The Centre Cannot Hold goes meta!

First of all, my apologies for going so long with no new content being posted, and no way for you to leave comments. It turned out there was an obscure error in the installation of PHP on the server that took just forever to find. (Oddly enough, once found, it was surprisingly easy to fix – just needed to update the version of PHP.) So things should now be returning to normal.

Except that in some ways, they won’t, as this centre will indeed not entirely hold.

While this site was inaccessible, I started a new site, and have been quietly migrating some of the content from this site to it. You can find the new site at All of the timelines from this site will be moving to there, bit by bit, over the next month or two, as will the crossover reading orders. The idea is to centralise all of those features in a single location and make them easier to find and search. (And while I’m at it, I’ll be updating anything that needs updating, too, as well as adding some all new content, the first piece of which is already up.)

So as each thing moves across from the old site to the new, I’ll be removing it from here and replacing the relevant pages with pointers to the new site. Nothing is going to be lost in the transition, and so long as you don’t mind one extra click, you won’t even need to update your bookmarks.

Other big news coming soon (fingers crossed).

Proceed with care

Hi folks.

Just letting you know that over the next few days, navigation on this site might be a little tricky, because I’m going to be moving things around and reorganising them. So while every effort will be made to ensure that things can still be found easily, some of it may temporarily disappear from menus. Rest assured, all of it is still here, and can be found by using the search box.

Apologies for any inconvenience, and thank you for your patience.

Changing Direction


This has been a really bad year on this site. Despite the continued popularity of some of my features, updates have been few and far between – especially compared to last year, when I used to routinely post three new pieces each day. There’s a few reasons for this. First of all, I’ve been a lot busier this year, so there’s been less time to get things done. Secondly, when I haven’t been busy, I’ve been ill with depressing frequency. And finally, of course, there’s my own mounting disengagement with the blog.

Honestly, I don’t know what to tell you. Somewhere along the line, this stopped being fun for me and became, instead, an onerous task. I’m very proud of what I’ve done here over the last 8 years, but I’ve gotten a tad burned out. And I’ve waited too long to tell you that. Mea culpa.

So what I’m planning to do, after today, is to stop posting new content for a while unless it’s new content that interests me to post. Too much of what I do here I do more from duty than joy, and that’s the fun killer for me.

Now, obviously, a site not regularly posting new content is going to slide in the search rankings, so I don’t plan to do that for too long. I have a plan. In no particular order, here it is:

  • Effective immediately, no more updates to The Rock’n’Roll History of the World. I have more than 200 entries waiting for me to write them – and a like number of bookmarks to assorted lyrics that I haven’t even got that far with yet – but I was also in the process of reformatting all the old ones when the Big River company decided to replace their existing widgets with a “new and improved” version that is larger, uglier, and lacks the fine control of the old one. Until that situation is resolved, there will be no new posts in this feature, and no more reformatting (because I now have to start that process all the fuck over again, and I just can’t deal with that right now).
  • When I come back, I’ll be re-doing the site’s theme and navigation. I’m going to be spending some time brainstorming that, and I have a couple of friends I’m planning to ask for help there, but my goal is to retain the accessibility of the current site while cleaning things up a little. This will most definitely include the creation of a site map, but other than that, I don’t know what else it will look like (although after a while with dark themes, smart money is that the next one will be lighter in colour.
  • I’m also considering going more personal with the blog. More talking about my life, about Australian politics, about the books and comics I’m reading, the games I’m playing, the films and plays I’m seeing. This is something I find a tad worrisome in this insecure age, but I think that what’s missing from this site, most of all, is its author. I’m tired of being the ghost in this machine.
  • I do have a few ideas for new features, some of which I think people are going to love, some maybe not so much. This point intersects with what I was saying about the redesign, above – some of these possible features have technical requirements that would need to be accommodated for them to find a home here. Some of them may wind up on independent sites. At this point, there’s insufficient data for me to decide, so research is going to be happening (not that this will be immediately visible here, but know that I will be busy even if the site doesn’t look like it).
  • The various Trade Paperback Timelines are all going to be staying, and I will be getting back to updating them more regularly. Ditto the Crossover Reading Orders, of which I have a few being worked on at the moment, and a list of the ones I want to add. (If there’s any new content before the redesign kicks in, it will be those.)

