While I was resistant to blogging, I had a friend who had been doing it for several years; the semi-legendary Ron Kane. I’d known of Ron since meeting Mr. Ware in 1985, but it took until 2008 [Ron’s 50th birthday] until we actually met the guy face-to-face. Ron lived on the opposite end of the country and there was little cash for big trips on a regular basis. But Ron had been blogging since…2000 or so [memory’s fuzzy there]? And I’d read his blog every day and when the subjects was something I could comment on, I’d read and comment during my lunch hour at work.
Sometimes, my comments were way longer than his initial posts I was responding to. And by 2018, a 20 watt light bulb went off over my head: I had an hour to myself, five days a week, where I actually couldn’t be doing housework, or tending to any hobbies I might have. Eating lunch took only a quarter of that time. The rest was my time to do whatever I wanted to do while sitting at my desk. Why not blog?
At the time, Ron was on Blogger, and the Google Empire was still seen as somewhat benevolent, so I signed up with Blogger and posted my first post. After the short intro post as seen at the head of this one, my first real post was on the cancer issues dogging the great Mick Karn of JAPAN. And we took off from there. At first the blogs were brief: 200-500 words was the norm, but after a while the long-winded rants that had been building up inside of me began to break free. There were some album reviews that I look back on now and they might be 300 words on something that deserved 1500-2000 over three days! Of course, within a month or two, Google had stopped paying lip service to their “don’t be evil” branding, and was siding with Verizon on an internet privacy issue, so I made the decision to stop using Google products and services. Almost as fast as I began blogging, I switched platforms to WordPress and was much happier.
Another idea I had for the site when in the planning stages was the idea of a Rock G.P.A. that compared every album by a band in my Record Cell who I had their full output of. I felt that it was an interesting enough concept to maybe even stand on its own with lots of writers contributing to rank and weigh the complete canon of rock. I envisioned venture capitalists buying me out and the thing taking on a life of its own. Needless to say, that did not happen. The first ones for Icehouse and Duran Duran were so brief the former ran on a single day! The latter reduced my thoughts on a full album into a single paragraph over two to three days! In later years I posted on the last two Duran Duran albums that came out afterward and the writing for those two albums were spread over many times the word/page count for the eight or nine prior albums! I often think of re-doing Icehouse and the Duran Duran from 1981-2001 Rock G.P.A. to the standard I grew into [verbose].
Speaking of verbose, there was the infamous Simple Minds Rock G.P.A. thread, that ran the better part of a year, and amounted to over 120,000 words! In other words, a book. And not a particularly small one, either. Admittedly, it’s in crude, rough draft form. But another of the important origins of this blog was the analysis I would compose in my head when on the long commute to my job that was just itching for an outlet. Giving these compulsive thoughts a form and home was another of the ideas that leveraged the creation of this blog.
The fact that this is all very hastily written has given me some heavy chagrin. Usually daily. There are countless typos, mangled syntax, run-on sentences [which I admittedly like for effect even though… bad writing], and numerous instances of the flouting of Strunk + White. If everything here is a first draft [and it is…], I often fantasize about returning to each post and editing it for clarity and impact. Maybe in my dotage, because with 2000+ posts, it would keep me very busy. Miraculously, about one post in 40 manages to hit my personal quality standard the first time out of the starting gate. These moments, fleeting as they are, give me hope to press on regardless.
When this blog started it was a very obscure corner of the blogoverse. I have nothing to do with FaceBook, Twitter, or other social media platforms. And it’s never going to happen. I have never liked the idea of those things, and thought them ill-suited to my mien. Of course, the last ten years have painted a horror picture of how these platforms monetize the basic human impulse to connect and exploit their users and decimate any notions of privacy. To the point that the remaining staunch users of them are all old people like myself. The youngsters have moved on. Even so, this blog’s readership has grown considerably over the years. When it started, about 250 hits a month was the norm. Now, its about 50 times that level. This year has seen the tremendous page growth over the previous year, but about 10% of that growth is now spambots. Fortunately, the WordPress Aksismet anti-spam system is very effective.
Several years ago, I was noticing that WordPress was suggesting that it might put ads in the blog if its readership grew to the point where the organization could monetize my free blog with ads. When I’m logged in as admin, I wouldn’t see these ads, and I was always logged in, so the blog might have had ads in it for a year or so before it came to my attention, but when it did, I took the step of moving to a paid platform so that I would insure an ad-free experience for any readers. I pay out of pocket yearly for the privilege, but it’s money well spent. I don’t want to be associated with a cash-grab in any way. So I own postpunkmonk.com going forward. I use managed hosting through WordPress. It’s not the cheapest way, and I’ve plenty of experience building WordPress back/front ends for websites, but managed hosting is far more secure than D.I.Y, which requires constant policing to maintain integrity from outside forces. To me it’s so worth the cost to never worry about hacking or malware and just write the darned thing.
