[Blog] Not So Terrible Twos

by Garry

Man, has it really been 2 years already?

I feel like I probably say this a lot, but man it really has been 2 years since I started this humble little website huh? We’ll keep the reasons surrounding the birth of this project out of this post though because everyone either already knows or can easily find out for themselves (plus some people get a bit bent out of shape when I bring up the past). It’s pretty crazy, I mean I had some rough expectations as to how I wanted things to go but everything that has happened is more than I could have ever hoped for. It’s also very fitting that I’m writing the bulk of this from a Glasgow hotel room at 2am because that’s where all this started in the first place.

So anyway, the idea here is that I’m just going to do a post that sort of recaps the last 12 months or so with the website and various other aspects of the fandom at large. I’ll break it down into the good stuff, the not so good stuff and then at the end I’ll say what I’m hoping for going into the third year and probably tease some stuff too if I feel like it. I’m pretty terrible at this kind of stuff but I think it’s cool to mark milestones like this, and its also been super dead for stuff to write about the last few weeks and I need content.

This is probably going to be a bit scatterbrain so be prepared for that. I might also say some stuff that some people might not like so be sure to @ them on Twitter and make sure they see it, or whatever some of you do to kill boredom. I also appreciate that this kind of stuff probably isn’t that interesting to most of you so no hard feelings if you just don’t care to read what I’m about to write here. Come back next week and there will be your regularly scheduled review of a recent release, the world keeps turning.

Right, that’s a decent enough preamble for this thing. We’re going to start off with the good stuff that happened this past year, then we’ll sandwich the bad stuff in the middle and end on a hopefully high note by looking at the future.

The Good

Man, where do I even begin with all of the good stuff that happened in the last year? Let’s start with the fact that so many more of you have found the website and apparently keep coming back for some reason. Hello and most importantly thank you for wasting many minutes of your time reading some idiot on the internet’s thoughts about Japanese Pop music. Seriously though, the amount of people actually checking out the stuff I write is still incredible to me. I take pride in my work but damn this thing was just supposed to be a small outlet for my creative side. I honestly can’t thank you all enough for the continued support. It really does mean so much to me, you guys are awesome.

I got back into podcasting in 2017, which was something I’d been wanting to do for a while but just could never find the right concept or people to record with. Turns out throwing an idea out into the wilderness of Twitter does sometimes yield results because all I said was I wished there was a podcast covering stuff that wasn’t 48/46, H!P, Avex…mainstream I guess you could say and here we are 30 podcasts deep doing just that. I figured maybe it’d last a couple episodes then die due to lack of interest but holy shit there are actually people out there who can at least pretend to tolerate listening to my goofy voice for 1-2 hours at a time. You’re all probably there for those other guys though right?

Speaking of those other guys, meeting John and Terry was a pretty awesome thing that happened last year. I’m not the easiest to get along with (I mean, it has to be me at this point right?) so the fact that they still talk to me and at least pretend to like me is pretty wild. I’m joking of course but those guys are really cool and having people to talk to who get where you’re coming from on a lot of things is nice. It was also really cool hanging out with Terry in Japan, so if he was only pretending to like me then I’d like to nominate that guy for an Oscar. More on the Japan thing in a bit too.

It wasn’t just John and Terry I met last year, I also met a lot of you guys too in various ways. There’s so many people that listing names would just get weird but if we even interact on a semi-regular basis just know that you’re good people. I also reconnected with some people I fell out of touch with for various reasons, although not everyone I might have hoped to. It is what it is, but a big part of all of this was Discord and the Alternative Idol Facebook group. I’m not really big on Facebook to be honest but I’m glad I’ve started using it more because it opened me up to a lot of people I might not otherwise have met.

