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“Stupidly, I very nearly cried…”

Posted 13th December 2012

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I take great – if possibly misguided – pride in being pretty much the same person now as I always was. Me when I was nine and when I’m 31 are rather too close to being the same person. When people tell me they used to love certain TV shows and then grew out of them, it always puzzles me – with the odd exception, if I loved a show when I was younger, I still love it now. Sure, my tastes have widened since I was younger – I used to dislike Press Gang for fuck’s sake – but very, very rarely have they shrunk. I’m the same person – why would I suddenly decide I disliked something?

Yet, there is one exception to recognising myself as the same person, one piece of history which I look back on with absolute horror: my old blog, which I ran around 2004-2005. It makes bizarre reading now in one sense, in that a lot of what I say is ideally suited these days to Twitter but feels a bit batshit insane on a blog – but hey, it’s still recognisably the same person.

Then, occasionally, there are posts like this one. Yes, that would be me giving personal details about exactly how badly my job was going on the internet, to anyone who cared to drop by, almost LIVE AS IT HAPPENED. There are a few more if you root round for long enough.

Now, I happen to utterly love my current job – and I’m far enough removed from my life working at makro not to worry about linking to that piece now. But even if I didn’t love my job, I wouldn’t even vaguely contemplate complaining about it on the internet these days. What the hell was I thinking? Why, in the name of holy fuck did I think that that was a good idea in any way whatsoever? Did I think the internet was my own little private place where nobody but me and a few close friends hung out?

Reading this stuff makes me feel completely distanced to myself. I just don’t recognise the mindset that made me put that kind of thing online. For someone who still makes the same excited noises as they did when they were nine, it’s an incredibly odd feeling.

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Andrew Bowden on 13 December 2012 @ 11am

I did a similar thing with Usenet many, many years ago. I won’t go in to the gory details even though they too are long enough ago for no one to care. Let’s just say that I was in a usenet group that was basically filled with about twenty people I knew very well. And I wrote something in that group for those people not even thinking that the whole world could see it. Because why would the whole world see it? This is just a group of me and my mates, isn’t it?

I’d hope today’s children are a bit more prepared when they get online. They probably won’t be, but at least there’s a chance that someone will be there to try and avoid it. But our generation were, in many ways, making all this stuff up as we went along. We were the pioneers. It was new, exciting and we hadn’t realised the possible pitfalls.