Writing is the main reason to do this, of course, but the dialogue between myself and the readership is something that was an unforeseen benefit to the whole enterprise. Where can I begin to recount the amazing new bonds forged in the comment zone? Of course there were old friends that predated the internet like chasinvictoria, Mr. Ware, Ron Kane, and JT, but others like Echorich, Tim, Taffy, Gavin, Jordan, mathmandan, Andy B, bpdp3, and negative1ne are just a few that I can think of off the top of my head who’ve really infused the comments with their sparkling essence. negative1ne actually puts the time I can spend on research [always a problem with my limited time] to shame with his factually packed comments full of discographical research. I’ve actually met, broke bread, and shopped for records with Echorich. On more than one occasion, but not enough by my reckoning! I was all set to visit with Gavin in his sanctum sanctorum before the covid-19 crisis put a premature end to that one week out, when it really looked like a bad decision to travel to the UK in a hot second. There were more than a few UK commenters and contacts that I was looking forward to at least a quick meet-up with that who knows when and if it will ever come to pass.
I have a fantasy that my wife sometime encourages, that one day we will have MonkFest® at some place in The States, where any and all comers can congregate for a weekend of Post-Punk minutiae, good fellowship, and some great live music. I think I might be able to afford to import Steven Jones + Logan Sky for a great set of electronic goodness and synth noir atmospheres to cap off the festivities. And there would of course, be record shopping in whatever city it happened in. Maybe we could crowdsource this bad boy one day? I’d drop a few hundred on it, easily. If John Foxx ever plays a gig in America, then that city will be the place and time. Guaranteed.
One of the surreal things that the blog had fostered has been the occasional contact from the artists who populate my Record Cell! A post on Mari Wilson and my fussy boxed set of her “Showpeople” album led to her webmaster reaching out and the next thing you knew, I was doing the discography for her new website. Then the wonderful singer Jacqui Brookes used the contact form here [don’t be shy] to ask for an MP3 of one of her B-sides. Of course, I had to send her the REVO 2xCD DLX RM I’d made of “Sob Stories;” her amazing one album partnership with Jimme O’Neill of Fingerprintz. So she was the first musician to get a CD of their work I’d made, but not the last. Recently I got comments and linkbacks from Malcolm Garrett, one of the premier graphic designers of my generation. He joined Martyn Atkins in that good company of designers who populate the sleeves of my Record Cell and managed to stumble upon PPM and leave a comment. If someone had told me ten years ago that I would be talking music and politics with the gent who signed Simple Minds to Virgin Records in 1981 I’d have said “y’r daft, laddie!”
It’s been a fast and fun decade here and though I’m closing in on my dotage, I imagine that there’s at least another decade of this stuff left in me. Hopefully, there will be a few new twists and wrinkles that none of us could have imagined at the onset shaking up the paradigm and providing us with wonder and astonishment. If you’ve read this far into by blather, thanks for joining us. Be here tomorrow. Same Monk Time. Same Monk Channel.
– 30 –
Congrats! You’re one of the very few blogs I still have direct emailing me when new content is posted. It’s a testament to the high signal to noise ratio. Here’s to 10 more (at least)…
jsd – Astonished that the random firings of my aging brain pass muster with you. Here I thought I just rambled on and on. Thanks!
Congratulations Mr Monk! Your blog is an obvious labour of love and your witty insight into many of my favourite records is always worth a visit. You are Chief Advisor to anything connected to the alternative side.of.the 80’s.
Onwards and upwards!
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djjedredy – Even though I don’t pay much attention to your DLs (okay I actually grabbed some recent Razormaid Class-X didn’t already have…) the music you post frequently is so far in my wheelhouse that I have to comment and I love seeing what you’ll come up with next. Anyone who wishes I posted files should be a regular at My Vinyl Dreams!
Happy birthday, and thanks for your blog! :-)
PPM is a daily tonic for me and although I was relatively late to the party,it is thrilling to read that the tidbits I brought with me have been appreciated by the host.
There are very few things in life which make me laugh out loud,but many of your one-liners have me screaming.As well as the edutainment value,your passion and knowledge inspire me.
Thanks PPM…here’s to the next 10!
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Gavin – I’m more regretful that I missed out on geeking out over music with you even more than the scrapped Human Seventeen show. One day, amigo, we will carry on into the wee hours with tales of a Post-Punk kind. This I swear.
Scary how quickly a decade passes, innit? I also arrived late but always enjoy checking your older, ‘related’ posts…happily roaming the hallways of Castle Monk.
