Many, many years ago in another life-time, whenever I used to buy vinyl records from non-mainstream labels (Touch and Go, or Alternative Tentacles ... or whatever it might have been) I would check for a message, scratched into the vinyl just near the centre hole.
This is not as crazy as it sounds, as often there would be a line or a few words that rarely made any sense there, but this act of scratching and then my looking for it well this is the point of what I'm going to write next. Often, too often people who argue that celebrating the minor, the small or the marginal means turning inward, becoming more and more local - from the food we eat to the entertainment we seek out, the clothes we wear etc.
To be local is to support those producers, performers or makers who live close to us (and yes, I understand the environmental message). I would like to argue for something different though, a celebration of the marginal and all the other adjectives that equal non-mainstream, or independent who are not known to us, who are far away.
A niche/international nexus, so to speak. This partly reflects my personal lived reality (I live in Paris, but operate within a kind of non-space, writing and speaking and thinking in English most of the time) and even though I feel settled here, much more than before, my interests and instincts are not particularly 'French' ...
If I were to return to an activist project, I'd love it to have an international component, as I feel it has more to teach me as well. Similarly with this website it makes me happy to see* how it's throwing together readers from an unexpected mix of locales on a daily basis (Kabul, Afghanistan today; alongside various cities in India, Canada, the Philippines, Brazil, Germany, Russia, Scandinavia, Tunisia, Egypt, Australia, the UK and all across the U-S-A ... time to reclaim the chant from Agent-Orange-cake).
We're not talking huuge numbers, every day, but this suits me well; I want this to be niche and international. No need to compete with Murdoch.
And on that note, I'd like to open up the possibility of including you and your different perspectives here on this site; write to me, let me know of your projects and how you respond to this work, or not. I'd love to hear from you.
* This is not some kind of eye of Fatima secret power, it's Google Analytics.