The funeral took place on Saturday (25 March) in the morning. It was a beautiful day. Seán's mum was buried in one of his family graves, at Fernyhalgh. Both family graves are full now, so he'll need a new one...
That is what the graveyard at Fernyhalgh looks like (or, the best shots we could find of it).
I thought I would write this to thank all of you who have been supporting us in small ways and in great.
My fiancé, Seán, gave me some very bad news on Friday at 4:00 in the morning or thereabouts. His mother, Margaret, succumbed to the two cancers that she had had, when the night was darkest, just before dawn on 10 March 2017.
As a background, we first knew of the cancers back in September of 2014, but for a year and a half, no one told us that the cancers were both Stage 4, and therefore terminal. Even if the truth were harder to swallow, I would have preferred that than not to have been told anything.
Then about mid-last month or so (or is it early last month?), Margaret found it difficult to eat or drink. The nurses and the doctor who were sent to her raised red flags that she was on her last legs, and she was sent to the nearest St Catherine's Hospice for the terminally ill. While we knew she would be well taken care of, we also knew that the end was going to come soon.
Seán has now lost both parents, and I have lost the one person whom I could have called my mother. She would have wanted to see us marry and bring grandchildren to the family. We would have loved for her to be their grandmother, but that's not to be.
It is presumed that her funeral would be one, maybe two weeks from now. I don't know. Everything is just a blur and we are weary. Seán and I now only have each other, and we are doing our best to stay as strong as we can. Prayers and thoughts if you please.
This is a very personal rant, with very vivid recollections from my past at times. I know I said I don't do trigger warnings, but I might as well put one here for severe child abuse, as well as the current abuse towards migrants that's going on.
The theme of these past few months has been precisely that for me, graft. Working through what seems to be a complete distaste for everything in life. And like any other artist I will have questioned exactly what I seem to be doing with my life.
Seán has encouraged me to watch The Matrix recently. I know there is a whole juxtaposition between redpills and bluepills -- those who fight for their lives, versus those who seem content to take the shit of this world lying down. It may be cliché but we've found it true in a lot of circumstances. And at several points in our lives we hover between these states of mind -- sometimes it is a joy, sometimes we find it drudgery but are willing to go on, and sometimes we just don't want anything to do with our lives at all.
The way I had been raised made me think for myself and fight for my life. I refuse to go down without a fight, whether it be for my freedom, my dreams, my desire to be with the man I love, whatever. And if I should die, I want to at least know I died trying my damndest.
I've been compelled to write this rant because of the attitudes of people around me. Well, story time. Turn off your lights, turn off your radios, tellies or YouTube or whatever, and listen up. I don't normally tell this to people but I think it's about time I shook off that mantle.
When I got interviewed by @TheInterviewer some time back I only scratched the surface as to what had gone on. The trouble about these things is that so many questions are left unanswered. I mentioned my earliest memory there, being beaten up until I blacked out at the age of 2. I mentioned being beaten up and consistently abused for being a musician. Having my sheet music torn up. I mentioned emotional blackmail. These things happened frequently in the house and I had no one to turn to, not even any authorities. It didn't help that I was a second-class citizen where I grew up. I was born and presumably destined to be a nobody. I get bad flashbacks and nightmares about it. That's the way I am.
But being dragged by the hair time and time again for a second round of beatings after crying alone, pleading to God for mercy and a way out, how would you see a way out?
Short of being held at knifepoint but threatened with death by the very people who could kill you, if you went along with your musical dream, how would you see a way out?
Every death threat, I took as very real, very serious. Every time there were severe beatings and bruises, they were always covered up -- but I always feared that each episode would be the last in my life. My dreams would be cut short, so what's the point of fighting anyway?
That was the kind of reasoning people around me -- my parents, the state where I grew up -- wanted me to have. They wanted me to capitulate and follow their moulds. The only artists that exist here, they said, were people of a certain ethnicity, a certain background and a certain affluence about themselves. The first-class citizens.
I was meant to do something that my parents had predestined for me. They were only perpetuating the moulds.
But outside of the survival mentality that I developed on my own, I couldn't help but think, what was in the minds of my abusers? My parents, by their ethnicity, would have been second-class citizens like myself. They knew what deprivation really meant. Both parents went through abuse in their own right. You would think that being in such a background means you wouldn't want this to happen to your children. This was not the case with my parents. And this was most certainly not the case with the vast majority of people around me either. In my mind, I felt there was something more sinister afoot.
