Notes From the Margins…

The Last Post

  • September 05, 2021
  • by

On March 9, 2011, I wrote the first post on this blog.  When I first set it up I was rather tentative about doing it.   I was still an Internet novice and I was only just beginning to get to grips with Facebook and Twitter.   My daughter helped with the technical stuff, which I never did fully grasp.  More than once I’ve pressed the wrong button and seen posts or even the entire webpage disappear, and I’ve been forced to make desperate appeals to friends or technicians to save me from oblivion.

I still don’t know how to use code, or Cloudfare, or most of the plugins that I was advised to install.  Nevertheless I got it off the ground and I’ve managed to keep it going for more than a decade, and what began as an experiment turned into a kind of addiction,  to the point when I often felt bereft if I didn’t post something.  Sometimes I wrote almost every day, because there always seemed to be some outrageous thing to speak out about or respond to, and the blog gave me an immediate outlet that was not available anywhere else.

Of course it wasn’t always possible to do this regularly. Writing and researching pieces for this blog takes time, and sometimes when I was in the middle of writing a book there just weren’t enough spare hours in the day.  But even when I stepped away from it, I always came back.

I named the blog after my history of terrorism, because the nineteenth century name for anarchist bombs seemed to capture something about the dystopian times I lived in and also about the way I wrote about them.  I subtitled it ‘Notes from the Margins’ because the margins was the place I felt most comfortable writing from.   This space wasn’t intended to be an ivory tower or a badge of superiority.  It was intended more of a declaration of the independence which I think all writers must have.  And what I appreciated about this blog was the opportunity to write without any mediation or regulation, without anyone looking over my shoulder telling me what to think or how to say it.

I’ve written about war, militarism, racism, Brexit, Europe, Covid, and so many events that came and went during this bleak decade.   This commentary sometimes made me friends, and sometimes it got me into trouble that I hadn’t anticipated.  Regular readers will know what I’m referring to!

Now, after more than ten years, and more than a million words, I’m here to announce that this is the last time I will be writing on this blog.  In the new year I’m giving up my domain, and the Infernal Machine will wither away and vanish into the ether.

I want to thank all the readers who have stayed with me throughout this adventure, including those who didn’t always agree with me.   Your comments and contributions have always been welcome and your support has made me feel that was worth doing, even when I sometimes doubted it.

I can’t sound the bugle however, because the Infernal Machine is not shutting down for good.   I will be writing under the same name on my new subscriber platform on substack.  In effect my blog will become a newsletter, delivered weekly to your email.   If you’ve followed this blog, I would really appreciate it if you would check out its new iteration here, and subscribe and tell your friends.

So goodbye is not really goodbye.  I hope it only means see you later.

And whether or not you choose to make this move with me, I wish you fortitude, good health, and good company, as we navigate our way through these very trying times.


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  1. Lesley

    5th Sep 2021 - 2:54 pm

    Let me know when your new site opens – I’ll subscribe…

  2. Julietta Schoenmann

    6th Sep 2021 - 6:19 pm

    I’ve really enjoyed your posts and am glad you’re continuing, albeit on a different platform. I’ve subscribed and look forward to reading more from you!

    • Matt

      12th Sep 2021 - 9:09 am

      Thanks Julietta!

  3. Markl

    18th Sep 2021 - 7:21 pm

    Enjoyed the blog though not always in agreement. Sorry to see free comment wither.

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About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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