfway through adding the 2010 columns with the aim of bringing the present decade up to date.
Perhaps more than anything else I’ve worked on lately this is a true labour of love, earns me no money and is essentially something I swore I’d never do – give away my content for nothing. But the original motivation for starting to write in the first place two and a half decades ago was a desire to contribute to the sum total of human knowledge that the nascent internet was able to offer. I’d say that principle still holds true now deep into the 21st century.
Hope you enjoy it. Meanwhile I’ve got a book on 1989 to finish.