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26 June 2007

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It took me three reads to get it. You're talking about what GBS's audience wants to hear too, aren't you? I'm looking forward to part 2.

The pictures are stunning. Alan is getting better with time.

Is it my imagination or have all the GBS sites gone as dead as doornails? Does anyone still complain to you about the OKP or do you just not post the complaints anymore? If some fan did start a site where people brought their brains to the table to talk about GBS would you post there too?

Carole

Good reading, Carole. Yes, I'm talking about GBS's audience too, about all audiences. You give your audience what it most wants and/or find an audience that expects what you most want to give.

I agree that Alan is getting better with time, lovely without and more so within.

It wouldn't surprise me if many message boards were running slow now since it's finally summer nearly everwhere and holidays are coming up soon too. There's lots going on and good reason to be spending less time inside in front of a computer screen. Of course, it's raining here right now, so here I am.

People still complain to me about the OKP, but for the most part I don't put many complaints up here. I'll keep saying it as much as I apparently need to say it: So long as the hired admins aren't the ones setting a tone that implies only nitwits could possibly want to be a GBS fan or participate on a GBS site, whatever happens from there reflects primarily on the fans who take part, not on the band members. That's good enough for me.

From what I've seen, it looks as if for the most part there's a genuine enough attempt being made of late to run the place in a straightforward manner. It's still all about making money on the presale tickets and being an effective P.R. tool, but GBS is a business and making money and creating good P.R. buzz is what they should be after doing. I wish them all the success in the world in those endeavours, regardless of whether I happen to think they could go about those endeavours in ways that would be more effective and bring them more success.

I've never bought into the attitude of "I really like you but if you do things I disapprove of I'm going to hope things go so much to shit for you that you're forced to realise how wrong you are and how right I am instead". When I really like someone, I want him to succeed in whatever he does and to be as happy as he can be, whether or not he's getting his success and happiness the way I might think is best for him. The success and happiness he does get are still good. That's part and parcel of really liking someone, in my own opinion.

Of course, that doesn't mean I won't bitch about things now and then when I think those things really are important, only that when it comes to those I care about, I hope for success in spite of choices made as much or more as I hope for success because of choices made.

As much as I'd love to see/read some intelligent and thoughful discussion about GBS, Newfoundland, and points beyond on a message board, I don't think I'd want to be any active part of it, Carole. Pragmatically speaking, you know what kind of crap, and which particular pieces of crap, my participation would most likely draw, the same old suspects (regardless of who they pretended to be this time around) with the same old hatred telling the same old lies for the same old reasons. All of which could quite effectively subvert that intelligent and thoughtful conversation, not-so-coincidentally enough.

But even without the threat of attracting vermin, I still don't think I'd want to go the message-board route anymore. Been there, done that. I learned a great deal from being there and doing that, I met some wonderful people with whom I've got lasting and treasured friendships (along with meeting some who are way more fucked up than I thought people could be - more lessons learned), and despite some bumps and bruises accumulated along the way, there were some really good times. But it's something I think of in terms of "Well, that was surely an interesting experience" these days, not as something that I have a desire to continue doing.

There's a really good message board in the Russell Crowe fan group (actually several, but one that I think is especially appealing) that I read fairly regularly. I like the people, their conversations are intelligent and civilised and wide-ranging, and they seem to have found an admirable balance between online identity and genuine human interaction. But as interesting and often-informative as I find their conversations, I rarely have any urge at all to participate. Though I have been thinking lately it would be polite to simply log and and say thank you every now and then.

I think for me it's largely a matter of vantage point. When I first came across GBS, I knew next to nothing about being a fan, especially being a fan in the midst of other fans. So I explored. Got myself way far down into that midst, online and offline. And as I said, I learned a lot, met people wonderful and terrible, got hurt here and there, and came out of it a bit wiser for the experience. Now I'm standing a few paces back - not really a lurker, since I suppose a real lurker wouldn't be keeping up blog this way - but much more of an observer, with the increased distance definitely making for a clearer view of the larger picture...a better depth of field, in photographic terms.

