Two decades as a web developer

In mid-August 1998 I began my first job as a web developer, happily accepting the somewhat grand position of “webmaster” at Scottish Radio Holdings. Based at the offices of Radio Clyde in Clydebank, that first rung in the career ladder was a whirlwind of on the job learning fueled by the nervous excitement that came with being a part of a nascent industry.

I hadn’t ever worked as a web developer (not many people had!), nor endured the level of pressure that came with the workload of designing, developing and maintaining over 15 separate websites. How was I to know that one person couldn’t possibly do all that? It was my dream job in an exciting profession in an era – the turn of the millennium – that seemed to brim with untapped potential for what the internet could bring to the lives of everyday people.

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14 years and all that Jazz

Last month I watched my long-serving Honda Jazz leave from outside my house, almost fourteen and a half years after I’d driven it out of the showroom in Liverpool, bound for the scrap yard.

As the scrap merchant prepared it for departure, putting jump leads on the battery to give it some life, I busied myself clearing out the contents of the car, with Fliss coming over to help scramble items into either a bag of stuff to keep or one for the bin. With so many family memories centred around the car, I couldn’t help but feel sentimental at the finality of the moment.

A few months before when its MOT had been due I didn’t think it was worth the money to get it through and, when the due date passed, I declared it “off-road.” Feeling that it had had enough money spent on it over the years – from a couple of pricey low-speed bumps in its early years to a brutal £700 bill to replace a failed door deadlock and the exhaust, I decided that it was now in the state that it wasn’t a worthwhile investment to keep it on the road.

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Pure evenings

Back in August 2003 I attended The Leeds Festival, the equivalent of The Reading Festival but held in northern England and easier to get tickets to. Unfortunately, the evening we were supposed to drive to York to stay with our friends before the festival began, I suffered an eye injury.

Although the eye doctor had reluctantly agreed that I could attend the event, her conditions were that I shouldn’t drink or be physically active. Drinking and bouncing around are two of the numerous things that make music festivals fun, so although I put a brave face on things it wasn’t the experience I hoped for.

On Friday we saw a few good bands and paid fleeting attention to the one album wonders making up the numbers. All the while I felt like I was there in a somewhat observational role, even for bands I was a fan of, like Sum 41 and Good Charlotte. (Don’t judge, this was the early naughties!)

The next day followed a similar pattern with a long wait for the headliners, Linkin Park. Then, as dusk approached, Placebo took to the stage and just absolutely blew me away. I didn’t have to be drunk or jump around to enjoy their performance. It was more than enough to lean back, fill my ears with the music and let it all soak in.

As the sun set it was suggested we pretend it was daybreak instead, while the band played their anthem; Pure Morning. It was a feast for the senses and an absolutely magical moment that made me a fan for evermore.

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