Columns, Cut&Run, Interviews, Job Applications, Letters, Patreon, Rants, Uncategorized

No more Mr Freebie guy…

Right, then.

Every once in a while, I get the need to shake things up. That’s my five-year plan. Try to fix stuff that isn’t broken. Ruin a good thing. Fill the comfort zone with pepper spray and lock everyone inside.

In late 2018, the Sunday Tribune in Durban made the calamitous decision to terminate my Durban Poison column. Cast adrift, with no realistic way of making money short of getting a proper job, I thought my column-writing days may be over. Before I could properly celebrate, I received an outpouring of support.

Someone called Craig was one of the first to suggest a viable alternative. “Simple solution,” he wrote. “A site all of us who appreciate Ben’s work can subscribe to. He has a huge following and rightly so. I suggest a stipend a month to read his incredible wit. Whatever you think it is worth. Will keep him in beer and all of us highly entertained. I hope everyone is in.”

I thought it was a brilliant idea.

I had been posting my columns on a blog since 2011. With the prospect of actually earning a living from my writing, I spent thousands of beer money on setting up a proper website. The problem is that people who paid to subscribe were getting the same content as those who didn’t pay. Over time, many eventually cancelled their monthly payments – I am nevertheless grateful for their contribution to the cause.

In 13 years, I’ve put up 850 posts. A total of 682,291 people have visited my site and a staggering 987,008 views have been logged. I say staggering because that’s the condition I was in after writing most of the columns. Right now, I have 62,216 subscribers. Of those, two die-hards are still paying their R100 a month. Thanks, Peter and Geoff. The other 62,214 are getting my stuff for free. Not an ideal business model, you’ll agree.

I’m not only not making money from this venture, but, factoring in the cost of hosting the site, I’m coming out at a loss. I might be financially retarded, but even I know this doesn’t make sense.

I’m deeply grateful to all of you who have made a point of reading my stuff over the years. You’re good people. Mostly.

So I hope you’ll follow me over to:

For the modest sum of $5 a month, you’ll not only get my weekly column but also fresh material and other goodies that I’m working on. Automatic notifications when stuff is posted.

In case you’re concerned, Patreon isn’t some dodgy, fly-by-night outfit, so rest assured that your patronage will end up in the right place, i.e. with me.



PS. Sign up to get the latest column.

Thursday 28 March, 2024

“I like our Speaker of Parliament, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula. I really do. And not just because I prefer a full-figured woman with a wig fetish. I’m attracted to her lack of criminal ambition. She reminds me of myself. In a pool of killer whales looking for an easy meal, she’s a pyjama shark…”

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