Dire Mountain: the threequel

Checking out the excellent “Leaving Babylon” website, I stumble across the latest comment from Paul Kingnorth, co-organiser of “Dark Mountain.” [The back story: I spent £55 on a ticket for this ‘festival’ and came away shell-shocked at the promise-delivery chasm. There’s been a bit of to and fro on the Tinterwebs, with lots of people simply not answering critiques but coming back with ad hominems and now sarcasm.]

I’m frankly pretty bored by a two week inability to take on board useful ideas and criticism. (Kingsnorth is not alone in this of course. We are all human. COIN were no better a couple of years back, but this is another story).

The owner of “Leaving Babylon” made a series of constructive suggestions. Douglas Hind, to his credit, kept calm and carried on, engaging constructively. Paul Kingsnorth… well, his words are the best description


Great; that sounds fun. I’ll look forward to attending the uncivilised jig/opensource event that you and ‘Dwight’ will no doubt soon be putting together. I’ll be sure to write a blog about it afterwards pointing out exactly what was wrong with your efforts.

The funny thing, from where I’m sitting, is that both of you are very big on people walking the walk, and both of you have apparently been interested in DM for sometime – yet at no stage has either of you got involved. Many other people have, and have made it what it was. That was the point of DM: that was the invitation issued in the manifesto: come and make this happen. Join the expedition.

If you had done, it might have looked more like you would like it to. Instead, you sat back and then stuck the knife in afterwards. Always the easy option, but maybe less useful than trying to make something – however imperfect – actually come to pass.

Words, as you say in your latest entry, have limited efficacy without action. :-)

More on the content (such as it is) later. The tone? Well, on the sarcasm. I really don’t care about what you think of me Paul, or how you act (other than refunding my money) towards me. But Leavergirl has a long track record of useful and astute comments. When you ignore her intelligence, when you write bitterly and sarcastically, you disrespect (yeah, I know, pots and kettles) her, but you demean yourself far far more, you really do.

You write “ I’ll be sure to write a blog about it afterwards pointing out exactly what was wrong with your efforts. ”
Well, you are welcome to come, and welcome to criticise. It is after all, still a free (ish) country. And I always like detailed and specific critiques -one of the problems in the smugosphere is the lack of feedback.

But I guarantee you this:

  • If I charge you $55 quid, I will deliver what I said. And if I don’t deliver- guess what, you will get a refund.
  • I will ensure there is some sort of gender parity
  • I will not arrange a grotesquely static and top-down ego-fest.
  • I will have the common courtesy to publicly thank the people who helped make the event happen.
  • I will respond to any substantive criticisms that you make. I will acknowledge and apologise for short-comings and show how things will be done differently next time around.
  • I won’t hide behind “well, you could have gotten involved”

You write “both of you have apparently been interested in DM for sometime – yet at no stage has either of you got involved.”

Er, I can’t and won’t speak for Leavergirl, but

a) I WAS involved- I gave you £55 and expected you to keep your promise.

b) You assume I am not too busy elsewhere walking the talk. Which I feel I am. You KNOW that I produce Manchester Climate Fortnightly. The clue is in the name, Paul. It comes out every two weeks. I also am neck deep in other climate stuff. I also work full time and have beyond-work commitments there. Some of us are wage slaves who have to just grind it out. We rely on event organisers to keep their promises. So just grow up, alright?

And a final thing. Anyone can be defensive during the white heat of an event, and while everything is raw. Most of us have been in the horrible place where we hear ourselves going “yeah but, no but” while knowing deep down that we have fucked up, and wishing our ego wasn’t in charge of our mouth, spewing out flak. This we all know and make allowances for. But hell, it’s been two weeks now. Get your fucking game face on.


About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
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4 Responses to Dire Mountain: the threequel

  1. You’re a charming man, aren’t you? Really.

    I’d put a bet on two thing at this point:

    1. You will organise nothing of the kind.
    2. You won’t print this comment.

  2. It’s nice to be proved wrong sometimes. Half-wrong anyway. I don’t think the percentage will go any higher than that on this occasion.

    I can’t think why some people don’t share your views on the festival, but inexplicably, they don’t:


    ‘There are those who just kind of take responsibility for being the project, and bring into it their own journeys, their creative gifts, knowledge and insights; and there are those who approach DM as a providing / provisional authority – a role in which, perhaps inevitably, it will be set up to fall short of whatever is being demanded of it.’

    Thoughtful stuff. And no swear words.

    • dwighttowers says:

      Hi Paul,

      I have nothing to prove to you on the organising events side of things. I have organised plenty. When I said they would be chalk and talk, they were chalk and talk. When I said they would be innovative and participatory, they were innovative and participatory. The key point you seem unable (more than unwilling, genuinely unable, you poor defensive man) to grasp is this. I was not expecting DM to be a “providing/provisional authority”. I merely expected it to keep to its stated promises. It didn’t. You have chosen to ignore anyone who pointed out the sexism, the top-down nature of it, the cack-handed organisation and lack of thanks to the grunts doing the leg work.

      Next time I put on an event (and I’ve been putting them on in Manchester with a great deal of regularity), feel free to come along. Free.

      As to “I bet you won’t print this comment.” That’s 8 years old in the playground stuff, Paul. Aren’t you embarrassed? I am for you.

      Dwight Towers
      P.S. I’ll take that “bet” that you make, btw. Shall we say £55, the amount you have consistently refused to refund for your little bait and switch operation? Since I’ve printed this comment, I expect £27.50 in my account tonight. The balance when I put on an event – any event- that meets the promises its make.

  3. Pingback: Empathy, Hypocrisy, Comments and (re-climbing the) Dire Mountain «

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