This is is our seventh issue and seven is a powerful number. It symbolises the end of a cycle and almost inevitably the beginning of a new one. This is our last print issue and it is the last one for a number of complicated reasons. Cherry and I have worked endlessly for five years creating and establishing BRAND, at night, at weekends, in between our own writing and our earning-a-living jobs, spending huge amounts of time and energy, totally unpaid. A Labour of Love then yes but our energies have reached depletion point, while our need to focus on our own writing and earning-a-living has grown more urgent.
We’ve had some funding but only ever enough to pay printing, designing and small administrative costs. This funding has been stretched beyond stretching point by financing BRAND out of our own pockets as well as through our time and energy. Now, even this funding has been exhausted.
However, endings signal beginnings, though not necessarily always. Experience (personal and political) has proved wrong again and again my optimism of will, captured by the motto ‘problem equals solution’ (Euripides) by confirming that certain endings are nothing more than that. No resolution is possible, no solution can be found, tragedy is inevitable. Still, the desire for the unimaginable persists.
I recently saw Ajami, a docudrama about the self-named area of Tel Aviv where Arabs and Jews co-exist and I was struck by the impossibility which many people there, on both sides, are pushed into. Even so, even then, even there, human resilience and hope have persisted. Because they must. Because without hope, we simply cannot exist. And I don’t mean living in a fantasy, detached from reality but keeping a sense of the possible within the knowledge of impossibility. Perhaps this sounds like utopia but I’d rather believe in utopia than cynical pragmatism – no matter how prone I am to the latter.
I once read somewhere that Greeks perceive life as invariably tragic, whereas Americans believe in ‘happy endings’. The absurdity of ‘happy endings’ in American everyday life and politics is glaringly obvious; and the inspiring love of life by Greeks also belies the belief in tragedy. Still, there are elements of truth in that assertion. Contradiction is the stuff that creative life is made of. And we, here at BRAND, are in the business of the creative life. So, despite all the odds we believe in possibilities. Or as Howard Barker has said: ‘Crisis is the essential condition of art forms.’ And ‘Not what is, but what is possible.’
One such possibility is us becoming an online magazine. In 2008 I took part in a panel discussion, Pixel versus Print, organized by 3:AM Magazine, at the Guardian Newsroom. Naturally I was on the side of the sensual, tactile beauty of print, while also believing in the power of the pixel. I still feel the same but for now I’d like to explore the pixel possibilities. So, new beginnings yes but we first need to recoup our energies & refocus our vision and then morph from print to pixel.
Meanwhile, enjoy our latest offering!