Cutting out 370 or so pages worth of Southeast Asian historical skullduggery, there was a heady mix of racial tension and class struggle everywhere I went. People wanted me to excel so that I could be on par with the first-class citizens -- but on their own terms. Not mine. Theirs. They just wouldn't fucking grow up, get over their prejudices about which race was better, what people were meant to do when they grew up, what girls were meant to do when they grew up. And the problems in question really run deep.
I mean, try to picture Victorian England without the charm of Charles Dickens. It's hard, solid graft with very little to no pay. Your rights as a human being aren't gonna be respected unless you toe the line, or unless you're part of the genteel upper class. An Inspector Calls, a short play I really enjoy, written by J.B. Priestley, puts it all into perspective. But minus the supernatural element, it's hell. And that sort of mentality, that's where I grew up.
No, I'm not taking that shit anymore.
I'm not just a migrant. I'm not just a nobody, not just a second-class citizen, not just someone who is bound for a mediocre job. I'm not a sponge, nor a leech. I want to give back with every skill in my bones. I want to work my sinew so that something can be made better, however small. I'm fucking made for more. My life has value, for fucks sake.
Composing for me has been (and still is) hard graft. Criticism came aplenty. Inspiration ran dry. My coffers are empty. But the criticism and the upheaval and the setbacks and the failures and the extreme lack of pay are still a million times better than the alternative, having to toe the line with my abusers. And it all started when the music of Kingdom Hearts captured me and I felt this strong feeling within me that I could do the same.
But I must not be the only one to do so. Thankfully, I am not the only one, but there needs to be more.
You see, without the extreme hard graft of art, there is going to be none of it. None of it worth appreciating anyway. Retrospect can teach us the difference between commissions and personal outpourings, and when the lines between the two are blurred. It can also teach us just how far we have come, in spite of everything. I always used to look up on Wikipedia or somewhere and look for stories of artists who have had PTSD or something, who have been badly abused as children. I hardly hear these tales -- but that doesn't mean they don't happen. If everyone were to be hindered from pursuing art for the same reasons as I have been, and didn't fight... what would the world come to? A world without art, a world without self-expression, a world without dreams, is not a world worth fighting for. And that is why I fight. Art, music, self-expression, these are lamps to me that should never be snuffed out, or hidden under a tub. They should be out there for all to see, and even if someone were to try and snuff it out, its flame will likely burn anew.
I have lived the last 25 or so years of my life knowing that my freedoms, my liberties, my rights, are so fragile and they have been infringed many times. One day, they may even be completely taken away from me because of some frivolous reason, like my brown skin for example (God forbid). Every day has been frightening. I feel like a sword dangling over my neck, biding its time to finally cut me off -- far more so than most anyway. A life without love, a life without Seán, a life without dreams to work towards, a life with no graft and passion, is worse than death to me. And every day I run the real risk of losing everyone dear to me, because some pen-pusher thinks that I don't have the right to all these people I love.
Life is hard. There are no two ways about it. Only death can take you out of the hardship. But at that moment of death, what do you want to contemplate?
"I did my absolute best. I regret the mistakes I have made, but otherwise I am more than happy with the road I have taken, and I will not need to ponder about the road not taken -- because I have worked hard. And even if no one knows me or everyone abuses me to the point of death, what I have done cannot be taken away from me."
"Oh fuck, what if?"
Right now, I am doing my best to live, for myself and for Seán, if for no one else. But if I die, I hope to die with no regrets as to my intentions, and how I carried them out. I don't care if no human being on this planet right now is proud of me. It is only right that I desire to achieve more -- but if I cannot, then I should only be proud of what I have done to this point, whether it be finished work or otherwise.
I fall into the same category as the many producers here who don't form the majority, who basically do genres other than EDM most of the time.
Considering Newgrounds is also my calling-card for people here who are reaching out to me to make games and movies and the like, I don't want a lot of these tracks to be used on an external API. Besides, some of these tracks are actual legit game OSTs and some of them have been played on BBC Radio Lancashire, for instance, and I'm not about to hand away use of my songs that easily.
So most of these tracks are DISABLED AND CANNOT BE USED ON GEOMETRY DASH.
