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Collapse Board: The First Year

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By Justin Edwards

I think today is the anniversary of Collapse Board going live; I’m not entirely positive as I didn’t make a note of the date at the time (you just don’t think about doing things like that at the time, plus I was out of Brisbane at the time) and so I’ve had to use Google Analytics to see when people from outside of Brisbane started visiting. The trouble with Google Analytics is that it’s working on a completely different time zone; I think it’s today but it might be tommorrow. We’ll just have to make an executive decision to call it today. Either way, amazingly we’ve made it through a full 12 months, although it doesn’t feel that long and seems to have gone by in a flash.

I think we first started talking about ‘doing something’ way back in 2008. Everett and I met up a couple times over the year, mainly to talk about the state of the music press and music we liked but although there was an agreement that we really should ‘do something’, what the ‘something’ should be was harder to decide on. By the time 2009 came around it was decided that we should do a website. I think every time we met up we got a bit misty-eyed at the thought of doing something in print but that probably only lasted for about 30 seconds before 21st Century reality hit, and so I got into the very slow work of researching and putting together a site.

I always wanted a manifesto of sorts but I think the only stipulations were “No news” and “No scores for reviews”. The thing we both really wanted for the site was opinions. Our (or at least my) main inspirations were Careless Talk Costs Lives, Plan B, Drowned In Sound, The Guardian’s music section and the Archived Music Press website. Although the Archived Music Press site sadly hasn’t been updated for ages, re-reading those scanned in pages from Melody Maker and NME is a constant source of inspiration and I strongly recommend anyone with even the slightest interest in music journalism and music photography check it out.

Eventually the first version of the site was built and, if I do say so myself, it was a thing of beauty, complete with its own social networking and a forum set up and ready to go. Someone, who will remain nameless *cough* then managed to corrupt the database and the whole thing had to be started from scratch. One day (hopefully soon) it will get that forum back.

Looking back at the last year, Collapse Board hasn’t turned out as I had originally envisaged. I had always assumed it would be a crack-team of the very best music bloggers from Brisbane revising their own content on the site to drive more traffic to their own blogs. Essentially I saw Collapse Board working largely as an aggregator but it was always there for writing bespoke pieces, or for us to collectively write a series of posts on a topic or a theme. In retrospect that view was a bit naive, but it has been a constant source of disappointment the lack of interest, or at least long-term interest, from Brisbane,with a few obvious and notable exceptions. Establishing a community of contributors was always one of the main objectives and that is definitely one thing that has come out of the first year, even if it isn’t as Brisbane-focused as I once would have thought it would be.

The first few months were slow, not helped by both myself and Everett both having extended Christmas holidays overseas, and it wasn’t until Februray that Collapse Board really started to get into gear and start to move forwards.

(continues overleaf)

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9 Responses to Collapse Board: The First Year

  1. Darragh August 23, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    It’s been fun to have been along for the ride.

  2. DC August 23, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    Congratulations on your exellent site’s first year.

    I think CB is doing a marvelous job of stimulating conversation, which I’m guessing/pretty sure is one of the focal points of its existence. One thing I learned a long time ago is that your opinion is meaningless unless someone else has one too.

    The very fact you confront & tackle those ‘negative’ areas/issues/elements, which most platforms spinelessly avoid or actively ignore, means you’ve already proven your worth. Plus, you know how to wield a sense of humour effectively.

    I wholeheartedly concur with ET, although possibly a little too prosaically than is comfortable: music criticism contains every strand of reasoning – not just brown-nose toadying, +1 glory hunting or conveyor belt apathy. There’s no use anyone crying into their haircut if the questions go off script.

    Cheers for read. Here’s to many more.

  3. Bianca August 24, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Happy Birthday Collapse Board! 🙂

  4. hannah golightly August 26, 2011 at 8:34 am

    The music press stopped press and started up online. I think that that’s what happened in a nutshell. Then the last dinosaurs printing on paper crapped their pants about the threat to their jobs and instantly transformed into pandering desperadoes willing to print any sanitised sales-friendly gibberish in order to guarantee band access and cover stars. This led to a decline. And the whole thing has got boring beyond belief.

    Then comes along Collapse Board and the party begins. Honest writing. It’s surely a revolution at this point.

    Happy 1st Birthday Collapse Board! Happy to be involved as a reader and as a contributor.

  5. Thierry from Paris August 27, 2011 at 2:27 am

    I’ve been a regular reader since the beginning of the year and have to thank you for – among many other things – renewing my love for the music of Ed Kuepper. Even if I only recently realized where your very name comes from 😉 It had been a long time since I saw a bunch of writers criticizing music (because they care) with guts, hearts, brains and a sense of fun. Oh, and I’m glad to see France is the second non-English speaking country registering on the Boardometer…

  6. Collapse bored August 29, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    “Plus it’s got a lot more integrity than a glowing 4-and-a-half-stars review that you would get when your housemate or someone with a vested interest in your band might write for street press.

    Over the year I’ve gotten more used to the accusations of Collapse Board being a bunch of haters.”

    Hilarious…

  7. ed September 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    “…after a short break local miscreant Ben Salter takes the stage with his new band and begins showcasing tracks from his fantatsic debut solo album The Cat. [Disclaimer: I don’t know the protocol on such matters in the ‘blogosphere’, but just so all the PC music nazis out there don’t have kittens and start crying about ‘conflict of interest’ I’d better throw in that Mr Salter and I are very close friends and share a house together. It’s even a home, but not in that way.]” – http://themusic.com.au/big-sound/wednesday-break-my-heart

    PC music nazi? Interesting choice of words there. Maybe I expect too much from Brisbane’s street press editors in thinking they should have some degree of professional ethics.

  8. Everett True September 8, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    I dunno, Justin. I quite like the idea of a blog called the PC Music Nazis. Maybe we could do a spin-off…

    I also like the idea of PC Music Nazis having kittens.

    I also like the idea of a PC Music Nazi shaving kittens.

  9. Darragh September 8, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Did he just describe Salter as somewhat depraved, perhaps villainous?

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