Even when I don’t share your initial enthusiasm for the topic at hand (I’m terrible about following the recent careers of our heroes, for example), your way with words always draws me in. You do realize you may be one of the only scribes passionately documenting all this minutiae, right?? Thanks for all your monastic endeavors!
bpdp3 – Well, it’s a fact that the contents of PPM are ripped screaming from my brain freshly each day. I don’t plant this out in advance – that would be too much like work. And if the needle gets stuck on topics I’m particularly obsessed with (cough…cough… Simple Minds… cough … OMD…) mea culpa! Thanks for adding your sauce to the dish.
Congrats on marking ten years. I love your writing and perspective. Keep on, keeping on. Maybe publish a book further down the track.
brynstar – Thanks for the kind words. Dunno if a book would be worth the effort but … Maybe one day. Too bad I didn’t push the Simple Minds thread back then as a book. Now, there’s at least two books on the band in the coming and it’s a crowded space. But wrangling some liner notes could happen. I’ll keep you posted.
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good job! keep it up!
I am ALL IN for MonkFest! An outstanding proposition – you need to make that happen.
You’re one of the good ones, sir. Actually, one of the GREAT ones :-)
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Shelf – Can’t thank you enough for that amazing PSB ballet tip. What a gift that was! If we ever make it back to Philly we’ll have to hook up and shop records and enjoy that fine dining your city offers.
Congratulations, postpunkmonk. A truly worthy service to the world. Always a pleasure to drop by and peruse.
Congratulations on 10 years. I look forward daily to your well written posts and insightful comments. Here is to another 10!
jordan – I look forward to my daily well-written posts as well. If you find any, please let me know! I’m getting desperate! Thanks for the dialogue over the years. I credit your thoughts with my atitude-change on Midge Ure. I was being a jerk about him for too long.
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Happy 10th Birthday/Anniversary Monk! PPM is a place of thought, joy and discussion of music that is also a wonderful community of people and their opinions. It’s a safe place to show your trainspotting essence while learning new things about old music.
Here’s to many more years and lots more opportunities to go record shopping!
P.S. The Simple Minds G.P.A. is one of the greatest things ever attempted on the web IMHO…
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Echorich – Thanks for the vote of confidence on the SM Rock G.P.A. Sure, sure. It was self indulgent bit if you have a blog, why not? I had been writing in [taps cranium] in my head for years prior. I’m glad you were there in the comments every step of the way! As to be there with you as we got “This Fear of Gods?” Wow! That was a peak moment for me, definitely. Thanks for being such a good friend to share experiences like that with. Hopefully one day we can just hang out with no Simple Minds concert driving the bus. I know my wife wonders when we might see you visit our neck of the woods. If we ever can travel normally again, of course.
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An essential part of my day, thank you.
Well done . Having given up on the printed music press and their obsession with Dylan, Beatles, Stones Springsteen etc, I find PPM an oasis full of the stuff I enjoy. The GPAs are a treat, I always go back over them. Well done Monk , keep it up.
Ade. W – I freaking HATE The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen. Time has seen me warm up to The Stones gradually, over the last 30+ years, but apart from their Post-Punk dub influenced classic that was “Undercover Of The Night,” there’s little of them you’d ever see here. Breathe easily.
Huzzah! I love reading your blog. Here’s to another decade!
Congratulations on ten years of PPM blogging. I love when there’s a new entry for me to savor, and I particularly enjoy when you (seemingly randomly) pluck an old single or album for analysis.
Your writing is never less than insightful, and your passion for the music always shines through. My tastes don’t always quite align with yours (I’ll forever defend the “unique” vocal stylings of Morrissey and Jimmy Somerville!!), but I don’t come here for validation. I come for the knowledge, the entertainment, and the community. Please don’t give up your side-job, cuz I know for a fact that this site is precisely why Al Gore invented the internet!
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Taffy – Hanging around @PPM is its own validation. I was just checking yesterday and you were an early arrival on the scene here! Thanks for sticking with us through thick and thin for so long. Even when Blondie coverage is thin on the ground! We need to link up in your stomping grounds one day as we have no experience in New England and need to break bread, talk music, and share some of those big, black, communion wafers [i.e., shop for records].
Congrats! Looking forward to another decade. Visiting PPM is a daily necessity for me. Your writing (esp. the GPAs) along with the informed comments by those you mentioned in your post are informed and, best of all, always interesting. From your recommendations of bands and re-releases (i.e. Trees), I’ve expanded my collection and my knowledge of music far above what I thought I knew. Monkfest is something I would both contribute to and attend.
