20s and 30s
As predicted, yesterday was a challenging day. Which is why I have caught up with myself only now.
I managed to do the reset link without any hitches or glitches. I thought that it would be best to leave my phone on my desk rather than taking it into bed with me. There might be the temptation to take sneak glances at it when I am trying to sleep and obsess on it further. I repeated to myself the mantra that I cannot change external circumstances or control other people. All I could do was control myself. And the best thing that I could do was sleep on it. But a thought kept coming back about what happened on 03/08/2021. When I needed to act quickly but before I had the chance to sleep on it, Lily got in there first. Freyja could easily re-join the group before I had the chance to reset the join link. There would always be a risk of that happening.
That said, the way in which things played out with the Queer Park Rebels that night kind of worked in my favour. By saying nothing all night and then posting one message to the group before being removed was quite a neat little demonstration in how quick those rogue admins were to judge and how a person could be removed from a WhatsApp group for saying one thing. That night, I went down as a "digital martyr". The scenario proved a point. My actions triggered a situation whereby an open discussion occurred and Lily and her team were revealed in their true colours.
In the case of Freyja, the boot is on the other foot. I did not remove her from the WhatsApp group. I did not even ask her to leave. I did not need to. She talked her own way out of the WhatsApp group, simply by me pointing out the bare bones of what she was saying and how this was affecting other group members. I never explicitly stated that she was a bully. I simply said that she had exhibited bullying behaviour. Those are two very different statements.
In confronting her own reflection, Freyja might have concluded that she was a "bully" and left the group in order to make it a safe space.
[0:27 pm, 16/11/2021] Freyja: Well go gor what you wanted an soo did they bullied to the point of can't take it anymore and I get the crap for it really that's how it is such a safe space ain't it
I love the rule of Reverse Psychology. My mum always said: "listen very closely to what people say. Often, they are inadvertently revealing something about themselves through saying that they are not." The best response to Freyja in the above case might have been "no problem, I will make a note of it" or "fine, you are not a bully, I hear you" or simply repeat what she said back to her as if to agree. But I did not wish to engage with it further and I felt like I had lost the will to live by that point. Besides, there was no question in her message. There was nothing that necessarily required a response. I have identified a difference between ignoring someone (universally) and not replying to one message. I can mediate that different, myself. As I have said countless times, I do not approve of ghosting, avoiding or ignoring. Others might perceive and judge my actions to be one of those disengagement behaviours.
04/08/2021, 16:01 - Lily: I would like to clarify why it is a problem that Rory ghosted us and then created the page with our imagery and sent us that message.
I believe in confronting issues - not in an aggressive way - but in a detached, somewhat clinical way. Even if it means holding fire on responding until I am absolutely ready. Striking them off my to-do list. There was nothing that Freyja needed me to say. She was simply having a moan and needed someone to moan at. Being the one to have reproached her, naturally, I was the obvious choice. That is fine. I did not mind at all Freyja's last 2 messages. She simply needed a sounding board to vent off. But if she wanted me to respond, I think that she might have asked me a question.
Even though I had left my phone away from my bed, it still took me 2 hours to get to sleep. With all of these thoughts running through my head. Eventually, I managed to fall into a light sleep. The following morning, I woke up early again, at 5:45. Initially, I thought that I would go to the bathroom and sleep for another half hour (my alarm was set for 6:30). But since my thoughts returned afresh again and brought back my consciousness, I thought that I may as well bite the bullet and do it now. What difference would half and hour make?
OK, on initial check. All good. No Freyja. Which meant that I was free to lock her out. This is effectively what I was doing to the group. Locking the door. People could leave if they wished. But by resetting the join link, it would be like locking the door and instigating myself & Jenny as gate keepers. People would need to come via one of us in order to get in.
Also, no-one (neither Jenny nor myself) needed to make a dramatic statement or "announce" this to the group. By doing so, it might also hinder us further because the troublemakers who are still in the group (S & R) might dig their heels in and put up a resistance if they were ever asked to leave. Ste has left before and come back in. I do not wish to remove anyone. That would be a last resort. I would rather do what I did with Freyja. Try to open up a positive, constructive dialogue. Freyja was relatively easy work. But I am not so sure about S & R. They could cause more problems.
