An open invitation

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Good morning,

Going into 2019 J. Reason’s Real Vampire Life E-Zine (Incorporating the Reason Learning Foundation) will be celebrating nine years of serving the modern living Vampire/Vampyre culture and interaction with affiliated cultural bodies.

Maybe we haven’t been around as long as some, we’ve been around longer than others, and our goal is to present news, information, infotainment and educational resources from all over the modern culture. Perhaps we’re not the biggest but our Stats and Circulation figures, we think, speak for themselves.

If you follow our little E-Zine you will be aware that we have built solid working relationships, built on mutual respect, with Vampire communities in England, Italy and Germany… we have built a history of supporting and promoting national events in the United States with distinguished people and entities from the West Coast, to NOLA to the Gotham Halo. We have built these relationships so that everyone who comes to RVL, be you Vampyre or no, can feel connected to the “global Vampire nation”.

You can always subscribe to RVL, via email, by visiting our Home Page and clicking on the “Subscribe to Blog via Email” link. You can also keep in touch via Twitter at @RealVampireNews

As you may know our particular forte, if you will, is in the invitational Editorial Interviews that we are fortunate to be able to bring you. We have forged some wonderful and enduring contacts and friendships through this process, friendships that, really, are the food and fuel that enables us to keep going and keep doing what we love.

You may also have realised that the staff at RVL are actually real people, people with opinions, with feelings and with perceptions of their own. I will admit that I have taken to exercising my right to have an opinion at times, times when I mix a kind of magickal madness with some rather scathing commentary… this is something that is quite aside from RVL in so far as these “editorials” are quite personal and are of my own making and responsibility… there have been questions as to whether this is in fact proper for RVL to be hosting this material given the strictures contained in our Contributors and Submissions Guidelines, is it proper for me to have an opinion? Do I have the right, like everyone else, to state my opinion? To each question I submit the answer must be yes but at the same time there are two different hats on my rack in the office here, there’s the “Tim” hat and there’s the “Ed. in Chief” hat… all I can say is that I will always make it abundantly clear which hat I am wearing – fair enough?

Oh, yeah, did I forget to mention that the “Weekly Biatch” feature was inspired by my dear friend Lady Sylvere Ap Leanan of the VVC and her famous “Grumpy Vamps Guide to the GVC on WordPress? Thanks dear lady… 🙂

Img. source: Chevalier College

If you would like to have your events, promotions, charity efforts or any other group news featured at RVL please do not hesitate in contacting us…

If you have ideas for Editorial topics you would like to see researched, written and presented at RVL about positive, helpful and info-educational matters for the living Vampire culture please do not hesitate in contacting us… (we love good ideas…!)

If you have written something that you think would be useful, supportive and helpful for other Vamps to read please feel free to make the submission to RVL…
Our submission Guidelines are quite liberal and friendly, you can find them HERE, and we also offer a full range of pre-publication services including editorial corrections and support services – we want your idea to shine…!

We can be reached by – 
Leaving a message at our WordPress “About RVL” page ( the link is also provided below our banner )

Contacting the Editor in Chief (‘smee folks…!!!) via email to neorayne62@gmail.com

or

Asking one of our friendly staff (they don’t bite…well… much…) to get a message, with return contact details to “Da Boss(again, ‘smee folks)

 

In short, if I may, “Everybody has a story to tell.” Why not let us help you to tell it to as many people as possible?

Copyright RVL 2018

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

 

Indiesatdee…

Img. source: BrainyQuote

Yep, I did this…

T.

Coarse language, drug and sexual references
Img. source: Web Design Library

Did you know…
The world’s earliest visual art dates to the Upper Paleolithic (ca. 50,000-10,000 BC). This appears to be true of music as well; at any rate, the oldest discovered musical instruments belong to this period. Little is known about pre-civilized music, however; only with the development of writing (ca. 3000 BC) do historical records of musical practices begin.
~ Essential Humanities ~ 

 

Now, if you happen by here with any sort of frequency you will, undoubtedly, be aware that I hold dear a wide range of musical tastes and expressions. It’s something that has been with me since probably about six years old or so when I used to watch “Top of the Pops” in the U.K. as a kiddie.

