As One Quart turns two, Nick Triani picks his highlights from the last year across the site. He also examines the state we’re all in with the TV series The Leftovers as a cultural and spiritual guide.
Happy Birthday to One Quart
As anniversaries go, One Quart Magazine’s second anniversary was a low-key affair. Yes, here it is duly noted, this media is two. Apart from receiving some encouraging messages via linkedin (does anyone use that?) – this momentous occasion went unnoticed. I would boo hoo into my pyjamas, but OQM remains an ongoing concern with little time to feel nostalgic.
Over the last 12 months OQM has published over 150 times, with more than 50 contributors.
Over half the content on the site has been created by women. Over the last year we hosted a radio show at Radio Helsinki (thank you Astrid!), had a week of features on comics (thank you Karstein!) and managed a week of curated playlists (the Anssi Kela one was very popular). The recurring series featured at OQM like never before, take a bow these returners:
Hilla ja Inari podcast, One Quart magazine playlist, Hei sinä!, NYC Looks best of,
My lawyer will call your lawyer, Kesken podcast, Suuri Salaisuus, Going To the movies,
Tales from the bus, A to Z of Music, Whisky & Shit talk podcast, Päivän biisit best of playlist,
Love is in the air podcast. That’s a lot of words, drawings, talking and sound.
Personal magazine highlights for me were two articles by Oksana Chelysheva: her interview with former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and her feature on Lara the tattoo artists from Bagdad who faced deportation from Finland. These were two of our most read features ever. Karstein Volle’s original comic strip Wires struck a personal chord with me. Nicole Willis’ revelatory recounting of her early days in New York was a fascinating read, perfectly visualised by Tytti Roto’s artwork. Jean Ramsay’s Roger Walters feature and Eduardo Alonso’s tribute to The Grateful Dead (with Kaarlo Stauffer‘s impressionist paintings) opened my mind to music I wouldn’t normally consider. Astrid Swan’s Confessions of an Anxious Memoirist was simply moving. We even managed to feature an interview with The Residents’ Mysterious Archivist. Let’s also celebrate the wonderful consistency of Hilla Ja Inari whilst we’re here. Astrid, Timo, Pinja, Lotta and the rest of the OQ editorial crew have been essential co-conspirators keeping OQM a going concern.
Twelve months of do’s and don’ts
The last twelve months for me have been a whirlwind featuring massive disappointment, extreme euphoria, large doses of learning, listening and adapting to new ways. Listening is something I feel I’m getting better at. Letting go is something I’ve become to appreciate – it has its freedoms. While my personal experience has resembled a rollercoaster between professional fulfilment, personal hardships and unbridled joy, June 2018 finds me at relative peace. That’s until I read the news.
June 2018 finds me at relative peace. That’s until I read the news
Brexit still hangs over my shoulder. Donald Trump continues to test the world’s tolerance, his latest Sophie’s Choice ultimatum to families setting a new low for cruelty from his own already very low administration. Yes, his separation of families at the Mexican border is a disgusting policy, but Trump is able to survive such awfulness by default. We are horrified, yet we are tired and unable to mount a suitable response. Despite’s Trump’s insensitive baiting he remains a fixture at the White House. Politicians lie.
The Finnish ones blatantly do as they dismantle the social services and the last remnants of the welfare state. All those positive Guardian articles on how wonderful a place Finland is to live in can’t quite cover-up the ever growing food-bank cues. Finland was once a perfect example for the world of a place where equality of wealth aligned with modest ventures led to at least standing on your own two feet whatever your profession. Nowadays the new underclass is with us, whilst privilege becomes something for young Finns to aspire to.
Nowadays the new underclass is with us, whilst privilege becomes something for young Finns to aspire to
As I follow the pathetic reign of Prime Minister Theresa May and her hostile environment, it hammers home that the truth is in short supply even from usually reliant sources. The fact that May survived her appalling response to the Grenfell disaster and the sheer evil of the openly racist Windrush scandal tells us much about a society that is too concerned with itself to care anymore about obvious injustice and discrimination. This is the bummer of the summer. We’re not getting better, we’re just getting more acclimatised to our own outrage and used to our own non-response. We have no wilful capacity to affect change, so we just accept shit. This is where we are now.
