In Cultural Amnesia (published by Picador) Clive James wrote:
"It would be a desirable and enviable existence just to earn a decent wage at a worthwhile job and spend all one's leisure hours improving one's aesthetic appreciation. There is so much to appreciate... One can plausibly aspire to seeing, hearing and reading everything that matters."
I entirely agree. While discussing the net, he wrote:
"There was never a time like now to be a lover of the arts. Mozart never heard most of Bach. We can hear everything by both of them. Brahms was so bowled over by Carmen that he saw twenty performances, but he had to buy twenty opera tickets to do so. Manet never saw all his paintings in one place: we can. While Darcy Bussell dances at Covent Garden, the next Darcy Bussell can watch her from Alice Springs. Technology not only had given us a permanent present, but has given it the furniture of eternity."
Which is as good a justification for an online magazine as I can think of. Of course, we don't feature Carmen or Darcy Bussell but we feature something that I think is much more exciting: new talent. Established talent, too (we are very excited to be featuring two previously unpublished poems by David Harsent this week), but predominantly people whose work needs more of the kind of exposure that James is talking about above: the informed attention of those who are fully engaged in the arts. This week, apart from David, we are publishing: Fran Lock; Sheenagh Pugh; Josephine Balmer; Lucy Ashe; Jane Campbell; Claire Hughes; Ben Morgan; John Lanyon; me; Vismai Rao; Patrick Roberts; Susan Butler; Nicola Nathan; Zita Izso (translated by Agnes Marton); our Track of the Week; Tom Raymond; Benjamin Wal; Susanne Ahrenkiel; Brandon Robshaw; Simon Belshaw; and Noah Rasheta. Go on: dig in.