While folding up the laundry, I'm sometimes curious which bandshirt Serge has chosen from his enormous pile. 99% of them are not really suited for working in a store, so he chooses them carefully in the weekend. This one had the drawing of a huge quarry-machine and the text "Merchants Of Air, digging into the musical underground since 2014." That can only mean one thing: this site is five years old.
The shirt took me back to the autumn of 2014. Serge had come up with this idea and in the blink of an eye, the site was online and rolling. You can read all about the origin and the first year here.
When you're getting older, you notice that a lustrum goes by ridiculously fast. It might feel like nothing has changed, but when you look at some details like where you were living or working five years ago, who was still alive, what your favorite album was or whether or not you could count your grey hairs back then, you must admit that it is quite a lot of time. And especially when you look at the figures: more than 1800 days, 240 weeks, 60 months.
This site has also evolved in that period of time, of course. I remember when an inbox with 100 unread mails felt very stressy. Now it has 12.500 of those. We have practiced zen and stopped stressing or apologizing about that. This is the only obligation for new writers: only write what you want, when you want to do it and we totally understand if you're having weeks or months of writer's block. Hell, I think I'm the least productive writer. A review or ten and an article or three. Serge always says he doesn't mind at all but I wanted to surprise him with this one.
Merchants Of Air has always embraced starting bands or projects. Countless of them have gotten one of their first reviews here and we can easily fill ten Olympic swimming pools with all their gratitude.
That's what keeps us going.
Income: sometimes a concert ticket and physical albums that we can't even afford to ship to our writers to pay them.
Time: always too little.
But love: endless. The love for discovering music. The love for writing. The love for those who decide to pick up an instrument or download software and start making music. This year, the site almost ceased to exist but all of your love, readers and bands, has given Serge back his courage to go on with it for the time being. He was astonished by your reactions to the news (which was on facebook only). There's no budget or time to organize something for this special birthday, but can I make a suggestion? Give Serge the pat on the back he deserves. You can do so by sending him a mail, a message or a postcard, by buying something from the Spreadshirt shop or checking out his books and the other projects from him and the other writers if you feel like supporting Merchants of Air.
Thank you, Serge. We fucking love you.