the sadness factory


the sadness factory

we don’t sell tampons. we probably never will. by the time they need them, we will have been replaced. it feels an awful lot later than it is. it always does. doesn’t it? we have a management team. they manage our social media managers. who manage our social media executives. who pretend to be us to the world. i have seen the world. i don’t really know what to make of it. they say we live online. & our fans do too. sometimes we are clean cut. sometimes off the rails. sometimes we are just normal twenty-somethings living a dream. or living the dream or i don’t know. sometimes i wish none of this had happened. it’s all a bit like that dismemberment plan album. not that we can really listen to them. you probably discovered pitchfork in your twenties. probably discovered a whole load of bands you wouldn’t have otherwise. probably listen to everything from aaliyah to deafheaven. probably tell everyone daydream nation is your favourite album but only listen to it when you are working or trying to sleep. i wore a hell is for heroes hoody once. once in public. last week. my brother bought it for me. he had been to see them play. some kind of anniversary gig. met them after. wanted to tell them how much i loved them but felt too embarrassed. it makes sense. i just wish it wouldn’t. if you are an explicitly anti-consumerist artist, adored by the embodiment of consumerism, wouldn’t you appreciate your message getting across to the widest possible audience? the most impressionable audience? sort of feels like russell’s paradox. or people on the internet complaining about how everyone spends all their time on the internet. i am not entirely sure i understand either. i want to. i try to.

i live online. i don’t mind that one. of all the things written & said. that one is ok. because i do. we played in san francisco last night. tonight we are staying in sausalito. we each have our own houseboat. sausalito is a weird place. lots of history. used to be a sort of central hub for bootleggers. now just houseboats. someone said that otis redding wrote dock of the bay here. people always talk. jack london lived here. or people believe he did. i wonder if maybe i might be added to that list. if this might be. i am funny. it says it on all my profiles. in every online bio. says i could have made a career for myself as a comedian. i don’t really know who decided that. i don’t feel funny.

i was sixteen. sixteen years old. we had our first million views. we get that in a day now. our first million views. the third interview. live. sixteen & shaking. where were you? i have to be this compliant lord of the flies steinbeck loving youth. stuck. stuck with the education i left with. when i was younger all i wanted to do was go to cambridge. to fall in love. to be someone someone somewhere might write about. i get written about. isn’t the same. it doesn’t matter that we write our songs. it doesn’t. i am who i have slept with. who i haven’t. who i might. this is my life. i was sixteen. a million pound signing fee. who would you be? i want to be somewhere else always. i have been to every elsewhere. he says it is just burn out. i am in a houseboat. this is my life. he is sleeping. in only a shirt. his book has now been translated into three languages. why is he here. i want to sleep. i want to have a cigarette. imagine the irony of burning down a houseboat. imagine this generation’s literary darling on board. imagine it was me. imagine i ruined everything. imagine i quit the band. imagine i went back to school. i could. i can do anything. be anywhere. these things don’t happen. imagine me being to blame in a serious way. i saw a man burned alive. i live online. i need a cigarette.

if i think about the worst things i have ever done, the room is spun. everything sunk. i used to think intent was all that mattered. now i don’t know if anything matters. in fifteen hours time i will be at the mtv awards. pretending to sing to anyone lonely enough to watch it. in fifteen hours we could be in the caribbean. or lost at sea. him. me. i could throw our phones overboard. i could have a cigarette. i could drink & not have to worry about the cameras. about my parents. i could untie this rope & then. & then him & me. if i have this cigarette. if i that. & let that be me. if i just if i just set us free

alex speaker is a mediocre poet living in bristol. you can find his work in jungftak, pomegranate, love is the law magazine & poems in which, or you could take a look at his blog

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