2011: What a Year

a letter from editor-in-chief bill bodkin

Wow.

It’s really the best word for me to describe what 2011 was for Pop-Break.com. It perfectly embodies the constant awe I’m in of this site — of its accomplishments, of its staff and of the dedicated readership it has.

It’s almost too difficult for me to wrap my brain around it. Just one year ago, this site was still known as The B&B Entertainment Blog, a WordPress.com blog, that, to its credit, had amassed more than 100,000 readers in about 16 months and was really gaining some momentum. We had lofty goals for the site — a new name, becoming a dot-com, a new design, adding new writers, diversifying content. We really wanted to up our game.

Did I think we’d achieve these goals? Yeah … kinda.

And in 2011, we didn’t just accomplish those goals, we went far beyond any of our expectations. I could go on and on about the cool stuff that happened to us this year — the music festivals and concerts, the interviews, the exclusives and so on. However, there are two things I want to talk about that in this piece — that have motivated, inspired and moved me about this site in 2011.

The first thing I’d like to touch on is what makes Pop-Break tick: the amazing staff we have. Top to bottom, I love these people. They are some of the most talented, creative, ambitious and awesome people I’ve ever worked with. And the funny thing is: One year ago, I didn’t even know half of them … and I still haven’t met a number of them in-person yet.

Not only have they upped the site’s game in terms of their writing, but they’ve opened my eyes to new bands, movies and, of course, Doctor Who. I learned about ’70s fashion, I was dazzled by concert photography, I was schooled in the world of reggae, punk, indie music, the Asbury Park music scene and why The King’s Speech shouldn’t have won best picture (but did). I discovered the indie scene in China and the rich musical history of cities across the U.S. The worlds of anime and wrestling were brought back to my mind after years of dormancy. And every week, I discovered lost songs and deliciously tragic movies. And I learned how to promote concerts — sorry, but I gotta plug these shows.

This staff has made me fall in love with this site in a new way — I get to discover new things every day. This isn’t just my personal writing reclamation site anymore. This is special. This is a magazine that I’m not just the editor of, but a fan of too. And that’s pretty cool.

The second thing I’d like to talk about is a pretty personal thing. People always ask me about why I work as much as I do on this site. And to be honest, I do work a lot on it. Maybe too much. But the answer is quite simple, and his name is Bill Bodkin, my dad.

Since the site debuted in September 2009, my fatherwas its biggest supporter. Go through any old post, and you’ll see a comment from him. Sometimes they made little to no sense, most of the time they insulted Brent Johnson, but no matter what, they were always there. He was our first PR guy — passing our weekly newsletters along to my extended family, his former co-workers and colleagues and his friends from far and wide. My dad loved this site as much as I do. As the site grew, his pride for us grew with it. He reveled in the same excitement we did when we landed a big interview or hit another readership milestone. He was right there with us, every step of the way.

But on July 7, 2011, my dad passed away. He was a giant of man, a great, wonderful man, and there’s not a day goes by when I don’t miss him. It’s just really hard knowing that the man you looked up to, the man you admired, the man you aspired to be like, is gone.

On the day of his funeral, I made my dad three promises — that I’d take care of my mom, that I’d be a good husband and father, and that I’d work hard to make him proud of me. I try hard every day to keep these promises.

And as silly as it may sound, this site is my promise to him. This is my vehicle to make him proud of me. And that’s why I do what I do. Everything I do on this site is for him. It’s why I agonize over every word I type, why I work ’till all hours on posts, why I chase down the interviews we do, why I am never satisfied and am always looking to improve this site. I do it to make him proud. I made him a promise, and I am going to keep it.

So, 2011, you were a year of great joy and great sorrow for me, but for Pop-Break, it was a year of triumph. We did things none of us expected, went places we never though we’d get into, and talked with people who were well above our pay grade.

But 2012, I have this feeling and it’s a really good one. There’s an excitement among the people who write here, an undeniable electricity, and I dig it.

For those of you helped us reach 400,000 reads, who took a chance on us and let us interview your band or got us into your screening or into your concert — thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have all been a major part of why we rocked 2011 like a hurricane and why in 2012, Pop-Break is going to go beyond thunderdome.

Bill Bodkin is the owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, however, he is the proud father of a beautiful daughter, Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

1 COMMENT

  1. Very nice piece about your Dad, he supported me through a very difficult time we were neighbors, I will always remember him as a giving caring person, he is very much missed.
    Chris F.

  2. Your Dad was the greatest! I have nothing but wonderful memories of sitting on the stoop with him at Grandma B’s house on Glover St. when I was little. He took me for ice cream and read stories to me. He was patient and kind. He was so deserving of the family he got and I know he is with you everyday.

  3. Bill,
    Incredible piece. A tribute to your dad, my brother Bill. A truly interesting man. A great husband,dad and brother. Marie, I remember Grandma B’s stoop very well.You got the ice cream and we got the Yoo – Hoos..
    Bill, your dad was very proud of you,spoke about you all the time and really enjoyed working with you and your friends and co workers.
    I am so glad that we all had some time at your wedding.

  4. Wonderful writing as usual Bill… your dad is still smiling down on you and reveling in all the successes you have had with this blog. Best of luck in 2012…. Mike and I love reading this blog and can’t wait to see what directions it goes down in the future.