By the way, I am not talking about the issues that Lily raised. I am talking more about the way in which they were dealt with. Not the fact that I rebranded my Meetup group to theirs, used my paid account to appoint myself as their boss through the back door and attempted to onboard them under my regime. LOL. 😂
Time to do the deed.
It is done. Time to relax. Scrolling through the chat, I could see that Marcin (a "sex troll") re-joined and was private messaging group members. Which only further necessitated the implementation of my plan. By locking the group, I not only managed to keep out Freyja but also Marcin. Two birds. One stone.
Interestingly, a trolling incident happened with my own group, SB&GG. Originally, I was planning on carrying out my next "reset join link" for this group on January 1st. But this little incident brought that forward. Maybe as a useful little demonstration in case anyone was wondering why I reset the 20s and 30s join link. I will not bother to censor the number as not censoring it is effectively a karmic return for this number picking up the join link. And everyone else's numbers. 🙄
[3:46 pm, 17/11/2021] +7 991 950-03-69:
Having said that, I have now realise that adding members to the WhatsApp group myself is more GDPR-compliant than posting the link (and effectively a gateway to all of those other numbers) on a public-domain Meetup page. How did I not realise this before?
So, as long as I obtain permission to add people, it is perfectly legitimate. Maybe what I was doing before (adding friends) was not GDPR-compliant because I was relying more on the fact that they were known to me than the fact that they had neither asked nor given me express permission to be added.
I discussed this with a group member a few months ago (see tabbed).
[7:05 pm, 18/08/2021] Jamie: Hi thanks for adding me to the group. Do you have Asperger's too then?
[8:42 pm, 18/08/2021] Jamie: Yes been OKish what about u? Is the what's app group new? It was nice of you to add me.
[8:48 pm, 18/08/2021] Rory Duffy: No worries, I’m sometimes shy about adding people to it for the gdpr aspect but as long as I know the person, I try to assess whether they will be happy for me to add them before adding and I know you for a while and knew you’d be ok with it 😌
[9:50 pm, 18/08/2021] Jamie: Yes definitely also they put restrictions on sending multiple messages to people to stop spam, but people then turned to groups so they could send the same message to multiple people. I have heard there is a business what's app which may let you but don't know much about it and expect you would have to pay
[9:52 pm, 18/08/2021] Rory Duffy: You can do that anyway, using broadcast lists.
[9:58 pm, 18/08/2021] Rory Duffy: Not sure why they changed the name. However, the key difference is that people must give consent to "opt in" (which they didn't before; before you could just add people)- hence why WhatsApp is a bit of a grey area, legally, and surprised that you can add people without them necessarily opting in...
The previous day, Purple Iris had sent me an email requesting me to send an invoice for DJ/musician work to this email address. I forwarded them the 2 invoices that I had already sent:
Yesterday morning, I sent a follow-up email as soon as I arrived into the office.
Begin forwarded message:
Throughout the day, I received no response emails. Let alone any details regarding tomorrow. For most of the day, I managed to forget about it. But the times that it did return to my mind felt like a little nagging monster sat on my shoulder grinding away at my mind. In short, it was stressing me out. In my mind, the innocently empty email inbox was concealing a hidden agenda of swords and daggers. Some people might look at this and think that I need professional help. So be it (disclaimer: attempts to acquire disclosed here in this journal).
I had brought John's adaptor in my bag in case I needed to drop it off at tomorrow's venue instead of physically handing it to him tomorrow. At some point during the day, this moved from being a possibility to a certainty. Yet, I procrastinated. I stayed in the office for an hour longer than I usually do. Because dropping it off at tomorrow's venue was an unpleasant prospect. Something that I needed to get over and done with.
I left the office shortly before 5. I took one last check on HSBC Mobile Banking, just in case they had slipped the money into my account without notifying me. Nothing. It was time to jump on my bike. I cycled down from Angel to Soho. Once I arrived in Soho, it took me a good 20 minutes or so to find the venue again. Since John had not sent me the details. He had only shown me last Saturday, an hour before my Liverpool Street DJ gig. I remembered that the venue itself was on a corner and had the number 55 on it. And I recalled that John & I had crossed the same street as Zebrano bar (where I was with GaySociety the other week) where there was a bar saying "Jazz After Dark". After cycling a few circles around Compton Street and Soho Square, I finally found it.
