Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Circa Issue 131 on art criticism

I was curious to see that Circa Issue 131 is entirely devoted to the question of art criticism.

I was even more curious to recognize something in the first paragraph of Declan Delong’s piece that I’d never contemplated before. (To be honest I’d have employed a red pen and scrubbed parts of this sentence, but it’s the latter bit that interested me)

December 1987, and for perhaps the twentieth or thirtieth time in one long, languorous, teenage afternoon, I am again eagerly poring over the latest issue of what is, without question, the most important journal of cultural criticism in the world: the weekly music magazine Melody Maker.


Delong continues on to describe the editorial policy and reflect on the work of individual writers, but what arrested me was the consideration of Melody Maker as a journal of cultural criticism. I’d never thought of the influence of that devoted weekly or was two weekly read. I remember it came out on a Wednesday. I remember wondering how we’d live waiting for the next copy (as you do at age 15/17 galvanized by what comes out of the radio dial and so on, as if the rest of the world can just go shatter itself). And most importantly, I am struck by why we bought Melody Maker over the NME because I remember it was Melody Maker that was the first choice always. NME followed if you had a bit of extra money. Was there 10p difference in the price?

Further into this Circa issue Matt Packer’s piece Critical Fantasies contains the following parallel in a bracketed paragraph:

(Similar in apprehension is CIRCAs approach of asking writers to respond to the issue of criticism in the present issue, after its well known financial difficulties. An approach that is simultaneously a dance of death, and a way of shoring-up CIRCAs performative functions for its own survival)

You can read both essays entirely here The whole magazine is downloadable as a pdf.



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