Hi Jeff, good to see you as well. Please for give my ignorance but, who is/was Honeycomb Jack/Paul Culnane? What I read of the links you provided left me with more questions than answers and I truly would like to know. Thanks.
I wasn't attempting to stir up old shit, Don - I am trying to make amends. And spread a little understanding.
Here's my version of the sad saga. Everyone has their own.
The XTC Idea Form crashed in 2008 (I think), and for nine months the original Backporch created by Blushift and administered by Spastic Minnow filled the void. Then Andy Partridge graciously created a forum on his new APE site. As word got around and people entered, it was largely like an old friends reunion, with a few newbies. One of the newbies was named Honeycomb Jack. He immediately said he detested the cliquish atmosphere of the Idea forum and Backporch, like they were closed private clubs, and that he wasn't gonna tolerate the new APE forum being that way. I could see his point, but it sure wasn't a warm introduction to say the least.
But there weren't really any other unpleasantries, and we all carrierd on fine...for a few days…until Youie (aka Youssef) made an auspicious post, replete with vintage Youie acerbicity and typical Youie overreaching political bullshit invective (i.e., "Obama's a cunt.").
Well I, and many of the Idea members who knew Youie as Mr. Gathering and hadn't heard from him in almost a year, disregarded the politic crap and rendered enthusiastic welcomes. But Youie's political rant enraged Honeycomb Jack to the point where he branded it racist, branded all of us whom had welcomed Youie as racists, and waxed indignantly in a petulant frenzy about it proving his suspicions about being the evil old gang club he refused to tolerate. Despite me and others trying to 'explain' Youie and how he wasn't like that. Although what he wrote - really, the way he wrote it more than anything - DID sound uncomfortably close, if you read it cold.
Youssef, being the fucking bastard he is, never posted in APE again after that post and one followup. Lobs a few hand grenades and goodbye, thanks for the fish. You fucked us over good, Youie.
Despite this, I and (as far as I know) everyone else attempted to smooth things over and let it go. But Honeycomb Jack, now aided by a fellow traveler named Duck Soup, proceeded to make it his life mission to harass and annoy and pester and make things completely miserable for any of the 'old Idea crew' who dared to join APE.
THAT pissed me off. So HJ wanted APE to be HIS private forum. And so I started giving him (and Ducky) shit about it. It should surprise absolutely nobody that this didn't make things any better. In fact, rather, the opposite.
You see, I fuckin' HATE bullies. I was victimized by them in grade school, until I got big and strong and smart enough to say 'eft this shit.' And I learned from bitter experience that a bully doesn't understand logic, or pleas to reason, or being bribed or bought off. The only thing a bully understands is getting the living fucking shit beat out of him. Then he tries to suck up to you and be your pal. This Honeycomb Jack guy was attacking and dissing MY friends, people whom I'd learned to like and love over the previous 7 years. How fucking dare he.
Well, naturally from Jack's perspective, it was I (or others) who was doing the bullying to him.
I'd send him periodic PMs about hey, let's put down the gloves and learn to tolerate each other. "Can't we all just get along?" And we would - for a while. Then some damn sarcastic but innocent post would be interpreted as a diss, and the truce was over, off we went again. And I was every bit as responsible for that as he was. Just for the record.
It's like two people arguing past each other, because the thing I think he's doing to me is the same exact thing he thinks I'm doing to him.
This went on, flaring up and dying down and flaring up etc. - for two years. Far more than half of the old Idea members dropped out of the Ape forum. And every one I spoke (wrote) to named Honeycomb Jack as why. Many also mentioned my reactions to him, and the combination creating an unpleasant atmosphere. And they were right.
This was THE first time I couldn't resolve a dispute with someone on line. Since then, there's been a few Facebook unfriendings and blocking when necessary, as a last resort.
The final battle - the big blow-up - was Dr. Hugbine (I believe) using the Bill Hicks joke about the Beatles doing so many drugs they let Ringo sing a few tunes as his tagline. Jack immediately became Mr Indignant about how dare Hugs promote drug use or portray it as positive.
