Goodbye and thanks for all the fish
OTR pulls the plug after 10 years on the go.
You are about to read the last ever post from On the Record. Do not adjust your screen.
It’s ten years exactly this week since OTR came bawling and roaring and screaming into the world. Here’s the first post for the record. Great tune and a good call – the first of many such tunes and calls, if you’ll allow us a humble brag as we head toward the exit. We’ve published a total of 4,570 posts in the decade since that one and I still usually took the weekends off. A lot of words, a lot of daft opinions, a lot of smart-arsery, a lot of analysis, a lot of fun.
Yeah, I had fun. Getting to write a daily column and knowing from the feedback and reaction that there was an audience out there who were really digging what they were reading was fun. Winning a few awards along the way was fun too. The very best of times.
That reaction, though, was key. Be it in the early days, when readers and commentators provided us with so much energy and good vibes and steers on stories to cover or, more recently, when it became clear that we were really pissing off certain people by continuing to cover certain music business stories, you knew that there was always a couple of stories every month which resonated with the audience.
OTR covered a lot of ground, but the music business provided the bread and butter, especially the live music business. Be it the brouhaha around the Swedish House Mafia’s infamous show in Dublin’s Phoenix Park in 2012 or the ticket touting issue which we seem to have been all over for the last 10 years, those live music business stories gave OTR a focus and a beat to cover. I really hope someone else takes up the cudgels in this regard now that OTR is going dark because there are rich pickings out there, but I sadly don’t think this will happen. It’s far easier to toe the line and not rock the boat. Me, I was always happy to rock that fucking boat. Sure, isn’t that what this journalism trade is supposed to be about?
Anyway, I digress. It is time to go. I will still continue to contribute a weekly column and other articles to The Ticket and irishtimes.com so, basically, you won’t get rid of me that easily. OTR is going because of changes at the mill as the following statement from features editor Conor Goodman explains: “Irishtimes.com is switching some of its entertainment coverage from secondary platforms such as WordPress (the software used for this blog) into its main content management system, called Polopoly. This enables us to make entertainment articles more visible and prominent on the irishtimes.com homepage and on social-media channels – the places most readers find our stories online. Film and music coverage with expert analysis and criticism will continue to be central to daily and weekly coverage on irishtimes.com.”
There are a lot of people to thank so let’s get going before the orchestra starts. Thanks to all the editors who’ve dealt with OTR as part of their remit – namely Hugh Linehan, Conor Goodman, Anthea McTeirnan and Laurence Mackin – and thanks to those other soldiers and officers inside The Irish Times who helped to keep OTR and its community afloat. Thanks to the many irishtimes.com bloggers who’ve kept me company in this space over the years such as Donald Clarke, Shane Hegarty, Conor Pope, Rosemary Mac Cabe, Una Mullally, Ciara Kenny and Bryan Mukandi. And thanks to my wife Lisa because she put up with all of this and deserves more than anyone else to get a shout out in this Oscar-like list.
Thanks also to you, the readers. You kept coming back for more and gave me a reason to fire up OTR every day and keep the fires burning. You gave me feedback and reaction and a sense that there was a reason for pursuing all those angles and stories and follow-ups and the rest of it. I had an incredible decade doing this and I wouldn’t have swapped it for anything else. Thanks for reading those 4,570 posts. There’s lots of good stuff in the archives if you fancy a browse before it all disappears like another Liverpool league campaign. Oh and final shout out: thanks to the promoters who barred me from gigs, venues and festivals because it made me realise I was hitting the right targets, following the right paths and making the right people uncomfortable. You only get half a bar.
Time to hit the road and take out the bins. If you need me, I’ll be on Twitter and Instagram. One more tune? Sure, why not? This was in my head this morning when I woke up so that’s probably a sign. This is OTR signing off….