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It is true that it takes all sorts to make a world, a group, a society… it is also true that it takes a number of other things within those “all sorts”. Different philosophies, different perspectives, different belief structures, agendas and tastes. It is a smart person who embraces that fact and works with it rather than trying to fight or destroy it randomly.
Recently we have seen the spectacular entry, or should I say, spectacular re-entry, of a writer in our culture, a young writer who, though they may have been around for a while, has come to the realisation that there are indeed things that need to be said. An honourable pursuit indeed and one that should be welcomed in any society, indeed, isn’t the “freedom of speech” tenet one of the most valuable an inalienable rights we have?
Our guest today has made quite a splash, quite an entrance and after reading the material we at RVL decided that we needed to practice what we have preached in recent editorials, that is, go to the source. A source who has, over the last few weeks, that he is able and willing to admit when he has made a mistake. Accordingly I extended an invitation and was received very promptly, politely and respectfully by our guest.
Ladies and gentlemen, it is with great pleasure that RVL presents a One-on-One interview with Irkalla of Gotham about the Arcane Ramblings of a Teenage Vampire blog.
RVL: Good evening Irkalla, if we may be so familiar, thank you for accepting our invitation…we have been looking forward to being able to bring this interview to our readers. How are you today?
MC: I’m doing exceptionally well! Had my ups and downs over the last week or so, but it comes with the territory.
RVL: Normally we begin our interviews with a little personal history of our guest but I’m going to break with tradition today and ask the $64,000 question first. Do you identify as a modern living Vampire and, if so, would you characterise yourself as Sanguine, Psi-Vamp or other?
MC: I identify myself with the term Vampire, capital V. I feel that it specifically defines a person living within a human body but whose essential nature is so vastly distinct from the human herd and other vampire-identified persons that the closest approximation would be “superhuman.”
RVL: …and may we ask, how long have you been “awakened”, for wont of a better term, to your true nature? And was your arrival at “self-realisation” abrupt or gradual and did you have a mentor or guide or was it a self-survived process?
MC: I’ve been aware of my Vampiric nature since about April of 2015, after having been through some very traumatic experiences. I had a few people help me along; some stayed in my life, others didn’t. The one person who truly helped me comes to terms with it is no longer in my life, but should she ever read this, she’d know who she is. But it was very gradual, it was mostly trial and error. A lot of trial and error, in fact. But I’ve had many great mentors over the years and I’m very happy with how far I’ve come.
RVL: Okay, I’m going to throw one at you now that’ll put you on the spot… what are your impressions of the modern living Vampire culture?
MC: Oh, it’s dreadful. Positively disgusting. The modern community that these vampire-identified persons have created for themselves is the most laughable, depraved thing I’ve ever seen in the history of subcultures. It’s a joke, mostly. At every turn, you find some egocentric cult leader or commercial cult brainwashing the less intelligent into stroking their egos and draining their wallets. The only real “vampires” in the modern community are financial vampires. And ninety-eight percent of the community are just role-players and fetishists taking their delusions too far. Just look at many of the most prevalent names in the community and you’ll see what I mean.
RVL: Do you believe that the culture, as a whole, has a bright future, a strong future or not?
MC: So long as the role-players entertain their vampire fiction fetishes, the community will likely continue. I wouldn’t call it a “bright future” by any stretch of the imagination, of course, with many of the highly entertaining individuals within the movement striving so aggressively to make their voices heard. But a strong future cannot be denied. The subculture as a whole has never been homogenous; therefore, it’s prone to much overlap. Originally, it was just S&M and blood fetishists and devil worshipers, then the role-players came in with their Masquerade monstrosity in the nineties. The lifestylers ruled the early millennium, and now we’re seeing more in the way of Goths, emos and punks entering the community as the vampire “lifestyle” becomes more acceptable and open in certain locales.
RVL: We got a pretty good idea just recently of one of the things that annoys you the most, what are some of the other things that you would say need correcting in interactions among the modern Vampire culture today?
MC: One huge issue is the lack of focus. People want, but very rarely do they act to achieve what it is that they want. The role-players have their little “Court” things, though what they are intended to accomplish besides face-to-face social networking, I have no clue. It’s bad enough to not have a clear goal on their own, but the idea of uniting them into a huge cluster of stagnation seems rather morbid. I think every vampire-identified person within the subculture needs to take a step back, evaluate themselves and their relation with this community and really ask themselves what it is they hope to achieve, then they can go off on their Camarilla ego trips.
RVL: As far as it goes you are regarded, widely, as being a relative newcomer to the modern Vampire culture, probably more due to the fact that you have now stepped up into the wider public arena, what’s your plan from here on out?