I received a PM from the creator of this level, GD_TechMagic, who told me that he did this level in the style of an official one, as a means of countering the immense hate I was receiving over the last few days. I was very touched by his gesture. Transformation was one of two of the tracks I submitted in the original thread for Geometry Dash back in 2013, when people were eager to submit tracks that were upbeat and electronic. However, neither of these tracks made the cut. GD_TechMagic did this with that in mind, and I was just so touched.
As a sign of thanks, I want to make it clear that as of now, there are a few tracks of mine which can be used in this game, which I will not disable until further notice:
- A Familiar Melody (20th Anniversary Edition), the credits track to the 20th Anniversary Collaboration.
- The old work in progress to what was The Rainbow Song. If a new one ever gets written, we'll see what happens.
Outside of this though, I want Newgrounds to be respected for what Newgrounds really is -- a springboard for us creative people. Many GD people were talking about just what a magical universe theirs is; I will not doubt it from their point of view for a moment (even if I personally cannot get into it). In the same vein, I want people to discover what a magical place Newgrounds can be. Now that there are fewer people taking advantage of this system -- the way it should be -- we can go back to concentrating on the things we love most, like our Game Jams, our contests, and all sorts of other quirky collabs and things.
On an important side note, change.org does not have a means of deleting the petitions that were previously made, presumably unless I contact their helpdesk or something. The last update I put on that petition talked about that compromise made by Tom Fulp and RobTop, and I consider that petition now CLOSED. If it still does not suffice within a week or two, then I will try and see if I can't contact change.org's helpdesk.
First of all, a reading list BEFORE you tackle this post:
- @EDM364's most recent moderation diary entry
- @BlueAlpha14's entry pleading for GD users to leave NG and its users alone
- An open letter to Xtrullor
- @RealFaction's statement regarding the recent events
- And finally, my previous newspost
This should give you at least a little bit of background as to what has been going on, if your experience on this site as a regular or as a mod hasn't already (or, if you are uninitiated to what exactly the problem is).
From here on out, I am going to tackle a few misconceptions about what Newgrounds as a site is.
1. MYTH: Newgrounds will not exist without Geometry Dash
As EDM364 said, Newgrounds was responsible for the viral Numa Numa meme. You know, the guy with the dancing arms on his chair? We also brought TheWeebl, Edd Gould's stuff, Sexual Lobster, Egoraptor, James Lee and Hania Zdunek, and games like Alien Hominid, Cathode Raybots, Castle Crashers, Meat Boy. To say nothing about the rest of us users who are consistently bringing forth new content to keep it fresh.
Newgrounds is not solely about the audio. In fact, the primary function of Newgrounds has been to house animations and video games. Art and audio came later, if you recall your Newgrounds history.
2. MYTH: Newgrounds only exists to serve the needs of Geometry Dash
@TomFulp created this site as an oasis for game devs, animators, artists, musicians and writers and anyone else who wanted to be a part of this odd, quirky and close-knit community. He has been fighting this battle for 21 years and counting. (Yes, that is how long this site has been here for.)
A lot of us see it as a springboard to get onto something better. @Dimrain47 now has a AAA job, and @Jazza is now getting the funding and support from patrons (among others) to make his artistic dream a career, and a demanding but fulfilling one. @Bosa had his music used in the Rio Olympics 2016 screenings. @matt-likes-swords started off with poor animation but worked hard here, and is now producing one of the best indie RPG series of all time, Epic Battle Fantasy. You may not hear about these things, but these are everyday greats that come out of Newgrounds. There is no other platform that does these things, and has its users so close-knit together.
As for us musicians, we too see the springboard effect happening. Many of us have gotten our first gig as a video game composer from Newgrounds (myself included). And I'm not just talking about Geometry Dash either. I'm talking about those countless other games that wound up on Steam, the Game Jams and Ludum Dares, the competitions we hold.
Because of the fruits it has been producing, we of course need to go through upheavals and prune it every so often, protect this site should anything happen to it.
3. MYTH: Newgrounds music is copyright-free.
On Newgrounds, we use the Creative Commons licence, which is a form of intellectual property right similar to copyright. Therefore, rules apply when honouring the licence -- if not, your stuff can be DMCAed similar to when a copyright holder does it. Several Newgrounds users including @Envy and @Back-From-Purgatory successfully DMCAed their songs on YouTube, Soundcloud and iTunes just citing the Creative Commons licence, back when we had that prolific audio thief whose initials I shall only spell out as DH.
