The Phantom’s Un-Birthday

There’s something very impermanent about the internet. Sites I used to refer to all the time have disappeared without trace, others take their place before they, too, die when their owner stops paying the fees.

I have been growing slowly more and more worried about the increasing digitalisation of – well, pretty much everything, really. I have lost all manner of material because it languishes on 3″ and sometimes even 5″ floppies that I forgot I had and which have now corrupted through sheer old age but although it’s a minor pain for me, it’s hardly going to rock the world. But, as video turns to DVD and DVD turns to god-knows-what, I wonder how many people’s memories – and, perhaps, information vital for History, will become as obsolete as celluloid, Betamax and even VHS, lost forever because of the way they have been preserved.

Thus is it with my own website. I know I began blogging in August 2006, but when I moved from Livejournal to Blogger, for some unfathomable reason I purged the account. I now have no idea exactly when the blog was born.

That one was stupidity, but sometimes it’s just not possible to move data. When I moved from Blogger to WordPress, I was able to take my previous posts (if not the formatting) with me, but thousands of your comments remain, floating through the ether untethered that I cannot, even with the Phantom Webmaster’s expertise, retrieve. This is a source of great annoyance, not least because a good few of them are of the ‘I think you’ll find…’ variety, putting me right when I’ve said something daft. When I have the time, I’m going to trawl cyberspace looking for them (I know they’re out there, and I occasionally find them) but until then, most of the first fifteen hundred-odd Phantom posts remain friendless.

The upshot of what I’m trying to say is that I have no idea when my own birthday is. I can’t even boast about the first 2,000 posts, as I passed that milestone back in June without even noticing. I know I am five, but that’s all, so I have picked the day right in the middle of the month to celebrate.

Like the Queen, I shall have an official birthday, in January when the blog in its current form turns five. Hopefully I shall be a bit less crap by then – but don’t hold your breath…

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17 Comments to “The Phantom’s Un-Birthday”

  1. Andy says:

    Tried the Web Archive?

    It’s basically a search engine that’s been archiving the web since 2001 (supposedly).

    Looks like we have some stuff from TGP from 2007 on!


  2. Chris says:

    Well, whenever the exact date is, have a happy one!

    Thanks for a most interesting blog which I have only harkened upon recently.


  3. Ebspig says:

    Yes, Happy Unbirthday, dear Phant. Five is a rather special age.

  4. Old China says:

    Happy un-birthday GP! I hope you get lots of jelly and ice cream.

    I know what you mean about the non-permanence of modern media. None of our great-grand children are going to climb into an attic a century from now and be amazed to stumble across a dusty box that’s full of old photos and hand written letters of us here in the present day if those photos and letters never leave hardrives (not that emails are hand written anyway).

  5. Anon says:

    Yes, I once had the appalling experience of lifting up a photocopy of a crucial document and seeing all the letters turn back to dust and slide down to the bottom of the page.

  6. Benedict says:

    Congrats! and may the good ship Phantom sail on, and on and on…… ;-)

  7. DaveH48 says:

    As others a Happy 5th Un-Birthday.

    As for storage, some time ago I transferred my 8mm film to VHS, that in turn to DVD and have just bought an 80GB USB drive from eBay for £18 so that will do nicely for all my photos.

    Anybody remember the Scotch VHS Tape advert with the skeleton? They said the tapes had a lifetime guarantee :)

  8. Chris says:

    Not only do I rmember the advert but I recall it was Derek Guyler (sp) that voiced it.

    That titbit is either impressive, frightening or sad depending upon which way you look on it!

  9. Peter says:

    Phantom, have you considered googling the blog page title, then viewing the cached option in google, my web pages from the days of geocities are still available there (though the formatting sometimes gets a bit lost)(though geocities pages can also be found archived as oocities pages for anyone that wants to know)

  10. Andy says:

    No need to google cached copies – see the very first response! It’s all there from March 2007.

    and “Anybody remember the Scotch VHS Tape advert with the skeleton?”

    Re-record, don’t fade away.
    Re-record, don’t fade away.
    Re-record, don’t fade away…

  11. Thanks for the links, guys. Sadly it’s not the posts I can’t find – they, for the most part, came with me and are still on this incarnation. It’s the thousands of comments that were lost, some of which were rude (natch) but most of which were insightful and apposite…

    Ah, well…

  12. Robert Number 16 says:

    Dear Phantom,
    Happy Birthday
    From deepest Cornwall

  13. LG says:

    Always fascinating, often imitated, never equalled.

    Happy birthday

    ps. My River Runs Through It book is still in the pipeline. Hopefully ready in the latter halfp of September. Will keep you abeast.

    pps. Mt first TGP memory was the very sad case of the boy Joshua Beasley who tragically slipped into the Thames on a Christmas Eve in 2007. I had heard rumour of this sad event and had gone online looking for information and that was my first encounter of the phantomesque variety.

  14. LG says:

    Correction: ‘Will keep you ABREAST’, rather. I ain’t keepin’ animals for no one!

  15. tintinhaddock says:

    Happy Birthday to one of the best written blogs around: thoughtful, informative and friendly.

    Thanks for all the effort you put into it Phantom.

  16. WestCliffGB says:

    Only getting up to Greenwich a few times a month since the move to the sea-side, I rely on you GP to top up my levels of home-sickness. Keep up the fantastic work! Here’s to many more years to come.

    Happy Birthday!!!

  17. Paul T says:

    Happy non-Birthday, phant. You’re a real asset to Greenwich, where would our cobbles be without you?