MC: Well, soon I hope to upgrade some of my technology, at which point I’ll begin posting vlogs on Facebook and YouTube, hopefully a bit more coherent than my previous Facebook Live feeds. Arcane Ramblings, is, as it stands, defunct; I don’t intend to post on it for a long time. I never intended to become the sort of pariah I am now, I just felt the need to get certain things off my chest once upon a time and was inspired by a few acquaintances of mine to jump on the WordPress bandwagon as many have done after me. It could be said I inspired them. *chuckles*
RVL: If we can turn to your own writing work now, your own blog work, what prompted the establishment of “Arcane Ramblings”?
MC: As I said, it was the desire to get certain opinions off my chest that I had once only shared in private or in brief snippets on Facebook. After a while, I got the idea from a former mentor to create a blog, and the rest was history. The name was actually given to me by an acquaintance, who always would call my little online rants, “the angry, arcane ramblings of a teen-aged vampire.”
RVL: …and what would you characterise its purpose, goal or aim as being?
MC: The purpose of the blog is to give a more published presence to some of my critiques and opinions on the greater vampire subculture that I can’t really get on Facebook. Social media applications, I believe are inappropriate for amateur “journalism”; contrarily, I receive more views on the website than I do voicing my opinions on social media.
RVL: I’d like to take a look at one of the recent commentaries at “Arcane Ramblings”, one that propelled you into the spotlight, so to speak… the response to the editorial on Ageism that was recently released. Your response was, to say the least, spectacular and colourful… did we catch you on a “bad day” perhaps? *chuckles*
MC: The article in question, “Here’s That Response I Promised”, was removed after a brief discussion with Belfazaar Ashantison himself, who had informed me that the paragraph which had prompted my vitriolic response was not about me at all, but actually about somebody local with whom he’d had a number of personal and political issues. Recognizing my critical error, I apologized publicly and retracted the article, though I do intend to recycle some points made some time in the future.
RVL: There is no denying that in a number of respects you are quite correct in coming to certain conclusions, mainly that apart from untimely deaths in the culture, a large number of “yesterdays” leaders have now left and that those still around aren’t getting any younger. What is your considered thinking on that front?
MC: I think we need to begin looking towards the future if people intend this subculture to be as wide as it is now. It will never vanish completely—in this technological age, such a thing is impossible. But it will lose vast numbers, and we’ll experience a surge in “dabblers”, that is, those who briefly entertain themselves with the vampire fetish only to later “grow out” of it like a phase. As for the fetish/role-play aspects of the subculture—that is, ninety percent of it—that will continue to exist so long as vampire fiction remains popular and the current pseudo-political shenanigans of the cosplayers who entertain it remains. Finally, my little corner of the subculture, the occult and esoteric Vampire tribes, I do have faith in my generation’s Elders, however few they might be, to keep the magick alive. The publications of occult organizations like Strigoi Vii, Vampire Temple and Aset Ka have their reach, as well, and are the few reputable Vampire religions I can name off-hand.
RVL: As with any writing or statements placed in the public arena of the Vampires there are, and will be, those in favour and those not in favour… your comments about the Ageism editorial drew a veritable storm of condemnation from a number of senior members of the culture, many of whom have in the past, and still tend to, worked hard and long hours trying to help and guide young people who come to us in pain, in fear and out of confusion. Can you give us a little more, in-depth, comment on your views in that respect?
MC: I think that if a person, within any community, truly values the work they do—doing it out of love, loyalty and respect for the community—they shouldn’t beg and cry for recognition. Such behaviour is not only unbecoming of an “Elder” but for any mature person in general. Calling oneself an “Elder” is to don a yoke, to become a servant to your community. It isn’t about internet “fame” or recognition. Being a teacher of any sort, for that matter, means you are a servant to the community you partake in. That’s what my Elders taught me.
RVL: When you take a look around the culture do you think that perhaps there is a little too much self-serving and personal “horn tooting” that goes on?
MC: Most definitely. I have seen many voices that do need to and deserve to be heard, but then there comes a flurry of pretenders—since people have discovered how easy it is to make a WordPress—who feel that their whining is equally as valid. I sort of lost my way when it came to making contributions to the community as a whole and my blog sort of soured into something like a local tabloid, but I feel that some compatriots of mine have worked wonders with their blogs, contributing magnificent works related to true Vampirism and occultism to the small subset of the subculture that still takes the Old Ways to heart.
RVL: Are you aware of the “Unity Project” joint venture between the House of Lore/ Vampire Court of New Orleans and the Vampire Court of Austin?
MC: Yes, unfortunately. Most intelligent Vampires I know are eager to watch history repeat itself with this poor man’s Sanguinarium. But perhaps that’s bitter of me to say, not like that’s ever stopped me.
RVL: Putting aside, for a moment, the concept of Courts, Kings and Queens; what are your thoughts on “unity”, in general, within the modern culture? Is it something that is achievable? Desirable even?
MC: Not at all. Given that there is no general agreement upon what a “vampire” is supposed to be, to try and “umbrella” the entire community is a pipe dream. You have your true Vampires, what I call the Sanguines (TOV, OSV, what-have-you), you have your medical people, you have your “leaky chakra” people and then you have your loony lifestylers and the rest of the fetishists. So far as over-arching unity, we don’t want to be lumped into a pot—I am not the same as a cosplayer, I can’t be expected to interface with one, etc.
