A week or so back I wrote a rather angry piece on this blog that both got the tone wrong, and conveyed completely the wrong message as a result. The danger of writing generalistic pieces is that they are, well, generalistic and weak as a consequence. So I put examples in, and as a result came across as snarky, having more chips than Harry Ramsden, and aiming my shots where they weren't intended.
So an unconditional apology for aiming my snarks at Ben and Lee, and Todd and Emma - neither you personally nor Richard, The Canal, Literary Death Match or To Hell With The Lighthouse (now The Book Stops Here) were intended to be in my crosshairs. I also forgot the golden rule (that I finally got into my noodle with respect to "the mainstream" last year) that the best thing to do when you don't like something is to carry on doing what you're doing, only even better.
I did have a gripe, and it was this - the media portrays a literary scene as being new that is not, as being cutting edge that has actually been around long enough that it has donned its pipe and slippers and no longer occupies the front line position in the fight against "the boundaries" whatever they might be, that disproportionately reviews titles by its circle whilst refusing to look at other small releases; and there is also a part of the peripheral literary scene that likes to portray itself as these things in order to appear cool. The losers in all this are the public, who get disappointed, and never get to see the real boundaries until they too have donned pipe and slippers. The answer is for the literary media to spend more time looking around outside of what it already knows either from its friends, or from slick PR or the London circuit; and to be less frightened to champion something that other people don't like or don't get - to stop playing safe all the time. As writers and independent publishers we need to keep putting our message in front of the media to show them there is an alternative - and to do so vigorously and unapologetically - it deserves to be there as much as anything else does. Calling out laziness and prejudice is very much part of what we need to do. Snarking doesn't help our cause, but more than that it's not what I'm about and it's not what great literature's about. And the last thing for me to do is to piss off people who have done great things to bring great literature to the public. Sure, now they're successful I 100% expect them to extend a totally non-insular non-introspective outlook to everything else going on, just like they did when they were smaller. But I'll stick to bruhaha designed to promote the work I really beieve in, not to do down anything else.
So, I manifest myself to promote only manifestos of action not snark - I think at both Year Zero and latterly at eight cuts gallery I've done that - that needs to be done more transferably, and to work with people who want to promote great literature, to give the public the great stuff it deserves.
I could remove the previous piece and have done with it, but I won't, because that would be disingenuous to the people who took time to comment (even those who did so anonymously), and, having had my ass whooped, it would do me well for the ass-qhooping to remain public.