Thursday, October 04, 2007

Idle Dream No. 94

Electronic communities build nothing. You wind up with nothing. We are dancing animals. How beautiful it is to get up and go out and do something. We are here on Earth to fart around. Don’t let anybody tell you any different.
—Kurt Vonnegut

Not withstanding the above , have had an idea .. IT ( or Stan as he is now known in his sex god manifestation), and I were wondering about the plight of the busy Blogger whose hurried rants were un-regarded as people inevitably go to the brand leading Dales and Guidots . As you would expect, good bad or indifferent ,( and they can be all three) , pushed for time the punter is likely to patronise the reliable purveyor of consistent quality . This is self reinforcing because having become the top brand looking for “ The buzz” even their indifferent material will suck in attention.
The sad consequence is that a lot of people are doing good work which does not get the spotlight it deserves . Hatfield Girl and Raedwald spring to mind but there are many more Cassilis (superb), Ed , all people with particular perspectives and no little talent . Phillipa , CU , whose coverage is top quality and as for quirky humour and insight EK ...Hitch ? Hmmmm perhaps he might like to express his more considered views ... . There is also the problem of having to produce a daily snippet. This tends to reduce everything to blog standard homogenously informal chatter relentlessly iconoclastic along well worn grooves .

I have been looking at cooperative Blogs like the excellent Pickled Politics and Samizdata and more formal forums like Compass and from depths of my quivering grey jelly a solution has birthed itself into being .

A Magazine ...I must clarify here .I mean amagzine format web site not a blog but part of the world of blogs

What about a monthly magazine with regular contributors of more considered articles having an editorial team to ensure a good level of entertainment style and economy eschewing the wilder fringes and locating itself a tad right of centre along the lines of the magnificent Prospect . A Cover detailing the contents and a selection of original work over covering politics , arts , sport business along the lines of New Statesman and the Speccie with some attention paid to the look and layout . The is a web site called Squarespace. That could be used for this purpose at no cost with a bit of help

1 The bloggers would be able to virally advertise and provide initial interest
2 Each would be more likely to get their best work read
3 A chance to do something with a little more space and time some research mayhap
4 A chance to provide a counterweight to the “ Name” draw of the so called top bloggers
5 A chance to polish work a little more by having some editorial tidying and looking at the whole thing as an attractive product
6 Advertising....well it might pay for upgrading as you went along
7 The possibility of getting the odd interview ? Its not hard to do if you ask
8 A chance for those who do not have the time to build up a following to show off their wares if the mag gets a decent reputation as worth bothering with
9 It would all be free
10 Each could concentrate on their strong area and the whole might be greater than the sum of the parts .
11 Non bloggers could contribute
12 Contrary views from talneted lefties would dispell that tedious fog of universal agreement

I do not see why such a beast might not provide something to augment the blogasphere and yet step into the world of features. In fact the more i think of it the more brilliant it gets. Egos would have to be left at the door. Problem 1



Praguetory said...

Just checked my ego at the door. Would be happy to commit to something like this. Maybe combine some lifestyle blogs with the political ones.

Newmania said...

Thats the sort of thing I had in mind P think of the whole product

Nice to see you!

Arthurian Legend said...

I got so annoyed seeing the tripe that was filling The Big Issue a year or so back that I wondered whether bloggers' articles that appear online could be harvested for a right wing version of that magazine. The money would help to go to a good cause, and would give the old lefties a run for their money. Plus, low overheads...

Philipa said...

I like this idea v.much and would be honoured to be included to offer a contribution from time to time.



Ontic Magazine,
Parkinson's Law,
The Teletype,
The Tumbling barrel,
The Tumbril,
The Missing Cojones of Fleet St,
The Velleity? Nah,
The Weekly Whiz-bang,
The Weekly Williwaw,
The Eidos,
The Blue Crayon.

Newmania said...

AL that would be a n great idea but it is not this one . I was thinking that someone like yourself whilst finding a daily grind tricky might like to contribute once a month or when possible and know that it would be read by a few ata least.

This could be done for nothing with a minimal editing effort and arrangement so it has the advantage of being actually likely happen.
Wjho knows if it went well why not a print version but think plausible and acheivable

Philipa said...

Tag line: "Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper." - Thomas Jefferson

So read The Daily Grind online!

The voice of the people.

Newmania said...

I was thinking

Right Now

Look Back In Languour

New Anti Statesman

The Participant ?

Philipa said...

I like the New Anti Statesman,

There's always 'The Grapevine'

Ed said...

Great idea N. A collaboration between like minds with a rightward leaning.

A name... How about Edland? Oh whoops I forgot to take my ego off


Newmania said...

I think its a modest and achievable objective Ed its only a new format . More control and much much less often plus some layout .

Loads of talent to call upon....Mr. C will help ( he may not be aware if it yet)

Stan!! said...

Yes, I rather suppose I am a sex god these days. By Jove, it's time for the little and medium sized bloggers to grab a share of the limelight. The right-wing blogosphere is vast and hugely talented but much of it fails to attract sufficient attention.
Look Back In Languour works. As does the concept of a monthly format. 'not sure about lefty participation. Christ, we wouldn't want some horny-handed son of toil like Bob Piper on board.I am up for it, Newmsie. Rearing to go.... There's no holding me back.

Newmania said...

I was thinking more of the chaps from Pickled Politics or one or two on Compass ...a Nick Coen sort of view

Anonymous said...

Great idea...

Singing the Blooze
Tangled up in blue
Critical Jazz
Moody Blooze
Right Stuff
Oh, right....

Auntie Flo'

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

Blue Angels

Auntie flo'

Anonymous said...

Unsinging the Blooze

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

e blooze

Newmania said...