If you are like me, and even though you have wide and varied musical tastes, you will have one or two artists in particular whose songs have been “the story” of you at different stages of your life and without whom your life can’t be complete… in my case…

…but we’re not here to laud these two amazing gentlemen this evening, although this is going to be a purely indulgent music-fest…

You may also have noticed that I have a penchant for the “odd”, the “interpretive”, the “off-the-wall”, the “experimental”, the “progressive” and the “daring” when it comes to music… I guess it comes from being a former skin-ted-punk-goth (at different times) kid…

Indie Music

Hence, “Indiesatdee”… *smirk*

“In popular music, indie music (from independent) is any number of genres, scenes, subcultures, stylistic and cultural attributes characterized by its degree of independence from commercial pop music and mainstream culture and an autonomous, do-it-yourself (DIY) approach.”
New World Encyclopedia

Meanwhile, the ubiquitous, and ever-present Urban Dictionary gives us this explanation…

“Indie music isn’t a definite style of music, but most indie bands are influenced by each other causing a similar sound. The sound is melodic, the instruments are simple but well textured. usually includes a simple but original guitar riff, another guitar riff layered to complement it, bass doing the same, simple drum beat (but fitting the song well) either a keyboard or violin or something to bring out the underlying melody, and soft vocals, usually well harmonized. The lyrics are powerfully emotional (but not whiney). They spark emotion but they don’t talk about how their lives suck (very tasteful)

As a scene: people who love indie love it for its music alone. They try to keep it small because they don’t want it to be a huge scene, they want to keep it about improving the sound, that’s why they know a million bands you’ve never heard it, and they just want to find new things to improve the music.”
Excerpt from The Urban Dictionary

Img. source: Brainy Quote

So, then, kick back… grab a favourite drink/ smoke/ person or whatever and let’s get some “Indie Noize” going shall we?

The Pixies…

Probably one the foremost “Indie” bands in the world… but you know what they say, “there’s always someone looking to take the title…”

Like, maybe…
The Dandy Warhols…

I am not here to try and tell anyone what they SHOULD be liking, oh Hell No… simply here to share some of what rocks this real living Vampire’s world… (well, music and my beautiful wife of course…)

Really, don’t you find there are times when you just wanna turn up the volume and drift away with the sounds?

What a delightfully dark voice with just a hint of ‘Kate Bush’ don’t you think?

…and speaking of delightful… grok this homies…

 

Wherever you turn, wherever you look, or search, there are absolutely fabulous, often un-recognised gems waiting to surprise…

Perhaps something a little more “clubby”??? more “dancey”???

Img. source: QuoteAmbition.com

TRUTH…FREDDY, TRUTH…!!!

Was that good for you too…???


 

It’s easy to drift between “indie-genres” if we can use that loose term… there are so many facets to it that it would, I suggest, be almost impossible to NOT find something to suit the taste, the moment or the situation…

Now there’s a voice that just reaches out and grabs for the throat yeah?

I suppose, when you come right down to it, I am a product – somewhat – of the awful vacuum that was left behind after Punk Rock all but disappeared… we “anarchy kids” were left… adrift…

I actually have a confession to make at this point… yep, you heard it here first… like, probably many of us, I was the front-person for a “high school” band… we called ourselves “Anna Keys” and, to paraphrase the immortal Malcolm McLaren, “Bashin’ and jumpin’ all around they created an unpredictable bloody mess”…

We played parties mostly, covers of the Sex Pistols and The Clash, a couple of originals in the style of our punk icons. Like Bryan Adams said, “…never went real far”


TRUTH MACK, TRUTH…!!!


Love that little “atonal” thing, don’t you?

Img. source: AZ Quotes.com

…and there we have it dear reader, a little something shared on this chilly, wet Saturday eve…
I hope I touched on something you found palatable but if not, remember, MUSIC IS EVERYWHERE and like other magick is there if you care to look for it.

Now, I can’t help but leave you with one of my favourites this evening, an ‘eartfelt little ditty that speaks to the ways of society in a manner to wot I am in tune…!!! *gigglez*

Nighty night kids an’ cheers yeah…?

Copyright T & RVL (except where otherwise noted) 2018

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer

 

Councillors, Counselors and Consultants

img source: sylvielefrancois.com

Researched, Written and Edited by

Tim

In the editorial “Sires, Siress’, Mentors and Self” I wrote about connections between individuals and their closest “advisors”, the way in which individuals could be connected with groups and the relative merits of standing on their own feet. It’s an important aspect of being part of the modern living Vampyre culture and can provide a sense of stability and belonging.

In this editorial the point will be to look into methods of co-operation that could be used in the culture to promote communication and goals between organisations.

I guess that pretty much everyone is in the know about the various histories of attempts to form “Councils” and “Co-operatives” within the modern culture. From 1997 and the Long Black Veil events, which gave rise to the original, “The Black Veil”, code of vampyre ethics and common sense to the year 2000 and the formation of COVICA, a council of collected elders from different traditions, there have been subsequent attempts to create “councils”, “enclaves” and the like that, one by one, seem to have fallen by the wayside for one reason or another.

