It's a lazy Sunday arvo...It feels like only yesterday, but it's exactly 12 months to the day since I first put these words in that order and hit the upload button, commencing the first post on this very blog. It's been a fun twelve months of blogging, and has seen this modest medium of self-indulgent folly become an important personal project, bettered only by my attempt to cover the entire metropolitan train network in a single day in 1998. Unlike that ultimately futile project, this one has a point. For me, this is a chance to develop a 'voice', and give form to the thoughts which have floated around my brain and kept me laying awake at night.
What better way to share my thoughts with the world than via the medium of modern telecommunications and its finest product, the internet. It's no longer just an place for nut-bag political conspiracy theorists, amateur pornographers and suicidal degenerates to feel at home - now it's for me as well.
During this twelve months, the biggest blogging achievement has been my three months of blogging from Asia (see every post in December, January, February) and most of all my North Korean travellogue, which has made me a household name in Pyongyang (see the index on the right hand side). Both have shown the potential of the blog to move beyond self-indulgence, and offer something insightful and worthwhile which adds to the same of human knowledge... and allows me to pun in 12 different langauges.
To mark the first birthday of this piece of internet real estate, I've put together my top ten favourite posts - in chronological order - which are the sort of things I'd happily show my mother:
10. Not Happy, John - at the launch of NH,J in Melbourne, this little piece of sarcasm on my part caught the eye of crikey, as well as a few Margo Kingston lovers and haters. It also inspired one of the few bits of hatemail I've ever received:
Thanks for that, Claire!
From : Claire Shaw
Sent : Wednesday, 30 June 2004 4:02:08 PM
To : email@example.com
Subject : Margo Kingston book launch
Dear Ari Sharp
You are a twat.
Go and live in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinians for a while and see how much fun you have. Maybe your house will be bulldozed on top of you and we won't have to read your crap any more.
9. Senatorial Mathematics - in June last year I contemplated the possibility of strange things happening in the Senate election, and saw the prospect of the Liberals getting perilously close to a majority. Little did I know that my prediction would underestimate the Coalition numbers in the Senate.
8. Let Freedom (of Trade) Reign - this is my brilliant proposal for lifting the third world out of poverty through trade rather than patronising aid.
7. The Greens election astroturfing exposed... and no-one gave a shit. This was quite a significant revelation about a dirty tactic used by St Bob's mob in last year's Federal Election, but despite many efforts, no one else took up the story.
6. Yassar's dead. Finally. Like many people, I was relieved to see the mastermind of Mid-East terror buried. It's interesting to note that the six months since his death have been the most productive in the past five years at achieving a lasting peace.
5. Seat Watch was a fun little exercise leading up to last years' FedElec, and let me be the Antony Green of my own living room, putting up analyses and predictions for 10 of the most intriguing electoral battles. In the end, I picked a respectable 7 out of 10 correctly.
4. The Real Bangkok Hilton. During my visit to Thailand, I went on a very moving visit to the prison in Bangkok that houses many of the foreign prisoners. One of them, Jagnathan Samynathan, told his story to me.
3. My attempt to visit Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma was unsuccessful, but I had great fun trying, and learnt plenty about the awful situation the Burmese people find themselves in at the hands or a regime that just doesn't care.
2. Am I a Crackpot? China is faced with a massive population problem, not just in size but in the gender balance. One of the unintended consequences of the one child policy has been that there are a generation of young, militant men whose chance of marriage is slim. What with the government do about it?
1. The Streets of Pyongyang aint likely to be the name of a cop film any time soon, but it was an incredible place to visit, and I'm glad I can tell the stories of what I saw there. Alas, I missed out on seeing Km Jong Il as well.