Alex V. Cook, Music Editor
Many other websites can crank out a thousand stories without batting an eye, but I would expect that it israre to find one whose writers put as much of themselves into the work as does the contributors to outsideleft, myself included. I brazenly include myself in the accolades because I think all of our writers bravely throw themselves into the work, crafting a very human portrait of the times from our far-flung, fractured perspectives, and I am proud to be on that team. We occupy a rare niche in online writing, filled with humor, intelligence, empathy, cheerleading, scorn and, above all, unabashed opinion. I'm rather proud of what we do here, and look forward to continue doing it as long as possible.
Shane O'Reilly, Editor - Dublin
I never thought, starting off, that I would continue writing for the site this long. At first, it was a stepping-stone for my CV but gradually i guess I have gotten to love writing in general and gotten to love writing for the site. Its the best non-wage job ever. Celebrating the sites birthday is strange though. It made me look back at all my articles and take notice how much my style has evolved (backwards or forwards?) and changed from lunatic-hilarity pieces to genuine Q&As with musicians. The sheer freedom to write on anything was there from day one, well as long as it made for a good read (unlike the one article i could not get published; the email an unhinged ex sent me threatening me with all sorts, including talking me up to the police for a number of imaginary crimes). I suspect subconsciously I had hoped for a little up-hill climb to a bit of writing glory (Rolling Stone, I'm still waiting....), eitherways right now; Outsideleft is my quiet portion of success in my own rather humble way maybe.
Kirk Lake, Editor - London
I am not certain but perhaps I have written a little under 10% of the outsideleft output... The, never exactly, "300 Words From London..." columns add up and then there were so many of those "Behind the Counterculture..." encounters. Though the episodes were all true I liked the fact that they existed right at the point where "celebrity" is both exquisite and banal, fascinating and pointless. Like "Richard Brautigan writing for Hello magazine" somebody said... Which is maybe the best review I have ever had, or could imagine... The only advice I ever offer when I am convincing people that they should contribute is this - never, ever write an article that goes past the George Best image on the right hand side of the page. Oh, and if you criticize Morrissey or include any of the various synonyms for nudity your page views will rocket.
Joe Ambrose, Literary Editor
Outsideleft will be taken seriously if it tackles the future. Even though I've written a few history books in the last couple of years, I've rejected history as a lifestyle or pastime because I don't think we learn all that much by taking a long hard look at the past. I prefer to absorb the present and strive for the future. Future problems for Outsideleft are future problems for the entire internet experiment.
As a place for writing, the internet is largely a space written by middle class university educated males in their early thirties for readerships who are often semi-literate dysfunctional males with sexual and social problems. I know Outsideleft has actively sought out women writers and that finding them is easier said than done but I assume that all of the magazine's superior writers know a few superior women. Perhaps a few of them could be encouraged to share their thoughts with us.
The vast majority of the writing which appears on the web involves the writers working for no financial gain. This is responsible for rich veins of mediocrity and corruption which run right down the middle of mosr internet ventures. Writers write better, more reliably, and more frequently when they get paid. This is a sad fact. The so-called ideals of the 'information superhighway', fanned in the mid 80s by the CIA, Hakim Bey, RU Sirius, and a mountainload of dreadlocked patchouli-oiled assholes, sought to make the web look like a good cause. It's not a good cause - it's possibly the replacement for television or movies but, if nobody ever gets paid, it'll end up being the replacement for free newspapers full of ads, 'good news', and recipies for black forest gateaux.
The best editorial decision taken by Outsideleft was to eschew a wiki open access approach which allows every neurotic fuck, every mediocre nobody, and every half-awake PR bitch in the world to fill the void with still more, and totally unnecessary, void.
Outsideleft was always intended to be a place where people who were passionate about writing, could come to write. 1000 stories later Outsideleft remains a champion of opportunity. Of that we're proud. Of the rest, well...
At first, we thought, oh we could create a gossipy, celeb filled online magazine, you know, Britney goes shopping and her dog looks on bored. Put pictures of stars on your site and you will get the clicks for sure. We quickly realized however, that would take far more boots on the ground than we had, there are so many celebrities and so many places to follow them around, just in LA. And the line following them around is already so long. It was less interesting in reality than in theory. See stars is still always nice though.
Then we thought we could simply find the cultural obscurists and shine a light on them. They were by definition hard to find. However, their obscurity generally proved deserved and our work unsurprisingly drew little public interest. Page Views plummeted, reached their nadir. No one was reading.
Now at 1000 we find that we're currently in a groove we like. Music, culture, fiction and the arts... but of course we dabble elsewhere and anywhere. We're unique in that respect. Thanks to the hard work of our ever evolving cast of writers, our stories draw getting on for half a million readers every month. Careers have been launched and lost. Special thanks to our readers. I know their work is the hardest of pleasures to enjoy. Rest assured readers, there will be plenty of hard work ahead.
(image above our first ever 'front cover')
- Grand Duchy: I Got You, Babe
- Wayne Wolfson's (by his own admission) almost, sorta, borderline in parts new agey-ish Christmas Wish List...
- The Greatest
- Charles Plymell in Austria
- That Was That Year
- The Boat That Guy Built
- Talking About Dan Breen
- Trying to Say Something Negative About Brian Eno...
- Would it kill Tom Waits to record a collection of late night piano ballads?
- Heavier Than Heaven