So what exactly does the CC licence entail? Well, there are two types:
- Attribution - Noncommercial - Share Alike
- Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works
There are also variations of that licence removing the "noncommercial" bit at the centre for people who allow their tracks to be used in paid games and stuff, but that is rare. Most of us have the Noncommercial bit slapped on to our licence.
On each audio track, you can find the CC licence on the bottom left that tells whether the work can be used or not. It's a small bit of text, but an important bit of text nonetheless that tells you that person's intentions when sharing the track.
4. MYTH: Royalty free music means completely free of charge music.
This, as we know, is complete nonsense. Audiojungle sells royalty-free music. Just because something is royalty free, doesn't mean it is completely free.
I had people condemning me for putting up that petition on the basis that we shouldn't be asking for funds for our music, since it's royalty free.
This brings me back to the CC licence above: a lot of the tracks will say, you cannot use this track without making specific arrangements with the artist. A "specific arrangement" does not mean a carte blanche to use a track in Geometry Dash without permission -- which, unfortunately, is what most people think it is. A specific arrangement would involve you actually asking the permission of all involved. The same applies to RobTop as well. A track unknowingly entered into Geometry Dash is a track which unknowingly breaks the law at times. And on top of that, thinking that no artist should be given any recompense for these pieces of music is bad enough as it is.
5. MYTH: RobTop spent a year or so on his game and you musicians only spent 2-3 weeks on your pieces at most, therefore he should be getting all the funding and not you.
There goes the old adage of treating musicians like shit again. No, seriously, this thing did indeed get brought up.
Music is what makes the game, and without it, the game might as well be a bland piece of crap not worth selling. By that same logic, the musician deserves his just wages.
6. MYTH: Dimrain47, Waterflame, Xtrullor, and RealFaction got popular because of Geometry Dash, and nothing else.
This, of course, is a complete and utter load of bollocks. They were popular long before Geometry Dash even came into the scene. I will grant you that Geometry Dash did give them a lift in the number of fans at times.
But to attribute their popularity, and by extension, the site's popularity, solely and only to Geometry Dash, is false.
Personal anecdote: Nearly every year there is a high-profile audio contest here called the Newgrounds Audio Deathmatch (NGADM for short). I say 'high-profile,' because the whole site watches it pretty much. It's quite ruthless, the competition. Anyway...
In the 2012 NGADM I met @Waterflame in the semi-finals. The first thing I told myself to do was to steel my nerves and not be fazed by his popularity and his fans. We talked, and we even became net friends. Of course, owing to his hard-earned fans, there were a lot more responses on his track.
Yes, because (gasp!) Waterflame was popular and had fans even back then. This concept somehow seems foreign to a good number of people who commented on my last newspost.
I'm not saying this out of spite -- I'm just saying this for purposes of illustration. Back then, none of us musicians had it cheap. Yes, certain games gave more fans than others. That's often the way it goes. But with the exception of a few isolated cases, everyone was fairly respectful actually. I mean, I look at, for example, @Phyrnna with her fanbase, part of which came from Epic Battle Fantasy because she scores the games, but she has also earned praise for her solo work. And bar a few, her fans have been a very respectful bunch.
While there are level-headed Geometry Dash users around, which we are all grateful for, the problem is when you've got the really toxic ones, turning the game into a box of nails as someone else put it, attributing the site's popularity solely and only to the game, and therefore doing with it, and its musicians, as they please, trampling on them and treating them like crap.
This is not so. Newgrounds may have its dark and edgy and sometimes even 18+ bits and pieces, and the General forum can sometimes be a cesspool, but otherwise, we're built on respect. The same with its musicians. We would be more than happy to respect you -- just treat us the same.
7. MYTH: Troisnyx, RealFaction and EDM364, among others, want Geometry Dash removed forever.
I will give you that there are indeed some of us regulars who are sick of how a big portion of the GD community has treated us on NG, and take it as grounds for the complete removal of the game. But many of us simply wanted change. We were fed up of being taken for a ride.
For one, that petition brought to light a lot of issues happening as a result of the influx of disobedient GD users. The garden variety GD users actually helped our Audio Cleanup Thread, flagging songs as they went. Examples I can think of right off the top of my head are @GDHexhammer and @BlueAlpha14. But even they, too, were sick of the state of affairs. As were a lot of us regulars, who saw these things happening day by day.
