Collective Failure

3 June 2019 · Karl Finch · Permalink

How could so few get it so wrong?
How could so few get it so wrong?

Monday started early this week when I received a call during the wee hours. It was Jay-Anne, my personal assistant (or, as we prefer to call them here at Leftfield, ‘disaster remediation consultant’). Natch, the news was not positive.

She apologised for the rude awakening before delivering the sitrep. Our domain name and only tangible brand asset, lfcollective.com, had expired: this site, the very face of TLC, was unreachable. I balked. Didn’t it renew? No, she told me: I’d neglected to arrange this despite no fewer than five (5) reminders from our service provider.

That, and the coffers were empty. The seed fund that had buoyed us for the longest time, affording us prime real estate, future-proofed marketing poisons, to say nothing of the debauched nights entertaining an anonymous cabal of angel investors, was now well and truly gone.

As the first anniversary of Leftfield cantered towards us in soft thunder like the terrifying androgynous equine spirit of New New Media, it became a time of introspection and not a little soul-searching.

For a good while now, I’ve felt that it’s time to break tradition—something most unlike me—and speak up personally. I first had such an inkling many months ago, but it was only the other week that I experienced a fully fledged revelation in the form of a vivid waking dream.

I was walking the sprawling parkland grounds of the Collective’s stunning office complex in Glendale, California at the time, reflecting on the various successes and failures of this nascent era. What was it all for? I wondered. What was this army of one, this vanity project?

…financial concerns loomed at every corner, threatening our path to glory and indeed our very existence, were it not for the airs and graces of several lesser Saudi princes with the prescience, derring-do and pure liquid capital to deliver the Mission.

We’ve had our trials and tribulations, to be sure. Orange, not purple, was very briefly the colour of this horse. We had, until only recently, to contend with the casual onslaught from a spambot operation out of New York City. Once more—and many fellow trailblazing savants will tell you the same—financial concerns loomed large at every corner, threatening our road to glory and indeed our very existence, were it not for the airs and graces of several lesser Saudi princes with the prescience, derring-do and pure liquid capital that allowed us to deliver the Mission.

Let me also be the first to say that mistakes have been made along the way. While the sheer editorial quality of Leftfield’s content is nothing to sniff at, it’s true that our rate of posts per day is a paltry 0.03—hardly the momentum needed to propel civilisation towards the cultural singularity. Dismissing the entire PR crack team on the basis that I personally find social media frustrating and tiresome was a professional blunder I’m not proud of. My deepest regret is ever trusting in the ability of our first intern, Niall, a uniquely incompetent and insolent little man who could only learn new ways in which to disappoint us.

This brings me to the belated point of this rather more belated post. What I would like to announce that all of this was only a bit, and a poor one at that. What I have to announce is that this isn’t over—it’s only getting started. I confess I am possessed by a malign art spirit, and despite my best intentions and endeavours, this isn’t over. Let those three words marinate in your mind for a moment more.

The prophecy of the zine is real, and there is still every desire to publish ‘books’ of ‘words’ by way of this unholy platform, albeit none of the motivation required to do so. Further still, work is ongoing for what can only be described as stories from an alternative reality served in podcast format.

It could have gone differently, but it didn’t.

Edit, 2019-06-23: anticipating a stern reader response apropos the typecasting of personal assistants (or disaster remediation consultants for that matter) as being women, let it be made perfectly clear that Jay-Anne’s employment was based solely on her skill set and aptitude specific to the role, and not the particulars of her genitalia or yin essence. Certainly, on a personal note, I as editor am deeply troubled that this would ever be put to question.