Date of Birth

As one decade swings gloomily into another, an eagle-eyed reader has drawn my attention to an irregularity regarding the founding date of my journal Underneath the Bunker. The information to the left of this post (‘About Georgy Riecke’) states that I have been general editor of the journal since 2003. And yet, elsewhere on the web (here, for instance) can be found claims that the journal was founded in the ‘mid 90s’. Which, comes the lusty cry, is right?

Both are misleading. The truth is that I can’t say exactly when the magazine was born, per se, though it is certainly true that it had a difficult conception. The idea emerged, without doubt, in the mid 90s, when I was still working on another journal (Peggy Grounter’s ill-fated Groping for Allusions). An early, draft copy was then produced somewhere around 1998, possibly under a different name (or then again possibly not: I can’t recall).  At this point, the project stalled for a while, before relaunching at the beginning of the decade as a fully-fledged printed journal, with a full team of employees – a situation that lasted, in all, about two weeks. In those days, of course, Underneath the Bunker had no online presence; this didn’t start until at least 2004, whereupon the printed version ran into troubles, finally dying in about 2005. At about the same time, many of the original team went their own ways, leaving me as master of the entire project, helped out by a gang of regular contributors, amongst them such names as Heidi Kohlenberg, Jinpes Terenk, Lucien Ropes and Caspar Nietcher (or Nietscher as he seems to be calling himself at present).

Since then, we have undergone further changes. As things stand, the journal is undergoing a rather long spring-clean, with the main bulk of the action being re-located to this very blog. Is it the end for Underneath the Bunker? In one form, yes. But as the old saying goes, you can’t keep a good journal of obscure European Literature down. Oh no you can’t.

To answer the original question, however – when was Underneath the Bunker founded? Well, I wonder whether it matters. It is, that is all I need to know. To ease the beating hearts of the truly pedantic amongst you, I shall nonetheless throw you a date. How’s about the 28th August 2002? Yes?

That’s settled then.

P.S. My Christmas Quiz (aka. ”Half-hearted Seasonal Quiz’) is still very much open for answers. It all kicks off here.

HSQ (8/9)

This half-hearted seasonal quiz is your friend. Don’t be afraid to leave your answers in the comments, whatever your level of ignorance.

8. ‘Catholicism and science fiction are not strange bedfellows, not in my book. As a child, I was barely able to tell them apart. I remember being shown a fifteenth century illustration of Gideon and the Fleece and thinking it was a still from the new Doctor Who. Having an angel appear to you and being abducted by an alien must be relatively similar experiences’

Who said this?

HSQ (7/9)

7. Who, in your humble opinion, is most likely to save Romanian Literature? Valery Pereanu, Serghei Retchikov, Alina Dominicia, Nadia Pikalova, Yãna Novak, Pieter Palek or none of the above?

HSQ (6/9)

6. Which humanity-hating Russian scribbler is said to have celebrated the publication of his second misery-drenched novel by roasting a cobra and sharing a bath of boiled skunk juice with a young pot-bellied pig?

HSQ (5/9)

Keep those answers coming (or not, as the case may be).

5. I, Georgy Riecke, have been described, variously, as ‘a skulking toad’, ‘a damp rag’, ‘a vaporous nonentity’, ‘a dear little innocent dough-ball’, ‘a lily-livered coward’, ‘a wrinkled old fool’, ‘a waste of space in an endless universe’ and ‘overall a tasteless, shapeless sort of character’. Why?

HSQ (4/9)

The unsteady train of seasonal fun rumbles on. Answers in the comments, as always.

4. Complete this quotation: ‘When I think about it, it seems to me that the only enduring quality of [the novelist] F L C Gorngy is the fact that he is…’