Tatyana Apraksina (trans. James Manteith)

We’ll Play! A Few Questions for the Editor-in-Chief

Published in: 01. Apraksin Blues

— The first issue of the new newspaper is ready. I have heard the next one is already being prepared for release and that you sense no shortage of material ahead. Even before the newspaper saw the light of day, it had become well-known, began to be spoken of. Interested people are appearing, each with something to contribute. Are you able to say whether the first issue gives a typical sample of what you will be producing?

— The first issue is only the beginning. Getting acquainted. An inviting gesture: an open door.


— What do plan to do with the newspaper in the future? What will it be like?

— We will try to make a newspaper it is possible to read. We will try to pretend there is no such thing as politics or commerce… And overall, no “timely matters.” At least, that there is no need to depend on those things.


— How is material selected?

— First of all, the selection is determined in such a way as not to have to blush for it twenty years later.


— What forms of creativity do you show a preference to?

— The widest range is possible. Our concern is not with genre so much as printing news in no hurry to become day-old.


— So the model you strive for is a collection of scholarly and philosophical articles?

— Our model is a collective music session. To make music. When possible, the players are figures both refined and varied. There are other times, as in any music-making, when it’s fine to joke and roughhouse. And gossip a little about domestic trifles. The paper should neither be haughty nor brutal. At minimum, in no way should it lose its sense of measure.

It seems to me the reference to blues in the title couldn’t be more appropriate.


— Because the blues means making music?

— Yes. A kind of music-making that requires taste and skill. Free expression that doesn’t disrupt the harmonic foundation. What a person loves, he sings about.


— So the newspaper’s guiding principle is trueness to a harmonic foundation?

— The question of a principle or direction is decided in the most natural way. The beginning is established. Let it develop freely. Let it set the course it will follow.


— Who is your reader?

— Our reader and our author are the same person. All is determined by harmony — of feelings, of interests. A person can listen or play a little himself. Our paper is a club. Perhaps it is a club that unites very different people that talk about different things in different ways and may be connected through only one common interest —an interest in what lies “beyond good and evil,” that doesn’t depend on the calendar and has no name but only a question mark; what a person is born with and what he tirelessly seeks the answer to. A club of collectors and alchemists. A newspaper “for each other.” Letters to each other.

I want to speak separately about the co-authors. That is, those we will write about, whom we will recall, whose memory we will preserve. In this first issue, Mike [Naumenko] opens the list, gifting the newspaper with its name and in this way affirming his constant presence in it.


— By the way, regarding funding. How are material questions decided?

— I want to make special mention that “Apraksin Blues” is a categorically non-commercial publication (this includes the aspect of payments to authors). Having been born as a gift, the newspaper lives only on gifts. So its existence can be assured only through benevolence and love of the art of pure conversation.

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