The Digital Fix is TWENTY Years Old!

The Digital Fix is TWENTY Years Old!

February 27th 1999 will be a day we'll never forget - no it's not because Colin Prescot and Andy Elson set a new endurance record after being in a hot air balloon for 233 hours and 55 minutes, or because Olusegun Obasanjo became Nigeria's first elected president since mid-1983. In fact, it's the day that the site, then known as DVD Times, flickered into existence. DVD had yet to become the huge format that it was destined to be - players cost £500 or more, discs had all sorts of glitches and issues that we don't see today; in fact, some films ended up spanning TWO sides of a disc meaning you'd have to flip it over half way through!

It was a time before iPhones, Android was something that you'd see in films and not hold in your hand. Magazines were still huge. The Playstation 1 and N64 were the gaming platforms of choice and even the internet wasn't widely adopted and the centre of everyday life like it is now. 10% of the UK was online and the vast majority of those were via dial-up modems or ISDN connections!

So a lot has changed in twenty years; the site is no different. Countless redesigns and a name change back in 2010 - but at the core DVD Times still exists. It was joined by CD Times (latterly The Music Fix), we merged with The DVD Forums and eventually all of this became The Digital Fix and the site that exists today.

We've had so many wonderful writers creating reviews and features for the site. Many of them have gone on to write for some of the biggest websites and publications in the world and this is something we're proud of. Others have jumped from The Digital Fix into careers in the very things they wrote about - and nothing can be more exciting than that.

Every single person who has ever written a word for The Digital Fix has been instrumental in creating a site that has existed long after many others failed or closed. We've worked with some amazing people and we're eternally grateful to every last one of them.

We've had our struggles - there have been times where the costs rising and income falling have meant that closing the site has been a real possibility, but a passion to keep it alive has ensured that to date we've somehow found a way through. Times are far tougher now than they've ever been for us and the fact that we have so many brilliant people writing about film, games, television, music and wider pop-culture will never cease to amaze. Personally speaking, I've met some of the most brilliant and wonderful people over the last twenty years and that alone has made running the site worthwhile.

To mark the anniversary I caught up with some of our friends and writers - both current and those that have moved on - and gave them a chance to share with TDF has meant to them over the years...

Amy Jones

Editor of Television @ The Digital Fix, 2011-2013 / now (utterly fantastic) freelance writer and video producer. Follow Amy on Twitter: @jimsyjampots

The Digital Fix was the first place that let me get really, really nerdy about things. My intense obsessions over teeny-tiny details in Doctor Who, or the casts of niche TV shows no-one else cared about, were greeted with tolerance at best by my friends and family, but when I found TV@TDF they I met a whole group of people who didn't just enjoy my nerdery, but shared it with me. It felt like coming home. And whatsmore, it gave me confidence in myself and my writing – I wouldn't have the career I have now if it wasn't for The Digital Fix and Colin giving me that boost right at the start of it all. They'll forever hold a very dear place in my heart.

Douglas Baptie

Editor of Music @ The Digital Fix, 2010-2015 / now edits Words & Guitars. Follow Douglas on Twitter: @tiger_bomb

The first review I ever contributed to the site drew the PR person's wrath - complete with legal threats - and while this didn't typify my time on board, it does illustrate the freedom writers have been given over the years.
That slight hiccup aside, I eventually graduated to assuming editorial responsibilities for what evolved into The Music Fix.

We made a real stab at turning what was essentially a fan-run website into something that could stand alongside some of the bigger names in online music criticism. Awards from Ticketmaster and BT Digital were the recognition for all the effort.

Given the state of the industry, to still be online after 20 years is no mean achievement - and TDF remains some kind of personal online home. For all the sites and services that have come and gone in that time, that I still keep coming back (even if it is just to get a recommendation for a power drill) suggests that a little bit of my digital heart will forever be here.

Baz Greenland

Current editor of the TV section and budding author. Follow Baz on Twitter: @bazgreenland

Writing for The Digital Fix has been an absolute pleasure these last few years. I've had the opportunity to discuss some of my favourite (and not so favourite) shows, using the site as a platform to share my thoughts as a writer and engage with so many passionate fans and fellows writers out there.

And as TV editor, I've had a fantastic opportunity to help shape the site, working with a whole host of talented writer over recent years, bringing engaging reviews and features. The site is a great platform for new writers looking to developing and get their thoughts published online.

There have been a number of highlights for me, during my time at The Digital Fix. I've had the opportunity to create writing passion projects - my revisits of The X Files, Twin Peaks and now Game of Thrones have opened up new interest and opportunities. I've started reviewing Big Finish content, some of which I've shared with my own son. Reviewing shows like Dark Matter led to me building up a working relationship with showrunner Joseph Malozzi, a man that really puts the effort in for the fans and is a pleasure to interview. And he hasn't been the only one. I've has the opportunity to interview film and TV composers like Jeff Russo and Adam Dorn and last year achieved the dream of interviewing Walter Koenig and Armin Shimerman during Destination Star Trek.

The two things that really feel quite special about The Digital Fix are its ability to give new writers opportunities and its ethic. It isn't a click bait site, it doesn't post sensationalist of false content. It focuses on great film, music, TV, gaming and general geek content but it does it with a conscience, promoting a whole range of social issues without ever coming across as a platform to preach. And much of that is down to the site's editor Colin Polonowski, who's an absolute pleasure to work with. Colin will support you ever step of the way.

So if you want to write, write. And The Digital Fix is a great place to find your feet. Here's to it's 20th birthday.

