Friday, 5 January 2018

Column: 2017 Was Fun, Let's See What Happens in 2018

2017 was a big year. I moved in with Emma, which involved moving house, moving to a new town and transferring at work. Lots of new things that I like to think I have taken to like a duck takes to water.

I'm pretty sure that 99.34% of you couldn't care less about that so perhaps I should start again....

2017 was a big year for punk rock. Honestly I can't remember a year that has been filled with so many fantastic releases as 2017 has. It hasn't just been the more established big hitters putting out fantastic new music either, I've had the pleasure of getting to discover so many cool small bands this year who put out such amazing music. The punk rock underground is thriving with more and more incredible new bands popping up all the time from all over the world.

Something I've really enjoyed this year in particular is checking out bands from all over the world and not just the usual places where people from the UK tend to find new bands, UK and North America. Back in March I did a lot of research into what bands are awesome in the Australian punk scene, they have a strong scene. In 2017 the CPRW team set ourselves a little challenge to try and find bands from some of the more obscure punk rock countries from around the world which turned out some great bands. With Hateful Monday eventually ending up on mine and Robyn's albums of the year. Towards the end of the year I discovered a couple of great bands from South America and Emma has been researching bands from Japan so at some point next year look out for some columns showcasing bands from those places.

Of course live music played a big part of our 2017. I managed to get to 49 gigs throughout the year having the pleasure of seeing over 150 different bands. It can never be said enough just how important live music is so to see so many bands putting on gigs of all different sizes is brilliant. It's because of this that punk rock will never die. There will always be some band somewhere playing a show. It doesn't matter if it's to thousands of people or to five friends at an open mic night. As long as there are still places for bands to play then the punks will show up.

2018 is looking like a massive year for gigs already. The Manchester Punk Festival is always the highlight of the year and has already announced a line up that includes Propagandhi, Iron Chic, Random Hand, The Bennies, Lightyear, Darko and Wonk Unit and they're not even finished yet! If you're haven't got your ticket yet then I suggest you change that! The New Cross Inn is the home of the punk all dayer in London. In 2017 they put on the ska punk festival Level Up which was a huge success. It's back in 2018 with Random Hand and Lightyear announced already. Who would've thought one year ago that in 2018 I'd get to see Random Hand and Lightyear at least twice! Madness! The New Cross Inn will for the first time be hosting a skate punk festival with A Wilhelm Scream and Teenage Bottlerocket already announced. This will be an incredible event. Of course there will be plenty of normal gigs as well. For me the biggest highlight that's been announced so far is Hot Water Music playing at the Electric Ballroom in Camden. There's also a mega tour that features The Menzingers, PUP and Cayetana in February that will be a lot of fun! 2018 will be another great year for live music.

Colin's Punk Rock World has continued to grow beyond my wildest dreams. The way in which this little blog I started as a way to focus an overactive mind has continued to grow and grow amazes me. In 2017 we added to our already exceptional team with Richard and Jack joining, Dan, Emma, Omar, Pan, Robyn and myself. We posted more posts in 2017 than ever before, with plenty of album and gig reviews, top ten lists, columns, future classics and playlists. We also had over 200,000 (that's amazingly not a typo) views this year. It really makes all of the hours I spend sat behind my laptop feel worth it, knowing that people are reading things myself and the CPRW team write is awesome. Hopefully you've found some of your new favourite bands because of the articles we have written.

My absolute favourite thing about doing this blog has been the sheer amount of fantastic, talented and friendly people I've met either online or in actual real life. The amount of people who have come up to me and asked if I'm Colin from Colin's Punk Rock World continues to shock me. I don't think I'll ever not be awkward about it. This year especially after moving away from almost all of my friends, being able to make pals with so many people at gigs has helped to plug the hole left in my life.

Before moving on to my hopes for CPRW in 2018 I want to give a huge thanks to everyone who has read, liked, shared or retweeted a post on CPRW. Every single time I get a notification telling me about some interaction on a post I get excited. Special thanks to anyone who has sent CPRW something to review. That fact that anyone wants me to review something they've created fills me with a lot of pride. I do try my best to do as many as possible as quickly as I can but unfortunately there are only so many hours in the day. Sometimes my real job does get in the way. Extra special thanks go to the many many people who have given up there time to compile top ten lists for the blog. They are a really popular part of the site and always make such interesting reading. And the biggest thanks of all always go to the CPRW team for all the hard work you put in contributing to the blog. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to work with. At some point I will organise a CPRW get together so we can all hang out (I suggest MPF as Robyn will be in the country). If I could somehow pay you all for the work you do I would love to. Thanks Dan, Emma, Jack, Omar, Pan, Richard and Robyn.

So, 2018 for CPRW. Since I began to post five times a week the only aim I've ever had is to do better than the day before. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don't. We always try and learn from the days that we don't. This aim will continue in 2018 and hopefully it will continue to prove relatively successful. We will continue to do the usual album and gig reviews, top tens, columns, future classics, playlists and band of the week features trying to showcase the best of the bands you love and the ones you've never heard of from all of the different worlds of punk rock. As ever we will also look to add some new features and ideas to the site to try and help it continue to grow. In 2017 we made friends with Sarah from Shout Louder (if you haven't checked out her blog do so here it's awesome) and took part in a blog share. That's something I'd love to do with other punk bloggers as well. Punk rock is all about community and working together to build great things so I always love being part of something and helping it grow. We're always on the lookout for awesome people to join the CPRW team, we're a great bunch who love punk rock. If you're great and love punk rock then we want to work with you!

So that's what I thought about 2017 and my aim for 2018. Let's crack on with it then!

This column was written by Colin Clark.