And for as reluctant as I was about beginning this blog, I have to admit I have come to like it here. There's a genuine and much-appreciated freedom to be found in being able to speak from a place outside the tangle of interactions with often-emotionally-charged fans, and maybe most of all being free from having to endure personal attacks while knowing that those same attacks were also doing damage to others I care about.

This blog is a great place for saying what I want to say without it reflecting on anyone else or interfering in what anyone else is trying to accomplish. Nobody - nobody sane at least - can give anyone else grief because they don't like how I talk about Alan or what kind of photos I take or how many shows I go to or how often I say "fuck" or my opinion that GBS should last only as long as it makes the men of GBS happy. Nobody can get their drawers in a twist because I am "too dominant" on a site in terms of my opinions or attitudes.

If someone doesn't like what I have to say or what I think - if it bothers them how highly I think of Alan Doyle as an artist and as a person - then they don't have to read here. They don't have to see things they don't want to see on message boards - at least not things they don't want to have to see from me - and they don't have to worry about being argued with when they say things they know I'd think were idiotic or cruel.

That last one is a good indicator of my own changes, I suppose. I used to want to argue against the idiotic and the cruel, especially the latter. I used to think answering back could accomplish something constructive, if not with the other person, maybe at least with those reading what that other person had said.

These days, I've come around to accepting the pointlessness of such arguments, though it sure took me a long enough time to get here, probably longer than it took others to get to the same point. People are going to think what they want to think and be what they choose to be; all you can do is say your own piece and focus your own energy on caring about who and what matter to you. The process of learning "not to care" when not caring is what's called for has been interesting, in the most ambivalent sense of that all-encompassing adjective.

There is, I am discovering with embarrassing slowness, a genuine freedom in not caring when that is the reasonable response, a freedom that opens up so much more possibility for caring about those who do deserve such response.

More and more, I like this vantage point. It's a good place to be, for myself and most likely for others as well.

And, of course, those who want to come here to read this blog are free to and are most welcome to do so. It all seems to be working out perfectly in that respect. My newfound freedom from having to worry about who is going to react to what and what kind of crap might ensue from that reaction is something I've come to value a great deal over the past year or so. I don't think the enjoyable aspects of taking part on even the most intriguing and stimulating message board would be worth risking any of that.

But I do think such a board would be good for GBS, good P.R. as a matter of fact, in that it would show publicly that intelligent people who can discuss matters thoughtfully and perceptively (and maybe most important, with kindness and open-mindedness) are also a part of their fan group. I know some of that kind of conversation goes on privately, but the fact that so many people feel the need to keep it private is not what I'd call good P.R.

And, speaking selfishly, I'd love to read such a board.

Part Two coming soon, Carole, when I have a bit more time to write it and get the photos uploaded., which will be soon enough if it keeps raining this hard. I'm glad you enjoyed Part One.

The worst thing a board can do is become boring. That's a death sentence.

You really think so? I don't know...maybe, but I'm not convinced. I used to think the worst thing that could happen to a message board was rampant cruelty, but I've since learned that at least in terms of generating lots of traffic, that's not true. I still think it's true in terms of ultimate damage done, though.

I guess what's considerd the worst mostly depends on what the goal of the message board is in the first place. I'm not at all sure that GBS would be perturbed overmuch by having a boring message board, given some of the alternatives. And as long as the OKP stays boring, it's so much easier to ignore the thing altogether, which I strongly suspect is the most-desired goal from their point of view.

There's still the question of what works the best in terms of the real purpose of the message board - which is, contrary to the apparent opinions of some, to function as positive public relations for the band. Again, I can think of lots of worse things than having new people who come across the OKP think that GBS fans are boring. A cynical person might even say that "boring" is a bit of putting a best foot forward when it comes to some GBS fans.

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