The end of this month marks five years since I first wrote and first published a review online. I don’t know for sure when, but it’s around now. Pretty monumental, huh?

Five years – that’s a quarter of my life. A quarter of my life. I owe so much to it. I really do. It’s more than free entry to concerts or free music. It’s new people, it’s new ideas, it’s new sounds. The people I adore the most on this earth – I might not have met them had it not been for the fact that I write about music and about shows. Or it would have been different, at least. I love it so much, I really do. I care about it, and I enjoy it, and when that comes back to me in the form of articles being reposted, or thank you messages, hell, even comments in person – granted, I’ll probably feel like I want the ground to swallow me whole, because I’ll be damned if I know how to react to the spotlight – but it means the world.

I’ve had emails from local BBC stations consulting me about music news. The man who signed my one of my all time favourite bands messaged saying he thought I had my finger on the pulse. I’ve helped put on one of the most spectacular shows – in the form of God Damn, performing again as a three-piece, alongside four other incredible acts (sod what a certain review said – sorry). And there’s so much more to come. At the start of next month, I’ve been asked to give a talk on music journalism at a record store to people who are interested. People have signed up to listen to me talk about this. There are more gigs, more releases, more everything to come, and I can’t wait, I really can’t.

The idea that people read what I write constantly astounds me. That people can recognise me from the name attached to an article – wow. That’s something special. That people appreciate it, even seek it out… It all seems mad to me. It’s a passion, it’s something I like feeling involved in. That my involvement is appreciated or valued by others as much as my own drive… None of this is meant to make out that I’m doing anything particularly incredible with my time. Just that I’m doing something I love immensely, and that I appreciate the support I get with it more than words can say. So, to mark this monument of passing time, here are a few messages to the characters I’ve encountered so far along the way.

To everyone who’s read anything I wrote: Your interest has been beautiful. Thank you for giving up some of your time to read something I put my own into. If no one read… No, I’d probably still write. I’d just feel a lot shittier about it.

To everyone who’s published anything I wrote: I owe you everything. Without the platforms you provided, I’d be nothing more than some indie kid writing about local bands on a blog and wishing I knew how to do more. I’d probably still be using MySpace. For the opportunities, for the guidance, for everything – I’ll be forever thankful.

To everyone who’s ever invited me to a show or sent me music:  A world of gratitude. Sure, I can complain about the amount of dumb emails I get, but I love it really. Finding new things to get enthusiastic about, being handed free CD’s at gigs – it’s the BEST, it really is.

On that note, to anyone who’s ever given me free stuff: I love you. You’re my favourite. Call me sometime.

To anyone who’s ever said “hi” to me at a show: When I nervously shuffle back to my friends, it’s only so I don’t grab hold of you and never let go. You’re all beautiful, and you make me feel beautiful – and that is incredible.

To anyone who has quoted anything I’ve written back at me: You’re the worst. I hate you. Please never leave me.

Essentially, all of this can be summed up with a massive THANK YOU, to E V E R Y O N E . But I wanted to address a few things separately. Or, I wanted to write enough for this post seem worthwhile. Always so damn sentimental. Things haven’t been especially great of late, and this, it makes me feel better. So to all of the above and everyone else: you make the time and the effort and the cost and all of it worth so much more. Thank you, and I love you. Goodnight.

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