Kasterborous Founder Christian Cawley Steps Down
It feels different this time. In just under 3 months, I turn 40. It’s been over 11 years since work began on Kasterborous, a period that has seen Doctor Who return to TV, and fandom develop in new and incredible ways around the world.
We’ve also seen some bizarre bullsh*t, such as a Doctor Who website accused of scamming customers and personal attacks against me by supposedly professional writers (you’ll have heard of them).
More worrying, however, is the recent discovery that at least one extremely prominent fan/blogger is compiling dossiers of perceived “bad behaviour” – sites and podcasts going off-message, so to speak – in order to ingratiate themselves with the production hierarchy at BBC Wales. (If you’ve heard the podKast this week, you should be able to work out who this is.)
At first, it wasn’t a big deal, and I thought of it as an amusing bit of nonsense to bring up through each podKast. But as disappointing it was to find that someone I admired was selling us and other sites out by insidiously recording bits of podcasts and website clippings and handing them on a plate to BBC Wales, it soon dawned on me that actually, this had stopped being fun.
Suddenly, I was Tegan.
And so, since then, the plan for the Kexit (Kasterborous Exit) has been underway. Because, unlike these bizarre egotists, I don’t actually *need* to do this. I already have a career doing what I love, helping people to make the most out of technology, and earning enough from it to pay the mortgage, run a car, and go on holiday several times a year. Kasterborous has existed 11 years because it was a fun project that paid for itself, and allowed me to collaborate with some truly talented, lovely people – not because I had some nihilistic obsession with being a celebrity super fan.
In reality, I was never likely to carry on with the site indefinitely, but with the big four-oh rapidly approaching, now seems the time to say goodbye.
Over the years, we’ve been graced with a collection of utterly wonderful contributors. Anthony Dry was the first, my co-collaborator on the project, who left around 8 years ago to pursue his sideline career of DVD design. Brian A Terranova (who is also moving on) has been with Kasterborous since early 2005, and his input has always been invaluable. James McLean virtually single-handedly revived Brian and mine’s silly old podKast and helped us turn it into the 5000 listener strong event download it has now become.
On the news team, Philip Bates has been assistant editor for a couple of years, while Andy Reynolds has been an utter powerhouse of a news writing machine, along with strong, memorable contributions from Scott Varnham, Mez Burdett, Patrick Riley, Nick Kitchen, Jonathan Appleton, youngster Josh Maxton, Jeremy Remy, Katie Gribble, Billy Garratt-John, Becky Crockett… and if I’ve missed anyone, I’m sorry.
We’ve also developed a couple of reviews teams, with people from the news teams and others like Chris Swanson, Tony Jones, Peter Webb and Peter Shaw.
TV reviewers, features writers and interviewers such as Gareth Kavanagh, Barnaby Eaton Jones, Elton Townend-Jones, Nick May, James Baldock and others… you’ve all been great.
But most of all, we wish to thank you: you read the site, and supported it. You read out silly Time Leech comic, felt compelled to buy our Ultimate Regeneration book, and put your hands in your pockets to buy Rick Lundeen’s The Daleks’ Master Plan adaptation. We admired your patience with the Doctor Who @ 50 series.
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was a small boy. The first stories I wrote at primary school were Doctor Who-inspired time travel adventures in the TREEDIS (a tree-like TARDIS). When Anthony and I started Kasterborous, it was really meant as a vehicle for his artwork and my writing. 10 years on and I’m a consumer electronics and online security freelance writer with virtually zero free time.
Very little time to really write.
In some ways, I’ve been thinking about this since my children were born in 2011. One plan was to sell Kasterborous; another was to divorce from all but administering hosting. But in the end, a clean break is what I need from Doctor Who fandom, a world of bloody lovely people, occasionally overshadowed by power-mad opportunists with ridiculous, destructive egos. I have decided that I don’t want to be a part of that world.
So the answer is – and yes, it is sad – to just stop.
Until we meet again, please take care. (And please excuse this unusually self-indulgent post.)
James McLean, Brian A Terranova and myself will be carrying on with the podKast, albeit with a new name. So you can still keep in touch with us, and find out what we think about Doctor Who… and beyond.
And Kasterborous is continuing without us. Please support the new owners and welcome them and any new writers they bring along.