The Time is Nigh

Just over a year ago in a Barbicania article entitled Mortality and Succession (those with internet access can read this by entering the following link into their web browser – https://wp.me/p4Ev7N-Ww ) I broached the inevitability of my handing over Barbican Life to a new editor. This after 15 years from my devising, designing and producing the magazine and the editing of every single issue through thick and thin. Over that period of time I have managed to get this quarterly magazine out, always on time, around a quadruple heart bypass operation, two strokes – the second of which kept me eight weeks in hospital and required magazine editing and production from a hospital bed using my mobile phone for internet access – and now with a diagnosis of prostate cancer for which I will be undergoing radiotherapy treatment as this issue hits the presses. I am thus bowing to this inevitability (I think my body may be telling me it’s time to wind down) with the intention of handing editorial duties over to a successor from the beginning of 2019 assuming all goes well between now and then.

As the magazine has been very much my ‘baby’ it will be tough to give it up altogether and my intention is to stay on behind the scenes, offering advice and perhaps contributing towards the occasional article and helping to smooth the way for the new editor. I hope also to be maintaining contact with the editorial and advertiser base I’ve built up over the years as well as continuing, for the time being, of overseeing the Barbican Life website which has never technically been part of the Barbican Association involvement.

One of the principles we’ve followed since the magazine was started is that it has intentionally kept out of Barbican Association policies and politics, although it is technically published by the Association which does handle invoicing and distribution. That was something I insisted on when starting the magazine up and the BA does have a quarterly newsletter, run completely independently of Barbican Life magazine, which keeps residents abreast of the Association’s activities.

There is a BA Communications Group which may offer advice, but over the years I have even so been left alone to run the magazine as I see fit. In other words there has been almost total editorial independence and I live in hope that this will not change under the new editorship. The magazine’s predecessor, Barbican Resident, in its latter days, perhaps got too entangled in Barbican internal politics, particularly in terms of the future of management of the Estate, and in my view that was a significant contributor to its eventual demise. There will undoubtedly be a tendency for the BA and the Communications Group to try and interfere more with the magazine alongside the change in editorship, but I sincerely hope they will limit this to offering advice rather than trying to impose themselves on content and design.

I would introduce the proposed new editor here, but that would be tempting fate so I will probably leave her to introduce herself in the next (Christmas) issue, which should be my last at the helm, and sufficiently close to the transition to make last minute changes unlikely. Suffice it to say at this time that she is someone I approve of wholeheartedly and who I can work with towards a smooth and seamless handover.

So you are not rid of me just yet, but shortly. I have enjoyed my time devising and running this magazine immensely, but all good things must come to an end eventually!

Lawrence Williams