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Dean Whitbread 2013

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Written on October 4, 2009, and categorized as Flip side.
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It has really been an amazing five years. In the sixty fourth month of this blog – June 2004 to October 2009 – I have reached post number 1,000, which makes it by a long way the largest work I have ever constructed. I started writing under my nom-de-internet, Deek Deekster, as Blog of Funk, then ported to its current incarnation as The Other Side of Everything a year ago, with a couple of intermediary try-out phases and pauses. It seems fitting to have reached the millenium post on this full moon in October, with the late summer blending into early autumn – which is actually where I am in Life, long may the fruitful season last.

Five years ago, saying you wrote a blog tended to generate the same kind of reaction that using Twitter now seems to do, i.e. mockery and/or kudos, but I like its direct simplicity, and also the fact that it is now ubiquitous and un-trendy. Not needing to be new or shiny, I am content to continue with this simplest and most basic of internet media.

Blogging has in some ways been the making of my third career phase. Reading posts written back in 2004, a time when when I was still digesting psychotherapy, when I was at the beginning of a love relationship which has changed me more thoroughly than any other, my posts were introspective, unburdening, quick and mostly entertaining. These days I’m more comfortable with myself, healthier physically and mentally, and less driven to expose the workings and the routes of my personal evolution. I no longer feel the need for growing up in public, preferring to develop most of the really good stuff quietly and out of sight.

I’m a skillful writer with some original things to say, confident enough to take creative risks, passionate about art, social justice and political expression, so as a blogger, I stood out early on, appearing in national newspapers, and even attracting the brief attentions of a literary agent. I’m also an audio and video producer, so it was easy for me to incorporate this as I went along, and I soon found myself at a small but significant moment of internet history – podcasting. I moved from being a blogger to running both a podcast production company and the UK’s only national association for podcasters.

As I gained public profile (now exalted as “personal branding” a detestable phrase, which stresses relentless self-promotion and an inconsequential focus on egocentric activities of low worth) I traveled internationally, becoming an enthusiastic part of the catalysing Podcamp un-conference movement, making dozens of friends and hundreds of real life professional connections as a direct consequence. I was able to bring the techniques I discovered and also helped to pioneer to bear in my work, with highly effective consequences.

As a citizen journalist, I covered the UK general election in 2005. I wrote a chapter on podcasting for Professor Vito Di Bari’s textbook Web 2.0, as well as poetry, and short stories.

Picture 1I also made enemies, not that I sought them, and thus had to evolve the means to continue in a natural and uninhibited way without attracting the dark machinations of others.Picture 2 I never had to deal with gossip, envy or negative bullshit in such quantity as in the last three years, and I learned to accept that, as Chris Hambly rightly said of his own experience, this was more about other people’s issues than any wrongdoing of mine.

I am very fortunate to have been able to explore so many directions within my professional field/s and to have enjoyed successes, and I can trace all of this back to blogging, podcasting, self-publishing, and my adoption of and skill with unmediated social media. However, the summer is ending, and I am now pruning. Spurred on by the sudden death of my father in August, I am ridding myself of things which are not relevant to my future.

Since I am now 47 and a half years old, I’m already talking myself into being in my fifties, so as not to be shocked should I arrive there. I don’t act or feel particularly middle aged, so this gives me a certain advantage. Sporting my handsome new greybeard, I run around the park at the same speed as twenty five year olds, and though the knees ache sometimes, these days I never have to run off a hangover.

I find that with less corporate administration, I am doing better both personally and professionally. Talking Voices, the brave new podcast production company, which as it emerged into real profitability was hit by the sudden freezing of the economy in 2007/8, is no longer trading but it did well, while it ran, never out of profit. After running the UK Podcasters Association for three years, I helped it to hopefully fertile retirement pastures with the Open Rights Group. Small Pictures continues to do well with a handful of high value clients.

After exploring the possibilities of live performance and songwriting in the Rise and Shine entertainment show, I’m writing and composing again with a focus on what I feel good about, and my renewed aim is to bring performance and learning together in both real and imagined worlds.

Does that sound a tad pretentious? I don’t really mind. The way I see it, by now I have earned myself the glorious opportunity of liberation.


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This thing has 3 Comments

  1. lauriea776
    Posted 4 October, 2009 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    You will always be Blog of Funk-y Deek Deekster to me. I guess I knew at some point that we started blogging the same year, but at some other point, I forgot. Lots of our blogging friends have come and gone and I miss them. I'm so happy you're still here.

  2. Posted 4 October, 2009 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Laurie! I allowed Blog of Funk to rest (like a good vintage wine) for a year – now it's back up as an archive.. I will at some point restore my old links to the blogs I love, yours included, in this version, because I still feel attached to those blog-writing people, I followed their lives, I got to know them, and I'm happy I did because they enriched mine.

    I try to be shallow and superficial, but I guess I just don't have what it takes… 😉

  3. Posted 4 October, 2009 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    You're a big user of mobile, ahead of the curve… glad that you enjoyed it

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