To all those disgruntled ones out there I'd just like to say, every dark and twisty hole is an opportunity to create art.
WARNING: If you've lost your sarcasm translator or joke detector, perhaps it's better to read no further. For your sensitive ego might mistake this light-hearted play with perspective for something it's not. You might see conflict where there need be none, projecting drama where there is merely fun.
You might’ve been surprised / entertained / moved / shocked / impressed / angered or utterly dispassionate by our recent and radically transparent post. We sure triggered some emotional responses and nothing less was expected when we started this trailblazing of sharing our truth. But wow, the impact of all those responses... It's something else. We are moved and grateful to have such interaction with our followers. Yes, the positive AND the negative. Because those who shame online might not realise it, but they have given us something extremely valuable. Ammunition.
We are moved and grateful to have such interaction with our followers. Yes, the positive AND the negative.
We've learned from fellow captains out here on the dark Amsterdam sea that starting a business under the stars comes with the necessary financial haggling in the first three years. You take risks, you take hits. And when you loose a battle you either swim or die.
We've chosen to keep swimming, softly hearing Dory whispering in the background of our minds. We are working our asses off to get one butt cheek closer to resolving our outstanding treaties (to remain in our pirate theme) in our perfectionist minds checking off that list in chronological order.
It's one thing that any fresh captain out there has to deal with the big fish wiggling their butts in between their carefully planned and fair financial strategy. They have the funds and weight to hustle before those who don't have the same means and the cover of red tape to extend their payment terms twice over. There's really little us small fish can do about that.
But we're pretty surprised to discover that for something which is apparently so common, those in debt are often shamed, threatened, violated... Behaviour that truly doesn't solve anything, now does it. And so we wonder, is it merely ignorance of the effect of this behaviour that drives those doing the threatening or is it something else?
I asked when the music industry stopped being about the music and there was someone who asked in return under which rock I have been living.
Is it true, have I been too naive? Ok, I know I’m a hopeless idealist, and true again I wasn’t there when they first started producing classical sheet music en masse in the late 1800s. But is that really when it started? If you’d ask me we’ve been gathering far longer to watch musical artists perform, and that live music industry has existed for two very clear reasons: the absolute beauty of a musical performance, and the willingness to contribute to the development and maintenance of that artistic expression.
Is that not all about the music?
I have experienced this world from “the other side” as a music lover, a raver from the heart, dancing my heart out in deep gratitude and admiration for the depth and quality of music that is created and shared with us. The enjoyment and bewilderment of what those beats could do to dissolve the tension in my body, how the bass seemed to obliterate my worries and connect me with the bodies around me, all moving in one rhythm.
Ok romantic storyteller in check.. MOST move in one rhythm, and those that seem to always be one skip before the beat are the most beautiful of all on the dance floor. Because they embody exactly that little piece of magic that I came to admire so about nightlife culture - you can be who you want to be, exactly how you wish to express yourself. And it’s that release of daily theatre, playing the perfect colleague or the loyal friend at the cost of who people truly are, that I cherish. Conversations are open, connections are honest, and everyone feels the love of the moment (without making it a tiresome game of give and take).
Sure there are drugs involved for some people - although you might be surprised by reality if you’re one of those prejudiced to believe that everybody uses drugs on the dance floor. While the general vibration is definitely influenced by the mix of it all, there are those free spirits among the crowd who relish in the opportunity to truly be naked in their expression. Free of filters, free of substances, free of thoughts and insecurities. Suddenly a rigid society of judgement makes way for a playful environment of exploration and being a weirdo is not something to worry about. Most likely because everyone gets their freak on for the moment.
As we let loose the reigns and give way to the moment we find ourselves united in a release from daily turmoil and a love for music.
Suddenly a rigid society of judgement makes way for a playful environment of exploration and being a weirdo is not something to worry about.
So yes, I do wonder when this all stopped being about the music. For me then at least, the night, raving and the music industry, are about so much more than making money. It IS about the music. And connection. And creativity. Call me a softy or a naive dreamer, but I don’t follow how - for some - money became so important that it seems to be the only way people can still measure value. And so this toxic value system sucks all the colour out of pretty much any creative industry, until we're better off just calling it all industry. Homogenised, cold, living off the loss of others. Perhaps this is a frustration stirring more internally than externally.
Somehow we overlooked the small letters in signing up to change the dance scene, that it would try even harder to change us.
Those who scream the loudest are used to getting what they want, and quite honestly it makes us sick to our stomachs that we are at times forced to comply. Somehow we overlooked the small letters in signing up to change the dance scene, that it would try even harder to change us.With such a rotten value system you infect others, and yes we have to admit that we have surrendered our values to this toxic powerplay at times as well. What’s the alternative? Well we’ve tried a few:
Let's be honest from the heart
Result: Whatever you say can and will be used against you. This ain’t no joke people! Well intended conversation to reach a compromise quickly turns sour after you realise it was all an attempt to get under your skin. Your honesty can easily be twisted into lies by those not willing to believe you are truly trying, and deem your best as simply not good enough.
We trust our values, let's not comply!
Result: Pirates are not the only ones with sly games! However, they do lack the expensive lawyers who quickly came to teach us that values are of little importance if you can’t back them up with the proper funds to protect your valuable ass.
Let's not comply by following the rules
Result: Pirates at the heart we may be, we know how to play by the book! If those fancy lawyers can conjure up these little rules to outsmart us we can learn to outsmart them. Too bad rules appear to be more flexible than reliable and the winner is the one who can afford the best rule bender or the most mysterious debt collector.
Going for the righteous deal
Result: You can’t teach those who don’t want to learn about righteous values that won’t progress any of their plans.
A shared investment in a shared vision for the future? "Sure I believe, as long as you pay me" Benefit for the community of Amsterdam? “They don’t know what’s good for them, we know better.” Helping people to be more free? “GOD NO! Who wants a society of people that think for themselves?!”
You must think by now I’m exaggerating. Perhaps not all debt situations are handled like this. I have to admit I added the pirate in there for a sense of adventure and maybe because I've started to connect to that freedom fighter within me.
Are you in some way changing the scene from the inside out? Let's connect! Let's strengthen our work through collaboration. Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
To cover the favourite argument of the sceptic: “your debts are your own fault, others shouldn’t suffer your consequences” I can only say that I hope your (future) business has someone who knows how to take on a long term collaborative perspective, because you seem to lack anything that resembles strategy (or any knowledge of our financial institution). If the target is to repay all debt then the first and major goal is to stay afloat, keep your head above water and keep the business running so you can make the money needed to pay those debts. If you can manage to not sink under the pressure of everyone’s impatience you've already got our deep respect! - hang in there pirate, your days will come - Then you need to follow up with a strategy and structure to guide your precious earnings into the rightful rescue boats off to those deserving islands. Dripping in bits to keep as many creditors satisfied as possible.
If you ask me, those who remain compassionate, remember the vision that started it all and take on their share of consequences without projecting all their drama online where it really only spreads more negativity, should always get their refund first. But who am I, but a humble storyteller aspiring to unite forces in working for a brighter horizon.
And so you figure out the puzzle of balancing daily costs with weekly earnings, as you fight like a pirate with those who want your money and those who don’t want to give it to you, because -after ignoring all your warnings- they discovered that being a promotor on open sea can be a dangerous endeavour. And so they go hide in their tropical cave where no Royal Navy can reach them, let alone our blackened, creaking ship.
Cover: Victoria Borodinova
In tekst: Evgeni Tcherkasski