That the game got removed from Steam as a result of copyright flagging by RealFaction set off a spark, which was long believed to be as a result of that petition I wrote on change.org. But if anything, it also brought to light just how important cooperation with all of us was needed, which we on NG found was severely lacking for three years. Seriously, three years of contacting RobTop and no joy, and not one of us knew the upper echelons were already at it working at hotfixes for the game, until after the petition was written. There must have been a communication error somewhere.
It set off a strong message, that we musicians weren't gonna be taken for a ride by people who either didn't know, didn't want to know, or didn't care about intellectual property rights. (I mean, allowances can be made for those who legit didn't know, but those are few and far between among the bad apples.)
I remember when @Zhenmuron started the thread for Geometry Dash back in 2013 on the Audio Forum. I remember how thrilled we were with the initial idea. And let that be the spirit of the agreement with which NG and RobTop decided to collaborate:
The music would be used by GD users, to give NG musicians time in the spotlight which they previously did not have. People would ask for permission for use, and there would be a respectful air all around.
But instead, from day one of its release, many of its users who did wind up here on Newgrounds did not honour that. We were treated as a weaker partner in this agreement, with many people bullying me saying "OH GEOMETRY DASH IS A BIGGER COMMUNITY THAN YOURS SO YOU'RE GONNA GET FUCKED IF YOU STAND UP FOR YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS." I had several hateful messages along those lines. And I'm probably not the only one who got them.
Is that the way to honour RobTop's intentions? Come on, I think not.
Ideally, if the game remains but with an overhauled permissions system for musicians here on NG (and within the game's coding), I would not mind giving this another chance. I also welcome reconciliation between the GD community and the NG community, and for us to understand the culture behind those two. However: if none of this is accorded properly, and push really comes to shove, then and only then, will I campaign for the game's total removal. I probably am not able to do it just now, but I think that the petition can be voided soon, if it means that progress is happening.
2017-01-25 05:19:01 by Troisnyx
Do you folks ever remember a time when Geometry Dash really made NG musicians flourish? No, I don't either.
I know I haven't been posting much due to my state of mind and my circumstances, which have made me worse for wear. But now that I am putting up a frontpage post for this, I think it's time to address something that has been eating away at NG for three years now.
We moderators and regulars of the audio portal have had to deal with this... cancer, there is no other way to put it... since Geometry Dash's release. You know the drill, what the vast majority of these users do:
- They treat off-brand and new artists on Newgrounds like shit.
- They harrass well-established musicians on Newgrounds, like @Waterflame, @Xtrullor and @ThisIsTheFatRat, pressing them to enable download on ALL their songs or make them available for use on Geometry Dash.
- They don't treat music as an art form, but instead treat it like some sort of commodity.
- They flood the Audio Portal with Skrillex, MLG, Five Nights at Freddy's, and a whole host of songs made by others which they do not have rights to.
- They impersonate well-established artists on Newgrounds and outside, just so that they could have their songs played in Geometry Dash. @Rukkus suffered the same treatment recently, with a user pretending to be him going by the name of @sukkur. We've also had people impersonating Pegboard Nerds, @OfficialPandaEyes, @ThisIsTheFatRat (which prompted him to make a page here on this site), Xtrullor, and even J- and K-pop artists.
- Once banned, they revenge flag users' legitimate songs (yes!), but of course we moderators can see that what they're doing is a whole load of rubbish and that gets undone very quickly.
- They fire off abusive comments on people's songs, and passive-agressive messges on people's inboxes. The relevant artists and moderators take the brunt of it, of course.
And why? Because they think they should be able to steal whatever they want just for their five minutes of fun. Of course, all the moderation on Newgrounds is done by humans like you and me -- there are no bots that automatically give revenue to the people and parties whose rights are infringed.
I'll give you an example of the kind of mail we are given on a constant, along with a response I posted, for demonstrative purposes.
GD user whose name I will not disclose:
Hello! I would like to talk to you about other people's songs in ng. You say that we put other people's songs, and it's not a dump ng for songs that you want to see updates to Geometry Dash. But if not, our team and the GD robtop your website you would not have become popular ever! Your site no one knows except us! The same rukkus xtrullor and express our gratitude. I ask you to unlock and everyone who puts other people's songs. Waiting for your reply!