RVL: As a young, and I mean no disrespect nor criticism in using the term, Vampire in the modern culture what do you see as the major priorities should be for the next generation?
MC: I think the priorities depend on what part of the community you call home. The medical vamps are still trying to validate their perspective, and they’ve actually got the means to do so, it seems. The lifestylers, cosplayers, fetishists, whatever you want to call them, well, all they’ve ever cared about are their parties and their sham politics, and so long as they have their little Game of Thrones, it should be entertaining for us all. As for the little piece I call home, I’d very much like to see a return to the Old ways of the true Vampire, where mysticism, culture and family are held above all else, as it should be. A community for the real Vampires, if you will, if I can say so without ruffling the feathers on anyone’s glittery wings!
RVL: I wanted to touch on another point with you now, the matter of “Courts”, “Kings” and “Queens”… I don’t know whether you chanced to read any of the material we presented here in the early days of the Unity Project but it was explained that the concept was for the “Heads of Courts” would, ideally, only use their title “in-house”, what do you see happening as far as an observer in the wider culture?
MC: Ideally, that would be the case. In reality, it isn’t. You can’t take toxic people with swollen and tender egos, slap crowns on their heads in garish and nauseating ceremonies and believe that won’t go to their heads. It’s a huge ego trip, and the less intelligent folks of the subculture are the ones paying for gas and tolls.
RVL: What can the “younger” Vampires bring to the table at this present time do you think?
MC: I think many have done so already. I’m more or less retired from the online community and have no wish to return. Forgive me for plugging, but sites like The Amador Vampyre, V.K. Jehannum’s WordPress and Eternal Flow definitely contribute more than, say, irate whinings from some crotchety start-up blog, at least to my little corner of the subculture, the ones who take on esoteric practices. I know that there is a lot of hoopla online about the online community, but that’s just a huge sinkhole that will never fill. So I suppose what I mean to say is, to each their own. Certain kinds of vampire-identified people can only contribute to their aspect of the community. I could not, for example, contribute to a sanguivore website; it just isn’t within my area of expertise.
RVL: Whew…we’ve covered some hard yards I think, let’s talk about the future shall we? Where do you see the modern Vampire culture being in ten years? Yah, crystal balls out everyone *chuckle*
MC: I don’t see a change. I’ve been here for about three years now, with what feels like five or ten years of experience, and I have to admit I don’t have much faith in the community as a whole with the path it’s taken thus far. The community is like stagnant water and that’s why it runs rampant with parasites. There’s always one pariah for everyone to attack (Hogg, Sharkey, Sebastiaan, etc.), one “community advocacy” group trying to unite everyone that typically flat-lines before achieving anything productive (Unity Project, Sanguinarium, Ronin Project, Vampire Police, etc.) and endless arguing and bickering. And maybe a serial killer or African witch-hunt or two. It’s morbidly entertaining, if saying so isn’t callous. I don’t take the community seriously at all. Maybe something positive will come about one day but I don’t count on it.
RVL: …and so, if I were to ask you for some “sage and wise advice” for the modern Vampire culture right now, what would you say?
MC: “He who does not know, and knows that he does not know, wants to learn—Teach him. He who does not know, and does not know that he does not know, is a fool—Avoid him at all costs!”
RVL: My dear Irkalla, it has been a delight having you with us today, not only to dispel any preconceptions that folk might have of you but also to get a feel for some fresh new opinion and outlooks. We’d like to thank you for your time, wish you success with your own blog and, if we may, we’ll check in from time to time, okay?
MC: Thanks so much. I really appreciate the opportunity to speak to you.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I think you can see that judging this particular book by its cover would be a grave error of judgment. The modern Vampire culture is, and will continue to be, both fluid and dynamic – people will come and go – ideas and outlooks will change, fluctuate, adjust and adapt – opinions will never be in short supply, the trick is to move, change, adapt and adopt along with it.
Indeed, freedom of speech is a right everyone has, everyone is permitted to practice speaking freely but we should all take a moment to remember that if there is no responsibility practiced with that freedom then what do you have? In fact, just today in discussion with our guest this evening, I observed that, as writers, “If we let intelligence take the lead before the mouth [keyboard] we can have a powerful voice. We WILL have a powerful voice.”
As author Vernor Vinge (A Fire Upon the Deep) said, “Intelligence is the handmaiden of flexibility and change.”
Intelligence is a commodity that might, at many turns, seem to be in short supply but it will always out in the end as the “troubled”, the “troublesome” and the “haters” fall by the wayside the resulting changes are going to be both deep and far reaching and if we, all of us young and old, fail to realise that then our culture really is doomed just as surely as this fella…
Copyright RVL & Irkalla of Gotham, 2018.
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