Jonathan Wilson's Editor's Note from Issue Two
There is a story — probably apocryphal — told about the first efforts to construct a sewerage system under Paris. Recognising London's pioneering work in that regard, the Parisians brought over a British civil engineer to design the project. He reported back a few weeks later. "It's a bit rough and ready," he said as he handed over his plans, "but it should work in practice."
"I don't care if it'll work in practice," replied the French bureaucrat. "Will it work in theory?" And thus was encapsulated the major difference in the French and British intellectual traditions. France has always produced theorists; Britain empiricists. It was something the French historian Alexis de Tocqueville noted in the 1830s, while more recent observers — Isaiah Berlin, for instance — have suggested the British distrust of theory is one of the reasons it's never fallen prey to totalitarianism.
The tradition, often married to a more general anti-intellectualism, has, I'd argue, impeded the progress of English football. And yet strangely, unconsciously, it turns out that The Blizzard is itself part of the same process. As we've begun to become more established, I've been interviewed by various publications, podcasts and radio-shows in the UK and abroad. Probably around half of them have asked what The Blizzard's "vision" or "philosophy" is. Frankly, we don't have one.
This is a magazine born from a frustration at the lack of space afforded by the mainstream media to the in-depth, the lengthy and the recondite. In its simply terms, I felt there was interesting stuff not getting written and I wanted to provide a platform for that. There was no vision at the start and each stage since then, from the cover design to the pricing policy, has been based on a series of small individual decisions. To speak of a philosophy seems grandiose and misleading.
When we launched six months ago, our ambition at this stage was merely still to exist, and the fact that we do, and can be relatively optimistic about surviving for a while at least, is down to the sort of collaboration we barely dared believe possible. Writers want to work for us. Many have invested huge amounts of time and effort in the project, despite there being no guarantee of any financial return. The people behind the scenes at The Blizzard have similarly worked with incredible diligence and imagination on a project that might have failed.
And you, the readers, have done us proud. The writers and the behind-the-scenes people had faith in the project and that has been repaid by the faith you've had in us. Slowly, we're getting there. We've far exceeded our expectations so far, but there's still more to be done. Keeping going is one thing, but ultimately we'll fail if we're scrabbling to make ends meet each quarter.
To ensure our continued existence, we need your help. So, please, if you enjoy The Blizzard and haven't subscribed or set up a recurring payment, sign up for future editions and spread the word. Talk about us on Twitter or Facebook, tell people down the pub. Many of you are already doing that, and for that we're very grateful. Word of mouth is how we grow, and we have to grow further if we're to survive.