One: our site knows TheWeebl, James Lee, Egoraptor, the late Eddsworld, Chluaid, Waterflame, Xtrullor and F-777. We knew Alien Hominid, SexualLobster, Castle Crashers and Meat Boy, a good few of which have become actual MASS-SELLING CONSOLE TITLES. PS4 and Xbox 360. I go to Game and CEX and I still see the hard copies and gift vouchers for Newgrounds creations.
So don't be so fucking pretentious as to think that just because your precious little game has exploded in popularity that NG was never big. I got news for you buddy, NG was achieving big looooong before you guys showed up.
Two: Talking about Waterflame, Ruckus, Xtrullor. Let me give you a scenario.
You make music that you put hours into. Someone approaches you saying "let me put this in my game." You get the fans -- but not the money. RobTop doesn't fucking care about musicians like us. While the ad revenue is all going into HIS pocket, us musicians are getting absolutely ZERO.
Oh and, fans aren't gonna pay the bills. UNLESS they give the musicians their fair share of remuneration (hint: which they WON'T).
I might add that an ever increasing number of musicians here, including Waterflame and Envy, have now taken to performing rights societies in their respective countries to insulate themselves from people like you who think they can use their music for free without consequence, after all the hard work.
I am NOT going to unlock anyone's songs for Geometry Dash if they are not going to comply with NG rules. That is to say, if they didn't make it themselves, it does NOT BELONG HERE. End of story. And if you think RobTop is behind you on this one, you can go tell him to fucking stuff it.
A few months back, I remember saying in my newsposts that I was determined to start a petition calling for the removal of Geometry Dash from the Play Store and its Apple equivalent.
EDIT: While I am appreciative of all of you who supported me and others who are frustrated by this, I have an important update. @BrentHeMan in his comments has said that he is working on a solution with RobTop with regards to the mechanics of GD's audio share. I doubt anyone is ready to disclose what it is at the moment, and I understand. I just wish it was all disclosed earlier, and that our frustrations didn't have to explode -- because it's one thing going to the upper echelons, it's another thing when the rest of us are dealing with seemingly futile damage control.
I am going to mull over it, over the night, and probably table some recommendations tomorrow. If we reach an amicable solution (which I sincerely hope we do!), I will gladly void the petition, because the threat that we saw coming to NG will have been averted.
EDIT: Comments have told me that the game has effectively been removed from Steam, and some people are saying it's also been removed from the Play Store. I'm glad the petition has sent shockwaves pretty much everywhere, because it took this for not only the GD people to get pissy, but also for the NG staff to actually say SOMETHING with regards to where we are at with GD hotfixes.
Yes, you heard that right, hotfixes. It took something as extreme as a petition, which has been in the pipeline for six months, for things to finally get a fucking move on.
So calm yourselves down, the game is coming back eventually. As for when, it's anyone's guess. Us regulars and mods who deal with the strain day in, day out, consider this a victory of sorts. To be honest, I'm quite pleased. I don't miss it. But if it comes back, then I sincerely hope that it comes back in a way that actually gives respect to the users over here. Don't just think about RobTop and yourselves. Think about us lot too. Screwing people out of ad revenue and $ share which is rightfully theirs would not be allowed on Newgrounds, so it shouldn't be fine on GD either.
Oh and, the vitriol in the comments and on Twitter are proof enough as to just how toxic the GD community really is, it's proof enough for yourselves. And yes, sometimes I am pissed off enough to give off a few uncharitable responses too. At this point, I am sorry ONLY FOR THE UNCHARITABLE RESPONSES. I am not sorry for this petition. I have no regrets.
For all the comments related to my mother, my supposed voluntary lack of virginity or whatevs, there is always gonna be that one user in ten who has a modicum of common sense, even though they disagree. Keep being awesome.
Hey everyone. Happy new year; I say so with deliberation because we all want a good year don't we?
Couple things to mention:
I have finally got a more stable internet connexion. So, apologies for not having been on much for the last four months or so. Moderator duties and hopefully production should resume, at least on a limited basis, because it still feels pretty damn surreal for me to be online after having been away for so long. I am also Skypeable now, but will not risk any voice or video calls until I have the ideal kind of connexion I want.
Also, for those of you who do have Twitter and would like to follow fellow NG people, I am @TroisnyxMusic. I have only just set up this account, and am looking forward to using it in future.
It's time for a year in review post, something I very rarely do when I give people Christmas greetings. But I think this year calls for it.
Firstly, if you haven't already seen my previous post, Ley Lines is out! It's the first Steam-released game I ever scored, and I am happy to share it with all of you.
