Re: A quick summary of what happened at AView after 2014
I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're after but...
Postmaster General 2018
I'm not sure if this is exactly what you're after but...
Ivan's ill-health in his last years put a bit of a dint in the AView team. We worked around it as best we could, but the end of Digibox Rationing was the end of an era, and our attempts to fill the gap had more than a whiff of desperation. The Twitter swansong was a different matter: Ivan went out in style. But as prepared as we were for that final tweet, such preparations count for so very little, and we were suddenly cast adrift by the loss of wise Uncle Ivan.
Irreplaceability is a cliché, but Ivan Methuselah lived up to it for so very long. Our next TFR Editor could never be a replacement. What we needed instead was a contrast to Ivan's approach: someone of the AView mentality, but with a very different eye and a very different angle. That someone was Miquita Imran.
I only worked with Miquita for a year but in that time she made TFR her own, with a sense of confidence that was inspiring -- inspiring not least to the rest of the team: Miquita's fire rekindled our own, reviving our leaden hearts and reaffirming our journalistic passions. Her work highlighting gender discrimination and sexual abuse within film and broadcasting has brought out the investigative urge in all of us once more, while her "Bollywood or Boxset" challenges have lifted our spirits and occupied our evenings.
At the time I should've been feeling my seven year itch I'd had Ivan's decline as my distaction. But now, with the AView team revitalised, I sensed it was at last the moment to step away and try something new. Technical Editor Karl Border was appointed as my successor and took the reigns in November 2015. One of his first jobs was to supervise the relocation of the AView team from our York home to Sheffield's Sidney Works. AView had been based at Apollo House in York from my first day on the job, so the impending move was another reason why I thought it was time for myself to move on.
The new, state-of-the-art premises at Sheffield should've ushered in a bold new era for AView. But the death of A/V Woman's Fashion Editor, Kate Whitchurch, just two months later, while out in Russia on an AView story, rather killed the mood. Whitchurch was one of our best and most-loved journalists, with fifteen years in the AVW fold. We felt her death keenly, and the suspicious circumstances surrounding it only served to distract the team with a paralysingly impenetrable knot. A lead emerged in January this year, in the form of a mysterious ciné film, but this was lost in the London Bomb, along with so much else. Including Karl Border.
AView's Sheffield base has, of course, leant it a captive audience during the ongoing siege. Aidan Ross is currently serving as Editor, and the team have provided some of the most vivid accounts of what is currently taking place there. In the current climate, the normal rules of journalism ceasing to operate, AView finds itself returning to the models of dissemination through which it first made its name: papers passed about in pubs. Long may the method prevail; long may the words get out. Long live AView; long live journalism; long live the truth; ...and long live all of us.
Ivan Methuselah's TV and Radio Guide arrived at AVW as part of the first wave of additions to the Freeserve incarnation of the site. The oldest recorded version of the page (right) is from the week commencing 20th October 2001 (III(12)). It's possible that this was its first appearance. That would certainly makes sense, as its parent section -- AView -- is recorded as having opened on the 24th October 2001 (III(12)). The screenshot below is from just a few months later, on 16th January 2002 (IV(2)). The link at the bottom promises "Ivan Methuselah's Weekly Guide to the Week's TV and Radio".
AView described itself as "the A/V Woman online editorial thing". Its inaugural content was cobbled together from various emails, the oldest of which was sent on 27th January 2000 (contemporary with II(3)). A fictional band of journalists populated the editorial board: Chrissie Hammond, Evan Paris, Aidan Ross, Anthony French, and, of course, Ivan Methuselah.
Ivan was established as a grumpy old man with a big white beard, a tumour-induced kidney problem, and a cat named after Lauren Laverne. His tastes were sufficiently broad as to incorporate Adam Hart-Davis, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Late Night Poker. Each week he'd scour the Radio Times for the week's broadcasting highlights. However, by the end of Janaury he'd got board, as this entry from 27th January 2002 (IV(3)) illustrates:
However, Ivan continued to contribute one-off articles to the AView site, which continued to grow. On 17th April 2002 (IV(5)) it gained the frameset format it still retains to this day, although at this point the central index section was in consecutive order:
The same date saw the launch of the AView Eurovision pages, at this point in a ridiculously elaborate frameset (below). The content, dating back to the 1998 contest (i.e. before the AVW site was born) had originally been published in email form.
7th December 2002 (V(2)) saw the first of Ivan Methuselah's Festive Guides to Analogue Terrestrial TV & Radio As Broadcast from the Emley Moor Transmitter (far right): an attempt to pick out the highlights from the Christmas Radio Times. Then, On the eve of 2003, the AView editorial team gave out the first batch of AView Awards (near right). Written in script form, it gave the first proper depiction of the editorial team's personalities beyond their individual contributions.
In May 2004 (V(7)) the pub guides were brought into the AView fold as part of the Volume V rebrand. Around the same time, the index listing in the central frame of the AView homepage was reversed to give more prominence to the newest content. Latest in that content was the Eurovision report 2004 (16th May 2004), which was the first to be written as a trialogue between Chrissie, Evan, and Ivan.
The 7th August 2004 (V(9)) saw the launch of a major new AView project: Ivan Methuselah's Digi-box Ration Book. On the left is what it looked like on October 22nd of that year (V(12)). 2004 was a time when people were starting to get digi-boxes in order to receive digital television. But they'd only get one box (for the telly), so their video cassette recorders could only record analogue or a single digital output (lacking, as the VCR did, its own digital tuner). Enter the Digi-box Ration Book. The original brief ran:
"We locked Ivan Methuselah in a warm bedroom with only the Radio Times for company. To secure his freedom he must provide us with ten essential pieces of free-to-air terrestrial programming every week from now until Christmas. Of that ten, five must be television programmes, three must be radio programmes, and two must be films. Daily news and current affairs magazines are exempt. Furthermore, the programmes can't be on at the same time... In addition to all that, Ivan must report back each week on how last week's selections turned out, ranking each section in order of quality. If he came across anything better that he didn't recommend, he must confess his sins."
As a glance at the Updates log will show, the Ration Book dominated the site for the next six years, with various rule changes along the way. But on 4th September 2009 (X(10)), another AView staple, The AView Eurovision Pages, was revamped as The AView Eurovision Project. This included reviews of every single Eurovision contest since it began in 1956. A Scoreboards section was added as part of a project update on 5th September 2010 (XI(10)).
The pressures of real life began to hit in 2010. Ivan Methuselah's Digi-box Ration Book finally wrapped up at the end of that year, and the final round of AView Awards followed on 24th January 2011 (XIII(3)).
A few days later, on 8th February 2011, Ivan began a new project: Racing News with colleague Aidan Ross. The project allocated Formula One -style points to the position of news stories on Channel 4 News to get a picture of the changing news landscape over the year. On 31st January 2012 (XIV(3)), Racing News was succeeded by another Ivan & Aidan project: the Library of News: a four-month long attempt to classify the news using the Dewey Decimal System.
After that, things went quiet at AView, with the exception of the annual Eurovision updates, and a new section on the Eurovision pages: the National Grid (28th October 2012 (XIV(12)), expanded 3rd May 2013 (XV(6))). On 5th April 2014 (XVI(5)) Ivan launched his final project: a twitter feed entitled Ivan Methuselah has Six Months to Live Tweet. The project, which mostly consisted of Ivan live-tweeting episodes of Treasure Hunt and Doctor Who, concluded on 23rd October 2014, along with Ivan's fictional life.
Since then the only ongoing activity at AView has been the Eurovision project, which continues to be updated each May.