In a similar vein, I also made a few “industry” contacts this past year which is not something I ever go out of my way to make happen because I’m dumb, but they are much appreciated nonetheless. The guys at Specific Recordings, Ricky from NECRONOMIDOL, Phil from Studio Alegori, Derek who made NECRONOMIDOL in the USA possible, the guys from ORIONlive UK and even new friends from Read The Air Records…holy fuck that’s a lot of people. How did my anti-social, socially anxious self manage to pull all of that off? Pure dumb luck would be the answer there folks. That’s what I think anyway.

Let’s circle back to the Japan business since now seems as good a time as ever to mention it. I went to Japan for the second time in 2 years in 2017. I ended up staying for almost a full month so I’m either crazy or I…yeah let’s go with crazy. Seriously though, I had a blast out there and I can’t recommend it enough if you’re even somewhat interested in going. I met a bunch of people, saw a ton of concerts and wrestling shows, went up to Sendai for a day trip because once again I’m crazy and a whole bunch of other stuff. It’s the best, and I’m going back again later in the year around Halloween time so see you out there if you’re going to be around. Also, if you’re thinking about going check out my still somewhat relevant guides on getting there and getting tickets to see shows and stuff.

I’m probably forgetting so much other stuff that happened in the last 12 months but everything I’ve said is hopefully the most important stuff. I’m thankful to have met so many cool people because of this silly little website and everything is just going so much better than even my wildest expectations. It’s actually crazy.

The Not So Good

Okay, we have to bring up some negative stuff right? I think Bob Ross said something one time about you needing to have bad stuff so you appreciate the good stuff…or something like that at least. He probably said it in a much more eloquent way I’m sure but that’s never really been my strongest suit has it? The fact I’m even putting this section in probably shows how dumb I still am at the ripe old age of 26. I could have just left all of this out and we’d have a nice happy little post where it’s all sunshine and rainbows, but that’s not true though and I like being honest…and opinionated.

I guess one of the main things I wasn’t that happy with this past year was my writing. I know I have a tone that can rub people the wrong way but that’s fine, this is my website that I do for fun. I’m not out here trying to be professional but that doesn’t mean I’m not critical of myself…quite a bit actually. Yeah, if you read enough of my stuff you’ll notice I repeat a lot of openings or descriptions, stuff like that. It bugs me so I’m trying to work on it but I’m not a degree wielding journalist, I don’t have any real training. It shouldn’t even bother me but it does so like I said, I’m going to slowly try to work on it. Or maybe finally learn to stop caring as much.

Being afraid to put myself out there and just ask for things is one of my biggest issues both for this site and in life in general. Terry and John know all about this, but I honestly hate asking for anything even remotely press related or similar such things. There’s a lot of reasons for this and I’ll expand on one of them in a second here but it’s so stupid and I know it’s stupid. I honestly feel like I’m bothering people if I ask for like a press release or a review copy of a vinyl record, etc, etc. I’m not a professional journalist but how many pros are covering this stuff, right? Man I am a total mess.

Okay, so to expand on that previous thing I guess this falls a bit in the good and bad category but I am struggling quite a bit with the fact that my words might actually mean something to some of you guys out there. I should love that right? Well I need to disentangle the site having success with my fear of this turning into some kind of job. I said from the outset I didn’t want this to be a job, I just wanted to have fun and share music I like with strangers on the internet. I guess I’m just worried that if I start trying to take this too seriously then it won’t be fun anymore and I’ll turn into the people I hate.

Speaking of people I…let’s walk that back to dislike shall we? You know what sucks? When you try to share objectively pretty interesting music and grow a community around it and people say things that are very…unhelpful. Now, if this is Joe Blow on Twitter it’s whatever but if you claim to be “The premier community-based media website dedicated to all aspects of Japanese Pop Culture!” for example and have a decent following then you really should choose your words more carefully. It’s not even difficult, just tone it down a tiny bit and maybe consider the fact that people will take what you say as if it’s an informed opinion. If I work hard to try to get people to check out a new group, song, etc and people like this come along and say “Oh, X group is over without Y member” then why would they listen to some schmuck like me over the professional media website right?