Clicking on the image should take you to the Ley Lines store page, but if it turns out to be too garish for you, you may use this link instead.
I was asked if I could score this, back in May, by a group of game design students. There was alpha gameplay already existing at the time, which led me to start writing music for it, and it practically flowed out of my system. For its flaws and its strong points, I love this, and I hope you enjoy it too. In any case, do leave a review on the Steam page and here.
Those of you who would like to download the music for this game, you can find it on Bandcamp right here. It's a free download, so if you haven't already done so, consider it a bit of a Christmas present from someone who cannot muster much at this moment. Quite frankly, only one person who reviewed the game on Steam cared about the music. So if you do care anything about it, just let me know what you think -- because I will take silence to mean it was crap.
Secondly, my relative inactivity and mental state this year have, in large part, to do with the rape and sexual abuse I suffered getting on three years ago (it will be three years ago in January). I have had to flee to the home of a friend -- who, incidentally, is not online, which leaves my online appearances sporadic at best. And in addition to all this, I have been through more than enough victim blaming from certain people -- thankfully, no one here on NG and not from those closest to me -- but it hearkens back to a worse time where people could have their lives and honour forfeit from being raped. What saddens me is that in some places, this is still the case.
And until my dying breath I will ask for justice for myself and for victims whose assailants are still running free. No, it is not unchristian to do so, and neither is it wrong. I will not ask for revenge though -- now that is crossing the line.
Quite honestly, I like how several historical sexual abuse cases start to rise across the world and people cannot believe someone who was sexually abused right before their own fucking eyes until like what, maybe decades later.
Thirdly, I have been a mod for getting on a year now. I was promoted in mid-December of last year to help curb the Geometry Dash hysteria. @TomFulp's recent news post only confirms what many of us Audio Portal people feel about Geometry Dash -- that if left uncurbed, record labels will be suing Newgrounds by proxy for hosting this content or not doing enough to prevent this content from existing on the site -- which could only lead to NG's demise if this goes on, because in order to sue someone for a civil royalties case, the person or organisation to be sued MUST have deep pockets. While I have been less active, I want to thank my mod friends for helping out where they can. I've helped out where I can and intend to do some more as and when.
I have a good mind to gather as many Newgrounds people as possible to petition Google to remove Geometry Dash from the Play Store, if this problem still persists after an update which is supposed to happen. This can only go on for so long. If Google cannot tolerate this on its own websites, then it sure as hell cannot tolerate this on others.
Fourth and perhaps last on the reflexions list is that I opened my Christmas present early due to how low I have been feeling. This is a gift from Sean.
The drum is *technically* a long drum -- the antecedent to the modern snare and tenor drums, but its dimensions don't suggest it. It's 13x13, which means I could have it slung underneath the shoulder and used as a side drum (the antecedent of the modern bass drum) if I need to. Also, in historically accurate fashion, the snare is on the top head. I have a good mind to use it in processions and the like.
Sean recounted to me the idea that there would have been a drum accompanying the singing of praises in the Canterbury Tales, the medieval literary work by Chaucer -- this would have been the type of drum used. Now how often would there be pilgrimages and processions of that kind? Not very often, and in some places, perhaps never. I do intend to do my bit to revive that, at least in my area.
In a village in the outskirts of Preston, there is a shrine to the Virgin Mary in a place called Fernyhalgh (pronounced ferny-eth, or ferny-huf depending on your accent). The Saxons used it as a baptism pool, and it has been a place of pilgrimage and devotion since the 11th century. It's one of only two Marian shrines in England which are still in use -- the other being Walsingham in Kent, in the east of England.
Now what a fucking anachronism it would be if everyone taking part in a procession to Fernyhalgh today came with smartphones and Pokemon Go and I turned up with this medieval drum. But this is the beauty of it -- Fernyhalgh mixes the old and the new for me and for many others around these parts. And this is a journey I would love to make. I don't doubt that there will be a group of us, however small, who wouldn't mind making this journey too.
I also intend to use this in future recordings -- as I would any instrument I receive.
Much like with the bodhran and the harp, I have given this drum a name, on Sean's recommendation. I now call her Saoirse (pronounced SEER-sha), an Irish name which comes directly from the word for 'freedom' or 'liberty'.