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KeithC – Yeah, we are gifted with some great commenters. I’m just now remembering Vlad who’s not been here in a while, but boy, does he bring a well-written and unique perspective to the game. I would like to see PPM get that much better but I’m still waiting for that unconditional investment flow in and allow me to give this site the care and feeding it would need to truly flourish.
Hi monk. Sorry I’m a little late to this party. I usually visit your blog daily but I’ve been a little busy over the last few days.
I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts. Your enthusiasm for the music shines through. It’s been an honour to be able to add comments here and there.
Here’s to many more years reading your knowledgeable and interesting posts! Congratulations!
If I known about it sooner I’d have baked a cake!
Congrats on this wonderful blog and all the lovely memories of our long friendship that seem to pop up periodically, not to mention both the head-nodding reviews of bands we mutually adore and the head-twisting turn-ons to artists and bands I hadn’t gotten to or never heard of till now. Why some publisher hasn’t hired you to be Senior New Wave Book Maven I will never understand!
PS. Naturally I am also ALL IN on Monkfest when travel is not an issue. Everytime I think we’re about to turn a corner on this madness, that 80s “perspective shift” that makes hallways look endless happens and we have to soldier on. And re: the commenters: this is one of the rarest sites on the net because the comments are always worth reading!
Hi Mr. Monk,
I am very humbled by your gracious words,
especially concerning myself, and mentioning me.
I was very lucky to come across your blog,
possibly through the new wave complex.
Boy, am I glad I did. I remember first discovering
it, and reading about the Flock of Seagulls
orchestral boxset. Little did I know that it would
lead to a permanent daily check from there on
The wealth, and depth of information was amazing,
as I had felt I had hit the jackpot of music reviews,
and releases. I had several years of reading to
catch up on, and I binged on almost every article
that appealed to me, and even read about groups
I didn’t know or were interested in. This went on
everyday for several months.
Although I am still struggling through posting
comments on here. my mangled posts sometimes
have no rhyme or reason, whether the formatting is
left aligned, sentences are kept normally,
or other bizarre formatting. I am still at a
loss as to why it happens. [I’m not even
sure whether this post will come out right].
I love your adamant stance on not using
ewwwtube, or other other social digital
streaming (except soundcloud), or
digital downloads when you can get
many of the tracks you are looking for.
I also like how you look for physical copies
of items for a reasonable price+shipping, and
even turn down donations, and gifts when
someone has a copy. I am self funded but
sometimes I would be tempted by free copies
The 10 years you’ve made so far are so
impressive, you even have original creators,
designers, and artists commenting on your
posts. Which to me, is one of the best compliments
a blog can have.
Here’s to another 10 or 20 years of blogging,
and maybe even more. Thank you for your
hard work, dedication, and putting up with
crazy people like me with contrary opinions
(Ultravox – ahem, or Duran Duran), and my
obsessive complusion to have complete and
accurate collections of the bands we love
and follow, and to the music that inspires,
motivates, and fills our psyche.
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Congratulations, your depth of knowledge is astounding, looking forward to the next 10 years
middle aged man – Welcome to the comments! Thanks, well, I have certain powers as Slighty-Older-Than-Middle-Aged-Man Man!
Well, as the one member of the gang who stayed behind in the fever swamp of Florida while you and chasinvictoria departed for greener pastures, I have to say that it still feels like no distance separates us. I’m so grateful for the constant engagement that PPM gives us, and as one of the original snot nosed punks that coerced you into starting this blog, what you have achieved has exceeded our wildest expectations. Congratulations on this milestone. I am certain we will never run out of subjects to discuss.
Mr. Ware – Ages ago, my wife asked me what my ideal job would be in a thought exercise that ultimately saw us deciding to move away from Central Florida. I responded that my ideal job would be to curate the Museum of New Wave… and that’s sort of what I do here @ PPM. Of course, if it were actually my job, this site would be so much better it would make your head spin! I wouldn’t say no to caveat-free funding to achieve this one day. But alas, I do feel the distance between us. The occasional visits we’ve had with you and the Mrs. are rare and wonderful events. I was looking forward to the last one that didn’t happen but we’ll see if we get such chances again.
Well played Monk!
If you had only introduced me to Zaine Griff I’d be more than content, but the discogs reviews, gig reviews et al make the blog an essential stop.
Thanks for all the work/play
michaellomon – I’m happy to provide any valued service to you! Glad to hear that Mr. Griff resonated with you. His cult deserves to be much wider.
10 years is a great achievement- Well done!
Vim Renault – Welcome to the comments! In some ways, it feels like a mountain of words, and in other ways, like the blink of an eye. At first I didn’t recognize your new branding on the notification, but now I see you are from the wonderful Punk Girl Diaries. A fascinating blog that everyone who comes here should be also be reading. Thanks for the shout out!