See if you can find the sarcasm in that last paragraph. Anyway, I guess the other kinda bad thing that happened this year was I fell out with quite a few people. It’s really dumb I know, I’m an adult and should know better by now but I’m just passionate about what I’m doing and get defensive when people say and do things that I don’t agree with or are just plain untrue. The tone of my writing probably doesn’t help either because I’m pretty blunt and sweary. I have a bunch of stuff from years ago in the community too that probably follows me around still to this day. I guess at the end of the day, you can judge me by the reviews and guides I write here or you can judge me on what I shitpost on Twitter when I’m smashed on rum at 3am. Either is fine because it’s all part of what makes me me and I don’t see it changing any time soon.

I’m not really sure where I went with all of this stuff in the end. I think it turned into some kind of weird but cathartic self-counseling session or something. I suppose if half of the bad stuff I have to talk about is petty fandom nonsense then it can’t have been too bad of a year can it?

The Future

Okay, let’s try to end this on a positive note shall we? I mean, I don’t think it got super negative or anything but I gotta leave you guys wanting more right? Well, I’ll just quickly mention a few things that are coming in the next 12 months and then I’ll let you get on with your day. A lot of this stuff is still pretty work in progress but you’ve managed to make it this far so I guess I need to reward you for your time somehow right?

Okay so expect a fairly major overhaul to the website banner in the near-ish future. I’m working something out right now that I think is probably one of the dumbest things I’ve done since I started the site but I think people are really going to like it. Plus, if I ever decided to start rinsing you suckers for merch then what’s coming is going to play a pretty big role in that. The merch thing probably won’t ever happen but the people who know what the idea is have all thought it was hilarious so watch out for that coming pretty soon here.

I’m also trying to work out some new article series for the site because sometimes there just ain’t anything to review, like for this whole past month pretty much. I actually have a vinyl series that I’m looking to start up pretty soon here, or at least trial a post initially to see how I feel about it and you know, if no one reads it then I’m not going to waste my time writing it either. I’m on a pretty big vinyl kick right now and Japan is ramping up production so I figured I could do something in that area and still keep it relevant to the sort of stuff I cover normally. I’d say look for the test article by the end of the month at the latest.

As most of you know, NECRONOMIDOL are coming back to the UK sometime in June. I didn’t go when they came in 2017 and I very much regret that decision so I am certainly going to do my absolute best to make it to whatever show they end up putting on, be it in London or wherever. That generally applies to any other groups that might make it over and as long as it’s not going to be a total pain to get time off and arrange travel I’ll force down the social anxiety for a few hours so I can meet a bunch of you guys or something. Only thing I will say is that if you’re after a 2-shot then it’s going to cost you £10 or some kind of alcoholic beverage. I kid, I kid…I’d rather you just give me the £10.

I mentioned previously that I am indeed going back to Japan later in the year so I’ll gloss over that again here a little. I’ll be out there around Halloween time through most of November and I know a couple of people are talking about going around that time so look me up if you want to hang out or something. I’ve done most of what there is to do in Tokyo at this point so my diary is going to be pretty clear I’d imagine. Failing that, let’s go to a show or something. Maybe I can introduce you to our new lord and savior Gokigen Teikoku. Failing that then perhaps a wrestling show, they kinda have idols at those now too.

Finally, I just want to get more people into this stuff. I really like the community that’s getting built up over time and you guys out there on the front lines releasing the music and making these shows happen are the realest of MVPs. I want to meet more people, get more contacts and do as much as I can to help the cause. Man, that’s really starting to sound like a job ain’t it?

In Closing

Well that was something I guess. Not really sure what, but if you actually got this far then damn that must have been a long toilet break or something. Seriously though, thanks to everyone who ever read an article, shared it on social media, left a comment, used an affiliate link, etc, etc. You guys are awesome and I will never stop saying how much I appreciate all of the support because I don’t think it can honestly be said enough. Here’s to an Idol filled 2018 and I’m looking forward to seeing what I’ll be writing about in the next one of these things. Maybe we can chop a paragraph or two off of that not so good section huh?