In fact, not so very long back a public post revealed that the leader of one organisation was stepping down for the purposes of concentrating on, and I quote, “…“dealing with the community as a whole, specifically the Leadership of the VC in order to change it.”

The obvious questions here must be, “What is meant by the term, “Leadership of the VC” and why does it need to be changed? Is it bad, broken or faulty? Are we talking about a “Council of Leaders”? A committee of Leaders? A Court of Leaders? And, perhaps more importantly, who are our new “Leaders” going to be? Who are the nominees? When will voting open and who’s got the “Golden Envelope” for the “Top Job”?

No matter how you cut it it’s going to be a hard sell, as my dear friend Lady CG pointed out to me once, “Getting Vampires to agree is like trying to herd cats” and with that image firmly in mind let’s see if we can divine some possible, workable, options.

Img. source: vector illustration

The “Council”

If it’s to be “Councillors” then we have a sitting Council, these can be formed in two ways, by popular election (and I don’t mean democracy as in vote preferences, I mean ONE person, ONE vote) which is the preferred manner of election. Naturally the majority vote carries the day but you will only get a representation of a population group and you won’t ever know whether that is the TOTAL population or simply a proportion of the population.

The best that could be arrived at is that this will end up as an indication of preference.

As a prime example of a functional establishment we read that, in the Gotham Halo, the following structure/s is, or are, in place and within this we can recognise a firmly established precedent for the use of “Royal title” in the word “Regent”:

Society Nocturnus Of Gotham (S.N.O.G)

“S.N.O.G. (Society Nocturnus Of Gotham)

It is a society consisting of various Houses/Clans/Groups initiated in 2000.”

 “Court of Lazarus

They are the Metropolitan Court of Gotham and sister Court to Society Nocturnus Of Gotham. They are a society consisting of various Houses/Clans/Groups initiated in 2002.”

Council Positions (Within Courts)

Note, these positions may vary in definition and/or responsibility between courts.

Regent (elected) Sheriff (elected) High Templar/Ronin Magistrate (elected) Treasurer (council elected)

Ambassador (appointed) Deputy (Sheriff – appointed) Seraphim Guild (appointed) Scribe/Keeper of the Scrolls (appointed)

The Order of The Black Marble, first established in 2002, is dedicated to maintaining peaceful relations (The Pax Vampyri) between all Courts, Communities, Orders and Societies.

The Black Trinity is a collection of three covenants by which The Order of the Black Marble is governed.

I.Recognize and respect all Vampire Courts, Communities, Orders and Societies.

II.Resolve rather than create conflict.

III.Revel in our shared heritage.

(reproduced by permission)

There is no doubt that there is a large influence of formality in this model, however, think on this, formality breeds respectful conversation, discussion and debate. From those two things come realistic and achievable goals.

 

The second way in which a Council can be formed is by bringing a body of individual groups together and having each one nominate a “Council Member” as a member organisation. This manner ensures that the interests of all the member groups are represented and each has an equal, one vote, at any decision making time. The one drawback here is that it needs to be decided how a deadlock will be broken if such a thing occurs. Do you maintain an uneven number of member groups, thereby making a deadlock very rare unless an organisation abstains from voting (hey, stranger things have happened at sea right?)

The only other way you could break deadlock is to have one person be the “conscience” of the Council and hold the power of the deciding vote (Oh, the possibilities for corruption…!)

Either way you look at it the “Council” concept is one that seems to represent a true equal representation of all member bodies while, at the same time, being open to individual manipulations and corruption.

Img. source: woman – the nest

The “Counselors”

A second method is to have “Counselors”, in a body that the majority of member bodies will pay attention to in the event of a decision of some description being needed. It’s a concept that has been in the forefront of everyone’s thinking for a long time and there have been, and still are, organisations that exist in which this method is used.

The idea is that each member organisation can, by going through individual Counselors, or Representatives, approach other organisations, join together in projects, take part in round-table discussions and debates while under the watchful, NON-INTERFERING eye of a Counselor whose sole role is to facilitate the process so the best outcome between all involved parties can be reached.

As our esteemed friend Saint-John Hawke points out,
“Always have an independent person who possess the ability to be non-judgemental as well as being able to piece all sides of the puzzle to make the perfect picture. In other words, find people in each house that have observed what’s going on, not people in leadership, the average member and get their input. But these must be dedicated members, not whiners. And you might want to promote these people to a position of counselors.

In any house, the leadership is the A frame, but you will not have a stable house if your center beam isn’t strong.”

