The arrival of a domain renewal notice by email reminded me that yesterday was VCTB’s 17th birthday. I bought the domain in March 2006, in order to map what was then still a Blogspot-based site onto a digital room-of-my-own. I don’t recall how quickly I then moved to using self-hosted WordPress, but I know it can’t have been very long, because I was starting to build and manage WP sites for other people by the end of that year.
(I would go back and check the archive, but a somewhat sacrificial decision regarding a very bloated database means that the earliest surviving post here is from 2011—a note about Colin Harvey’s untimely death, made shortly before I left Southsea for the second and final time and headed to London to do my Masters.)
I’m not too bothered to have lost most of what was published here prior to that, tbh. For starters, a lot of it was linkblogging, and I daresay most of the links in question have long since rotted away. Much of what wasn’t linkblogging was… well, I’m sure we all look back at the people we were nearly two decades ago and find them embarrassingly immature and gauche. But the point of this site was always to learn to write (and, I suppose, think) in public; as with any learning process, at least for me, that meant a whole lot of cringe and failure. And I’m not ashamed of that, to be clear… though like I say, I’m not sad that it’s not just sat there for people to rake through for LOLs. (That said, a dedicated muckraker could always go to the Wayback Machine, which I’m somewhat surprised to see has a pretty much full archive of the post-Wordpress version of VCTB; I didn’t think I’d count as sufficiently noteworthy for that.)
Anyway, enough nostalgia. Though regular readers will surely roll their eyes at my proposing to add another ongoing project to the pile, I think it might be time to start thinking of this website as a thing to be curated properly, along the lines of what both Warren and Jay have been talking about lately. There’s more than 850 posts here, and as such I can easily imagine there’s close to a million words contained within them; a lot of it is navel-gazey metablogging and other guff (like the thing you’re reading now) but there’s also a fair amount of my always-accreting ideas about infrastructure, futurity as narrative, &c &c. Gathering those together and applying some structure (beyond the rather haphazard deployment of the categories function of WordPress, which I got sloppy with) would be a valuable thing to do, for my own ease of access and reprocessing as much as anyone else’s.
(I have also been made aware that some recent WP update has flipped the current theme on this site to a fixed-width format. I have no idea how many regular readers that effects, beyond the one who mentioned it! But it’s good to know it nonetheless, and means I should probably add a reskin to the structural overhaul project; might as well do both at once, go the full Gutenberg on it. Something to do in the summer, maybe, on days I’m not outside in the weather.)
So, yeah: happy birthday, VCTB. It’s been a long strange trip, no?