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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