For someone who celebrates his birthday with something approaching extreme reluctance, one which grows with every passing year, I seem to have spent a great deal of time celebrating my own anniversaries. Hence if you care to look deeply enough through the archives of this page, you will find the occasions when I noted the 15th anniversary of the weekly Chart Watch columns with a full account of how it all began (complete with a link to the Usenet post by longtime fanzine editor Bob Gajarsky which inspired the idea in the first place), along with the series of pieces I wrote to mark my 20th anniversary, which included dips into the archive of old posts for the very first time.
So here we are five more years down the line. This week marks 25 years since my first attempt to shed some light into the dark corners of the net. Explaining just why Simple Minds had an old hit from seven years earlier floating around the Top 10. Sky Sports, if you need to ask.
This time around I’ve no need to go into detail about origin stories. Instead, I get to note the climax of what has at times been a herculean effort. I’ve clicked New Item nearly 1300 times in a content management system to make available the full archive of every single column I’ve ever written. I’m sure most people reading this have seen it already, but it never hurts to plug these things once again. Head over to Chart Watch UK and enjoy some rather compelling bursts of nostalgia. Or discover that you have a brand new online timesink to waste time on. Your choice.
There’s a podcast due later this week to commemorate this. As well as an overdue brand new look for the whole site. Past anniversaries have seen me writing from the position of someone who was paid and commissioned to write. The online economy and changing landscape being what it is, that is no longer the case. What Chart Watch remains is a genuine labour of love. One which I don’t even pepper with adverts in a faint effort to bring in money from it. The only revenue comes from sales of the associated books and the odd hardy soul who clicks on the donation button on the right-hand side.
But on that basis, it means the reason I do this remains the same as it was back in November 1992. It was clear the internet had the power to collate the sum total of human knowledge. On that basis, I wanted to find a way to contribute. In an era when everyone shares, but few have the urge to create, this is my contribution to the online world. I am able to spend a part of each week communicating about the things I am passionate about. All thanks to the power of the internet. And I’ve now done so for 25 years.