[Blog] Three Strikes, I’m Out?

by Garry

Put another nickle in that machine.

I’m not really one to post updates on a Sunday, it’s a pretty bad day for traffic what with people out enjoying their weekend and all. However, today is a rather significant day for this website. It’s actually the third anniversary since I launched it and I’m probably as surprised as a lot of you that I’ve stuck around this long. I figured I’d have lost interest or gotten discouraged by now and well…we’ll get to that in a bit. I’m still kicking for now and that’s all that matters.

If you’re new around here, I like to mark the anniversary of the site by posting a bit of a recap blog going over the events of the previous 12 months. Not particularly in the world of Idol but more from a personal standpoint. It’s not the content anyone comes to the site for so feel free to skip this one if you’re not interested. It’s pretty important for me to get something like this out there though, especially this year. There’s been quite a lot of things I want to get off my chest and now seems like a good time.

I’ll most likely break this down into a few different parts just to help me organize my thoughts. We’ll cover the good stuff, the bad and then hopefully leave things on a positive note with a look to the year ahead. I’ll probably say a bunch of stuff that I shouldn’t, get a bit sentimental and probably piss some people off. I promised myself the theme of this year’s anniversary post would be “Brutal Honesty” though so hopefully you can all at least appreciate that everything I say here is how I really feel.

Like I said, I know this isn’t what people really come to the site for so I’m not really expecting this post to get much attention. It’s mainly just for me to ramble and to be something I can look back at in a few years and hopefully laugh about. If you’re looking for more reviews of Idol stuff then come back on Wednesday and there will be a new one waiting for you. Just know that I appreciate the support/interest either way. Right, let’s get this thing going.

The Good

2018 was a really good year for the site. Views were pretty much double what they were in 2017 which kind of blows my mind a little because that’s a pretty decent increase by anyone’s standards. At the time of me writing this the site is also closing in on 100k lifetime views, which might not be much compared to other sites out there, but for a niche site covering a niche genre of music it’s pretty damn cool to me. I kinda figured I’d end up with a small but dedicated following or just end up talking to myself after a while so this is pretty awesome.

I also managed to keep up my aim of posting at least 1 new review/article a week in 2018. It’s not really that big of a deal if I miss a week but it is kinda nice to have a goal to work towards. I think I must have posted well in excess of 60 articles last year between reviews, trip blogs and all of that good stuff. I was also pretty happy with the quality of my writing as well and while I don’t know if the quality has improved that much I’m still enjoying what I do as much as ever. That’s pretty important to me, because if I wasn’t enjoying writing all of this stuff I just wouldn’t be doing it.

While I don’t really want to make a big deal out of it, the site also managed to generate a little bit more income in 2018. Trust me, I’m not expecting to get rich off of this stuff but between affiliate links and my Patreon I was able to comfortably pay for hosting/domain costs while having enough left over to also cover the cost of a review or two. I really do appreciate anyone who uses my links or supports on Patreon because nobody has to do those things but the fact some of you do is awesome. Of course I’m also incredibly appreciative of anyone who reads an article, comments, shares something on social media and things of that nature. If something I wrote left enough of an impression on you to do any of those things then that’s a pretty nice feeling for me.

Getting away from the site a bit now and while the last year had its ups and downs for me personally, I was still able to do some pretty cool stuff. I went to London last summer to see NECRONOMIDOL, 2& and Screaming Sixties which isn’t something I would have probably done for most other bands, etc that I like. It was a great time and it was good to be able to support the groups and the promoters who definitely didn’t have to do any of this. I also got to meet a bunch of people and also got to awkwardly interview NECRONOMIDOL a bit which is also something I would never have done if not for this website. It’s actually kinda crazy how much happened just because I’m some guy who writes articles in his bedroom to unwind after work.

I was also fortunate enough to make it back out to Japan for the better part of a month last November. It’s becoming a bit of a yearly tradition at this point and it genuinely is one of the things I look forward to the most. It’s awesome to be able to go see a ton of Idol shows, meet up with some friends who I wouldn’t otherwise get to see and just have a bit of a social life for a change. I work pretty shitty hours for that kind of stuff but it pays for these trips and also lets me spend all of my vacation time in one large chunk so it’s not all that bad. If anyone wants a better recap of my Japan travels then I have a series of blogs you can check out if you’d like.

Ultimately I have this website to thank for actually making me want to get out there and see the world a bit more. Travel wasn’t really something I ever had much interest in before going to Japan for the first time a few years ago but now I’m way more open to doing more. I also have it to thank for meeting some pretty cool people and giving me some experiences that I wouldn’t have thought I’d ever have had. All of that, along with being a much needed creative outlet is what makes a lot of this all worth it for me.