I brought the adaptor out of my bag. I spoke to a guy there and explained that I needed to leave something with him to give to the DJ tomorrow. He was removing cardboard boxes from the premises and asked me for 5 minutes. I decided to check HSBC Mobile Banking one last time as I did not wish to perform (what was, in my mind) a reckless act without good reason.
Too late! A missed call notification and a message from John popped up on my phone. As predicted, he had tried to phone me. At the 11th hour. Well, I needed to act quickly. Fortunately, I had thought about what I wanted to say to him. I had drafted a message in my mind while I was on my bike. I was not planning on sending it until I arrived home but John messaged me before I had the chance to do so.
From: Rory Duffy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
From: Rory Duffy
More cycling. More mental drafting of emails.
When I arrived home, I sent the tabbed emails. I wanted to do it quickly in case Purple Iris sent a payment through in the interim period between me cycling home and me emailing Purple Iris. The goal? I wanted to get out of the situation. By hook or crook. I could see how it was affecting me. And I knew that I could not change people or the way in which they worked. The only thing that I could do was maintain my boundaries. And whether or not John's intentions were good, I was feeling compromised. I have always processed professional agreements and engagements in writing. Not verbally. By insisting on calling me, I had been lured into the trap of social appeasement. Betraying my inner inclinations. Feeling pressurised into agreeing to something verbally on the phone. Not having a record of conversations. Developing a blurry haziness of responsibilities and expectations based on memory and recollection. I was in the dark, waiting to be stabbed (by a phone call). And my mental health was more important than my money. Money comes and goes but my mind is the only mind of its sort in this universe.
Unfortunately, I accidentally sent the 1st message a 2nd time to the "13/11/2021" thread. So, 3 emails were sent in total:
Oops. This could mean that I potentially might have removed any legal grounds for me to claim payment for the work that I carried out last Saturday. Since I had effectively asked to withdraw an invoice within the email thread relating to last Saturday.
However, it did say "tomorrow's" invoice. So, maybe it was OK.
I was in a hurry. John's missed call had expedited my get-out plan and left me in a fluster. It is no wonder that I might have felt under pressure to respond in the heat of the moment and got my threads in a tangle. Just another reminder of how I need to tighten up my tolerance when it comes to phone calls. This business relationship had progressed too far down a road that I did not wish to go down.
Phone calls! 😤
Never mind. I switched off my devices and went out to skate. Strangely enough, at the group skate, I met a guy who was a DJ and had lost £5000. This put matters in perspective. He was playing for a venue. The venue were paying him in arrears. Lockdown happened and the venue's business went under. This DJ never managed to recuperate that money. And even more strangely, he was skiving a DJ gig (due to some disagreement) and coming to skate with us instead. I explained to him and a couple of others that I had just extricated myself from a potentially sticky business agreement with a DJ and left my phone at home.
I did not know that there would be a group skate for certain. But they seemed to be every Wednesday in Burgess Park. So, I skated down with nothing except my house keys and the clothes on my back. With the proviso that if I arrived in the park and no-one was there, I would follow the same skate route as the instructors taught me 2 weeks ago. It felt liberating. When I did arrive, I saw some familiar faces and discovered that the group skate was indeed happening. It gave me something to do to distract myself for a few hours. Before I had to face the music again.
Let's Stay Inside. Or, in this case, outside. Away from the phone!
Rest assured, I was always intending of getting back to John and confronting the issue. But this needed to be broken down and done step-by-step. Not in a blow all out mess of a phone call.
From: Rory Duffy
From: Rory Duffy
3 hours later, I returned and checked my phone. As predicted, several missed calls from John throughout the evening and a lovely, considerate WhatsApp message. Thank you. 🙏
Instantly, I appreciated the WhatsApp message (more than the missed calls). It helped me feel understanding towards John and the situation. However, I was not swayed. At the end of the day, I could not force someone else around to my way of working. All that I could do was show my consideration and explain the reasons why this "business arrangement" was not working for me.
I decided not to rush matters. It was late. Approximately half 9. 2 hours since John had last tried to call me. I had some respite time to chill and reflect. I needed to eat anyway.