I don't know what to expect out of the next year, but if I'm honest, I don't know how much worse they'll get. It's like those many Christmases where hunger, poverty and destitution aren't eradicated and we have more of the same each year. The idea is that we should become part of the solution to the world around us, but we don't have the fucking will, do we? And what I am going through is a small sliver in the world's upheavel right about now. People crying out for justice, but to no avail. Instead of blaming God or blaming other people, I have a big question to ask -- what are we doing to make this Christmas a good one, if at all?
Merry fucking Christmas, everybody. I'm out.
After four months of delays and handshakes with Steam, I am pleased to finally announce that Ley Lines has been released on Steam!
For those of you who are not aware, Ley Lines is the first video game I have scored to ever be released on Steam. Work on the soundtrack began in May and ended in July -- the game itself was in development for six months by the time I was approached with a request to score this game.
It's a production by a team of uni students. And for what it is, I have fallen in love, and I hope that you might like it too, for its strong and weak points. Anyway, download the game and lemme know what you folks think!
If you would like to download the soundtrack to this game, you can find it here.
Sorry once again for the inactivity. I come on when I can, do my moderator duties when I can, and the like. So much has been going on but relying on a data connection to post pictures and videos isn't gonna work. So in the rare instance when I can sit down on a computer with a stable connection, like right now, I could do with updating people about things.
So first off, I'd like to talk about the aftermath of that memory that resurfaced in late August. You know, that memory of me being raped.
Times are hard, but I'm not giving up. I tend to blame myself for what happened, only for everyone around me to remind me that I am the victim. The biggest thought that comes to mind is this-- was it even worth it telling the authorities I was raped knowing they cannot do anything about it? Is it even worth it doing so today knowing that a lot of rape victims aren't going to get justice?
The police believe me but they just cannot get enough evidence to secure a conviction. Hundreds of rape victims are going through the same thing. It has most certainly been hard on those around me. But people still care for me, and I know I am loved.
I do not want vigilante justice against this person. I accept that he will be judged at the hour of death. All I ask is that he be contrite over what he has inflicted on me and others.
There is a fresh batch of YouTube videos on my channel from the October and November open mics. Not content with having attended October's open mic at Soundskills, I decided to go to the November one, which was labelled a 'post-Trump lament'. All of Britain, with the exception of Nigel fucking Farage, wanted Clinton -- but it's not ours to say. (Let's just hope that Trump remembers that the rest of the world matters as well, and not just America.)
I performed Wandering Sparrow (the incomplete version, anyway) for the first time there. Those of you who don't know, or haven't visited the audio forum or my music thread, Wandering Sparrow is a song about the North Korean kocchebi -- orphaned or abandoned street children who first existed during the years of the famine, and still exist to this day.
Seán and I went to Lancaster early in November. It didn't help that I was feeling insanely low then, so what was previously declared a Pokemon-free trip became a trip with copious amounts of Pokemon Go.
We visited the Priory, Lancaster Castle, and the Ashton Memorial which is this huge structure with a huge climb to get to. Magnificent views all around. Ashton Memorial honestly looks like it came straight off the set of live-action Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon (or, vice versa).
Those of you in Noo Yawk, you ever heard of the War of the Roses? Those of you who don't know, it was the war between Original!York and Original!Lancaster. Lancaster won and basically brought about the Tudors, which I suppose many people were regretting. I know there is a similar thing going on with sports on your end.
So remember back when the body of King Richard III was found? In a car park? He was the last Plantaganet (Stuart) king, of course because you had the War of the Roses and he was dead and all that. People were debating over the course of a few months how and where to bury him. His remains were ultimately interred in Leicester, but I remember discussing this with Seán. And his answer on the way to treat him was, "head on a pike on the top of Lancaster Castle!"
Seán is a Lancastrian, but even this response was too far. XD
The Harris Open is back again, and I've put in two pieces for this exhibition.
Those of you who haven't read previous posts from previous years, the Harris is this magnificent neoclassical building in the centre of Preston, and is also a public museum, library and art gallery. Every year around this time they do an exhibition open to public submissions called the Harris Open.
Seán has a photo in there too, but for some reason, despite it being in landscape format, the Harris Museum authorities (or whichever nincompoop did this) thought that it was a great idea to depict a hand playing a bodhrán in PORTRAIT. WITH THE HAND STICKING OUT FROM THE BLOODY SKY. And leaves that defy gravity, incidentally. He has decided not to take a photo of it at this time because quite frankly, it is undesirable. XD