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.