Jill's message was less urgent. I could reply to her the following day, for a start. Jill is the lovely DJ who used to run my "London Gay Society" Meetup group after John stepped down and before I stepped up. She is the person who put me in touch with John to begin with.
My breakdown of communication and trust with John did not need to affect Jill. While I should reply to her, there is no need to go into any details. The main priority was that I ironed out with John in the first instance. This was between me and him.
[7:38 pm, 17/11/2021] John DJ: Hi Rory, just tried to call you again. A bit concerned about your message and wanted to check you’re all ok? Can you give me a call back. I’m not quite sure how this has escalated, I thought all was good.
[8:00 pm, 17/11/2021] Jill: Hi love
While I was eating, I composed the tabbed WhatsApp message to John.
I applied 2 key techniques:
The coffee line was something that I came up with on my bike. I thought that it might add a light, friendly and quasi-humourous touch to an otherwise stressful situation. It might help ease tensions. It might also show me in a positive light. That the money was not my main concern. My main concern was that I removed myself from a situation in which I felt compromised WITHOUT damaging the relationship. We could still remain friends beyond the professional partnership ending.
I initially drafted "I would prefer not to give you a call back right now if that is alright" and added "because I feel stressed out / uncomfortable / vulnerable [insert adjectives here] right now". But I thought no, better to remove that suffix. It might aggravate him. He might conjecture that my stress arises from him. It is not that simple. Besides, I do not owe him an explanation for why I would prefer not to give him a call back right now. That is my decision and I was perfectly entitled to keep the reasons to myself.
Looking back at my message, there are a couple of "I felt" in there. But those were not directly linked to the facts. They were mainly side-notes. Overall, I am happy with my message and I feel like I did a sound job. I did well.
John replied instantly.
[11:15 pm, 17/11/2021] John DJ: Rory, thank you for your message.
Well, key line: I over-think things. That may very well be true. But while I can control myself, there are certain aspects of my personality that might not be changed, although they could be adapted and tweaked slightly to whichever situation I find myself in. I tried to do that this time. My attempt failed. It reminded me that I tried my best but it was to no avail. John's opinion that I "over-think things" only further reinforces to me that I made the right decision. It was not a situation in which I could be my authentic self. And I was beating myself up and making myself feel bad about myself. Specifically by trying to adapt in ways that transcended the boundaries of my comfort zone.
The "over-speculation" is also true. This is the projection and manifestation aspects coming into play. There are experiences in my past where I have freelanced with bands, DJs and ensembles. Experiences where I felt hurt and never quite healed from those wounds. So, yes, I might be playing cycles of fate into existence by throwing in the towel with John.
There are probably others, like Superfly Soul Collective, where I played for the band for free over the course of a year. And who subsequently asked me to re-audition for the paid gigs despite already giving them my service for free. There are circumstances like these that I have never managed to overcome. There are issues that DO exist (whether they are in my past, present or future is irrelevant). The best thing that I could do would be to consciously prevent these issues from happening AGAIN. It might be true that John is genuine and might not have acted like the above. But there was no guarantee. He does not know my history. If I started explaining it to him, he might probably become bored, stop listening and walk away. Last Sunday, I found it hard enough on the phone articulating to him my issues with my present without him interrupting my flow - let alone my future. He simply was not listening. So, what is the point of engaging with him in that way any further? I needed to get myself out of there before any damage could be done. And fortunately, I think that I just did.
By asserting that he is not "shady", John seems to have taken what I have said personally. I predicted that he would. This is precisely why I tried to remove as much emotional / subjective content from my message as possible and focus on the facts. Even if I did end up having to draw a link between those facts and my feelings towards them. The "shady" aspect was simply trying to convey my perception of the facts in the hope that he could see where I was coming from.
I noticed that he did not address any of the facts stated.
Regarding feeling "badly let down", I can sympathise with that. But the fact is that there was nothing actually agreed in writing. The gig did not exist (as far as I was concerned)! It was merely a hazy blur of a few phone conversations that we had last week and weekend. So, in my mind, I do not think that I have "let him down". Because there was nothing to be "let down from" to begin with. Nothing could be proven to have been confirmed! Sure, there is personal trust in people. Not to go back on their word. But I have given my trust to people in the past. And it has been taken advantage of. How could I know that John might not take advantage of my trust in a similar way? Having said that, he had, actually, when he tried to push the fee back to £90 instead of £100. This is exactly what necessitates contracts and written agreements. So that there can be no doubt or uncertainty about expectations.
