[From Your Fearless Clam Editors Jim and KT]
The first post on this blog was on May 5 2014, over a year ago. Your humble clameditors had been bouncing around the same threads on Facebook, cracking people up to the point where there were numerous cries of “You two should go start a blog!” In retrospect this may have just been friends trying to stop us from filling their feeds with obscene references to the alien races of Star Wars (“Is Wookie-style” a sexual position?”) and photos of the the life-sized David Hasselhoff mannequin we found on the Internet which was endlessly amusing to us for obvious reasons and turned into an elaborate murder-mystery. Well the joke’s on you guys! We did it! Ha!
Since then it’s been an insanely amusing ride. People have stopped each of us on the street to say, “I love your blog!” Fans have contributed real cash money to help pay for hosting and some of our operating expenses (read: scorpion bowls at Midori that one time, and mostly the Clam parties (so). KT wrote a piece on the Market Basket controversy last summer that literally had hundreds of thousands of hits and was picked up by Esquire and other real news outlets staffed by actual journalists and not just two local wags trying to find mildly off-color mashups of 90’s alt hits and local landmarks (I just went down Stacy’s Mom Boulevard).
We knew going in we wanted to be an alternate voice. Slightly punk rock, edgy, shouty and PG-13 (language). We felt at the time, and even more so a year out, that Gloucester needs a little shaking up. It needs to have its assumptions questioned and to laugh at itself more. 99.9% of you agree, even some well known local figures who call or email or text and say, “I love what you guys are doing, dear God never stop, but of course I can’t put my name behind that so don’t quote me.”
There have been haters too, of course. That’s fine. It’s a big Internet, they can go somewhere else and complain about us or whatever. Oh, and of course (this being Gloucester) there are also one million experts in everything who keep telling us what to do. Apparently they know for a fact we would “do better,” for instance, if we stopped swearing so much. Or that young fellow KT should learn to respect women. Or that Jim Dowd never should have been elected to Parliament as the Labor MP from Lewisham (He has also failed to bring the funk). Their “expertise” is betrayed by our hit stats which plainly demonstrate you people like pretty much two things: Swearing and dirty lists, especially on Friday afternoons (our stats suggest most of you are surfing the web completely plowed by 2:00 pm any given Friday).
Here is a short list of our biggest surprises:
- How widespread our readership is: Who the fuck are you people in New York City? We see you on our analytics, hundreds a day. We’re probably coming down there at some point and having a drink with you all, unless it turns out reading The Clam aloud in some basement dungeon on Christoper Street is the daily ritual of a creepy fetish group. Actually, if that’s the case we’re definitely coming down. Looking at the Google we see consistent readers in LA, Chicago, London, Australia, Portland Oregon, Russia and Finland. A bunch in Finland, actually. WHY FINLAND? WHY????
- How mobile our readers are: Most of you guys apparently read us on your phones or tablets. We assume killing time while you are waiting for your arraignment or something. It helps confirm for us most readers consume The Clam as an “infosnack” between things. We try and respect that.
- How easy it’s been to come up with content: We worried hard about doing this daily. Every couple of weeks KT would text Jim and say, “Holy fuck we have nothing for next week!” Jim, playing the role of the sage old hand would say, “Don’t worry, some crazy bullshit will happen in the next 72 hours and we’ll have a topic.” This came true EVERY TIME. We had flat-out zip to write about the day before Beardy McCrimespree robbed the Ipswich Bank downtown and fled by taxi. There were snowstorms, strikes, school craziness, elections and drones. Lord so much drones. And more drone-nerdery is coming. This will be a full-on drone erotica site by July. But the point is, drones aside, Gloucester is a rich well of topics for a satire blog and for that we are eternally grateful.
- The number of people who assumed we were bonking: This came as a disappointment. There was apparently furtive talk in some corners about “what was going on” between us because known science clearly states two people of opposing genders can’t write comedy together or work closely together without a genital interchange of some type. We confronted a few folks when we heard the scuttlebutt, and somehow were given the impression that its up to us to prove to the world we’re NOT bonking. Okay….we’re open to suggestions on how to prove a negative, something every logical system says you can’t do, but sure. We’ll get right on that. Also feminist fail from folks who know better, and who should let two humans who work well together just do that and not have it be all be about what junk they happen to have. Sadface on this one, people.
- The real, serious shit we talked about: Some of our best work came from thorny issues many of which we were initially loath to cover. We talked about the Ferguson violence, Robin Williams’ suicide, telling the truth about the schools (they are pretty damn good!), gun violence, the general crappiness of the Gloucester Daily Times and the massive third rail of a Gloucester future where groundfishing is a minor part of the economic equation. People got mad at us sometimes, but lots and lots more said, “I’m so glad someone is finally talking about this…” Basically we’ve become that obnoxious knowitall punk kid at Thanksgiving who blurts out, “Are we really going to let Grandma live in that big house at the edge of town all alone? Isn’t that sort of stupid?” That kid is a total pain in the ass (also what’s with the hair?) but they are frequently right about stuff, or at least right that the stuff needs to be talked about and not left as is. It’s a role we both know well.
- How many people don’t get humor: Did you know there are people who don’t understand humor? Did you further know a substantial subset of this group regularly contact those who create actual comedy to explain the extent to which they don’t get it? I guess everyone has hobbies, but you don’t find either of us posting on the official website of the International Cricket Council to inform them we don’t get the concept of “rounders.”
- The things we really liked that bombed: KT had this bit called “Sporthorse” we both loved. We were the only ones, apparently (except Paul Morrison: We love you, Paul). Jim wrote these Star Wars narratives he thought were the most amusing combinations of words every committed to electronic media, but KT’s eyes glazed over and she would start banging her head against the walls at ClamMedia Tower (TM). Stats show more people have read the Necronomicon and lived than those posts. It’s a strange thing sometimes, finding that place where what we think is funny and what you all will think is funny overlap. We try and strike a balance, to be honest. Sometimes you just gotta write what you like and to hell with the hits. But then again, there is an audience who is giving you the incredible privilege of their attention and it’s really shitty to take advantage of that.
- We blew it also too: We’re not going to go too in-depth on this just to say we know there were a couple of times we went over the line, said the wrong thing, got the story wrong or were dicks about something we should have been less dickish about. We actually fret about this a lot more than you might imagine. In our defense, and we know some will laugh, but we actually believe The Clam has a not unimportant mission. And we believe that mission of afflicting the comfortable and comforting the afflicted is worth the risk of stepping on occasional toes and making ourselves look like assholes in the process. We’re going to try not to, we’ve learned a lot this past year, but somebody’s gotta say some of this stuff out loud or it’s never going to get fixed.
That’s it. Huge thanks to our Clamtributors: Brooke, Jeremy, Josh, Stevens and Adam (and a few others who have given us one-off submissions). I know we’re all over the place, but you guys have been a huge help in riding this thing out of the gate. And major thanks to the people who’ve read, laughed, forgiven and supported us. It’s been a privilege, and we’ve gotten more from this project than we ever thought possible.
More great things to come, folks. We’ve been working on some pretty crazy stuff.
–KT and Jim