Well, what do you know? Look who’s resurfaced!
And dare I say that I think I know who I’m talking to here because the first thing I’m going to do when I get finished with this first instalment of my web log is to send the link http://tiree.blogspot.com- to my friend in Guelph, Ontario, J. Scott Cameron, so that he can tell his Tiree web ring that I’ve crawled out of the woodwork after something of a hiatus.
My friends, this first installment of my Blogspot will be tedious. Please be patient.
Having said that I am of course presuming that there is someone out there reading this. I suppose it’s rather presumptuous of me to think that any of you will be interested in anything I have to say.
Over the past 18 months or so I’ve had a lot of feedback from people both here on Tiree and from folks – mostly Tiree descendents – abroad about how much they miss the website.
In the last week however something has happened to make me come out of – as it were – retirement. It was A ‘Bhuain week on Tiree, the time of the Homecoming. Apart from putting together a very simple website at http://tireehomecoming.comand playing the part of a nasty old factor in the play of The Napier Commission at An Talla last Tuesday I didn’t have anything to do with the organising of the event.
However, as the week went on I had the opportunity to meet people who told me how much the website had meant to them and how much they missed it. I must admit I was very touched by the nice comments and – I have to admit! – a little mad at myself for abandoning a project which so obviously brought a lot of enjoyment to a lot of people.
I always enjoyed putting the website together even though it was, at times, hard work.
Once or twice along the way I also managed to upset a couple of people, believe it or not: the website (which was always a voluntary and non-profit making ‘hobby’) became so popular (sustaining 3000 hits a month at its peak) for some it became the real voice of Tiree in the media. I never ever intended this to happen. However, being an independent operator, responsible only to myself, I was, at times, able to ‘tell it like it was’ and even, once or twice, to hit the target.
Although the overwhelming majority of people who read the page really enjoyed it there were always one or two people who wondered ‘who does he think he is?’ My retort has to be that the internet is there for anyone to use. If you don’t like what I’m saying, well, why not start your own website?
However the kind emails I would often get – particularly from people in other countries – convinced me that IOTON was a worthwhile project, one which had brought a lot of people not only enjoyment but also the opportunity to explore their roots, listen to Gaelic singing online, view and save pictures online, make their own opinions heard – and so on.
I have to be quite honest and say I initially had not intended IOTON to last more than one year. I started it partly as a winter project in or around October 2000. But I was also quite taken on with the idea of providing a way for descendents of the Tiree ‘Diaspora’ to be able to see what their ancestors’ homeland looked like and to give them a flavour of what was happening here. IOTON soon became an online newspaper.
I was always concerned, however, that it should not in any way challenge An Tirisdeach, Tiree’s ‘official’ print newspaper and always tried to assist and work with the various editors.
While I’ve been away I’ve been able to take up a few projects.
For one thing I returned to my roots and, at the ripe old age of 48+ got together with a bunch of friends and formed The Defenders. I love to sing and just to prove it I’m attaching a photograph at the top of this posting and in my profile. We are a rock group, no holds barred. We are loud and proud. I’m now 50 and we are gearing up for a couple of gigs, here on Tiree and over on Coll. Growing old disgracefully, that’s me.
Something else I’ve been doing is writing. I’m about a quarter of the way into a surrealist science fiction cum whatever novel which is also online in a blog but which no one reads except my daughter. Thus it should be.
This is close becoming a rambling diatribe on my part. Just let me say a couple of things before I bring this ‘re-introduction’ to an end.
With this current technology I could have run IOTON so much easier. Expect from this the same updates on what is happening locally, pictures, links – all the stuff you had at IOTON. The only thing that’s really changing is that it’s more personal. Instead of filing news reports I’ll just be passing things on to you informally – hopefully just as if I was dropping you a line every other day.
Although the IOTON name and URL has been sold I still have access to the majority of the pictures and even some of the very early pages that appeared on the site. We’ll be mining the archive regularly!
I’m sorry this has gone on and on. But let me finally say I’m not sure how we should do the old ‘email alert’ thing. There are new and more efficient ways to do this nowadays – RSS aggregators which will automatically download new postings (but I don’t know how to do that yet!) This stuff is so simple to work that I’d hope to be posting every other day. Can you handle it? Let's just say that if you want to be reminded everytime this blog updates send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'update' in the subject line and I will drop you one back when the blog is renewed.
I hope you will enjoy the new relaxed approach. Sorry about this long, drawn out rant. For some reason I thought I had to explain.
I’m looking forward to this.