So that’s present and future of The Centre Cannot Hold. I hope you’ll be patient while I work this out.

That was quicker than I thought…

But sometimes, you have an idea, and you just know that it’s right.

So tomorrow sees the debut of the first new regular feature for 2015 on The Centre Cannot Hold.

To help ease the transition, it’s a bridge from one of our existing features – but that’s all I’ll say until the big unveiling.

Welcome to 2015

By which, of course, I mean both to welcome you, Dear Reader, to 2015, and also to welcome 2015 to the world. Here’s hoping for a year that doesn’t strut and fret its hour upon the stage.

Here at The Centre Cannot Hold, I’m hoping to see another year of new content added. Here’s a few things to look forward to:

  • The reformatting of The Marvel Universe Trade Paperback Reading Order is reaching its end. When that’s done, the timeline should be up to date, albeit with gaps here and there, which I’ll be working to plug.
  • The Rock’n’Roll History of the World has reached a state where there just aren’t enough entries left to do one for every date of the year. On the days that there is one, there will be one. On the other days, other features will fill in the gap. This is another feature that’s undergoing a reformatting, albeit more slowly – soon, you’ll be able to click through to any day of the year and see the events of that day in chronological order.
  • The Campaign for Symmetrical English is going to be a more prominent feature, with new entries appearing most days of any given week. There’s still literally hundreds – if not thousands – to go, so this one will be with us for a while yet.
  • I’m also going to make more of an effort to write more general blog posts this year, not unlike this one, only more specifically focused. These will be on an irregular schedule – as the mood takes me – but a lot more frequent. There’s a good chance that they’ll feature a fair amount of ranting about Australian politics.
  • And, of course, there’s more – some things I’ve already thought of to do, some will no doubt occur to me as the year progresses. I hope you’ll enjoy the ride as much as I do.

Happy New Year, everyone!

The End of an Era

So, today saw the completion of The Truth About Melbourne, which is the single longest sustained writing project that I have ever done. With its end, there’s a need to reshuffle things around here. This is the shape of things to come:

First of all, The Rock’n’Roll History of the World will be continuing each day, and there will be at least three posts (if not more) in it each day. I currently have over 300 new posts waiting for their days in the sun in this feature, and my plan is to finish the entire thing by year’s end. Next year, it will be back in a different form, but new posts will then be added to it only as I find them – for the time being, I want to clear out my backlog of them.

For the time being, there will be a third post each day of the week, in one or another category. Each Monday will see the posting of the Weekly Update, and any day that doesn’t have anything else will feature a new entry in The Campaign for Symmetrical English. There will still be new entries for features like the Daft Lyrics Database and the Pharmacopoeia Fantastica, but not on a regular basis.

Marvel Comics fans, I am nearly finished the reformat of the existing pages, and once that’s done it will be a simple matter of keeping up with new releases (like how the New 52 timeline currently works). After the main Marvel timeline is completed, I’ll be reformatting several of the other timelines as well, until they’re all a consistent format.

I’m considering some new ideas for features on the site at the moment, but I haven’t made any decisions as yet. When I do, I’ll let you all know about it, never fear. For now, I just want to take it easy for a while.

A Wikipedian self-referentiality

Some of you may be aware of an entry in my Rock’n’Roll History of the World feature here that talks about space monkeys (or more accurately, monkeys sent into space from Earth). For some years now, this has been an entry that was inexplicably popular on the site, certainly compared to most other entries in the same feature.

I have sometimes wondered why, being fairly sure that there just weren’t that many “Fight Club” fans – or fans of “We Didn’t Start The Fire”, for that matter. But today I finally solved the mystery.

It turns out that the Wikipedia page that I used to generate all of the information about space monkeys now cites my page as a reference.

They’ve really got to do something about standards over there.

Clumping in the Rock’n’Roll History of the World

So it turns out that, while historical events are mostly well-ditributed across the various days of the year (with the obvious exception of February 29), songs regarding them are not. Seriously, I’ve got eight songs for some dates and none at all for others.

