WRDM52 (Tonka's Orders: Go Fuck Yourself)

I've spent ages trying to figure out the best way of writing this post. I've even considered scrapping WRDM entirely because I wasn't sure that I could find the appropriate words for what I want to say. It's been stressing me out. You know how Dr. Dre deleted Detox because he thought it was shit and released Compton last week instead? Well, I've screwed up half-written posts called What's A Dance Writer Worth?, VICE Are Fucking Thieves, Dance Music Journalism Is Full Of Fucking Thieves and Liars, DJ Mag, VICE, RA, Meoko And Butch Cassidy Are All The Fucking Same At The End Of The Day, Maybe It's Me, Maybe I'm Not Worth It, I Don't Deserve A Thing and I'll Never Get The Credit I Deserve, So I May As Well Just Die and chucked them all over my shoulder into an imaginary waste paper basket in the corner of my imaginary office over the course of the last few weeks. I'm exactly like Dr. Dre.

As you can see, my mental health has been deteriorating because of this post. I've been sweating more than Les Coker's palms at the thought of not being able to complete WRDM52 and it's been showing in the very poor Tweets and Facebook posts I've been writing recently (not to mention the bollocks I've been phoning into Ran$om Note in the last few weeks). I've gone properly fucking shit!
So, what are we talking about this week then, eh? I'm only writing from my own very limited experience, but am I the only person in the world who, when asked to write for a website or magazine, submits the article to the requested word count, prior to the deadline and then has to chase like a lemon to get paid for it? Am I? No? Phew! LOLoutLOUD. I thought I was the only one! That boring website with no clear identity or purpose, Meoko, still owe me for three articles out of six that I wrote for them in 2013 - I know I'll never see that, but, to be honest, I'd never heard of Meoko until somebody called Nix Venter messaged me on Facebook to ask if I'd write a few things for her - she looked fucking fit, so I said yes.

Meoko paid alright for the first article, I had to email reminders for the next two, but for the last three I think Nix got bored and stopped responding to my emails. I then got bored chasing. Sugar Lips, where's my money? Upside down smiley face.
How do little, no-name outfits like Meoko have the balls to flat out refuse to pay their contributors? I could understand if a gang like Resident Advisor did it because they're an esteemed magazine who a lot of writers would embarrass themselves to be associated with. They can afford to be cheeky. They're doing Radio 1 now. They're not going anywhere, and starving wannabe wordsmiths will queue up to write for next-to-zero pence/cents per word or write unpaid trial reviews and take laughably low-paid internships as long as they get to plonk, "Writes for Resident Advisor" on their LinkedIn profile, like what I did when I wrote a piece for Thump - more on them later. I've always just been happy contributing to the Resident Advisor threads, but should an offer of paid (I don't mind how much) regular reviews and the occasional long-form feature come about I'd obviously take the time to consider it/snap their fucking hands off. Get in touch, guys (as long as I don't have to change my entire style of writing and pen name, as suggested to me by an RA staffer after I died on my arse speaking at the London Electronic Music Event in 2014).

The Weekly Review of Dance Music and Tonka's Week is a hobby for me, and I don't need the pennies that music journalism sometimes teases you with because I'm absolutely fucking loaded with money as it is. LOL. Can you imagine having to write about dance music for a living these days? It's a sorry cesspool full of desperate backswimmers, leeches, sticklebacks and worms all competing to tell the same stories, often in the least original way.
Can you put yourself in the shoes of a staffer at an enormous "culture" juggernaut that is so far from the edge, it's literally in the middle, shouting about EDM to an "underground" audience? I know I'm weeing in the wind with this, but how I didn't get paid on time by that clunky, shit-faced, billion dollar media block, VICE, is a mystery to me.

I wrote A Bullshitter's Guide To Hard House for Thump (VICE's electronic music and culture website) in March; mindless nostalgia content that Thump and the Weekly Review of Dance Music specialise in. Tonka met the deadline. Tonka exceeded the word count. Tonka accepted the rubbish, careless editing and replacement of sentences that made me read like a fucking pussy clart. Tonka sent an invoice, as requested. Tonka waited for a bit.

