It’s STRADurday!

My paltry attempt at a witticism might have worked better had December 1st  2010 fallen on a Saturday, but the point of it is that as of today I am finally able to make the article published in the September issue of Strad Magazine available online in its entirety.

If the article were a DVD, then the following might be considered the “Special Features Commentary.” I’m not going to defend, modify or retract anything I wrote, since I believe the article stands on its own, just provide a little more context.

That said, if the first casualty of war is Truth, then the first casualty of this genre of journalism is almost certainly Detail. When writing for a publication of this nature there’s a constant struggle between balancing the anecdotal, and therefore interesting, against the academic, and therefore boring. I wish many more people were aware of this fact, but anecdotes are but single instances, and one of anything, no matter how inspiring or beautiful, is not a statistic.

That said, the article wouldn’t serve anyone’s interests if it were detailed, specific… and unbearably dull. The first draft of the article, which I may make available online if demand warrants, definitely fell into that category: tonnes (I’m Canadian, so metric) of information, resounding approval of the content from Fesnojiv in Caracas, but scoring very low on the accessibility scale. The second draft I initiated of my own volition, out of my dissatisfaction with the first. There was just a hint of disappointment from Caracas, even as they approved it again for its accuracy, but both the Strad and I agreed that it served everyone’s interests better.

In terms of timing, the article was actually written in May, late in the evenings (and very early in the mornings) as I was on assignment in Cleveland. At that time I hadn’t yet formalized what would later become the Five Fundamentals, although the concepts were very much in my mind. This is reflected in the article: it’s based entirely on the Fundamentals without mentioning them explicitly. Perhaps I thought the world “wasn’t quite ready for them,” contentious as they could be, but I did ask the Strad to ensure there were only five bullet points in the text box. For some reason they stuck with six. I’m not complaining – they were great to work with. (For those of you who weren’t in London for the TC performance, the editor very kindly made available for free almost the entire remaining stock of copies for those in attendance at the Symposium on October 14th.)

The point of all this is that the article generally reflects practice without delving too deeply into underlying principles. Yet the principles came first, and the anecdotes were chosen to illustrate them, rather than the anecdotes generating principles.I’ve just finished a companion piece which is the opposite: entirely the theory, the fundamentals, that guide the practice. It’s actually interesting. I hope to announce the publisher soon.

And finally, this was my first commissioned article, so don’t judge it too harshly.

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