Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Think Of Syphilis And Electric Nasal Hair Clippers

Can you imagine how exciting it must have been to be alive at a time when frontiers were being pushed back with the energy and enthusiasm of a JCB Digger? Think of waking up each morning to discover a new country, a new continent, a new species or a new culture. Or you could think of scientific and technical boundaries, and being able to comprehend the prospects of a world set alight by the printing press, electricity, or the internal combustion engine. Would it be possible to sleep at night knowing that a new life was awaiting mankind around the next corner?

We have no need to imagine; we are there, now. The information and communications revolution that is raging around us as we speak or as we write or as we tweet, is changing our world just as much as Christopher Columbus changed the layout of the globe or Michael Faraday changed the carpet sweeper. I am not saying that the changes will always be for the better - think of syphilis and electric nasal hair clippers - but the very inevitability of change lends a charge of excitement to the daily task of existence. The information and communications revolution will decimate newspapers, consign printed books to anomalies, mean that everyone is potentially exposed to the ranting of mad men (and mad women); but it will also inject a new lease of inventiveness and passion and opportunity.

What you have just read, I suppose, is the editorial I never wrote for the magazine I never published. Well, not until the day before yesterday. Because the day before yesterday I launched a new magazine with a world-wide circulation of two (it is early days yet) called News From Somewhere. And I enjoyed the process so much that yesterday I launched a second new magazine called A Pint Of Best (which doesn't have any readers yet, but Rome wasn't built in a day).

You need to have access to a tablet or smartphone to receive these revolutionary new publications and you will need to have Flipboard installed. But Flipboard has been one of the best Apps around for ages, so you don't need the excuse of my burgeoning magazine empire to acquire it (for free). Once you have Flipboard you can find my magazines by doing a search for News From Somewhere or A Pint Of Best or by following the links above. 

It is the technological potential rather than my experimental magazines that is so fascinating. You can check out what is possible and use it to your own ends, you can hitch your own wagon to the new technological carthorse on the block. And you can discard my publishing efforts to that sad little pile along with syphilis and electric nasal hair clippers.


  1. Alan, I'm giving Flipboard a whirl. It appears to be just my kind of app. Will let you know how I get on.

    Bailed out from Pinterest, I'm afraid. I wasn't quite sure where it was taking me.

  2. I'm not smart enough to have a smart phone and tablets are things I take. Guess it's time for another change.

  3. I love Flipboard. I'm delighted to be an early subscriber to News From Somewhere.

  4. Love your writing in this post. The title was certainly a grabber. I'm just trying to learn to use our iPad but get frustrated now and then. Also a bit lazy as I feel more comfortable on my laptop but I do believe that the smart phone and tablets are the way of the future and Apps will be the norm. So I will pull out the proverbial finger and go and investigate Flipboard and your publications, which look like fun from the covers.

  5. Okay Alan. I went to Flip board but couldn't find your magazines . I searched for alan Burnett I found you but there was only Views from Nowhere. Couldn't find the others.??? What am I doing wrong/

  6. ... and is this the new flat screen cafe society that passed your parents by and now seems to almost be passing me by? The key is using it wisely, with good intention and even those can go horribly awry. I see you have your wits about you and that is encouraging. Congratulations on your new publications. :)

  7. Shouldn't you have some huge party to announce your foray into the publishing world..you know with little bits of food and bubbly drinks:)

  8. I looked at the date on this and it wasn't April 1 so I had to go back and read it carefully. I think 500 years ago things moved very slowly. Columbus according to some did not make new maps. He had charts the Chinese sold him to go to america! You raise a lot of good points here.


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