Kenneth Tynan wrote that:
"The fixed quizzical grin, the bar-fly impressionism, the epicene tartness which most critics affect is no substitute for awe, hate or rapture."
He went on to say that what was required was "passion, not sympathy", and this strikes me as a perfectly cogent argument. Great art isn't created by the polite acknowledgement of anything. Criticism has a duty to hold art accountable to its best standards. It has a duty, actually, to be as passionate about art as artists are; to be harsh, if necessary, in the service of the creation of things that, to quote J.D. Salinger are "nameless and joy-making". Stop dabbling in the foothills, people. Get your head down, screw up your courage and go for it. Or not. But if you don't... Well, have you met Christopher Miller? Christopher savages Star Wars in this issue. I think that the review is better than the film, to be honest, but some of you are going to hate it. Which is great. Write to us; say why. We may well publish you. Christopher believes, as I believe, that an artist shouldn't worry too much about providing what people want. It has to come from in here. (You can imagine the gesture, I'm sure, that accompanies that statement.) And, just for the record, we haven't published a single contributor who hasn't at least attempted to do that.
The big news is that, this week, we are featuring photographs by Martin Parr and music (and writing) by David Toop. You certainly don't associate words like "hate" with Martin, but what you'll see, I hope, is that his pictures exemplify a point of view that is entirely his own. They are gentle, often, and humorous and tolerant and eager to snatch beauty from the everyday and I am delighted to be allowed to publish some of them. David's music, meanwhile, is beautiful and his writing is rich and allusive. Speaking as someone who would turn straight to his articles in The Face, I am very very pleased to have his work in our pages. Very pleased, too, to still be receiving so many strong contributions. This week we are also publishing: Noah Rasheta; Brandon Robshaw; Louise Peterkin; Nkateko Masinga; Steven Shepherd; Agnes Marton; Suzanne Lummis; Maggie Sawkins; Rusudan; Mick Farren; Antonia Alexandra Klimenko; Tom Raymond; Lauren Scharhag; Elizabeth Barrett; George Neame; John Short; Stephen Boyce; our Track of the Week; Rachel Wade; and Nick Allen. We think they're great, and we hope you do too.