I was checking through my social media backlog this morning and LinkedIn informed me that it is currently my two year work anniversary with Chaos Hour.com!
This got me to thinking as this is pretty much a big deal for me socially as well as professionally. Not only does this mean that I have been with Chaos Hour; watching it grow and supporting it through one site overhaul, a Kickstarter project, commanding a team of over 30 writers at one time, helping launch a very successful Twitch.TV channel and attending several LANs and conventions over the course of 2 years… but I have also been with my partner for almost 3 years!
I don’t usually talk about my partner, especially as we work together professionally so we try to keep that sort of thing separate, but when the two are inexorably linked like this, it’s difficult not to. So, insert origin story below (feel free to skip to the bottom for fun photos and competitions if you don’t want to get diabetes from the sweetness).
We met, of all places, in a video game shop. It was a few days after my birthday and I had been out the night before so I was somewhat disheveled. My hair could use a new coat of dye, I was wearing a stained old hoody and ripped jeans and the bags under my eyes were enough that they could have taken me backpacking around the world twice over. Needless to say, I wasn’t ‘looking for love’. So I had decided that I was going to grab whatever I could stomach from the local supermarket then head over to the game store to get some new video games with my birthday money and vegetate in front of the TV until my hangover decided to leave me alone.
I ended up buying Ghostbusters and Portal 2 for the xBox. This got me chatting to the very cute video game store clerk who asked me if I had played the first Portal game. I said I had, but on the PC. We then started talking about PC games and how I reviewed them on my website and loved RPGs. I ended up signing up for a reward card in his store, which I never normally do unless the person serving me has been particularly nice. A few days later I had a random Facebook friend request from the exact same cute video game store clerk!
Being the social idiot that I am, I had absolutely no idea why he would ad me, a complete stranger; so I did a bit of digging around his profile. I soon found out that he ran a website which published video games reviews and deduced that this MUST have been the reason for him adding me. So, I sent him an email which basically read like a job application, stating that I would love to write for Chaos Hour one day. Being the honest guy that he is, he quickly emailed me back saying that, while he would love for me to write for his site, that wasn’t why he was getting in touch (cue an extreme amount of blushing from myself).
What proceeded was about 3 months about what my Nan would call ‘courting’ until we actually started going out. I went to my first music festival with him, I went to my first LAN party, we had chats that went long into the night and went on random adventures in the middle of the night just because.
A year or so later, I did start writing for Chaos Hour and the site was launched officially at Cardiff Comic Expo in 2012. Thanks to my experience as an editorial assistant in HarperCollins, I quickly became ‘Senior Editor’ while he took on the business side of running the website (i.e. getting advertising and marketing contacts, building the actual site and getting prizes for giveaways). I won’t lie and say it was easy, it was pretty difficult a lot of the time. We would fight about silly things like website layout and which writers should write which articles; the site was (and still is to an extent) a financial strain, so dates would be replaced with prizes for competitions and giveaways; but we both managed to find a way to keep our personal life separate from work. He now has a great team of friends who advise him and help him with ‘website politics’ and while I pitch in myself, my place is primarily with the writers and we try our best not to ‘take work home with us’ (though we do still play games together and ask each others opinions before we write up our reviews).
I love Chaos Hour and can’t wait to see it move on to the next step. I owe a lot to Chaos Hour, but I was already attending conventions and press events before I started there. While the work I do with them is nothing new, the relationship I gained from it is completely unique and I have learned so much about myself from working with my partner, so I can’t thank it enough.
Right, soppy talk over! We decided to have an impromptu Chaos Hour get together the other day with some of the lovely staff of the editorial team, so I thought I would share that with you. Also, I have a little competition to mark my anniversary with Chaos Hour, including an Amazon voucher, some exclusive merch and artwork. So scan to the bottom for more details!