What's seventy five quid to a billionaire that's always banging on about exploring uncomfortable truths and going to places they don't belong?
In June, I was kindly asked to delete a Tweet about not getting paid by Thump (undeleted) and then had some mouthy cunt in Brooklyn called Joel Fowler pipe up to tell me to stop moaning because he was going to sort my money out (he lied and didn't sort my money out). After five months of private chase up emails and one shirty Tweet, Tonka got paid by the staffer who commissioned the piece. A fucking staffer...out of his own pocket! A staffer at VICE called Josh Baines, who's Twitter timeline is an aggressively endless snark, who shits himself every time I hint at how greedy his magazine is in public. He ended up paying me, not the Finance department! Can you believe it? No, hold on. I've just had a look at my online banking and Josh was lying as well. He didn't pay any money into my account like he said he would last week.

Fuck me. These liars are everywhere!

Loads more people read Thump than WRDM though, and that's always going to be the case, so I don't know why I'm even writing about it. I'm staring down a giant who doesn't even know I'm there. Nobody gives a shit. Despite taking the time to write this self-absorbed-bollocks-masquerading-as-a-man-of-the-people post, I don't even give that much of a shit, but I do think there's an interesting article to be written about all these big magazines and websites that exploit their hard-working and deluded contributors.
Are there too many voices? Maybe it's the hordes of numbskulls like me with a Google Blogger account, a few too many years clubbing in the bank and a cross-eyed regard of their own influence that's ruining it for the writers who have dedicated their lives to journalism, and studied it at university, and take it seriously. You look at Thump and Pulse - to name two - and it's plain to see that a lot of these websites will take any old writer on to write any old content, and that writer then thinks they're contributing something to the scene. Who's winning? Fuck knows. If you're a proper writer who agrees with any of what I'm saying, write a proper article about it. This is only WRDM.

I've had a lot of skilful writers respond to shady questions I've thrown out under the radar about mags that are fucking terrible at paying for articles. One magazine seems to dwarf all others.

Legend has it that the owner of DJ Mag is the heir to the Robertson's Jam fortune, an organisation who famously kept golliwogs on their marmalade jars throughout the 1980s. In the special Excel chart I created to process the results of my secret survey, the DJ Mag column fucking TOWERS over the Thump, RA, Red Bull UK, Tank Magazine and Meoko ones. Whether the Robertson's Jam myth has anything to do with their bad reputation amongst dance writers is up for debate, but it's worth mentioning because it's quite funny if it's true.
If you're writing an article for DJ Mag, don't expect to get paid for months and months and months and months and months. One reliable source told me that they've had payments delayed four months, six months, nine months and more after submitting work for them. Another told me their record was twenty (20!!!) months before payment. Twenty fucking months. You get your name in a big magazine, but spend twenty months broke and chasing up your money IF you have the confidence to chase. Others have told me they don't chase out of fear in case they don't get offered work in the future, so end up writing for free anyway. Who's winning?

I am.

And the writers who are lucky enough to get in at places like the Guardian, RBMA, Boiler Room, MTV, Rolling Stone, The Northolt Gazette, Mixmag, Beano, Pitchfork, Weekly Review of Dance Music, The Quietus and Hottest Asian Babes. Publications I've heard nothing but good stuff about.



So, what have we learned from this week's post? Fuck knows. It was probably just a massive waste of time and not worth the aggro. Maybe the magazines I've been down on do pay on time sometimes. Maybe I was just unlucky and it's been a big coincidence that the people I've spoken with have independently experienced similar problems with the same magazines and websites. Maybe the magazines and websites I've had positive feedback on sometimes forget to pay their contributors on occasions too. I don't know. There's no right or wrong to any of this, is there? Lighten up, Tonka, and chill out. LOLoutLOUD.

Whilst I was moaning about everything I've written above, I should have been writing MASSIVE QUESTIONS for Martyn Hare. Sorry, Martyn. I'll get them over to you soon, mate. I should also have been making notes on the new Trevor Jackson compilation that got sent to me the other day; Trevor Jackson Presents: Science Fiction Dancehall Classics. It's fucking brilliant, and I've been moping around WRDMHQ with a face on, mithering about how much RA pay per word like I'm the dance Russell Brand. I'm not Russell Brand. I'm Tonka. It's none of my fucking business, is it?

Next week, Hilarious Lookalikes returns to the screens of WRDM for the very first time since the last time I did some Hilarious Lookalikes. I can't fucking wait to publish that kind of content again.

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