As those of you who follow me on Twitter may have seen, my partner Samantha and I are expecting our first child in May of next year and, as you might imaging, this news has prompted a lot of discussion between the two of us as to the future of this community and podcasting network.
Viewed through the lens of the internet, it might seem as if things have always run smoothly, but I don’t think that it’s any great secret that GeekPlanetOnline has been a labour of love for me, and that it hasn’t always been easy. As I have mentioned in various places before now, I started what was then a personal blog way back in 2008, entirely out of boredom and loneliness. In the intervening time my life has changed considerably; it has grown busier, happier and more full, in part due to the lifelong friends I have made though the community that I helped to build.
Exciting though it was, the site grew so quickly in those first few years that it often felt like we barely had time to catch our breath; it seemed like every day brought another opportunity, another problem, another technical nightmare or another new podcast. As the GeekPlanetOnline family grew so too did the network’s demands on my time; now that Samantha and I have a new family starting we both feel that it’s more important to spend that time in other ways. While we’re sad to see the community come to an end we also feel that it’s the right time.
It has been both and honour and a privilege to serve as your podcast host, columnist, YouTuber, Publisher and Editor-in-chief. It’s been a rollercoaster, both emotionally and as a learning experience, but I wouldn’t trade it in for the world. In a very literal way it has made me the man I am today. Samantha and I both still plan to remain part of the scene through our work with the Nine Worlds convention, so if you see either of us there please do come over and say hello.
Service-wise, our server will officially shut down at the end of December 2017; at that time our Patreon will be closed down and all of our written content will be offline for good, unless their original authors decide to republish them elsewhere which, as has always been the case, they are perfectly entitled to do. Our podcasts remain, as they have always been, in the hands of our podcasters; I will be directing as many of the feeds as I can to their new homes elsewhere on the internet before the server goes offline, so with any luck none of our subscribers will be inconvenienced, but I do stress that this is dependent on our content producers letting me know where they’re moving to, so please keep an eye on their Twitter feeds, etc. if you want to be certain that you don’t miss an update.
And now, before I sign off for good, I would like to make a few specific thank yous. First, my undying love and thanks to Martin Thompson and Pete MacKenzie; as my first volunteers they have literally been with me for the entire ride, through all of the ups and downs, and have always delivered fantastic copy and unwavering support. I would also like to thank Stuart Claw, late of DTRN, for giving me my first ever podcasting co-host slot and giving GeekPlanetOnline a much-needed signal boost in those early days; without him, and a ridiculous little show called The Sci-Fi Guys, there would have been no Eclectic Podcast and, I firmly believe, this little community would have died on its arse.
Cheers to Tom Elliot and Peter Organ for being the first podcasters to partner up with us and start building our network; where they led, others followed, helping us to become a success. Thank you to Billy Abbott and Aaron Darlington for following me from Sci-Fi London and The Sci-Fi Guys respectively, and helping me to make the first podcast that was ever solely my idea; thank you also to The Unbreakable Kimmy Hallam for stepping in after they had moved on.
Undying thanks to Wayne Talbot, Irene McCormack, Darren Fahey, Ciaran Marcantonio, Kim Brosnan, Naomi Noodles and the rest of team Pubcast for becoming my family in Ireland. Thank you to Peter and Anne-Marie Organ for becoming my family in England. Thank you to Danny Davies and NyQ “The Starship” Bonaventura for every note of contributed music. Thank you to Jane Ensell for being the voice of our sadly short-lived ident jingle.
No thank you list would be complete without mentioning Hugh David. Thank you to him for being my biggest supporter, teacher, advisor and friend. Thank you to Sim Lauren for restoring my faith in other people. Thank you to Emma and Peter Newman for lending our silly little website a touch of class and respectability. Thank you to everyone who ever sponsored us via Patreon, gave us a shout-out on a podcast or social media, send in feedback to work of our shows, hosted a podcast with us, wrote an article or contributed any work. Thank you to anybody who ever read one of our articles, downloaded one of our shows or posted in our forum.
Thank you to every last member of the GeekPlanetOnline community, including anybody I may have forgotten; just because I didn’t mention you by name doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate what you’ve contributed. But mostly, thank you to my beloved Samantha Jayne, for believing in me, for helping me to believe in myself, for being one of the kindest, most loving human beings on the planet and for agreeing to become my wife and the mother of my child. I am looking forward to our next adventure together.
This is Matt Dillon, the last survivor of GeekPlanetOnline, signing off.
Update – 24/11/2017
In the original version of this post, left unaltered above, there are several names conspicuous by their absence. With as much dignity as I can muster, I would like to correct this trespass now.
I did not thank Dave Probert and Gillian Coyle, and I should have. I should have thanked them because for most of the nine years that GeekPlanetOnline was running, they were there in one form or another, latterly as Site Editor and Sub Editor respectively. That work, that presence, deserves acknowledgement and respect. It was not given yesterday because our relationship ended prematurely, on bad terms, after Dave had informed me of his intention to leave the network and I am still hurt and upset over how that went down (no doubt they would both say the same); this is especially true in Gillian’s case, since we had become quite close over the years we worked together. Nonetheless, leaving Dave and Gillian out of my mentions list - even out of hurt or resentment at some of the things that have been said or done since - was childish and wrong, and I apologise for not giving them their due.
In a similar fashion, I did not make mention of the contributions of Lee Medcalf, Darren Barnard and The Black Dog Podcast. For many years The Black Dog Podcast was the backbone of the GeekPlanetOnline community; not only did their presence encourage the rest of us to step up our podcasting game, but they involved themselves with the site and network just about as thoroughly as could be. As with Dave and Gillian, that contribution, irrespective of how our personal relationships ended up, deserves to be celebrated and given its due acknowledgement; likewise, it was not given because although I believed that Lee and I had parted ways on good terms and would remain friends, that did not prove to be the case, and I am still reeling from the loss of that friendship. Once again, this does not excuse ignoring The Black Dog’s contribution to the longevity of GeekPlanetOnline, and I apologise.
I have always tried to treat other people with respect regardless of my personal feelings, and yesterday I failed at doing that. For that, too, I apologise – it was not acceptable, and although I dislike the manner in which it was called out I did indeed deserve to be called out. I do not apologise, however, for the anger, hurt and (frankly) bewilderment that I feel at the actions and decisions of other people over the last few months. I do not apologise for choosing to react, in however a passive-aggressive manner, to how I have been treated and spoken about by people that I would have previously done anything for. Those feelings are going to take a long time to go away, and I can’t just shut them off.
Anyway, there it is. And with that, I’m done.