So in order to keep up the daily supply of new Rock’n’Roll History titbits, I’m going to have to take extreme measures: I’m going to have to ignore dates. I’ll still try my best to find a song that mentions an event for the actual day in question, but if I can’t find one that matches, I’ll substitute a song from another day. Tomorrow, for example, is August 27, but the new entry I’ll be posting will be about August 14. And the one I’m posting on August 29 – that’ll be about April 19.

Sorry about this, folks, but it’s this or skipping days entirely.

So, you’ve probably noticed…

…that I haven’t returned to the days of five posts a day, and that, in fact, the new posts I’ve been doing have been kinda limited. There’s a reason for that, and quite simply, it’s that I’m re-prioritising here.

So you’ll still get a daily installment of the Rock’n’Roll History of the World, and two other posts each day. One will be Original Fiction – alternating day by day between The Truth About Melbourne and Vigil For A Dragon (which was, I might add, the clear winner of my recent poll, with 100% of the one votes cast being for it) – and for the forseeable future, the only way that will change is if one or the other of them is finished. And right now, I’m about a third of the way through each of them. At most. (I suppose it’s possible that I may throw in the odd short story, but those will done-in-ones.)

The third post each day will be from the anything else category. It will be any of the assorted other features that I’ve had here (with the exceptions of any of the other ongoing stories).

I’ll still be adding other bits and pieces to the site – polishing and updating the timelines, adding more films to Soundtrack Incomplete, and so on – but these two will probably become less frequent, at least for a little while.

There are two reasons for this.

The first is that I’m job-hunting, and that’s going to take me a little while to get my head around. And the second is that I really am very very close to making some big announcements here. You should be seeing some of them next week, with a bit of luck (and a lot of work).

So stay tuned, as I attempt to at once reaffirm and deny the title of this site.

In Lieu of a Story: a Question for You

I’m back on the unemployment line, and I’m thinking that it might be a better idea for me to concentrate on one or another story, rather than splitting my focus across them all (although, of course, I will be splitting it a little, as I intend to keep going with The Ducal Line as well).

In any case, I thought I’d throw this one open to you to decide:

[poll id=’1′]

I’ll keep this open for the next few days, and, well, whatever I end up writing

A’Rocking and a’Rolling

Hope you’re all liking the new look. You wouldn’t believe how much time I wasted looking for it, but I finally found it, and I’m quite pleased with it so far. It’s still got a couple of kinks I need to work out, but I’ll get there.

In any case, that isn’t the thing I really wanted to tell you about. I wanted to tell you about the latest developments with The Rock’n’Roll History of the World. I’m planning to make it available as a desktop calendar for next year, so at the moment, there’s a whole lot of work going on there.

Especially since I want there to be at least one or two entries for every single day of the year (to avoid those unsightly blank pages, you understand). So you many notice, if you look at the Weekly Update of a particular week, that there are rather more than seven daily entries for a given week. That’s just me filling in the gaps, and nothing to be alarmed by. It’s likely to be going on for a few months, though, just so you know. There’s a lot to be done.

Also, while I’m on the topic, if you can think of any song and/or event that I haven’t yet covered in the course of writing The Rock’n’Roll History of the World, please let me know about it, because some days are staying stubbornly empty despite my best efforts.

Especially February 29.

More Bookmadness – with a twist

The next Bookmadness book will also be featured in Militant Agnostic. That’s because tomorrow, I begin a look at A.C. Grayling’s The Good Book: A Secular Bible.

Grayling his taken it upon himself to write a new version of the Bible, which, while hardly free of moralising, at least cuts down on the scientific inaacuracies. As an agnostic, this endeavour fascinates me as a thought experiment, which is why I want to analyse it in this way. (I’ve dipped into it a little already, and I can tell you right now that I won’t be spending much time talking about the prose style. Suffice to say, it seems that two of the aspects of the Bible that Grayling wanted to replicate were tedium and didacticism.)

We’re going to be here a while folks – this is a huge book, and I want to give it the attention it deserves. I hope you’ll come along for the ride.