Works In Progress

Hello friends, it isn’t often these days that I use this platform for a random update of this or that, but it seemed appropriate to talk about the progress of the various projects I’m current juggling in between real life. In no particular order they are:

The Next Book

It seems like ages since I published the last book in the Top 40 Annual series. April 2015 to be precise, which just so happened to be the date I began work on the next volume. The fact that it has taken so long is a testament to my own lack of organisational skills and the sheer awkward way life has a habit of throwing up obstacles that mean no sooner have I got into a groove of writing then the opportunities slip away. But be assured the 1989 volume is coming, it is nearing completion and there should be something on the shelves in early 2017.

Chart Watch UK

That is naturally subject to other distractions, one of which happens to be the new Chart Watch UK site  of which I am inordinately proud and continually excited to spend time on. Its primary purpose is to be the home of the latest chart updates and commentaries and indeed it is these articles which represent the bulk of the weekly traffic. My only frustration there is the fact that my regular Friday routine means it is sometimes late in the evening when I finally get the full text uploaded rather than swiftly after chart publication. But if that means something for people to devour over breakfast on Saturday then so be it.

I’m also racing forward on the surprisingly involved process in uploading the archives, the near complete set of columns that date back to the end of 1992. Although there are times when I grow tired of the sound of my own voice on the page, it is nonetheless a fascinating exercise, both in relearning trivia which I’d drawn attention to at the time but had all but forgotten about in the years since. Working my way through chronologically it is also fascinating to note the way I grew and developed as a writer and spotting the exact moment when I truly found my ‘voice’ as an author and when the pieces grew from a dry revelation of facts and figures into proper analysis and discourse.

I’m frequently in two minds as to what to focus on first, whether to concentrate on the more contemporary commentaries to hook in the casual reader, or to treat it as a history lesson and do it all in order, leaving people waiting for the 21st century when the columns grew really good and were arguably at the peak of their popularity and influence. Your own thoughts are naturally welcome. For now at the time of writing I’ve put 1992, 1993, 1994, 2010 and 2011 up in full and am working my way through 1995.

The Podcast

Alas that is the one project which for now is on indefinite hold. Whilst I’d been producing it with the same enthusiasm and love for the medium I always had, the truth is that every week it was becoming harder and harder to find the time to prepare, record and edit it. When two weeks went by in which I’d scripted the broadcast but not actually found time to sit and do the recording, I had to ask myself how viable it was. The truth is as well that despite the loyal and enthusiastic audience the podcasts had, they were small in number and just not growing in any way at all. They are fun to do and an essential part of the multimedia age in which we live, but as a core part of my own brand they served little purpose in the long run.

I’ve not ruled out restarting or tweaking the format in the future, but for now that is one project which is on hiatus until I’m less time poor.

One Comment

  1. Hi James. Shame about the podcast (I’ve been a long-time listener), but if you haven’t got the time to do it, then that’s fair enough of course. I am looking forward to your next book, as I have the others. 1989 is a particular favourite year of mine, as I still remember it so well, especially regarding the charts. Like you did, I used to regularly listen the Top 40 on Radio 1 on a Sunday af ternoon.

    The domination of S/A/W (a.k.a Stock/Aitken/Waterman) reached it’s peak in ’89, with 7 number 1 singles, aswell as countless other Top 40 hits. Also, several singles went straight in at #1, which at that time was quite a rarity. Then there was the incredible rise of Jive Bunny & The Mastermixers, who had 3 #1’s in under 6 months! So, I look forward to reading all about 1989 in your forthcoming book. Regards :)

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