57 days until you know what

When the clocks go back it means another – and much more fun – annual tradition: Christmas songs.

The clocks have gone back. The mornings are now a little lighter and the commute home is a little darker. I wrote all about this last year in It’s Not (All) About The Farmers.

The days are getting shorter which means Christmas is getting closer. We’re already starting to see festive articles being published; if you are looking for the 10 of the best Christmas cards or 10 Best Women’s Christmas Jumpers then there’s already an article for you.  

But I’m not reading about those. When the clocks go back it means another – and much more fun – annual tradition: Christmas songs. As I said last year, “If you love Christmas songs and have never read the Fizzy Pop festive blog then you should go and do it right now”.  And, as last year, if you’re on Apple Music I am going to try and keep updating the Apple Playlist of the musical selections made.

Every day is like survival

The post marking 20 years is a lovely example of blogging 15 years ago. Short and to the point, with nothing superfluous. Let’s examine it:

I’m riding a wave of nostalgia at the moment, aren’t I?  My last piece was about something written sixteen years ago.  Today, I sail in a much more modern boat and I’m looking back at a newer post from just fifteen years ago.  The only trouble is, that post itself referenced an event 20 years earlier. Wow, it was 35 years ago, Culture Club was number one with Karma Chameleon.  

I’m sure lots of people write about that feeling of time speeding up. You know, the whole “it only feels like yesterday” view. It’s true, but if you weren’t there then you won’t care. Trust me kids, it may seem important to you now, but nobody born this morning will much care about the British rappers Dave ft. Fredo’s Funky Friday except as a footnote telling them it was number one the day they were born. What do you mean, you don’t care either. Kids of today, huh.

But I digress. The post marking 20 years is a lovely example of blogging 15 years ago. Short and to the point, with nothing superfluous. Let’s examine it:

It’s twenty years since Culture Club’s Karma Chameleon was the UK’s number one selling single (full list).

We’ve already hit a problem. The ‘full list’ link I originally used is no longer accessible. Thankfully, it’s on the wayback machine so I’ve updated it in the original. The list in the version I linked to stops in 2003 when Blu Cantrell feat. Sean Paul reigned with ‘Breathe’.  The current version of this page from the Official Charts site is surrounded by a monstrous noise of cookie alerts and advertising. But, it is up to date with the aforementioned Funky Friday as the latest UK chart topper.

I really remember the video set in Mississippi (but I don’t imagine it was actually filmed there).

Back in 2003 could I have looked up that the video was filmed at Desborough Island in Weybridge? Wikipedia tells me that – so maybe I could have done.  Anyway, it’s not that far away from where I live. One day I should plan a visit but I promise not to reenact the video for you. I can’t believe anybody fell for it being Mississippi. However, it was the 80s and music videos were all new. And I was 13 and would have believed anything.

I suspect it would be very dated now …

Well, in the intervening years, a little thing called YouTube arrived which means I can now watch the original video and confirm it’s datedness or not. And I can embed it in the post itself for you to make up your mind. The pace of change, huh? You get to see how much like a cloudy day in England it appears to be. That’s the British weather for you.

all together now, “Every day is like survival, You’re my lover, not my rival …”

Back when Karma Chameleon was top of the charts, did anybody know the ‘You’re my lover’ was a reference to Jon Moss? I know a 13 year old that certainly didn’t.  I wonder if I would have reacted differently had I known?


It Was Sixteen Years Ago Today

What does the web of previous 1 October tell us?

I few months ago I wrote that sometimes, “I come to visit my website just to look at the Blast From The Past section.” Admittedly, I don’t do this very often but today, on my morning commute, I did and found three entries from the first day of October in years gone by: 2002, 2004 and 2010.  As a view of the past, I thought they made an interesting set of posts to study.

Eight years ago I was sharing interesting news links from the world digital advertising on an almost daily basis; something that you’d find on Twitter today and not laguishing on a blog. As I’ve said before, Twitter is probably a better place for such updates. Back then, I expressed surprise that part of the digital ad world was described by AdWeek as a ‘cesspool’: I thought it was a little extreme. Today, I’d probably not be so surprised and I might even agree with that description.

The ‘cesspool’ comment was used in a session at AdWeek 2010 where, “[T]he easy availability of low-cost online advertising space was a theme, and a problem, the panel returned to several times” [quote].  I imagine many of the people have come back to that theme a good few times since then! I wonder how many of the attendees 8 years ago are amongst the podcasters, influencers and digital prophets at AdWeek 2018.  Certainly, three roles that were not in use at the turn of the millennium when the other 1st October entries were written.

In 2004 I wrote about a phone being stolen which seemed quite important at the time but, from today’s vantage point, the focus on the newspaper headline of the day is much more interesting.  These days I have no idea what the headline on the evening paper is as I head home and it’s unlikely I’m using my phone camera to grab a snapshot. Somewhere along the way, at least to me, headlines became less interesting because my news sources were much more personalised and my experience of the Evening Standard today (primarily accessed via a news aggregator on my phone) will be different to yours.

But it’s the sixteen year-old entry that really caught my attention. How does the ‘Snapshot of the Blogsphere’ stand-up today?  It’s rather poor: all the three links noted are no longer accessible from their original pages because none of the sites are active anymore, although Tom’s plasticbag.org is still archived even if the links are broken (a little bit of searching does come up with the original entry).  There so much of the early web that’s gone. Fortunately, the Wayback Machine has some kind of copy of the material and I have been able to update the original links (see: Tom, Meg, Bart). It’s not great because I don’t imagine many people will go searching for them if they get a ‘not found’ error.  I wish there was a way to prevent this but what to do when the owners don’t want to do it anymore?

I’m glad I managed to rescue the snapshot of 2002. I don’t read anywhere near as many blogs as I did back then but, just in case I want to check in with myself in another 16 years, here’s a quick look at what I read today:

  1. Some years getting the Gold Card discount added to my Oyster is really simple, and other years everyone shakes their head and says “no, we can’t do that here, go away”. This year’s attempt proved almost, but not quite, at the easy end of the scale. [DiamondGeezer]
  2. Musk doesn’t deserve to be compared to Steve Jobs, he’s a category unto himself. He has improvised on a scale we’ve never seen before and has forced the incumbents to wake up and adopt EVs as their future. [Monday Note]
  3. It was not hard to see why Trump hadn’t seen the point in preparing to take over the federal government: why study for a test you will never need to take? [kottke.org]

Let’s just make sure the Wayback Machine has a copy.