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Dirty Feed: The First Five Years

Posted 1st January 2015

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BBC Master startup screen, with Dirty Feed instead of BASIC, because I'm hilarious obviously

Exactly five years ago today, Dirty Feed came into being. (Actually, that’s strictly not true – it was called Transistorised for most of that first year – but let’s ignore that, as it was a rubbish name.) After Noise To Signal closed, I wanted a place of my own to post my nonsense. No real plans, no ambitious proposals: just “let’s talk about stuff I’m interested in and see what happens”.

I rarely do navel-gazing posts here – in fact, bizarrely, even the change in name from Transistorised to Dirty Feed wasn’t actually noted on the site. But I thought I’d allow myself something just this once. What follows is a list of some of my favourite things on the site over the past five years. I ORDER YOU TO ENJOY IT.

The Young Ones: Building the Fourth Wall (January 2010)
Not the best or most in-depth article I’ve ever written, admittedly, but a good example from early on of the kind of shit I’d be posting about. If this doesn’t even vaguely interest you, you can probably save time clicking on the next 14 links.

Yeah, but what pixels (NSFW – September 2010)
Still by far the rudest thing on this site, about BBC Micro porn. Incidentally, I never did get any answers about where this material came from – either the original film, or who digitised it.

Now That’s What I Call Alan Partridge (September 2010)
2010 was clearly a year of extremes – we go from the rudest thing on the site, to probably the best: my I’m Alan Partridge soundtrack album. At some point, I’ll go through with my threat of creating a companion Young Ones album. Can I face including Rip, Rig + Panic, though?

Miranda, Catherine and Andrew (January 2011)

The Road to Bannu (December 2011)
My own plea for ambition in audience sitcom, leading nicely into…

Underestimating Your Audience (February 2012)
…my other plea for ambition in audience sitcom. I always mean to write more about the subject, but these two articles cover most of the basics.

Dirty Feed Podcast #1: TV Offal (February 2012)
The first of three podcasts I did on the site in 2012, and probably the best. Let’s call those three pilot podcasts Series 0. Series 1 will arrive… eventually. I’ve spent too much on jingles for it not to.

Cock Piss Partridge, etc (July 2012)
In which I dissect Dave’s butchering of I’m Alan Partridge. (I should do more of these, as they’re great fun, but it takes bloody ages to compare the different versions.)

On Television. (April 2013)
If any piece stood as a manifesto for the site, it’s this one.

Four Channels (April 2013)
Of all the bits of audio I’ve posted on here (aside from my podcasts), this is probably the most fun.

Smashie and Nicey: The End of an Era (October 2013)
The article I threatened to write for years, and finally did: comparing the broadcast and VHS edits of End of an Era. (Which is, incidentally, one of the finest television programmes ever made.)

The Brittas Empire: The Trial (November 2013)
Another article which had been percolating away in my brain for ages; a defence of one of my favourite sitcoms, which was more subversive than YOU think it is. YOU, SPECIFICALLY.

Mom. (November 2013)
A slightly unusual piece, in that it includes something vaguely approaching emotion. Yeah, I know. Actually one of my favourite pieces I’ve written. (And if I’m being indulgent – and this article clearly is – this is the piece I think it’s a shame wasn’t more widely-read.)

Curse of the Dream Sequence (August 2014)
Tying together The Brittas Empire and Sorry! – and definitely the best thing I wrote for the site last year.

Pointless Jingles (October 2014)
Proof that this site will do things which no other site would bother to do. Whether that’s a positive thing or not is your call.

Phew. (And I didn’t even include the most Dirty-Feed-esque headline I’ve ever written.)

If I can take time to be even more self-indulgent than the above – looking back through the archives to write this article, I found myself more pleased than I expected to be with what I found. There’s some clunky bits of writing here and there, and most of it could have done with an extra draft, or two, or ten – but there’s lots of stuff I still really like as well. And if the site isn’t updated nearly enough, at least I got out of that nasty habit of starting a blog, deciding it was rubbish, and wiping it completely clean and starting again. (Who here remembers ‘The Drive Room’?)

Still, one reason I’ve not been able to give the site as much attention as I’d have liked over the past five years has been career-related – and that’s an area which has settled down somewhat in the past year. So whilst I’m not about to rattle off a whole series of promises for the site, with podcasts, redesigns, and updates galore – all inevitably to be broken – let’s just say I plan to do a bit more with the site this year.

Here’s to more nonsense, then. Happy 2015, everyone.

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