Tokyo Calling, my favourite podcast on the web, stopped broadcasting last month. Scott Lockman, the man behind the show, posted a short two-minute episode in which he said he simply did not have the time to keep doing it. So he said goodbye, dismantled his website and stopped the feed to iTunes. There is now almost no trace that it ever existed.
It was all rather sudden and I am genuinely sad to see it go.
Tokyo Calling was irregularly broadcast at the best of times, sometimes months would go by without a squeak, but you could usually expect a show every couple of weeks. It was Japan's first ever podcast and had eclectic content and varied format. Scott would record while doing the ironing, while looking after the kids, at his desk but most frequently on his commute to work as an English language teacher at various schools and colleges. These latter shows were my favourites, full of the noise of the city, subway tannoy announcements and an often rambling monologue from Scott (from which the title of this post is taken).
Scott would also take time to point out and recommend the work of others. Without him I would never had stumbled across the wonderful music of Bobby Baby, or the curious fiction/non-fiction of Hitotoki.
Essentially though, and at its best, Tokyo Calling was a slice of life slapped on air. A view of Japan through the eyes, and mouth, of an American with a Japanese wife and family. An American who, even after years in the country, could speak very little Japanese. He was honest, a little haphazard at times, but always entertaining.
I would listen to his podcasts on the walk to the station in the morning. I have been doing so for about three years, perhaps a bit longer. It was certainly before iTunes had podcasts listed, I was using iPodder Lemon (now Juice) to download them then.
But why am I going on about this? Well, I was a little surprised by my reaction to the loss of Tokyo Calling. While not exactly grieving, I was genuinely saddened by the news. This man has been letting me listen in to chunks of his life for a number of years, and then, with no notice, he has stopped. I am sure he has very good reasons, and juggling a career in a foreign country, a marriage, three kids and various web-related projects cannot be easy, but I did allow myself a short sulk once I realised the show would be no more.
And this got me thinking. We all have blogs or shows that we follow online regularly. I have blogs and websites that I visit daily, others that I frequent once a week or so. I have a dozen podcasts that sit on my iPod and these tend to be weekly shows. There are a couple of YouTube channels that I look in on every now and again. The point is that these are all part of my routine now. I enjoy them, I enjoy reading them, I enjoy spending time in their company. And very few of them have ever stopped or ceased to be.
Therefore, to an extent, I take them for granted. So when one of them ups sticks and vanishes I notice it. I am not going to suggest that I have suddenly become all philosophical about things but it has given me pause for thought. Anyone who takes the time to blog, podcast, or broadcast in any way is giving up quite a bit of time to do so. Usually for no personal recompense, they just love doing it. I didn't really appreciate that fully, even though I spend a bit of time creating my own blog, until Tokyo Calling disappeared.
Any of my regular internet haunts could shut up shop at any time. The thought disturbs me slightly. I'll deal with it, but I thought it worthy of note.
So you lot, those bloggers and podcasters and web content providers whose work I enjoy. Don't go anywhere for a while. I'd miss you if you did.