Issue 1 has landed! A few months later than we hoped, but it is here, all 368 pages of it. The strapline ‘Brave New World’ was the product of an afternoon in a dingy little pub out in the wilds of Dorset, I was looking for something bold to use on the cover, something that set the scene in just a few words. New World Order was one that was on the table, then Sarah suggested using Huxley’s book title… It was obvious. No decisions, or further contemplation necessary, those three words summed up our ethos in one fell swoop with no need for embellishment or discussion. Not only did it say something pretty bold, but the book itself, if you know it, goes a lot further…

The story of Huxley’s is a pertinent one for 2013. The original 1932 novel, Brave New World is actually a nightmarish vision of the future, a dystopian parody with the dark and brooding underlying theme being that we would eventually be undone by the things that delight us. Huxley’s imagined future is a totalitarian state, ruled by a supposedly benevolent and caring dictatorship whose inhabitants have been ‘programmed’ to enjoy their lives through conditioning and servitude to the state. Huxley was struck by how a population could be rendered docile and compliant by the powers of advertising and retail, and ideas of state control. Hmmmm, deep. The tragedy is that as a society we seem to have failed to notice that the overbearing powers of the internet and social media are actually fulfilling many of these prophecies, and as our appetite for the likes of Google and Facebook grows we are living out his vision of the future where a society is in servitude to the powers of the corporation.

For many years carp fishing was always a momentous escape from the drudge of ‘normal’ life, from the pressures and stresses of work, society and everything that comes with chaotic modern living. If you aren’t careful, modern carp fishing is merely an extension of that; of sales, of branding, advertising, politics, stress … and it remains firmly plugged into daily ‘life’, through the social networks every minute of every day, and so the great escape can happen all too rarely nowadays. Hopefully Subsurface can offer a diversion from all that – sure, we have a Facebook, we have a Twitter, and an Instagram and are undoubtedly branded…but hopefully we can use this as a vehicle to make people stop and look, even just for a moment, at something beautiful. We want anglers to open their eyes again, and to maybe look further than the sponsorship deals and racking up the forty pounders.

Subsurface is intended to be an ever-evolving project, something we can build on and develop with the ever changing times. It has been created out of a love for the very bones of carp fishing; the grit, the dirt, the rain, the blanks, the rank piles of teabags…we question a few things, and look critically at the scene and it’s changing face, as well as just telling a few good old fashioned stories and presenting some truly beautiful images to keep the buzz going when times are tough. Hopefully there is something for everyone, young or old, old hand or newbie.

Yates sums it up here – this is what we are afraid of, and Issue 1 of Subsurface hopefully allows us to step back just a little bit, and look at the scene a little bit deeper, not with rose tinted glasses, or cynicism, but with open eyes.


‘Angling wouldn’t be fun at all if we could always predict what was going to happen, if we all fished in standardised ponds, each stocked with the standardised fish providing standardised entertainment with no danger of surprise, disappointment or too much excitement. The idea of the angling theme park fills me with horror. It inspires a vision of hell where every fishery is either commercially or charity sponsored, where everything is artificial and even the fish are not allowed to break the rules. Fishing reaffirms our links with the natural world, a world that is still full of mysteries and genuine beauty, a world which we respond to simply because it has made us what we are’.

 Chris Yates’s ‘Falling in Again’ (1998, Merlin Unwin Books)


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