So: Underneath the Bunker has shed a skin and re-emerged in a new form. Now begins the process of republishing all the original articles: a process which will be accompanied by a series of reflections on said writings – and links to further reading.
We start, as you may see for yourself, with a manifesto written in 2005, just before Underneath the Bunker made its online debut. Five years isn’t so long ago, unless one is a critic, in which it is nothing short of an age. Critical opinion flows, after all, with the somber calmness of a raging waterfall. By the time something is published it is usually horribly out of date.
Nevertheless, I stand by much of this manifesto, for all its obvious weaknesses (and they are, I fear, far too obvious). As noted in my brief introduction, the piece was written in difficult circumstances. In this respect it is a typical manifesto. When a small group of idealistic thinkers get together to craft a tight statement of their hopes and dreams you can be sure that you will end up with a chaotic compromise. It is just as likely that they will give up and go drinking instead, which is precisely what happened in our case. This was the famous evening, I recall, on which Heidi Kohlenberg drank her bodyweight in wine – and an inebriate J-P Sertin wrote what he called ‘the greatest story ever written’ on the back of a beer mat (on which Kohlenberg promptly vomited). It’s a miracle, indeed, that any manifesto got written, let alone this one.
Since writing this manifesto I have scribed many a better summary of what it is that I do: nevertheless, this one continues to cover the basic points relatively well. Underneath the Bunker is a journal dedicated to the outsiders: to the obscure. This is the project at its simplest. Forgotten art. Ah, but does that mean we will support anything that is forgotten, regardless of whether it has or has not earned its fate? Of course not. We support art that does not deserve to have been forgotten. And there is, as you can see, plenty of that.
Before I wind my merry way elsewhere, a final word on manifestos. The best manifestos, I’ve always found, are those that one has no real hope of living up to. This is where we failed: our manifesto dared to be achievable. The same could not be said, however, for the Bulgarian Farm Poets Movement. Their manifesto, brilliant as it was, symbolised everything that they, as a group, were not. It was a magnificent dream-work: a refreshingly pointless call to arms for a war that would never, could never, be fought.
If I can find it, I promise to publish it here at a later date.