Since 2002 our guest this evening has been gathering friends and followers in the modern Vampire culture, as well as helping hundreds, in the culture, she has created one of the most enduring cultural resources that we know of today, she has represented us in documentary work and has authored works directly aimed at guidance and practical help for every modern living Vampire.
Her contributions can’t be underestimated and now she is working to further ensure that modern living Vampires have the knowledge and resources to deal with this gifted existence.
Returning with a reviewed, refined and re-developed… could we pardon a pun and go so far as to say, “revamped” support and reference resource, it gives us the greatest pleasure to welcome back to RVL one of our dearest and most special friends, from points North, the amazing, indefatigable Lady CG.
RVL: Good evening Lady CG, it is always an honour and genuine pleasure to have you with us. How are you dear lady? And how’s the family? Survived the Yule season okay? *chuckles*
CG: Good evening Tim, always a pleasure to be your guest.
RVL: Over the last couple of months we have been eagerly awaiting official word of this new venture of yours– would you tell us how, and when, the original concept came about?
CG: Anyone who has been by Smoke and Mirrors over the past couple of years is aware of how full the old message board is. It has gotten to the point where it is now difficult, even with the search to find anything on that site. Our counter doesn’t turn anymore, we seemed to have exceeded the max number of posts it is willing to show us. It was just time. It all came to a head when Yuku who used to own the site was bought out by Tapatalk. Tapatalk has the nice feature of being mobile friendly but it completely ruined all the formatting on our old threads. I could fix them all but it would take forever. Combined with how full the site is, it just makes sense to start something new, mobile friendly and EMPTY!
RVL: What is your aim in moving away from the previous “Smoke and Mirrors” format that we are all familiar with?
CG: Smoke and Mirrors was created in 2002. That was a long time before “mobile friendly” was even a catch phrase. We needed space to continue to grow and I wanted that space to be modern, mobile friendly and attractive. I wanted it to be updateable. I wanted more control over the background processes. I finally found a tech who wanted to work with me, so I hired him. The new site we developed is what you see today on The Darkened Mirror.
RVL: Now, we have established that you are no stranger to the modern Vampire Culture… May we ask, of your personal background, would you give just a quick bio for newcomers that may not know of you… as difficult as that they may be to believe of course… do you identify as a modern living Vampire and for how long have you been aware of your true nature?
CG: I think it was about 1995 when I first found people I related to online. While my Vampiric experiences predate that time, those things are very personal in nature and appropriate here but the first online people I found who were “like me”, I found in a little IRC channel called “Parents Kitchen”. My experiences there convinced me to look for even more information and others who related to the term “Vampire” elsewhere on the net as the community awakened to the new internet age and I found my first public home in the old OneGroup e-groups that would later become Yahoo Groups.
My first home was Vampiric e-group. A relatively small group hosted by Blue Moon Occult Shop in the UK. I became a moderator there in 1998, I believe. I met a lot of good friends in that group, some who are still good friends today.
It was only a couple of years later that some of the first “modern” message boards were starting to become popular. I found my way to The Pathways to Darkness message board run by the Sanguinarium. I loved that board. I was still moderating Vampiric but this was different, fun and the people there were amazing. It was my first exposure to people like Sebastiaan Todd and Michelle Belanger, but they were far from the only friends I met there. I collected a great group of people around me and the discussions were first rate. When the board closed a year or two later and left we poor message board orphans out in the cold I started looking for a new board where we could continue our discussions.
In 2002 I was hanging out on Drink Deeply and Dream when Hapsburg and I decided to create our own board. We wanted a place where there were no bars on what we could discuss, where there was no topic that was off limits. Haps found ezboard and we built what would become one of the largest and one of the longer running message boards in the community. As you know, Smoke and Mirrors still exists today as an archive of community history and discussions dating from August 11, 2002 to present.
RVL: The development of the new initiative comes during the 16th anniversary year of Smoke and Mirrors, how does it make you feel to be still a major source of cultural reference after that long?
CG: I don’t know that I actually think of it in those terms, lol. In truth it feels like I’m starting over. When Facebook came into its own a lot of the community went all in. Message boards all over the community more or less “died” as people chose to favour instant messaging and groups where reactions happened in seconds rather than the hours and days it often took to get feedback on the old message boards.
When I decided to rebuild I felt like I was looking at a monumental task in trying to drag the communities back to message boards. Most young Vamps cut their teeth on cell phones and instant messaging. I was afraid it might even be a hopeless task. I tried once or twice to see if there was any reception to the idea. In the end I had to wait till “Facebook Burnout” actually became a thing and enough people, besides myself, began to miss all the advantages of message boards over Facebook groups. It’s a slow process but I think we’re finally seeing enough interest in things outside of FB, and enough technology updates to the message board systems to draw people back, at least a little bit.
RVL: Since the names, Smoke and Mirrors and Darkened Mirror seem to, ahem, reflect a common theme, that is, mirrors, what is the continuing message being carried by the name?
CG: When we looked for a name for our first board, Haps and I tried out quite a number of possibilities. In the end there were a couple of factors: We wanted a board whose name was not obviously vampiric. We wanted something that would “sell”. Smoke and Mirrors was catchy and when shortened to S&M it became something that stuck in the minds of our members in a humorous way.
When I was looking for a name for the new site I didn’t want to give up all association with our old board and yet I wanted it to be different, and there is still some hope that it will be a smaller project, quieter, perhaps a little more scholarly. Darkened Mirror seemed to fit the bill, alluding to our old site and still fitting into the community theme, so to speak.
RVL: If we may ask now, a little about the format of the Darkened Mirror, will it be a similar sort of site to Smoke and Mirrors or is there going to be a departure from the S&M format?
CG: Now that the site is built you can actually see that for yourself! We’ve gone with a similar format with a twist.
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