Saturday, July 13, 2013

Kick in the Teeth

I have a real moral dichotomy with Kickstarter. If you’re a musician without a record label, an amateur without a publishing contract or just a wannabe with some chutzpah, then if you can persuade people in this current climate to part with cash you deserve to get what you ask for and produce the thing you’re promising.

However, if you are independently wealthy and you view Kickstarter as a way to do something you are not confident about spending your own money on, then I start to have a serious problem. I actually find it morally reprehensible for a rich person to use Kickstarter, because, you know, you don’t fucking need to. I actually have a serious problem with anyone who has money resorting to this kind of ‘begging’ – it’s an insult to all the people who genuinely ‘need’ your money because they can’t afford to do it. You could argue that if they can’t afford it then they have no right to do it, but what’s the point of Kickstarter if it’s just going to be for people who would rather use your money than their own?

I first got pissed off about this new kind of funding stream when some US producer managed to, in my humble opinion, scam $2.5million to do a movie based on a failed TV show. I read in comments on blogs and Tumblr about this and kind of gave a silent cheer when people started suggesting that the $2.5m might have been better spent on charitable concerns, because you know, raising that kind of money to finance a film isn’t going to put food on the table of the poor. But that’s a different issue and nerds and geeks will justify their passion even if it means someone dies of starvation in a country that isn’t in Africa.

The thing that has tweaked my ire this time around is actually two things. The first is the fact I spent nearly an entire day putting together, filling in and ensuring the application for a grant to help my new business was faultless only to discover a week later that it had been rejected and a reason was not offered – the people who dish out new business grants don’t actually tell you why they’ve rejected your application, so you don’t know what to do ‘right’ next time you want to be rejected…
A friend suggested I go to Kickstarter and I looked at him like he’d just suggested shagging me or my wife. The logic behind my reasons for not thinking this was viable were clear – I’m setting up a limited company, I dread to think what the bullshit involved in getting independent funding for it from a thousand people might entail – it’s bloody hard enough at the moment without muddying the waters even more.

The other reason was one I didn’t go into. I had just read an interview with a famous writer who claimed that Kickstarter was the way forward; the way for things to be done, now and in the future – presumably with no threat to his own bank balance? This is where I have a massive problem; a friend said he saw a project by Zack Braff on there; you know the guy, he was in Scrubs for years, makes indie films and I’m thinking probably is quite independently wealthy… So why is he wanting to gamble with your money? And more importantly, why are people allowing him to gamble with their money when he clearly has enough of his own?

I know a musician whose Kickstarter was a success and it allowed him to record his first album in years; 1000+ fans were delirious and it helped fund some tours and the chance of another new album in the coming year or so. This guy hadn’t been near a label in years and the best he could do was probably some bedroom tapes sent to a small but select mailing list – suddenly the 1980s has been reinvented… But the point is I believe that if 1000+ people paid for his new album, got it and everyone was happy then fine, they have something for their investment even if it could have been an album of him farting into a goat’s mouth. Would he have released that album without Kickstarter? Probably not. Could Zack Braff do his project without Kickstarter? Probably with the small change in his wallet.

I’m not suggesting Kickstarter should prevent wealthy people from making the same appeals as amateurs or poor people, but I do sort of think there should be a disclaimer that says, “You are aware that this is an independently wealthy individual asking for you to take the risk on his idea rather than him use any of his extensive wealth!?” Then if people want to invest in it, then they deserve everything they might get.

***

Summer has been going strong for nearly two weeks now and the forecast suggests that it could last at least two more weeks. I said not so long ago that this year reminds me of 1975, the year people forget because they were either not born or 1976 is far more prominent. 1975 was a late, long hot summer. If we’re following those kind of patterns, then 2014 is going to molten.

The irony is that for most of the last fortnight I have struggled to breathe very well; it’s in weather like this that COPD really plays its hand and despite having wonderful weather when we were in Scotland last year, it was much easier to breathe because we were by the coast. This has made us change our long term plans again…

Our dream when we were in our 30s was to go and live in the West Highlands; but during our 40s we decided that this was impractical as a retirement idea, especially with Mr Healthy here. Dorset became the new favourite, but then we saw how many snobs lived there so we scrubbed that idea. After spending a glorious week in Wigtown last August, we’ve changed to moving to the south west of Scotland and probably not after we retire! If my business takes off, it doesn’t matter where I am as long as I have space and broadband, so it like doesn’t matter where I am…

I’m sitting here writing this on the patio; the temperature is already 30 degrees and it’s not 11.30 yet. I’m sweating like a rancid clunge and we have a weekend full of stuff, the centrepiece of which is the wife’s brother Neil and his wedding to the lovely Jenny. Those of you who have known us for years will probably be amazed that Neil is getting married, what with him only being 7, but of course he’s only been 7 in my eyes; he’s even younger in the wife’s! He is now 37 and the weather forecast is perfect for what we hope will be as auspicious as day as the one I had on September 13th 1986.

Effercio et Ineptias

·         There might be podcasts…
·         Listening to Triple S on the headphones; it’s wonderful Teutonic ambient wibbling about Antarctica and is absolutely perfect as background music.
·         I am reading nothing at the moment; I have been listening to Salem’s Lot on this here netbook as an audiobook.
·         We’ve had strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb so far this summer. We had four redcurrants and we’ll have a lot of blackcurrants. The spuds look patchy. The tomatoes are better than I have ever seen then, as are the beetroots. We have four strange things growing among said beetroots – they look like spinach, taste a bit like spinach but are developing large white bulbs – like white beetroot – at the bases. It’s generating a lot of fun speculation and I want to eat one!
·         I’ve just about given up on television…

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