16 Mar An Important Message from the Scum Gentry
An Important Message from the Scum Gentry
Dear Patrons of The Scum Gentry Subversive Propaganda Machine, please allow me—your hunched editor-in-chief behind the scenes—to be myself for a change and disperse of the usual whimsical and hallucinatory playacting fare that has up until now characterized most of our editorials sent directly to your minds’ eyes and ears and inboxes. Those of you with more than a passing interest in this thing will have no doubt been aware of our sudden and unannounced (though not wholly uncharacteristic, it pains me to concede) absence from your screens for some time now. Indeed, for weeks I have been struggling with dragging myself to the desk and sitting down to explain myself—my failure to face even this most miniscule of duties in itself proof of my own fundamental unsuitability for the role. The time has come to face facts. It’s been time and then some. I’ve spent too much time already fighting the evidence of my own persistent failures to perform at the duties demanded of me here.
The fact is, since launching with this latest iteration of the great mutant bitch which is The Scum Gentry, little has gone according to plan. Responsibility for that is solely my own, for a variety of reasons, but paramount amongst them—in essence—is the simple cardinal foible of trying to do more than one is actually capable of. It’s a recipe for disaster, a fast track to spurned ambition and bitter disappointment. You hatch a plan and it all makes sense—as long as you do A, B, and C, well then X, Y, and Z will be your reward. Except on a good day you can just about manage all three, the rest of the time two is a decent average, and on your worst days you struggle just to get through A. To start with, it went like this…heavily involved in the redesign of the site as we prepared for our impending re-launch last year—and also obliged to maintain an unrelated publishing business on the side (a much less artistically significant endeavour and therefore not coincidentally a profitable one—a sour and familiar formula to many of you, I’m sure, The Hack’s First Law) both for my own day-to-day livelihood and to fund the necessary budget that a thing like this requires—I neglected to dedicate the time and attention required to secure a strong and committed central editorial team. When re-launch came, I was to take a background role—as the plan went—co-ordinating and managing the various areas of the system, while others would give the artistic work itself the close reading and attention that it needs. Unfortunately, with mere days to go before we returned to action, the fine and gifted fellow who was to oversee the vast majority of the creative content was forced to pull out for personal reasons. This was understandable and a potential eventuality that we were both aware of long before the fact, however in my corner-cutting frenzy of running to and fro from one thing to the next and not doing any of them quite right, I assured myself that everything would be fine and all of it would all work out exactly as planned. Murphy’s Law.
So Ok, I reasoned, I’d return to hands-on Arts Editor stuff. These were after all, the duties I’d always performed reasonably well with this thing and certainly enjoyed a damn sight more than the facts and figures gig of administrative work. Yes, the new machine was bigger and wider and more demanding, but as soon as I had the spare time I’d get to finding someone else to take over again with the art. As long as we had the money train and the budget for a hearty and robust marketing strategy I would be fine neglecting my administrative duties for a short period of time. Murphy’s Law.
When it rains it pours. Due to personal ineptitude, excessive corner cutting, and my own severely inconsistent and erratic management style, my beloved money train, the pride and joy of my fatted bank account those preceding few years, came crashing off the tracks within weeks of our relaunch. I lost it all for stupid reasons, entirely avoidable reasons though of course not after the fact, and if I hadn’t been so swept up in preparing to re-launch the Gentry I could have seen the signs in advance and signalled forward to the money train conductor to pull the money switch and divert the money rail in this over-exerted money train metaphor. By now, I’m sure you’re seeing the pattern far better than I did. Because even then I still didn’t see it all. We still had a few further fathoms to fall.
I’d just sunk the entirety of my nest egg into developing and launching our new site, I had enough to survive a few more months on my own dime but after that I was due a sore reckoning with that old frenemy we call destitute poverty. Ok then, so I still had time. To A, B, and C, add D, E, and F. Do the duties, get the reward, yadda yadda, the plan makes sense. You just have to do it is all. Luckily, I had, after a year or two of wallowing in more liquid cash than I knew what to do with, amassed a not insubstantial pharmacy box of hard narcotics, a treasure trove that the mere possession of which gave me a strange and perverse joy solely in and of itself. Well you can imagine how that came into play in those so crucial months that followed…
Now at this point, I should explain my final and most fundamental driving ambition in life, the one which underscores all others and the neglect of which renders life itself hardly worth living at all. If A was the Gentry, and B was the Money Train, then C was—and is—my efforts to overcome a life-long and debilitatingly humiliating struggle with mental illness. Like many of us driven to the creative vocations, I experienced a variety of childhood traumas in my formative years, some singular mindlessly-destructive cataclysms, others slow and insidious burns that played out sickly over the course of years, some certainly quite unique to my own situation and others tragically all too common. If my entire life thus far could be summarized in one single word, honed down in blistering efficiency to a singular definition, that word would be Trauma. Trauma is a great big powerful wave and its colour is black—which is the colour of secrets, the colour of denial. Trauma is a secret society none of whose members ever asked to join, a vast cult that has infiltrated every level and every class of every country in the world. Trauma is why the past repeats, why there are innocent children in cages in America right now or in factories in the East and why many of them will suffer for the rest of their lives no matter how better their material circumstances may eventually become. Trauma is an old, old acquaintance of the world and the child of trauma is mental illness.