In response to the question, “Would you think these “counselors” would then be in a good position to form a “Community round table” of counselors to provide common guidance?” he opines,

“Yes, given that they would act according to the benefit of the organization, they may be outstanding advisors.”

The hardest part about being a “Counselor” in this situation is maintaining complete neutrality and complete impartiality. Again, the spectre of personal bias and the possibility for corruption is a factor that must be considered and would need to be controlled, rigidly, by the governing body of the Counselors.

Img. courtesy of Vampire Court of Dallas

Mike Burgess, the Leader of the Vampire Court of Dallas, kindly agreed to spend a few minutes with a couple of my questions, his replies were, as always, insightful and most welcomed;

RVL: What is the best path to gain a level of co-operation between different bodies within the modern culture?

MB: Personally I don’t think there is “best path” available although there are a good amount of ideas and potential within the community for cooperation and collaboration between organizations of all sizes and statures. Personally, the Dallas/Fort Worth court has benefitted highly from cross-promotional exercises and even social media projects with our neighboring organizations in Texas but really all of these actions start with an open mind, communication, and a freedom from the difficulties that ego can bring. No one wants to work with someone who will allow their ego to take over professionally, why would that be any different here? To add further to this point, the survey posted by several OVC forums asking for the “Largest Problem in the VC Currently” resulted in participants choosing Ego – by far – as their choice…by discarding a measure of ego…communication would grow, allowing for the flow of ideas and the realization to come about that each organization reflects and is best suited for their local area. Each person, like a diverse workplace, brings their own strength and points of view to the whole of our culture. Just because Organization A is larger or more well-known, does not mean that its model and functions will work in Area-B…and why should it? With each organization and locality being profoundly different, why not use those fundamental differences in local culture and goals as a strength rather than a weakness?

With the growth of social media as a primary communication tool between organizations, it has never been easier to reach out across boundaries and find not only common ground, but learn about our fellow organizations in a profound way. Once these conversations get flowing, anyone can quickly realize why cooperation is beneficial to all by leveraging these different paths to bring us all to the same end.

The second question I nagged him with, “Would this path best be served by having Councillors, Counsellors or Consultants available to each organization?”

MB: Personally, I think while having an officer or specialist within an organization will do wonders – if size permits – or some capable of performing these duties, without tackling the culture of the organization itself and having the belief within the organization that: “Our way isn’t the best for Area-B” or “We are better by embracing most paths – in so long as they don’t present a danger legally or ethically,” communication and the sharing of ideas will be hampered.  This is not an easy thing to do…many who like me, work cooperate leadership as well…we have seen numerous large firms spend millions of dollars on consultants to simply learn this seemingly simple point: diversity of ideas and people is the best way to progress forward. If the organization culture and leadership does not embrace this, then any member that volunteers to lead cooperative efforts will be profoundly hindered.

Img. source: quora.com

The “Consultants”

Which brings us to consultants… a concept that is very widely used in RL, is relied on by businesses, corporations and elective bodies the world over. Consultants are engaged to advise on matters related, in the main, to operational conduct and the achievement of aims and goals for an organisation, or group of organisations. The Consultant, much like a Counselor, needs to be impartial, neutral and confine their advice to operational matters. In this fashion a Consultant sits outside and apart from the ultimate decisions of their “client”. It’s also important to note that such consultants need have a broad knowledge base, an appreciable amount of experience “in the trenches” so to speak, and that they be non-partisan – that is, not be a member of any House, Temple, Group or other “vested interest” organisation. Conflict of interest is the most important thing to avoid here, in fact (and much as you might not like the term) the Ronin of the culture would, by very definition, make the best consultants.

 

Which is the most effective?

To begin comparing the three we must recognise that every situation, for every organisation, is different. No two groups operate, internally, in the same way entirely but the focus here is not on individual organisations, rather it is on collectives of organisations.

A “Council” will only ever be as effective as the number of bodies that inhabit it and its reach will only ever extend to those individual member parties. For a Council to declare that they “run the show” for everyone is the height of arrogance and will draw condemnation from all whom do not wish to be member groups. If such council tries to enforce their “edicts” beyond their own sphere they will, by the very nature of people, meet with stiff resistance and will most likely face the rise of opponent “Councils” each declaring themselves to be the “one true path”… kinda like religion in a way.

 

A body comprised of Counselors will likely find an easier time of it since they will not be attempting to enforce edicts but will, rather, be seeking to mediate and engage with a wide array of groups and individuals to foster co-operative efforts toward achieving goals.

Two examples of modern culture “Counseling” based bodies are Madame X’s Dark Nations and the Voices of the Vampire Community (VVC).

In the Dark Nations model there are a body of facilitators to which member organisations are assigned and the task of the facilitator is to engage, mediate and advise. That simple. Non-interference within a closed system.

