Admin: Plan For The Future

A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs
A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs
Admin: Plan For The Future
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Transcript

 As many of you will have noticed, the podcast hasn’t been exactly regular in the last year or so. For the first couple of years of the podcast I had a buffer of several scripts written in advance, which allowed me to keep getting episodes out on a weekly basis even if stuff got in the way.

But starting in late 2020, I had a series of massive life crises that essentially meant that I ate up all my buffer scripts, and from that point on any time anything caused even the slightest inconvenience, that would have a knock-on effect which would make the episode late. For the last fifteen months I have only averaged about an episode every ten days. It’s no exaggeration to say that 2021 was the worst year of my life by quite some way. 

Most of those crises have either passed or become the new normal, but they meant I used up all my buffer and then some, and it’s been challenging to build up another buffer while running to catch up. I managed for several weeks at the beginning of this year to get weekly episodes out again, but with no buffer any temporary problem knocks me back off schedule.

Luckily, everyone has been extraordinarily understanding about this, but I can only expect so much understanding before people start demanding results, so here’s what I’m going to do.

Episodes 146 through 150 will take as long as they take. I’m aiming for once a week, but I do have a couple of commitments in the next month that might make that difficult. Realistically, you can expect those to continue at about the same rate as the last year or so, an episode every ten days, give or take.

I have previously taken two-week breaks when I got to an episode that was a multiple of fifty — annual breaks that also mark the start and ends of new books in the series of books based on the podcast. When I get to episode 150, I will take a longer break. That break will last however long it takes for me to write four full main episode scripts. My best estimate of that is that it will take three weeks, but I’ll keep people updated in the unlikely event it takes longer. Episode 151 will be up as soon as I have four scripts done. I will do another pledge week in the middle of the break, posting some old Patreon episodes to the main feed to show you what backers get, and so the feed won’t be completely devoid of content.

I will then once again have a buffer — a month’s worth of scripts prepared — that should mean that I’ll be able to get back on a properly regular schedule again, and stay there.

Thank you all for your patience and support.

[Admin] An Explanation for Delays… And What I’m Going to Do About It

A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs
A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs
[Admin] An Explanation for Delays... And What I'm Going to Do About It
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 Hi,

This is not a proper episode of the podcast. Rather, this is an explanation, at least in part, of why there have been fewer episodes than normal this year, and what I plan to do about that.

One of the things I promised myself when I started this podcast was that I would not do the thing that many podcasters do of waffling on for fifteen minutes at the beginning about their lives, in an attempt to build up a parasocial relationship with the listeners. I pride myself on the work I do, and part of that is making the podcast about the work, rather than about me. I do enjoy the friendships I have made through this podcast, but I don’t want the podcast to be about anything other than the history and the music.

But that does mean that you haven’t all had an explanation why, after two years of me getting the podcast out weekly on the dot, the podcast has averaged an episode every ten days or so this year, including some gaps of two weeks.

A small part of that is that the episodes have been getting longer. It takes more time to write, record, and edit a ninety-minute episode than a half-hour one, and while I keep promising I’ll try to get the episodes back to the shorter length I prefer, there’s just a lot of material to cover in some of these. 

But a much larger part is that this last year has been the worst year of my life, without exception. There have been a whole series of stressful events, most of which I’m not at liberty to talk about because they involve other people, but the year started with one of those awful life-changing events that only happen once or twice in your life, and astonishingly managed to throw a couple of other curveballs almost that bad.

And that’s on top of the stuff that everyone has been having to deal with, with the political situation in the world and with covid.

But there’s also my health, and I can talk about that because it only affects me. I have multiple chronic illnesses and disabilities, which among other things meant that I had to spend the first five months of this year totally isolated, not seeing another human being, until I could get fully vaccinated. And it turns out that being totally isolated from the world for months, while multiple catastrophes happen in your life and the lives of those around you, is not great for chronic illnesses.

I have had a number of flare-ups this year, and to give you some idea, yesterday my blood pressure read as 196/120.

Getting all five hundred episodes of this podcast done is my highest priority, but in order to do that I have to live to see episode five hundred. And sadly, making sure I live to see episode five hundred means not working on days when any kind of extra stress could give me a stroke. Which has been the case on several days this year.

I am working out some new things with my doctor, which I hope and believe will make my chronic illnesses more like they were in 2018 through 2020 — just annoyances rather than anything more worrying. I am fairly certain that 2022 will be much better.

So my plan is to get two more episodes out before Christmas — episodes on the Byrds and Frank Zappa, both of which are mostly written and should be able to get out in fairly short order. Those two are again going to be very long ones.

I’m then going to take a few days off between Christmas Eve and New Year, and not do any new work for that week. I’m going to try to relax, get used to my new medication regime, and get my blood pressure down to normal.

And then, all being well, we’ll start the new year as I mean to go on, with episodes coming out once a week on a regular schedule.

Thank you all for your patience and support during what has not been an easy year for anyone.

And I don’t want to leave this without a quick acknowledgement of the sad death yesterday of Michael Nesmith. He was one of my personal musical heroes, and you can be sure that when the podcast gets to the Monkees, they’ll be treated with the respect they deserve.

ADMIN: Pledge Week 2021

A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs
A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs
ADMIN: Pledge Week 2021
/

Transcript

About a year ago I did a pledge week, to encourage people to back me on Patreon. This seemed relatively successful, so I’m going to do it again.

For those who don’t know, the podcast is supported by listeners pledging money on the crowdfunding site Patreon. Listeners can give $1 a month or more, and I use that to fund the project. They also get various other bonus things, like the ability to send me private messages, free copies of my books for those on higher tiers, and so on.

Some of those bonuses haven’t been that frequent in the last few months, as between the pandemic, various things in my personal life and health, and the disruption caused by a false DMCA claim, this has been the single most difficult six months of my life to date, as you can probably tell from the disrupted schedule recently, though I’m now trying to get back on track with everything.

But one bonus they always get, and have for two years, is a ten-minute or so extra podcast along with every regular episode. Anyone backing the Patreon at a dollar a month or more gets access to those as they come out, plus to the ninety or so old ones I’ve already done.

So this week, like last year, I’m going to give everyone a taste of what the backers get — every day for a week I’m going to upload an old Patreon bonus episode, in the hope that some of you like what you hear enough to sign up for the Patreon.

However, I want to make something very clear — I only want you to sign up *if you can afford to*. New signups mean I can afford to do this podcast without having to add advertising and so on, but I know that a lot of people are having financial problems right now. If you have enough money after looking after yourself and your family, and after any charitable giving and so on to actual important causes, that you feel able to throw a dollar a month to someone talking about music, great. If you don’t, then please don’t feel obliged, and the podcast will continue to be free.

The next proper episode of the podcast, on “Here Comes the Night” by Them, will be up in a day or two — I’m recording it right after I upload this and the first of the Pledge Week episodes, which will be on “If You Wanna Be Happy” by Jimmy Soul, and it’ll be up as soon as it’s edited. In the meantime, enjoy the free bonuses.