To jury-rig a sentiment from the Heartbreakers, No, I won’t back down. I don’t believe in any deity, any everlasting iteration of the mind after death. The meek inherit the same damned earth as the rest of us. I’ve been meek and I’ve seen it. And so I refuse to leave this earth without somehow by some piecemeal amount making up for the suffering I’ve endured, the humiliations most people couldn’t imagine, bitter and punishing defeat again and again and again. Perennial basic needs chronically unfulfilled over years and years and years. Stand me up at the gates of hell but I won’t back down. Fuck off with that shit. Enough is enough.
So what I’m saying is, basically, that these struggles of mine that mean so little to anyone or anything in the grand old scheme of it all, have never been something that I’ve endured with passive acceptance. I’ve pored through all the books, invested a lot of money and a lot of time and certainly a lot of painful emotion doing all the therapy, I’ve done all the meditation and all the yoga and delved into all the other fringe woo bullshit where the deepest truths are nonetheless sometimes hiding buried underneath all the feel-good mindless marketable fluff. If I get through C then I get to Z. The plan is solid. Provided I can find the time.
But I couldn’t. Not with trying to do all of it at once, though I tried anyway. The fact that we were here at all for the past year whenever we actually were is proof of that. The fact that we were so inconsistent and unreliable with it all is proof that it was all just a little too much to be actually feasible. That’s on me.
I’ll cut to the chase, at long long last. I’m pulling the plug on this thing once again. I don’t want to but I have to. It’s the only way any of this can actually work out in the long run. I need to take both the time for powering up a new money train (the mouth of my wallet waters at the thought and my brow-beaten bank account rumbles like an unfilled belly) and to do the hard, challenging—but oh so rewarding—mental health work that I have to if I’m to tolerate this crazy fucking heaven-and-hell jungle world that we each snapped out of the void of nothingness and into consciousness to find ourselves in, unasked for, undeserved, but ours to inhabit all the same. I’ll need time to build a budget and a team and when we return most likely it will be somebody else in the main seat devoting their attentions to the art. That job has been a privilege and one that I will always be grateful for, but everything must be allowed its right and healthy end or it gets a different and unasked-for one instead anyway, because the end must always come. The end—or an end—is the only certainty there is. Murphy’s Law.
I want to thank all of the wonderful artists, be they writers, musicians, painters, film-makers and more, who contributed their marvels and gave life to this effort of ours. There are so many of you at this stage that I couldn’t list you all, but if you’ve even had a single item on our site then you are amongst them and those of you who have contributed again and again over the years, you have my love and gratitude forever. Likewise, the various contributors to the behind the scenes machine, the artists, developers, editors, and administrators, have my eternal thanks for what they have given over the years as they flitted on and off the scene. Each of you contributed a unique flavour that was solely your own to the various iterations of this lumbering babbling tottering tower of ours. Thank you.
Finally, I want to thank my partner in crime and the other longest-standing member of the team, my brother Zack for his commitment and efforts in curating and overseeing the non-fiction portions of our work at The Scum Gentry Journal. Those of you who have found yourselves nodding along in increasing agreement with his own writings as I have will be glad to know that he will continue to platform and promote his work in the coming months and weeks ahead. In fact, he has just released a book which we will share shortly for those of you who would like to support his endeavours and keep up to date with his inside scoop. Clever chap that he is…
In the meantime, we’ll be publishing the remaining few items in our slush pile—those which were due to be or should have been published months ago—with a new piece each day until we’re empty. Probably it’ll all wrap up in the space of a couple of weeks. And then we’re powering down for the foreseeable future. If I had to call it I’d give it a year or two. Watch this space though, because we’re not dead yet. Consider it a warning.
Ok then patrons, please look after yourself and refrain from coughing on each other. And remember, if you insist on imbibing Corona, please make sure it is strictly of the beery kind. Stick a wad of lime in the neck, why don’t you. We could all be dead tomorrow.
So long my friends,