Hard News by Russell Brown

Merry Christmas (I have lost the will to blog)

My rhetorical muscles are aching. The AC joint of argument needs off-season surgery. I'm staggering towards the finish line, putting down that final scrum in injury time and keeping out the opposition quicks in the fading light of the fifth day of the test match.

I've had some interesting email discussions about Wednesday's post, and I even started writing up a digest of them. But it just wasn't there. I have lost the will to blog.

By way of signing off, I thought about picking my 2005 Greatest Hits from all the other Public Addressers, but that was too much intellectual effort too (is Che better represented by the Metics series - or just some shaggy-dog tale about his bogan mates?). So I'll confine myself to the 2005 newbies. Tze Ming's post on the Banana Conference and the speech she made there is the sound of history in motion. And Keith's stinging first and second posts about Labour's student loan assumptions just plain made people notice. I have no doubt they'll both surpass that work in years to come, but I was pleased to be on the same page as them.

Something I've realised lately is that the blogosphere is now home to a form that conventional media has all but abandoned as too difficult: satire. (People don't get it; they write angry letters; editors get spooked because they don't want angry letters from people who don't get it; satire disappears.) David Slack and David Haywood (and elsewhere, Lyndon Hood) expertly explored irony, but the opus was Graham Reid's amazing Alternative Nation series. In the past, such work would have emerged through pamphlets and small presses, and I think that in part we've taken up that niche.

And me? I try not to dwell on things I haven't done, but, well, there have been a few. I turned Great New Zealand Argument into a successful book (forming a publishing company with Martin Taylor along the way), and took the Oxford Union project to its natural conclusion, meaning I need to find a new archival project for 2006 (something Fairburn, probably) - but I didn't have the time or focus to keep the Great New Zealand Argument section of Public Address turning over with new material the way I wanted.

I let capitalism down a little by failing to draw your timely festive attention to the fine books by Public Address bloggers at the Public Address Store (where you will also find Michael Carney's authoritative Trade Me Success Secrets, currently doing the business on Activity Press), but you could still nip over there and stock up for the summer. I never got around to the t-shirts and Public Address coffee cups. And I didn't sort out our advertising inventory to try and make this site a more reliable source of income, and thus justify spending more time developing it. Next year, for sure.

(Next year will also see - by promising it I put pressure on myself to deliver, you see - the addition of Public Address System, a community adjunct to the site aimed at further involving you, the readers, whose intellect, good taste and willingness to engage is appreciated by us all.)

Most of all, as is the case every year, I failed to reply to many emails that deserved a reply. Next year will be the same, but sorry anyway.

But just a few. In sum, it's been another good year, personally and professionally. It's been nice having a small role to play in bringing new ideas to the library and research communities (despite having skipped the university part, I now find myself, surprisingly, on the board of the Humanities Research Network). I'm pleased to have got a few important ideas down in Information Entrepreneurs. I'm pleased just to have had a few ideas, basically.

Thanks to all my fellow bloggers, to Matt and Karl at CactusLab, Renee Jones, to Karajoz, Pead PR and the British Council, to 95bFM, to Ihug, to Addenda, to Amplifier, to everyone who paid me, to Norm at One Good Move for his tireless work with video clips for me to link to, and to my family, who remain a constant source of joy and instruction. And thanks also to you all, for being here and reading and engaging. Our traffic has more than doubled this year. The 2005 Great Blend events (where I fancy that people enjoyed each others' company as much as anything we put on stage) have been a great opportunity to make it real. We're definitely doing that again, and you will like what we've got.

But for now, I'm taking a rest, and I would expect that most of us here will be on light blogging duties through January. So have a Merry Christmas, feel the love, get to the beach if you can, and we'll do it all over again in 06.