Tamara Schlesinger

Musician currently releasing solo work as MALKA, previously of 6 Day Riot (and one of our favourite people in the word!). Follow Tamara on Twitter: @malkamakesmusic

I am lucky enough to have been championed and supported by The Digital Fix throughout my musical career. It means the world to me as an artist to have had the reviews, features and interviews over the years. It really has been so key for me to have had the coverage and to get my music out there. I have also had the chance to write for The Digital Fix. It has been wonderful to have had the support to be able to get my thoughts out to the world about the changing landscape of the music industry from an independent artist perspective. A massive thanks to Colin and all at Digital Fix. You are amazing and long may you continue!

Nick Bryan

TV Editor 2013. Author or a number of brilliant books including the Hobson & Choi series. Follow Nick on Twitter: @NickMB

The Digital Fix might've hosted more of my writing than any other venue on the internet, including my own website. Even though I've moved on from reviewing other people's creative output to producing my own, the chance to develop my skills in forensic dissection so I could viciously pull apart my own stuff proved invaluable. Might've also delayed a few releases, but ultimately for the best.

Cheers to site overlord Colin, one of the nicest people on the internet, as well as my initial editor, the fantastic Amy, and everyone else I worked with on the TV section. As I never pursued the deadline-hassled journo dream any further, writing reams of regular episode reviews for TDF was my closest encounter, and it was just as nerveshreddingly exhilarating as I hoped.

Gary Couzens

The Digital Fix writer since 2000 and published author of MANY short stories! Follow Gary on Twitter: @gjcouzens1

It won't be very long before we have to explain to younger readers what a DVD was, let alone Usenet. But it was via Usenet newsgroups that I first became aware of what was then called DVD Times. Colin and other then contributors were all regular posters and one day I followed a link and found the site. I contacted Colin and on 20 March 2000 my first review went live, of Fox Lorber's DVD of Eric Rohmer's Chloe in the Afternoon (the film's US title). Over 1300 reviews and nineteen years later, I'm still here, in what is now the film and television sections of The Digital Fix, and happy to continue. I've never been the most mainstream of reviewers, but I can claim to be thorough in coverage of my particular specialist areas, of which Australian cinema is the biggest one.

Michael Brooke

Reviewer from 1999 until 2009. Now a film historian and DVD/Blu-ray producer at the BFI. Follow Michael on Twitter: @marbleicehook

At the start of 1999, I barely knew what a DVD was, and aside from innumerable unsigned repertory cinema programme notes I’d published nothing that could legitimately be called film criticism. Now, I’m a full-time film historian and DVD/Blu-ray producer, and it’s impossible to exaggerate just how pivotal The Digital Fix was in making this career switch. I was attracted to DVD Times (as was) because the calibre of its best writers (Gary Couzens, the late Mike Sutton) was distinctly above average, and between 1999 and 2002 I wrote something like 250 DVD reviews. None paid more than the occasional freebie disc, but for once the much-discredited cliché about “writing for exposure” really did make a difference, as these pieces loomed large in a portfolio that I submitted as part of a successful BFI job application in 2002, and the experience of critically examining hundreds of DVDs stood me in very good stead when I produced my own first efforts in 2006. Would any of this have happened if The Digital Fix had never existed? I’ve no idea, but there’s a real possibility that the answer is “no” – so many heartfelt thanks, Colin, and here’s to the next twenty years.

Eden Penketh

Reviewer on Gaming @ The Digital Fix since 2018. Follow Eden on Twitter: @MonkeyMagicEden

I've not been writing for The Digital Fix for too long, but it's been great so far. It's my first ever go at writing on a semi-professional level, so jumping onto a site with such an established history was daunting at first, but Colin and the rest of the writers here do a good job of making it easy to join in and and help fill the site with interesting things for everyone to read. Here's hoping for another twenty years!

Ian Sandwell

Then, music sub-editor, now Deputy Movies Editor @ Digital Spy! Follow Ian on Twitter: @ian_sandwell

I will forever be grateful to The Digital Fix for giving me my first taste of the online journalism world, helping me build experience of everything from interviews and junkets to building PR relationships that serves me well to this day in my career. Under the watchful eye of Douglas Baptie, AKA The Commander, my time on the music team saw them trust in me enough to have a more senior role within the brilliant team, leading to award-winning success. I may be biased, but it was fully deserved.

Max Mazonowicz

Current editor of Music @ The Digital Fix and interviewer of comedians. You can follow Max on Twitter: @maxmaz

It's my sixth anniversary with The Digital Fix in April, so it's timely to take a look back at what the site has given me. And really it was a chance. Colin (and Douglas at the time) took a punt on a bloke with no writing experience who had just got back into music after a few years adrift. The site has given me a real schooling in writing (thanks Douglas!) and some fantastic opportunities. It's mainly helped me fall back in love with music again, and find myself a genre in country & americana that I just can't get enough of.

As well as interviewing some giants of music (hello David Gray and Right Said Fred) I've spoken to some amazingly talented singers and songwriters (Maren Morris, Natalie Hemby, Margo Price, amongst others) been to Latitude, Green Man, C2C, and other festivals for the site. But my favourite thing so far is getting blocked on Twitter by Boy George for being the slightest bit unkind about his voice. I'm still blocked today, it reminded me that people actually read the crap I write. Humbling, and all thanks to TDF and Colin.

Natalie McCool

One of THE best people working in music today. Follow Natalie on Twitter: @NatalieMcCool

I think it’s wonderful to have so much passion for what you do and Colin @ TDF definitely does! He’s always championed my music on the site and for that I am eternally grateful. So a massive thank you to everyone at The Digital Fix, and here’s to 20 more years!

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