Friday 9 February 2024

Ten Years... Gone

Exactly 10 years ago to the day, Is This The Life? was launched. It started off with a clear direction - to document all the significant events in my life and relate them to the music I was listening to and discovering at the time. I achieved that. I also worked in lots of articles about gigs, songs and albums that I wanted to say something about, and showed my love for a number of significant artists who have contributed in some way to all the pleasure and pain I've experienced over the past 52-and-a-bit years.

In recent times though, it's all become a bit of a chore. Partly, it's because there is no clear direction anymore, everything has become a bit random and sporadic. It's also partly down to me not feeling I have much more to say. This could very easily become a blog dedicated to R.E.M. and going by the stats for past R.E.M. posts I've done, I'd probably get more readers and feedback if I decided to do that. Give the people what they want, right? But to be honest, that doesn't interest me. While I love R.E.M. with a passion (and I've certainly talked about the passion a fair bit...), I love new music, new bands, new thrills too. I still go to gigs as often as I can (though hasn't that become so much more expensive post-Covid?), and I'm buying more new vinyl than I have done in more than 30 years (ditto). But recent attempts to write about this have been difficult. To be honest, I've been finding it really hard to sit and write about anything for quite a while.

And so, after much consideration, I mark the 10th anniversary of my first post with this - the last post to appear on Is This The Life?. This river has finally reached its sea.

Don't cry. It's really not worth it.

I've decided to retire the blog for good and instead offer occasional contributions to other blogs as and when I feel inspired to do so. The only things I'll update are my gig list (purely for my own record) and the links to articles I write for others.

So, the final act - some music. Here are the first three goodbye songs that sprung to mind. They're all 90s indie songs which is a bit of a narrow field, but I can't even be bothered to think about it further. To be fair though, they're good songs.

Here's the song that gives this post its title (and includes the lyric at the top of the page):

And finally... in my very first post, I quoted Lou Reed and linked to a Velvet Underground track. So my very last post will conclude with another Velvet Underground song, only covered by probably the most influential band of my life, and one I have written countless things about both here and on other sites. So here are some closing credits. Quite literally. This is the very end of the groundbreaking concert movie Tourfilm, documenting R.E.M.'s massive Green Tour thoughout 1989. It broke a lot of moulds with regards how concert films "should" be made. I've broken no moulds whatsoever in terms of how blogs should be written, but it has been (mostly) fun. Hwyl fawr fy nghyfeillion, a diolch.


  1. Sorry to see you go, but understand and empathise with your reasons. I have long admired your blog, especially the REM content - I thought I was well versed in Athens' finest, until I read your REM posts :) Anyway, so long, and thank you - see you in the comments sections...

  2. Your blog has been one of my go to ones over the last 10 years and you have introduced me to some great music. You will be missed!

  3. Sorry you've decided to call it a day Robster but understand your reasoning. If you ever want an outlet you can have a slot at my place. Great final track selection, perfect way to sign off.

  4. I was drawn to your blog by the Cardiacs inspired title, and stayed for the quality music and tales you posted. I have a couple of years on you but our musical journey seemed very similar and what you wrote rang a lot of bells with me. I've enjoyed your blog, and if you'll permit me a final Cardiacs link, all your efforts are definitely worthy of laudation. Cheers.

  5. Sorry you are closing the blog, you will be missed. Thanks for all your efforts ....

  6. I'll echo everything everyone else has said and offer you a slot over at mine whenever you want one. Thanks for all the good times Rob.

  7. Trying again. The last one vanished.. I'll echo everything that everyone else has said. You are also more than welcome over at my place whenever you want. In fact I insist on it. You are a great writer. Swc.

  8. Thanks for the 10 years: I've enjoyed the ride. Speaking as a random and sporadic person I really understand your reasons. I think I said everything I had to say a long time ago but can't stop wittering on.

  9. Robster......I can only echo what everyone has already said. Your little corner of t'internet has been a real joy to drop into, and many of your recommendations on new music have been taken up (the most recent one I have to thank you for is Coach Party).

    You've been a great friend to TVV over the years, and I'll obviously add it to the list of places to which you will always be welcome to make as many guest contributions as you wish.....

    Happy retirement. Please, don't be a stranger.

  10. Coming to this a little late, but just wanted to add my own thanks and farewell to those of my esteemed blogging chums. And like JC said, don't be a stranger.