The Bad

To be honest with you I’m not really sure where to start with this one. I also don’t really want to take all of the focus away from all of the good stuff that happened in the past year. I did say I would be brutally honest though and I do think it would be good for me to get some of this stuff off of my chest. Some of what I’m about to say isn’t likely to be popular with a lot of people and if you would prefer not to read me being a negative cunt then feel free to skip to the next section.

Truth be told, a lot of the bullshit that’s happened in the last year has really only happened in the past few months. On the strictly Idol side of things a bunch of groups I like have either disbanded or had a bunch of members leave. HAMIDASYSTEM getting rebooted, Sari leaving NECRONOMIDOL, Shidare leaving Tsurezure, Nonamera leaving KTA after an incident with a fan that Codomomental tried their best to cover up, etc, etc. Such is the life of an Idol fan of course but having all of this stuff happen in the space of a couple of months really does dent the enthusiasm. It is what it is I guess.

Speaking of dented enthusiasm. My interest in NECRONOMIDOL, who are one of my favorite groups, is pretty much at an all-time low right now. A lot of that is to do with Sari leaving and me having this constant feeling of “Well, what now?”. The new members they’ve recruited seem nice and I know that Hibiki/Kunogi will do a great job but…it’s just not the same man. I’m also pretty pissed off that their management basically told the foreign fans to fuck off by banning video of the graduation live and not even bothering to shoot it themselves. Sure we got a few photos after the fact but saying you love your foreign fans then shutting them out of a MASSIVE event in the group’s history is just really shitty to me. Add to that them trotting out the new members not even a day after the graduation show and…yeah. I’m just not really feeling this new direction they seem to be heading in, but that $1000 Patreon they’re running would seem to suggest that I’m in the minority there.

On the fandom/community side of things, things are getting pretty…discouraging. In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the SJWs are here (mostly taking the form of hysterical WACK fans) and I expect that to only get worse the closer we get to the Olympics. It’s pretty much the same story as in any other form of entertainment/hobby, you’re either with them or against them. Criticizing isn’t welcome and if you do you will have all manner of things said about you. For example these types were happy enough to assume my gender and assign pronouns when talking about me, all while accusing me of all manner of things like harassment, gatekeeping, being an apologist for abuse towards women, the list goes on. The hypocrisy of it all is somewhat amusing but ultimately it makes me sad to see all of this delusional nonsense begin to infect yet another hobby of mine. All of this stuff is of course done behind Twitter blocks because the thought of an actual confrontation scares the shit out of these people.

Continuing in a similar vein, I have been rather disgusted by some of the actions of people sharing a similar blogging/website platform as me in the past year. Far be it from me to say what people can or can’t write about, but a site like Homicidols running a month long voting competition that is basically an excuse to write torture porn fan fiction about Idols I’ve met and interacted with is pretty disgusting. Or how about A to J Connections promoting a spreadsheet of people’s alleged (and in some cases totally made up) convention transgressions that’s probably going to get someone hurt or worse. That’s just a few examples of the grim aspects of the Western fandom and the people who make themselves out to be community leaders or whatever should take a long, hard look in the mirror. You’d think that given the very progressive and just outlook of many of the people contributing to these sites that they would be against these kinds of thing. I guess not.

There’s a few other minor things but what’s the point really. I’m apparently a gatekeeper if I try to correct people or tell them that they’re wrong, because who am I to do either of those things really. Conversely, if I try to help someone out I’m often a know it all because I…know what I’m talking about? I also don’t sugarcoat things so maybe that’s also the problem? I don’t think I’m particularly better than anyone, I’ve just been into this stuff for like 10 years and have been to Japan a few times. You try to help people out or give advice and lately you get people flexing their kids and mortgages on you or the fact that they’re old. None of that stuff really matters to me, but if these people would prefer me to shut up and not say anything then I’m becoming increasingly more happy to oblige them. It’s not like most of them ever have anything to say unless something negative is going on in the fandom anyway.

The Year Ahead

Oh boy, that was quite a bit of negativity there wasn’t it? Okay, let’s try to pull it back a little bit here. I’ve got a few things planned for the year ahead with maybe a few other things happening that haven’t quite come together yet. There are several things that I’m definitely going to be doing in the next 12 months so I’ll talk about those a little and also what my plans are for the site and content in general going forward.