Good that he finally acknowledged and thanked me for the itinerary. 🙏
I have done the right thing. I am filled with a massive sense of relief. I feel full, buzzing and inspired again. I have empowered myself. I have given part of myself back to myself. I have carried out matters on MY terms and spoken out for myself. Yes, I might go into the detailed facts. But these details are important. Had I simply conveyed how I was feeling, there would have been nothing to back up my feelings. John might have taken it even more personally. This is what people used to tell me in the past. Trim it down! But they did not specify how or in what sense. I used to trim down for the sake of word count. But now I understand trimming down to mean (personally to me) cutting out all of the emotional crap. Occam's Razor. Including telephone calls. Focusing on my messages in an environment where I have more control over my own responses. Not in a live, realtime tit-for-tat (thanks Pierre) exchange of blows. John's environment was enforcing that dynamic upon me. A dynamic that pressurised me into coming up with responses in the heat of the moment. And bombing them. Causing further confusion and disorientation. Thank goodness I have got myself out of there!
Occam's Razor: No more things should be presumed to exist than are absolutely necessary, i.e., the fewer assumptions an explanation of a phenomenon depends on, the better the explanation. (William of Occam)
Key word: assumption. I am talking about assumption, here. Live, verbal interaction might have forced me to focus on my emotions, not the underlying reasons behind those emotions. The WhatsApp message format allowed me to clinically list all of those underlying reasons without dwelling too much into their emotional aspects. By not listing those reasons, I might have been perceived as "making assumptions" and, by extension, John might have taken what I had said more personally. Because there would have been no concrete rationale behind my feelings. There would have been more speculation. My statements might have otherwise been perceived / interpreted as merely "assumptions".
I will reply to Jill tomorrow instead. My initial thought is to say "John & I simply decided to part amicably. We are all good." But maybe I should think and sleep on that further.
Jill will be curious. If she does attend tonight, no doubt words will be exchanged about me between Jill & John. Jill might ask John to recount what happened. I do not mean to seem ungrateful to Jill (thank you again). After all, I sent her the link to my Pride Sampler, she passed it onto John and that is how we were in touch to begin with. That was a kind thing that she did. Make a recommendation on my behalf. I would not wish to harm or temper any relationships. Essentially, they are both fundamentally good people (by my judgement). I would like to remain within their circle. And not burn any bridges. But maybe John had the best intentions yet did not realise how his way of conducting himself professionally was affecting me.
Tying this back into the "London Gay Society" saga (with John being the founder and Jill being the previous organiser before me). Gustavo has not responded to my Facebook message and it is now over a week. Maybe he simply does not care? The only remaining thing that I need to do is push ahead with the rebrand of the London Gay Society Meetup group. It is the perfect time! Now that I have I emancipated myself from the John situation. I have this evening free. I will spend the recuperated time focusing myself on that goal and thinking about how I see the group going forward.
Obviously, I will message AJ to tip him off once I have done so. 😇
Should I briefly allude to AJ that there were a couple of hoops that I needed to jump through first? Or should I just leave it? Regrettably, I cannot make AJ's Clapham bar crawl tomorrow due to the speed dating and I have also realised that I cannot make the 17th December karaoke due to a gig in the Costwolds. Oh well.
I feel like it is almost time to call it a day on 2021. I was originally planning on heading home on the 18th December. But now that I have this gig near Tetbury, I might as well jack it in for this year and hibernate a day earlier than planned. Or even a few days. Return to London on New Year's Eve. That is if I do not get a fabulously lucrative paid opportunity of solo saxophone engagement elsewhere.
Yesterday was a challenging day. A "getting it over and done with" experience. I managed to get through it in a way in which I am left satisfied that I did the right thing.
[10:59 pm, 17/11/2021] Rory Duffy: Hey John, I am OK. I would prefer not to give you a call back right now if that is alright.
Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have his reward.
332 Brixton Road
Samaritans, 24 hours, on 116123 or email:
I have been recommended to acknowledge and process all that I have been though, where it all started from how it has affected me.