Where the hell is our Clam?

“Hey, who turned out the lights? Anyone here? Knock knock…”

So, you may be wondering where Your Faithful Clam has gone. Truth is, we’re all pretty much still here but Real Life has gotten in the way of our trademark mix of snark, righteous indignation, and beautiful uses of pop culture references. So for the moment, they’ve left me – junior editor and Actual Elected Official Josh – with the keys.

Where are they right now? Well, Jim is in the middle of a massive client project that his small marketing company is managing. I saw him once, furtively wandering into a pho joint in Beverly (because Gloucester needs a good Vietnamese restaurant too, amirite). He looked haunted, as if he was on the verge of being a mammoth success and earning enough cheddar on this job to buy a brand new Subaru with ALL THE THINGS. He’s also kinda burned out from the damned Democratic primaries and is joining me on Team Cthulhu now.

KT moved (twice) and took on a new full-time job in the insurance biz. She now lives close enough to Official Clam Dirndl Wearer and Beer Goddess Brooke Welty that they’re quickly going from good friends to “it’s really maybe a little creepy at this point”. She’s working through post-divorce life and has an awesome boyfriend. She’s sick of the primaries too.

As for the rest of the Clamtributors? Adam headed off to Greenland in the hopes of experiencing an actual winter before climate change turns New England into Morocco. Len went to work for me in real life and had his creativity stifled. Anna is moving up to one of the identical cake decorating war shows, seeing what spunk and attitude can do to make a MB sheet cake spectacular. Jeremy was unable to be elected President in Massachusetts and has resumed warping the minds of America’s youth. And Steven has begun a retail business to see if every product can be sold with a 17% markup. Because we really like that arbitrary number here at The Clam, and it works so well for taxes.

Me? I’m just busy trying to keep the lights on here for the moment. We do have some terrific content coming up in the coming weeks, just not as fast as we’d all like to. Greatness takes time, y’all.

Mommy Blogging in Lovecraft’s Neighborhood

From our very special guest blogger, Heather N’ylahrath. 

 

Living in New England, it’s no surprise we get snow. I just love bundling up the kids so that all I can see are little noses and eyes peeking out of the hand knit artisanal lamb’s wool scarf and hat sets I made them last spring. No use letting the wool of that little guy we sacrificed go to waste! I like to think The Old Ones would approve of our farm to altar, head-to-tail sacrificing. Some of the other families in the congregation just let the sacrificial beast lay on the altar, but I know these little knit booties and hat would be Cthulhu approved.

All set to play in the snow!

 

Impending snow always presents us with the question of what to do with the kids! I’m planning on taking the twins out for a day of fun. I really want them to see the real fury of winter so they can feel the lurking presence of The Deep Ones with each howl of the wind. They so rarely get to hear from their grandparents in the deep, so it’ll be nice to chat.

When we’re done shouting lamentations into the wind damning the hotel project on Pavilion Beach, I think we’re going to head inside for some nice hot cocoa and a story. I was lucky enough to get my hands on one of the last pints of hand milked, organic, humanely raised, artisanal heavy cream before the storm, and it’s going to make this artisanal hand blended hot cocoa mix even better.

darkness

Our afternoon story

 

You know, we really are blessed to live in a place with such a history, surrounded by the dense looming fog rising from the sea. I tell the kids that it’s their grandparents and ancestors sending greetings from the Deep. Sometimes, we find special things on the beach, like little tokens with their initials and tiny carved fetishes, and I love knowing that our family is watching over us from Below. It really makes you think!

 

wtf

Grandma

Well, I have to run. The twins are begging me to take them out to play, and I can’t wait to spend the time out with them, but first, we have to unlock the basement and throw down dinner for their father….Because Gloucester!

Brooke Takes On The Fort

I was going to write the last bit of my travel escapades, a piece about Cornwall. But I’ll save that for later, when KT and Jim need some filler.

I was actually thinking about doing the Cornwall piece, and through a series of streams of thought, it brought me here. I also happened to stumble upon some people online bemoaning the loss of the Birdseye building in Fort Square (was it called the Birdseye Building? Anyway, you know the one I mean) to make room for a new hotel, and I started thinking about the similarities between Penzance and Gloucester.