So I’m going to be going to London in April to see Hanako-san, 2& and GARUDA. I’m really looking forward to the show, especially because I’ll get to see Yuffie/GARUDA again and I’ll also hopefully get to meet up with a few people while I’m down there too. If you’re going and want to meet up and chat let me know, I promise I’m much nicer in person than some people online would have you believe. If not it’s all good, but I would definitely encourage anyone who can to make it out to these shows. It’s a fairly significant undertaking for all involved and if we want this sort of thing to continue then we should definitely support it where we can. Especially if you’re not fortunate enough to be able to make it out to Japan.

Speaking of which, I’ll be heading back out to Tokyo for Halloween and most of November again this year. I’m saving hard and not having too much time off from work to be able to do so but it’s worth it so I’m happy to grit my teeth and bear it. If anyone is going to be in town around that time then feel free to hit me up if you want to go for a drink or something. I’ve ticked off most of the touristy stuff there is to do in Tokyo at this point so I’m probably going to have a bunch of free time on my hands, outside of going to shows anyway. I’m sure I’ll bump into a few of you one way or other anyway, so I’ll see you out there hopefully. I’ll probably end up blogging the experience again too because having memories to look back on is pretty cool and making more of them is mainly what I’m trying to do these days.

Apart from that, there might be a trip over to Europe in the summer depending on how things work out on that front. Most of my traveling for shows honestly depends on how invested I am in the groups performing. Japan is an obvious one and I definitely want to support GARUDA’s first UK tour so those ones are easy. At this point in time I’m likely skipping any shows NECRONOMIDOL might do in the UK unless they’re pretty close to home, have good supporting groups or if people really want to hang out. Even then, coughing up several hundred quid has to feel “worth it” to me on some level. Especially when that money could just be put towards actually going to Japan.

On the website side of things, yeah I’m not going anywhere…for now anyway. The goal remains to post at least one article a week, most likely in the form of a review of some description. I’m finally getting around to some 2019 releases starting from next week so that’s going to be fun. I’ve been working pretty hard the past couple of weeks getting some of them written up so hopefully everyone will continue to be interested in and enjoy reading them. If not that’s fine since I do this for me as much as I do it for anyone else. I have a pretty brain dead job so being able to get a bit creative and feel like I’ve actually accomplished something isn’t likely to get old any time soon.

While I’m not going to go out of my way to promise new content, it is something that I think about from time to time. I haven’t really found anything yet that I’m as passionate about as the reviews but we’ll see. I’ve had ideas for a news website but that’s a lot of work for likely little feeling of reward so I doubt I’ll be pulling the trigger on that any time soon. I’m also contemplating some form of call-in show on YouTube maybe but getting that all set up and figured out just isn’t something I’ve had the time for. I’m also open to collaborate on other projects if people think I might be of some help and not totally toxic to their “brand”. I’m pretty much just trying to have fun this year really.

Speaking of which, I think maybe this year I’m going to be a bit more selfish. I’ve tried the whole being helpful, getting people into new groups and stuff like that pretty aggressively for the past year or so and it just seems to end up biting me one way or another. Saying I’m going to be less helpful sounds harsh, but I think maybe I just won’t offer help as freely unless it’s being directly asked of me for now. If you want to message me on social media I’m more than happy to give advice on pretty much anything but outside of that I think I’ll mind my own business. There are no gates here, everyone is free to look around the site as they please and if you want to ask me a direct question then I’ll be happy to answer you.

Outside of that, I love writing about music and I love listening to it as well. I enjoy discussing it with people who I know appreciate my opinion and I think that’s what I’ll be focusing on this year. I’ll probably slip up along the way but we’re all human and if I’m not having fun or if I’m wasting my time on something then life is just too damn short to worry about it. Nobody owes me anything and I don’t owe anyone anything either. All I owe myself is to try and enjoy this hobby and life in general as much as possible and quite frankly there’s been a lot of bullshit these past few months that has made that difficult. Time to adjust course and try a different approach to things I think.

I think we’ll end it here. Thanks for reading through my rambling if you made it this far. If I pissed you off with something I wrote, you probably deserve it honestly. Hopefully this wasn’t too negative but it’s easy to focus on that stuff more than the positives I suppose. I’d also like to thank everyone who supports the site and content in any way, shape or form. I do this mostly as a creative outlet for myself but it’s awesome to know there’s obviously quite a lot of you out there who are interested in what I have to say. It’s definitely a good feeling and if my writing has helped you in any way over the years then all of the bullshit is worth it. If anyone ever wants to talk I’m pretty easy to find on social media so don’t be a stranger.

Here’s to year four and whatever it may bring!