I wasn't even IN that thread for awhile, but I recognized Jack's over the top righteously indignant anti-drug fanaticism as the textbook smokescreen of a drug abuser. I didn't mention that though, I entered the discussion making alternate points to his, such as: doctors wouldn't prescribe drugs if they didn't do something good, and Dave Gregory's insulin keeps him living,etc. Things got increasingly heated and increasingly personal, to the point where Andy Partridge jumped in and threatened to bash some heads - in all caps.
I commented: "Sometimes the biggest rule makers are the biggest rule breakers." That's the ONLY allusion I made about my suspicion of Jack.
Then Simp, with that immaculate Simpleton timing, mentioned a few specifics concerning his sordid 70s drug experiments. I replied: "I collaborated on many of those experiments."
But Jack was gone. Vanished. That thread was his last activity ever, on the APE forum.
And close to the end of his activity anywhere.
A few years later, an unnamed member theorized that Honeycomb Jack was actually Paul Culnane. He went into MANY reasons he suspected it. All logical, all made perfect sense, all fit the puzzle of this enigmatic Honeycomb character.
And the biggest bit of evidence was the date of Paul C's suicide: one day after our forum exchange.
Now, I've heard from many other people from Oz who also knew Paul and don't believe it. They say Jack was not the Paul they knew. And they may be right. But I don't think so. The lengthy evidence - which was deleted within hours from APE by the poster - sounded TOO right to me, and too overwhelming.
And that forced me to look at my own actions in our exchanges, and take responsibility for them. And accept a certain amount of responsibility for his premature demise. Living with that is not easy.
Had I known, I would have quit posting on APE and let him do whatever the hell he wanted on it. No human life is worth a bunch of fucking internet board posts.
My links and this post are not about digging up old grudges. It's about burying old hatchets and me learning a critical lesson from a horrible event.
It is useless saying I'm sorry to someone after he has killed himself. But I am. And I'm saying it. I am eternally sorry, Paul.
This was a lesson whose price was entirely too high.
We'll never know Jeff, and I seriously doubt anything posted on the forum was the last straw. Much more complex than that with underlying reasons we will never be aware of. For the record I didn't have much of a problem with Jack, although I was sometimes on the receiving end of his jibes. But that comes with the territory of forums. If you engage, there will be a bit of friction from time to time. That's why I wouldn't beat yourself up over it. It was really never that important and I'm certain it never contributed to his possible demise. Don't be a stranger, Jeff, it's good to see you around these parts again.
Thanks Jeff, I admire your honesty and compassion. I do think Jack's provocations brought out both reasonable attempts to get along and some flippant pilling on against him. I agree with Don however, that you should not feel responsible. In reading Steve Kilby's thoughts, and he knew Paul for years, you get the picture that Paul was both very smart and hobbled by very low self-esteem. I think this self hatred was projected outward in the postings, which reinforces the belief that everyone dislikes you when they respond in kind. I think he needed us to attack him (even when we weren't) to maintain his negative opinion of himself. I suppose this is true of many bullies, but especially so with Jack.
It is a bitter lesson as many of our experiences are. Kindness has its limits, too often you can't help or save someone, but I'm sticking with it.
I sit and think of everything, then I wonder where I've been.
Thank you for the explanation, Jeff. It seems to have been an awful and uncomfortable situation for everyone on the forum, especially yourself. Your feeling of responsibility or guilt is quite natural. However, as donavan and miles have said, whatever emotional problems Jack was dealing with were well established long before you or the APE forum came along.
Jeff, I do hope you have someone (either in person or online) that you are able to talk with. Holding on to such feelings isn't healthy and can damage your own self esteem and your interactions with others.
Jeff, if you decide to stick around the forum for a while, I'm heading over to the 'Question Time' thread to ask a question that you might particularly suited to answer.
Mare: sticksman1...Hey Terry! Thank you so much for sharing! Thanks to The Fossil Fools and all who helped get the show off the ground with a thoroughly enjoyable performance! I'm excitedly awaiting the release of your set after post winds up!
Sept 28, 2021 2:04:41 GMT