As the year comes to a close I find myself thinking back over the highs and lows of the last twelve months and the changes and challenges coming up in the year ahead.
I had hoped 2020 would be a year to bring various strands of my creative work together in new and exciting endeavours and enterprises. Sadly though, ill health and the Pandemic screwed up almost everything planned.
Complications following a Kidney Stone early in the year left me feeling ghastly and drained throughout most of the summer and autumn in addition to being terrified over losing the sodding Kidney. I still feel utterly knackered and doing anything beyond working, eating and sleeping has been (and still is) a real strain.
High blood pressure and the extreme levels of stress which is the cause has also been a major issue. The stress is the result of a number of issues including a ongoing battle over unsafe workmanship with my housing association which has now reached the Scottish Parliament. See www.gorgiedalry.co.uk for details.
Complications and delays relating to the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry where I am due to give evidence relating to my time in care have also taken a heavy toll. The SNP breaking promises and trying to reset the goalposts on the redress scheme for in care abuse survivors is an utter disgrace and proves again what a bunch of two faced lying c*nts the Scottish Government is and always has been.
My own legal action against those in charge of the Bellshill Children’s Home will likely now be further delayed due to Parliament’s buggering about. That said, the preparations continue and it is hopefully likely when the action is raised, it will be settled out of court.
However, as part of the process I have had to provide a full and detailed statement of not only what happened during my time in children’s homes, but the reasons why I placed myself into care and also how I left the care system. All in all, a detailed summery of every horrible aspect of the worst four years of my life.
Yesterday I completed the revised statement and returned it to my solicitor. This revision took forever to complete as it was a real stroll through the Halls o’ Hell, bringing up memories and emotions deliberately buried to preserve my sanity. A lot of old wounds were reopened and drenched in burning acid.
Still… That part is over now and hopefully the enormous stress involved will start to subside… At least until the next stage begins in Spring next year.
My creative output intended for 2020 has also taken a real hammering with hardware problems adding to the other issues. The Absinthe Affair web broadcasts have been offline for most of the year due to my personal ill health and a chronically ill laptop which finally passed away a few weeks back.
The laptop issues also somewhat affected the publication of the Steampunk 2020 Webzine, the five editions of which can be freely downloaded via www.steampunk2020.co.uk – Despite the problems however, thousands of copies of the groundbreaking interactive magazine have been downloaded by readers.
My heartfelt thanks to everyone who actually participated in and/or supported the Webzine over the five editions produced. However, despite the higher than expected number of downloads and the amazing, enthusiastic support of a limited few – Getting a regular supply of new participants from the Steampunk creative community proved as easy as pulling out ones own teeth and it is unlikely that the Webzine will return (in its current form) in 2021.
My own personal disillusionment with the Steampunk scene has regretfully increased dramatically over the last year, largely due to the influx of those pushing “Politics” within the community. While world events has enabled this process, there is a determined few who can’t except that many if not most view Steampunk as a form of escapism and a place to get away from politics and the real world.
While the community also has ongoing problems with racism and bullying… As an abuse survivor, I find the reemergence and apparent enthusiastic acceptance of an “alleged” serial sex abuser with over twenty five “alleged” victims (including at least one under age of consent) to be stomach churning and vomit inducing.
While I can perhaps understand old friends of the individual trying to make a defence and providing support – The “Well, I never saw him rape anyone” and “Everyone deserves a second chance” attitude of others is simply appalling!
The hypocrisy of many of Steampunk’s most famous acts lining up to punch a Nazi one minute then signing up to perform at this “alleged” rapist’s events the next has left me distraught and on the verge of hanging my goggles up once and for all – A decision I am leaving making until after the new year.
So then, as the new year approaches – 2021 looks like being another year of decision and dilemma. There are a few good things likely to happen which I am hoping might balance out the bad things which I know are sure to take place. At least I am aware of (most) of the bad things and have been planning on how to deal with them.
New ideas and concepts are also under development relating to my potential move away from Steampunk and into new creative endeavours. These projects are more locally centred, involve some real life activities and while being a bit of a first, should also appeal in general to Steampunks.
In closing I would like to thank everyone who has supported me by participating in my projects over the last year, those dear friends who have kept my Absinthe glass filled (you ken who you two are), those who recently introduced me to my feline companion/co-pilot and everyone else who has let a little light into the darkness of a year noir!
May the very best of this year equal the very worst you face in the year ahead!
Atticus Oldman (Wullie Steele)