Right Stuff

I thought of that one , .I `m not sure though i begin to wonder if one might not be creating a lot of work which for me is not on

Newmania said...

All will be mulled over with the mighty Croydonian.

tory boys never grow up said...

Good idea - one of the disadvantages of blogs is that you have to look at an awful lot of dross before finding the jewels (I tempted to say right wing blogs - but in truth the point is pretty universal). Problem will be to find the right editor(s) however.

A tad right of centre must however be the understatement of the century! More like "falling of the edge". Strangely enough I agree with you about Prospect - which I find slightly worrying.

Ed said...

I considered The Right Stuff too which means if three people thought of it, it must be too cheesey.

Anonymous said...

Well, alright...

Well, all right...?

Well all? Right...?

All's well, right...?

Alright? All's well? Right?


Then why aren't we bloody celebrating?

I'm celebrating!

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...


Auntie Flo'

Raedwald said...

Excellent idea - count me in!

All blogs are curate's eggs to some extent - 'good in parts' - but a bit like publishing a newspaper without editors or subs to cut the dross and save the nuggets. I'd welcome going on a contributor list, and to having a balanced second view make the call on which posts were worth including.

Good for bloggers and better for blog readers.

Cassilis said...

A fine idea NM and thanks again for the kind comments.

So fine an idea in fact that I've been quietly concocting something similar (although no identical) over at my place for a month or so and I launched a new look today!

I am more in the 'pickled politics' vein although I don't want to restrict the topic and I've changed my banner quote to reflect that. I've approached a few people (fellow bloggers, work colleagues, friends etc.) and hope to build on the site in the next few months.

Having said that there are still subtle differences between what I'm doing and your proposal and I'd be more than happy (nay, keen) to help out in whatever way I can. That includes writing, editing and/or design work on layouts & templates etc. (I used to do graphic design).

A few general suggestions from me though:

* Keep it broad - don't just affect a tolerance for different views but actively embrace them and use them all the time. The tolerance thing never works and the likes of New Statesman, Spectator, Prospect or the Economist (all regulars for me) regularly have some contentious and thought provoking articles there. You can still have a leader / comment bit you or the editorial team control and you can keep that centre-right if that's a concern.

* Don't go for a funny name - it'll end up defining you and will govern who visits and who doesn't. Unless the main thrust is satire (which it doesn't appear to be) then I'd choose something memorable but abstract - the old latin dictionary is useful for this sort of thing and I found 'Aequus', meaning level, fair & just?

* Launch with a bang - unlike what I've done today these things work best when they're built behind the scenes, a killer first 'issue' is drawn up and then it bursts out more or less fully formed - that attracts attention and keeps it. Promises of better content and things to come are risky.

When do we start...?

Philipa said...

Good commenets from Cassilis I thought.

I vote Newmania for editor.

Newmania said...

Thanks Cas ...thats really nice of you. I was going to , rope Croydonian in. The only thing is I can`t take on a lot of work and the idea of doing it monthly was to make it manageable, I `m already pushed to say the least, I think a lot of peopl are =to do somethnig everyday.

I `ll havea chat with C and see what we come up with and get back to you

Newmania said...

P to be honest i `m not ast all sure I am editor materila . I need editing !

Philipa said...

N - got to disagree with you' I think you are good editor material, a good judge of material and I think it needs one person to make publishing decisions and to collate material found or offered.

hatfield girl said...

Yes, I'd enjoy being part of this. I'll help with working on an idea that needs more than one viewpoint or information source for developing; and straightening out text that gets garbled and resists speaking plainly (or in any other desired way, for that matter). Which is sometimes harder than it sounds.

We have very different standpoints N, but if I can do what to wear and how to look, you can do it for boys. Everyone knows something that is worth adding, is my view of blog strength, too.

JT said...

NM I think you do have an interesting idea - (and thank you for your kind comments by the way - most unlike you!). My doubt is that my contributions would still be part of a centre-right cause, and I would remain the token 'lefty'. I like to read your more restrained comments - but Compass is not the place to debate them (especially considering your ever so subtle rhetoric!) I will return to see what you think... (By the way calling Brown a 'Fascist' or 'Stalinist' might be considered ever so slightly excessive, and not necessarily the best way to get your views across!)


NM: good idea. Basically an electric newspaper, but not a joke like the Framley Examiner - although it might have that kind of visual format. I've been trying to get Blogpower to work out some way of making a showcase of this kind.

Where your idea scores, I think, is that it seeks to break a sort of monopoly - the restricted access to the trad news media/commentariat, who are careful not to let themselves be outshone. They are starting to worry, as one can tell from the knocking comments they make about bloggers. It would also encourage competition to raise the standard of thought and information.

I think it should be politically non-aligned, or rather include views across the spectrum. Quality of thought and language is what counts.

And it should be permanently open to new entrants. No queen bees here. The best article makes it in, period.

Name? I suggest that it should be an obvious one, e.g. The Blogging Times - self-explanatory, in other words.

Anonymous said...

So long as I have a home - damn those subprime mortgage salemen and their tricky ways- I shall be delighted to participate -perhaps I could do a fashion column?

Newmania said...

Hi JT...well thats very civil of you .I got off on the wrong foot with Compass . You are quite right though .. politeness is essential . To late to undo that now I `m afraid . It was to do with the Boris smear which I still think wss pretty low

Like the nane Spectrum myself as ina broad spectrum but blogger times is agood idea as well. I could do with somhelp on the tech side though or maybe it would be best to stick to a normal blog

Newmania said...

There is obvously some interest and material would be easy. What is required now is a format and I`m not the best person to have a go at that.

I think the help of Mr. casslis and Croydonian must be enlisted

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