And this is my admittedly vague promise to you, then.
On where we're going.
Well I am writing this straight onto the page and I will just come out and say it so that any drama that follows can be skipped by anyone bothered or Not Interested. VFD is changing. Which is to say that the project that VFD started as is evolving and morphing and becoming something that better reflects ambitions and interests and, truthfully, what can be done consistently.
There will still be interviews. The original promise of VFD was one edition a week interviewing someone from the internet and that has been, up until now, what has been delivered. And the feedback is good. And the sharing is good. And the growth is good. But I started this when I wasn’t working In Media and I am now, decidedly, back in the saddle of Big Media (@ VICE), and so the weight and even slight mental toll of scaling and organising VFD alongside scaling and organising the national presence of one of the most iconic media brands of the 2000s is more than I anticipated. I admit it! I said it! It has taken me a few weeks to reckon with it all and to confront the fact that this is not at all a weakness. Circumstances change.
During the pandemic I became obsessed with running in a typical sense and also in a substituting-for-therapy sorta way. I would run 25 kilometres on a Wednesday afternoon because I had not much else to do and I had no desire to sit inside and because the pain of it all was probably something I enjoyed. I would come home and tell my housemates “did you know you can get to the other side of the Harbour Bridge and back, on foot, in two and a half hours?” and they would look at me in that demented way that is appropriate of friends and family, that sort of face and brow movement synonymous with: well, he isn’t hurting anyone.
And I would keep running and thinking this is good until my body would break and then I would think, well, this is bad actually.
Why am I talking about running. I don’t run a whole lot any more like I used to. I still run, maybe three times a week, but this is all reasonable stuff with a plan and a strategy and a mobility routine that has me hanging from parallel bars for sixty painful seconds or straddling up against a wall with my heels in the air, letting gravity push down on my open hamstrings, feeling the weight of the world open me up like a pancake.
And this is all reasonable and smart and ADULT in approach.
And I guess I need to now think about VFD the same way. What was possible in the last two years, what felt normal, what felt right, maybe isn’t that anymore. But I am not going to stop. There are other ways to get moving.
I know there are a few things to address: you signed up for what you signed up for, you donated what you donated, you gave because you liked what you saw. And to all of that I can only say two things: trust me, or leave if you want to. It is nothing personal. I want to keep growing this community and circle of people who like what I do and maybe make my ego feel larger than is necessary (oh, you think?) and also keep me on my toes, creating something that is larger than myself and that does not have the Idea Of Parachutes a job in media does [though we all know a parachute’s greatest weakness is Redundancy]. I would like to write more and express myself more and push myself to be Myself in public. Truthfully, VFD was created as a cheat: build something that isn’t about yourself. If anything goes wrong, it’s not your fault.
And now I am realising that the fault and the risk and the pain of being yourself Online perhaps Too Much is what makes it all worth it.
And so here is what I am going to do.
VFD Interviews will still happen when I find someone who interests me, who is relevant, who has something to say. I stand by my initial thesis in that The Interview is journalism and content and publishing’s unhidden gem, perhaps lost to a decade of podcasts and YouTubers and filth, not experimented with enough (Yes, Channel 5, All Gas No Breaks, I am aware of. The interviews are incredible. But if we are honest with ourselves they are running a platform built without the pressures of lawyers and Responsibilities Of Publishing everyone in a Media Job must abide by).
I am going to write again. I have a lot of thoughts about the internet and how we live on it (original, I KNOW) and how, being in Australia, our entire experience online is in this Upside Down “Midnight Hours” moment, where the rest of the west sleeps and we post about terribly boring internal politics and a culture that without the rotating pedals of the United States is born in little else to be proud of.
I am going to write about how to make things work, too.
When people ask me what I do for a living I often tell them “I understand the internet for a living”. And I believe that. But for whatever reason I have treated this knowledge and skill and lived-experience as something accessible to Paid Only. As if I can’t talk about what makes me good at my job outside of my job, because that is what the money is for, a sort of hush-fund from my boss and their boss, and a contract where I promise that the things I Know To Be True will stick with me and stay in the family. It’s mafia shit, without anywhere near the appropriate level of drama. But, y’know, it’s whatever.
I am building the website again, too. Learning to code. The trolls won.
And this is my admittedly vague promise to you, then.
It will still be one edition a week, I will still listen to feedback, and - if they are willing and able - Regina will still continue to turn the Instagram into the ultimate in Anti-Instagram aesthetic. I love it.
But I ramble here now.
Thank you for your patience, your time, your comments, and your continued (consistently!) high open rate. It means, at the very least, that you like to open up that email. That’s gotta count for something.
See you down the road.