spent the last few days thinking about some news that several online nerds like myself received regarding one of our comic book heroes. Comics writer, internet Darkseid and all round hater of the skies, Warren Ellis announced that once his web comic FREAKANGELS ends in several weeks, he would be relinquishing control of his Whitechapel Forum over to writer Si Spurrier as the forum will be used as part of the launch of Avatar Publishing’s CROSSED web comic.
Understandably, many members displayed a mix of sadness/outrage/disbelief that we were witnessing what was effectively the end of an era. As for me? Well I’m a rather sad at the end of its current form, but it got me thinking about how the forum transformed a spoddy guy in his early 30’s from an Internet user to and Internet destroyer. YAARGH! the following is a simple timeline of what happened to me…
– It’s 2008 and i’m living in Iceland. Like many people, i use the internet regularly for many things, whether it’s buying, selling or for information. But i am still wary of properly connecting and conversing with people online. I mean those that do are weirdos aren’t they? And it surely can’t replace flesh and blood contact that you get with real people. Could it?
– I’ve started getting back into comics again. I’ve been out of the game for several years. New titles have come and gone. I’ve missed the likes of “Infinite Crisis” apparently and i’m not sure of the mover/players in the writing/artists scene. So i go to the internet for information….
– I start replacing my lost comics. With the help of the internet, i download the entire back run of HELLBLAZER, my first true comics love. I used to own every issue up to #198. It takes me over a week of constant reading to get me back up to speed.
– I start getting back into the work of the classic writers Alan Moore’s “v for Vendetta”, Grant Morrison’s “the Invisibles”, Garth Ennis’ “Preacher” and finally “Transmetropolitan” by a certain Warren Ellis. I start looking into what he is currently doing. Apparently he’s doing a web comic entitled FREAKANGELS. And the comic has its own forum. I pop over and start to lurk….
– I begin lurking around the threads for a while, all the while reading more and more comics. Also, thanks to the internet, i delve more into music in general. Replacing my past catalogue and CD’s which over the years became broken, went missing or were stolen by my brother to sell for money for cigs. After a while, i make my move and start adding my half-baked tuppence responses to the forum discussions. I am not immediately attacked for this. This is a good thing, I think…
– After a while, the forum grows into a flourishing community. As well as myself, there are numerous other pod-like creatures over the world talking about music, culture, science and religion. Some of the ideas make my brain bleed but it also provides me with access to some interesting ideas and people to investigate further. Also it’s an incredibly civil online area as the Internet Jesus keeps a very tight reign over the crazies and the idiots. i starting making connections with the likes of Oldhat, Fragmad, Kernowdrunk, Joe.Distort, Denari, Ricochet, Ræchel Fox, Oda, Will Couper, Andre Navarro, Sneak046, Texture, Vertigo Jones, Digitallyn, Gekko Hopman, and god knows how many more. We all talk about deep meaningful stuff and act as a real life support group for everyone. But i have never met most of these people. These are internet friendships. Yet they are just as natural as friendships with people you meet in the pub. They have substance. They have meaning.
– the people i converse with are artists, writers, musicians, thinkers, and in a couple of cases, magicians. And what do i do? Well, not much apparently. However, at the same time though, my local english newspaper makes a call out for contributors for their music section. After seeing some of the work that people on Whitechapel are doing, i decide to take the plunge and send in some submissions. To my shock and horror they actually print them. I am now writing about music. How did this happen godammit?
– As the network and ties between us on the forum mature and strengthen, it starts to bleed outside the forums boundaries. Some of us conduct a small exercise in creating Post-apocalyptic music mixes. We also create a mix CD swap. there was a Whitechapel cult film corner. People start conversing through Skype, passing the litmus test of hearing each other voices and not being repulsed by each other.
– Then along comes twitter. We start using this to add another level to our online people networks. The world starts to become an interesting place of possibilities. Iceland destroys itself in a financial meltdown. you almost hardly notice…
– At the same time i find my writing duties grow in parallel to my ramblings online. Reviews, interviews, even the occasional rant. why is this happening????
– As my internet presence starts to mutate, i find myself delving more into a weird form of retro electronic music from the UK that has been termed “Hauntology music”. I become enthralled by the sounds, historical cornerstones, and it’s participants, such as Ghost Box, Pye Corner Audio, Moon Wiring Club and many others. I end up finding myself an occasional contributor to Hauntological info dump site, FOUND OBJECTS. My brain seems to be re-aligning itself into some form of string array computation, seeking connections between music, culture, the past and the future….
– I have started passing album copies of my music collection to friends, via Facebook. This is an altruistic form of giving music away to Icelanders who are struggling in the post-financial crisis. It’s rather successful. Friends suggest i should continue this in the form of a blog. After a few weeks of humming and hawing, i decide to venture forth and create this bag of broken thoughts and deformed ideas, Reykjavik Sex Farm. It is April 2009.
– By now I’m conversing with people all over the world about culture in general, on Whitechapel and numerous social media. Whether it’s about film with the likes of Anne Billson and John Warrender, the basics of science and magic with Ian “Cat” Vincent, or trolling Ian Hodgson and Phantom Circuit with videos of the Hitman and Her and the theme Tune to “the Zodiac Game”.
– Someone suggests i should start doing mixes. Again I’m not sure. I am not a DJ and would clear a dance floor in minutes, but i get some simple mixing software and give it a go. They are rather good apparently according to friends. Robin LeBlanc then starts to harass me on twitter by insisting i put my voice to them. Nordic Interstitial Thresholds is born….
– Now people can hear my voice, which sounds like busted set of Bagpipes. But the mixes are weirdly popular. Even Warren Ellis, gives them a nod. It all goes a bit haywire. My thoughts and ideas on music and its impact on humankind start to take the form of weird conspiracy theories. Mumford and Sons represent everything that is truly evil in modern music apparently…
Fast forward and now it’s June 2011. In 2 1/2 years, i have gone from being an inert online presence to an active presence. A DOER. At this moment I’m a music journalist (although the quality is up to debate) writing for more than one publication. I make music mixes, I converse and chew the fat online with people who do all this stuff so much better than I ever could, such as Derek Walmsley, Jonny Mugwump, Joseph “The Outer Church” Stannard, Jess Nevins and Zöe Howe. I run a blog that people actually read and link the information contained herein. I have developed and fostered numerous friendships that provide us all with help, support and real-life nourishment. And my own knowledge of the world around me and of music in general i honestly feel has mutated by brain into something scary and unnatural. Tis true!
And all of this is down to a poxy little internet forum that was run and moderated by a man addicted to Red Bull and whisky, who has a massive beard that he keeps Scottish wildcats hidden in, and will shove internet eels up the arse of those who displease him. Cheers Warren. All this is down to you, you bastard….
Wow that was was some epic scale rambling there. I think i need a glass of wine and some raw beef right now…