Periodical publishing, a notoriously difficult, low margin business, has become even more fraught recently. Advertising revenues are down, and a number of Irish titles have folded. The only one I will miss is The Slate (see page 2), and the odd article in Magill.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The naked blue woman you see on the front cover is me. I’ve wanted to imitate the Matisse blue nude series for quite some time now, a sort of postmodern pastiche – Life as Art. Art is not confined to galleries and museums; an art is a practical skill. The Yoke exists to provide a space for those who wish to practice their art. Nobody gets paid, so why do they do it? Perhaps because the need to express oneself freely is an essential part of the human experience.
I hear it in conversations with pensioners, twelve year olds, advertising executives, university professors and bike messengers. There is a growing unease at the corruption of our politicians, the big lies perpetrated by the media, the lack of ethics in business and the impossible demands being made of people to feed this insanity. All this in a country famed for compassion, for her artists, writers & labour activists, and a centuries-long struggle for independence. Unbridled consumer capitalism may be good for business, but it is bad for people. To designate people as merely consumers is to strangle all the capacity for creation, compassion, sensitivity and joy that is the mainstay of the soul. There is a new consciousness emerging, as yet undefined, but based on improving quality of life – social, environmental, artistic, political and spiritual.
As befits a yoke, the last two years have involved penury, doubt and struggle. But a yoke is also a bond connection, and it is that connection to an ever increasing number of people that sustains it. Much of the credit for this issue goes to Ronnie Bellew, for his unfailing patience and generosity, Rob Whelan, Dee Maher at Smudge Design, and all at the Focus Theatre.
Thanks to our readers, contributors, advertisers and all our supporters, The Yoke goes on.
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Emma Pearson opens the show
Ireland – You Probably Can’t Afford It
Olaf Tyaransen’s cunning reverse psychology
Dreaming is Free
A bed becomes a flying carpet for Clare Taylor
The Pin-Stripe Trousered Philanthropist
Why did Bob Dowson give half his money away?
Ben Yarde Buller investigates
Bonfire of the Pieties
Heretic Bill Sheeran feels the fire of God’s wrath
Conall O’Caoimh reports from the WTO meeting in Cancun
Another slippery smoked eel up for grabs in this marvellous competition
Dead Man Talking
Jeremy Massey receives a message from beyond the grave
Knick Knack Paddy Hack
Mick Cunningham and Paul Clerkin tell us how to plant a fake news story
The Natural Philosopher
Cognitive art from J. Roderick Smith, Jr.
Glen of the Downs
Pat Barry’s photo essay of the three year protest
Food of the Gods
Lizzie Meagher spells out the options for magic food
Could it be Magic?
Blather.net’s Dave Walsh ponders ritual sex
GAA & Globalisation
Ronnie Bellew looks at the influx of new money into an old game