We all know I’m not from here. I’m a transplant, still really damned new to the city. But sometimes, an outside observation is what’s needed. People who oppose the hotel project seem to be doing so for a number of reasons, including “IT’S DESTROYING THE NEIGHBORHOOD!” and “IT’S GOING TO DESTROY THE FORT” and “THEY’LL DESTROY OUR LITTLE CORNER OF GLOUCESTER” with some people already claiming it’s dead.
And you know what? I’m ok with that. The neighborhood, while charming in its own way and possessing a great history, was home to a fucking giant derelict white building which has stood crumbling and unused for decades. Right on a goddamned beach. A beach people will pay good money to look at from their hotel balcony.

Here’s why I’m ok with that. Gloucester needs revitalization. Desperately. The fishing industry isn’t coming back any time soon, and while we still may have a fleet for lobstering (is that a word? I’m using it anyway) and other fishing, the big cod industry is gone. Gloucester is on the precipice of big change, a point where the city needs to decide which way to go.

Residents of the Fort and the city in general may not want to admit it, but Gloucester needs to build better infrastructure for tourists and other businesses. Here’s how thinking about Penzance got me on this train of thought, by the way. Penzance is in a beautiful spot, a coastal city with a long history including vast fishing fleets, artists, and vacationers. Sound familiar? Penzance is also currently falling to shambles, bereft of industry and saddled with a failing tourism market. It’s a shadow of its former self, and it’s really fucking depressing.

Why? A lot of reasons, but one of the big ones is that the local council was stuck in a small-town state of mind and was extremely resistant to CHANGE. Marks & Spencer (a super posh grocer/retailer in the UK) wanted to choose Penzance as the location of its first store in Cornwall, but the council said no under the pressure of local green grocers and others who feared for their bottom line. So, M & S moved into (I think) Truro instead, which was equally in the shit as Penzance, economy wise. What happened to Truro? It grew. Other chains and high end shops followed, and Truro turned into the biggest shopping destination in Cornwall. Local shops thrived too, in case you were wondering, bolstered by the new people drawn in by the big names.

Penzance’s high street is full of Charity thrift stores, dollar stores, and the occasional beach gift shop.

By the way, you folks who have lived here forever may not know this, but it can be very hard to actually visit Gloucester. Know why? THERE ARE NO HOTELS. There are B&Bs with 5 rooms, vacation rentals, and a handful of motels. Husband and I came up for a visit on Cyclocross weekend a few years back and almost couldn’t make it because every room in town was full. A friend of mine wanted to visit this summer but had to postpone because she couldn’t find a room for her family. This may sound like a shock to some, but more rooms for people to stay in means more people in town, and more dollars spent here.

Gloucester needs to make itself more available to tourists and businesses if it’s going to come out on top. And if that means revitalizing an industrial part of town to build a hotel on a beach, then so be it.

In the words of a very wise man, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Humans of Gloucester

Brooke Welty needs to get her own dang login, so she can post this awesomeness and get the mad cred she deserves for writing this brilliance.

For the first in a series of hopefully many. I’ll be stopping random humans through the city, so please know that if I stop you, it’s legit and you’re not going to end up on some weird fetish site. Not by my hand, anyway.

For the rest of my interviews, I’ll be stopping to chat with actual humans (mostly) but I thought I would start out with one of those who we share our fair city with.

YO

YO

ME: “Were you born in Gloucester, or did you migrate?”

TIM: “Oh, I was born here. I’m a true islander. My family has been here for oh…thousands of years I would guess. One of my great grandmothers actually nested in the Babson house’s chimney.”

ME: “What do you think about the decline in Gloucester’s fishing industry? Is it affecting your family?”

TIM: “Oh, yeah it is. I mean, I get it. Less fish means fewer fishermen, means less fish parts for us to steal. I just wish the government had taken measures to prevent this from happening decades ago. They should have seen it coming, but your kind tends to put on blinders to future problems, am I right? We’re managing, though. We get by. This new hotel down the fort will help, bringing in more tourists. More trash, you know.”

ME: “What’s your favorite thing about Gloucester?

TIM: “Oh, the seafood, definitely. If you go the right time of day, you can get whole fish heads right off the dock over at Capt. Joes. We haven’t got much cod fishing any more, but lobstering is still going, so I get plenty from those guys. Nothing like snatching a half eaten lobster or some fries from people,too.”

ME: “What is one thing you think Gloucester could really do to improve things?”

TIM: “An Indian restaurant would be nice.”