The Magazine's riddle: the solution

Anselm Lingnau

Message 58593 · 5 May 2010 13:31:48 · Fixed-width font · Whole thread

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Rod Downey wrote:

> I mean its interesting to see the army on the cover of the SCD magazine,
> why not. Certainly more interesting than yet another
> ruined castle. But what about a cover with dancing in Japan?
> What about dancing in Boston on the cover. Germany etc This is worldwide
> SCD after all.

The problem with this is that -- from my experience, anyway -- dancing in
Boston or Germany looks pretty much like dancing in Scotland (as far as the
magazine is concerned -- remember that the magazine shows mostly young people
dancing even in Scotland), so (a) people won't be able to tell the difference
unless it is explicitly pointed out, and (b) there isn't much of a difference
in the first place.

(Of course the main difference between the two is that any picture of dancing
in Germany is very likely to have Martina in it, when she's probably only in
every third picture of dancing in Scotland.)

> Do the people who make the
> magazine ask the target audiences in e.g. Japan, New Zealand, Australia,
> USA, Canada? I wonder.

I was a little taken aback that, for SCD purposes this half-year, Europe seems
to be identical to Northern Italy. Until I realised that, like most similar
publications (I worked on a few in my time, been in charge of others, got the
T-shirt etc.), the RSCDS magazine isn't exactly drowning in stuff to print,
and so at times they, like everyone, need to scrape the bottom of the barrel
to find (and publish) what is left there. As far as the cover is concerned,
the magazine designers seem to have laid in a reasonable supply of dancing
pictures so there haven't been images of Scottish castles there for a while,
but the box of backed-up actual content doesn't seem to hold a lot of material
that one might describe as »thrilling« (or else they'd probably given us some
of it just by way of seasoning the mix).

On the other hand, one person's boring waste of space is almost certain to be
another person's long-awaited page-turner -- and it may well be the case that
what Rod in New Zealand or Anselm in Germany find uninteresting exactly hits
the spot with somebody elsewhere. (I'm sure that *somebody* will have waited
for a long treatise on the pronunciation of »pas de basque«.) Added to this is
a probable implicit pressure on the magazine not to be too controversial; I
don't exactly see things like Hugh Foss's articles from »The Reel« in the
1950s/60s printed in today's »Scottish Country Dancer« because anything within
its pages is bound to be mistaken for Official Gospel From The Society even if
there is a 24-point bold disclaimer to the contrary in bright neon orange at
the very top of the page. Finally, of course the image the magazine is
supposed to transport in the first place is how the world is sunny, the young
people are out dancing, we are all one big happy family, et cetera, pp., not
how the SCD scene is in terminal decline and nobody knows how to fix it. (If
you want to read about *that* you need to look at Finlay Forbes' stuff in
»Dance On!«.)

In any case, at the end of the day, what shows up in the magazine -- apart
from the regular stream of routine stuff and semi-official pronouncements on
the first few pages -- is presumably whatever we (the membership) submit to be
published there. Even if one isn't in a position to write something oneself,
then maybe one could try to entice somebody nearby to contribute, or at the
very least communicate to the magazine staff what one would really like to see
(or conversely, much rather not see) in the magazine so they can try to rope
in appropriate contributors. Of course I may be wrong now and there really is
a big conspiracy to keep interesting content out of the magazine's pages, but,
to quote from the Monk theme song, »I don't think so«.

Anselm
--
Anselm Lingnau, Friedberg, Germany ..................... xxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxx.xxx
We must beware of needless innovations, especially when guided by logic.
-- Winston Churchill

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