Image by Fabien Delaube
Hello and welcome to the first edition of our online magazine.
Three years ago, I edited a magazine which we hoped would provide a platform for new and lesser known writers by allowing them to share a space with those who were better known. The response was overwhelming and, along with several new writers, we were able to publish work by Al Alvarez, Colm Toibin, Les Murray, Mark Doty, Tony Visconti, Nick Coleman, Samantha Harvey and Fran Lock. We were, as you can imagine, hugely grateful and we were excited, too. But publishing is publishing: we couldn't get the funding for the second issue. It was only during lockdown that I started to think a little more carefully about what I might still be able to do.
It seems to me that one contribution I can make is to continue to provide a platform for people who haven't got one. Or who have one, perhaps, but who feel (all writers feel this, I suspect) that it isn't nearly big enough. It's a terrible time for the creative arts, but not only for the creative arts. Events in America are proving, once again, how far we have to go before the voices of black people and other minorities are properly respected. You'll notice that, as yet, we don't have nearly enough of those voices here. I hope that this will change. We don't only want writers. We want artists; film-makers; musicians. Send me your poems and stories; pass over clips of you singing songs or films that you think deserve more attention. If I like it, I'll post it. And please. Please please please. If you are an established, um, "creative" (horrible word) I'm asking you to get in touch with me and help support your fellow artists during a very difficult time.
This week we have a poem by Steve Shepherd, a film review by Christopher Miller, a collection of photographs by Richard Helyar, an article on African music by Peter Moore, a brief documentary by Martha Shepherd, the first of our series on etymology by Brandon Robshaw, extracts from novels by Susan Allott and Rebecca Ley, film music by Mark Simpson, an illustration by Andy Hitchen and a short story by Anton Chekhov. With regard to those who have kindly agreed to help us, we have poems from Ilya Kaminsky, Pascale Petit, Fran Lock and Toby Litt, an analysis of John Lennon's singing by Nick Coleman, a piece on the Eddie Gilfoyle case by Simon Hattenstone and Eric Allison and the first in a regular series: the transcription of Noah Rasheta's very wise and very accessible (and very popular) Secular Buddhism podcast. Those of our writers and artists who have yet to get the recognition they deserve join me in thanking these writers for their generosity.
Right then. Ladies and gentlemen. (Drum roll, please.) I give you One Hand Clapping...
Photograph of Alan Humm by Richard Helyar