Bleak Outlook Beyond the M25

We were lucky to receive Arts Council funding for two consecutive years –Map2012 and 2013. A couple of months ago we handed in our application for 2014. On Friday we received the bad news: no funding for next year.

It’s a shame. But not the end of the world for Peirene. Nor for anyone living inside the M25. Though for the rest of the UK, the outlook is bleak. For twelve months the Nymph will be based in London – and nowhere else.

We submitted a detailed plan for a one-year expansion of our Roaming Store and events across the UK. It was a beautiful application with every sentence honed to perfection.  How about this for a succinct definition of the triple challenge facing independent publishers: “we need to build our business round three columns: conventional media promotion, on-line sales activity and real world community building.” The grant of course would have strengthened the third of these columns. But it was not to be.

Truth to tell I am not surprised about the Arts Council decision. They have experienced further cut backs and literature – sadly – always suffers first. It’s a fact. No need to moan or throw fits. This year we fought against the odds. And we knew it. Even Peirene, to my surprise, hasn’t shed a tear.

‘London has over 8 millions inhabitants. We have some thousands of fans among them. That’s fine. But frankly – not very spectacular.’ The Nymph rolls her eyes in slight disgust. ‘I would like at least a couple of million to worship at my feet before addressing the rest of the world. I don’t need a UK tour. I only need a new dress and the cosmopolitan masses will be impressed. And trust me, there will come a day when the Arts Council will knock on our door and beg us to share in our fame.’

That’s my Nymph! I like her fighting spirit. And for once I might even consider complying with her desire for a sparkly new gown.

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