Lady Sylvere Ap Leanan of the VVC summarises their operations thus;
“The VVC is the first and only organization that has ever accomplished that goal. We do it by focusing on being an informational network. We take pains to ensure that we do not act in any way, nor are we perceived to act in any way, as a governing body. We allow each group to deal with its own internal issues as it sees fit with no outside influence from us.

If a group requests it, members of the VVC are always happy to help in whatever capacity we can without betraying our pledge of non-interference. That’s why we are group exclusive to LEADERS of groups rather than open to anyone and everyone.

We can and do help each other by acting as an informal support network, which more or less boils down to “Whatcha need, bro? I got your back.”

Not that every member of the VVC gets along with all other members. We most certainly don’t. But there are enough of us that there’s always a support system if one is needed.

We also have the benefit of being the only group where members of groups that can’t stand each other can verbally go at each other until we resolve our issues. I have personally done so with people I formerly despised and now we get along fairly well.

So I would say that the VVC is the best path to take, especially since we’ve been doing it for over a decade. No other group can say that. Other groups have tried to imitate us and failed. Repeatedly.”

Img. source: LDS.org

As I mentioned earlier, impartiality and neutrality need be the cornerstones of either of these types of overseeing body, if we consider the “Consultants” option, utilising Ronin members of the culture, then we can see that this might well represent the most impartial method of looking at “the big picture”. Consultants who have no vested interest in decisions that are made by groups, either singly or collectively could represent a strength of mediation and engagement that would withstand any claims of bias or favouritism, elitism or exclusionary practices.

However, there’s always a ‘BUT’…

Many of the drawbacks that might be encountered with either of these three methods I have already mentioned, I’d like to summarise those here.

Taking the “Council” concept firstly;
1) Open to individual bias and corruption

2) Open to charges of exclusionary practices and “elitism”.

3) Has limited reach that extends only over member groups.

4) Any Council will be functional only in as much as individual organisations are willing to be part of “the program”.

The “Counselor” concept then;

  • Individual Counselor reputation and history may well mar efforts.
  • Counselors need to be overseen by a governing body and in this manner may not be able to act as truly independently as required under certain circumstances.
  • Counselor burn-out, individual Counselors may reach a point in proceedings (some of which may be half achieved) where they decide, “The hell with this shit…!” – Personal stress on Counselors must be taken into account.

The Consultant –

  • The “Consultant” runs the risk of, at the end of the day and after hours and hours of work, of being ignored and their recommendations discarded.
  • The Consultant needs to be able to demonstrate sufficient practical knowledge and situational experience to be taken seriously.
  • The Consultant may make mistakes and the information and recommendations they provide should be, in the first instance, backed up by solid factual evidences and, in the second place, be able to be easily verified by the organisation they work for. It’s a big job that can take weeks or months to complete.

“Hmmmm…”
img. source: worldartsme

 

In conclusion:

What is in the best interests of the concerned parties, or in the case of the modern living Vampyre culture, the entire culture?

Is it preferable to have a Council of, dare I say it, self-appointed leaders and elders who believe they are the best people to dictate the “right” way to do things and who may well decide to ostracise any who don’t agree or comply with their proclamations?

Is it preferable to have Counselors, mediators and the like who will try to bring about a peace between parties, or co-operation between parties that really, in essence have way too much “history” between them to achieve meaningful and lasting resolutions?

Can Consultants offer truly binding and meaningful solutions in organisations that they have not been a part of, which they are getting their first glimpse of and in which they have, in reality, no stake in whatever happens either way?

 

These are questions that have been asked over and over through the history of the modern Vampire culture but the biggest question now is, do we really need anything or are we doing just fine as we are? It’s in this last question that we realise, and consider, our own personal opinions of the “state of the nation”.

Copyright RVL and contributors, 2018

Grateful acknowledgement goes to Lady CG, Saint-John Hawke, Lady Sylvere Ap Leanan, Mike Burgess, Elder Kage Adamant-O’Mallie Asotus, Prince-Lord Shaolin Asura MacPhee and Lupa Gunnr MacPhee Lykaios

NB: Where used, quoted portions of other works are reproduced by permission, or under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, wherein allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

This article may be linked to but may not be copied or reproduced, nor redistributed in any manner, including electronic without the express permission of the copyright owners.

The views and opinions presented in this article are the opinions of the author and/or contributors and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Owner/s of RVL, their officers, assigns or agents. RVL and its officers do not personally, individually, or jointly necessarily recommend or condone any of the activities or practices represented.

For further information please see the RVL Website Disclaimer