This Week's Editorial: 3/7/20



A reader contacted me this week. After praising some of our contributors he said: "What a strange animal is your One Hand Clapping... [I'm] still not sure if it wants to be a platypus or what". I like this very much because, of course, we are a hybrid. Music; art; stories; poems - we don't make any distinction, really. This is a journal that functions a little like a playlist. In the old days, we didn't have playlists, we had tapes. One song led to another which led to another; it was a much more gentle process than the way that we now cram everything in. But I've grown to love those juxtapositions that you get by including everything.


Or, at least, everything that I really like. A friend of mine - a friend of mine, moreover, who has been an editor - says that an editor's job means that they should remain anonymous. You refine yourself out of the picture and let the contributors speak for themselves. I agree with that latter part. But a lot of our contributors are here because of my own wildly enthusiastic (over-)engagement with the arts, and it's difficult for me to separate the two. A case in point:


When I was twenty-one, I blagged my way backstage at a Save The GLC concert. For those of you who are not middle aged, or who are reading this abroad, the Greater London Council was "the top-tier local government administrative body for Greater London from 1965 to 1986." (Thank you, Wikipedia.) Mrs Thatcher had it in her sights, and we were protesting. If memory serves (it usually doesn't), Billy Bragg was supporting Aswad who were supporting Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark. I was (and still am) a big fan of Billy Bragg and I accosted him just as he was about to go on stage. I gave him a tape of songs and said something like: "If you're the person you say you are you'll listen to this". Rather than hit me, he said something encouraging and put it in his pocket. Some weeks later I got a postcard from Butlins in Skegness, saying that he had passed it on to his record company. Nothing happened, but that isn't the point. I've always thought that that postcard was a terrifically nice gesture and it's part of the reason why I was so very delighted when he agreed to let us host his weekly playlists. Only part. Listen to "Tank Park Salute". (Our track of the week.) If you can get through it with dry eyes then you're a much tougher person than I am.


Elsewhere, we have an improvisation by Evan Parker. According to someone in the know, Evan "is the most significant and innovative saxophonist since John Coltrane. Like Coltrane he has expanded the notion of what is technically possible on the instrument and like Coltrane he has pursued his musical vision without compromise". In other words, you really really need to listen to this guy. Thanks to Neil Astley for providing us with another poem from the newest (and not yet published) instalment of the Staying Alive series. We'd also like to thank the following contributors: Tom Raymond; Mehvash Amin; Nkateko Masinga, Cynthia Manick; Christopher Miller; Steve Shepherd; Nicky Watkinson; Marion Tracy; Ben Morgan; Yvonne Reddick; Louise Peterkin; Olaewe David Opeyeme; Alice Hiller; Lizzie Alblas; Noah Rasheta; Brandon Robshaw; Elena Croitoru; June Wentland; and Sayantani Dasgupta. That's quite a playlist.