We’re not getting better, we’re just getting more acclimatised to our own outrage and used to our own non-response
A fictional glimpse into The Leftovers and the future
Work and culture have kept me occupied (and silent). In my search for something that moves me and forces me to feel something, much has crossed my path. But, almost bizarrely, the HBO series The Leftovers has had the biggest impact (and stayed with me the most). I’m late to this and started binge watching almost a year after the series finished its three-season run.
For me, The Leftovers conveys a perfect sense of hopelessness unlike any television I’ve watched before. It might just be the TV series that best represents the turmoil of 2018 better than anything else I’ve come across. Based on Tom Perrotta’s novel (which season one strictly follows); “The Leftovers starts three years after a global event called the “Sudden Departure” – the inexplicable, simultaneous disappearance of 140 million people, 2% of the world’s population, on October 14, 2011”
The Leftovers conveys a perfect sense of hopelessness unlike any television I’ve watched before
Importantly, The Leftovers mostly focuses on the lives of one family (unaffected by the Departure), the Garvey family – lead by New York fictional town Mapleton’s head of police Kevin Garvey Jr. Kevin we find, is probably slowly losing his mind, as are many of the world’s inhabitants, unable to cope with the events of 2011. Some, such as Kevin’s wife Laurie, have joined The Guilty Remnant, a cult which thinks the apocalypse is coming, its members smoke constantly, whilst reminding the rest of society at every opportunity that nothing is worth believing in AND the concept of family is dead. They also just wear white and only communicate by the written word! With religion being constantly questioned since the departure, The Leftovers puts a lot of weight into that search for new meaning and a new faith, one that can tell us what the fuck is going on. Max Richter’s score only brings more out of me emotionally. Co-creator Damon Lindelof uses enough of his TV knowhow (he created Lost) to make each episode a special event. As the series evolves, Lindelof and Perrotta are constantly questioning the viewing audience, trusting that we’ll try and keep up and understand what is happening with a series that has it’s more than fair share of left turns. The Leftovers is often more than bonkers, but displays a fine sense of the blackest humour which keeps things in balance.
That just gives you a taste of the very convoluted world The Leftovers depicts, one which totally defies our preconceptions once (with season two) and again (with season three). The series ventures into sci-fi territory sometimes (convincingly) – but always reconnects with the audience as an eternal emotional vulnerability leads the characters through various paradoxes. The acting, especially from Carrie Coon, Christopher Ecclestone and Justin Theroux is as good as any. But the reason why The Leftovers’ vision of a crumbling society, unable to move on from catastrophic events connected with me, was a deep sense of empathy which perhaps we’re struggling to show as a human race in the real world right now. Will it take as awful an event as depicted in The Leftovers for us as humanity to finally relocate that empathy which we seem to have lost en masse? Are we the leftovers facing up to a new world order that seems intent on division and hate and not reconciliation?
Will it take as awful an event as depicted in The Leftovers for us as humanity to finally relocate that empathy which we seem to have lost en masse?
This is not an exit
As I retreat to my football cocoon, I can take solace that –for me at least – One Quart offers a viable outlet to let off steam. A reaffirmation of this was how The Leftovers accordingly offered me a respite and a compass on how to feel about all the conflicting emotions and polarising affects which define living life in 2018 as a human being – and with all the internal contradictions that entails. That these places of letting go, grieving and feeling inspired are rare and you need them – to keep getting on, to keep moving forward.
That these places of letting go, grieving and feeling inspired are rare and you need them – to keep getting on, to keep moving forward
With that, I shall depart, as will One Quart Magazine in July. We’ll be back in August. A big thank you to all who contributed and an even bigger one to those of you who have been reading and listening. Have a great Pride Weekend.
Nick Triani is a co-founder and editor of One Quart Magazine.
One Quart Magazine returns in August 2018.