By Mike O’Brien
Hey all, my name is Mike O’Brien. You might recognise me as last year’s editor of Quench Technology. You might also recognise me as CSM 2018/19’s Best Critic, or, as your friends might have said, ‘that guy in the office is wearing a coat and a turtleneck and it’s kinda freaking me out. It’s eighteen degrees outside. The boy ain’t right.’ (He isn’t). Anyway, Quench Technology is dead. I murdered it. And good riddance! Let’s face it, stone-cold matter-of-fact technology reportage belongs in a boring place, like a newspaper. So I’ve relinquished it to its rightful home: Gair Rhydd! If you were at all worried about Quench Technology’s welfare – it is a matter of widespread social concern, after all – please, don’t worry. In the meantime, I’ve been working on Quench’s new digital counterpart, and I’m chuffed with how it’s turned out. I’m pleased to announce a whole new section for Quench: something we’re calling Download.
Download is a deliberately vague name. Broadly speaking, it encompasses all things digital culture. We all have a relationship with digital culture in some way. It’s a boundless adhesive for our friendships, our connection to events near and far, and for some of us, it’s entrenched in the most intimate aspects of our lives. It’s Facebook, it’s Spotify, it’s Tinder, it’s games, it’s deepfakes, it’s anything that involves our interactions with a digital space. I wanted Quench to have a more expressive and accessible place to talk about digital culture than the somewhat formal ‘Technology’ section was, and though I’m proud of the ~45% female contributors we achieved last year – a record high for the section – I think we can work even harder on accessibility. In short, it’s less about explicitly hardcore nerd stuff, and if it is about nerd stuff, it should be readable for everyone. If Quench Technology and Quench Download were friends of yours, Technology would be the nerd who doesn’t know when to stop talking about Dungeons and Dragons when someone mentions Stranger Things in passing. Download is the cool nerd who’s fun at parties and helps you choose a laptop without the self-indulgent tangent about how Intel have really been slacking on the CPU front lately, especially given how much traction AMD’s Ryzen brand CPUs have been generating in recent years. But I wouldn’t know anything about that because I’m the cool one.
Tonally, it’s a bit of a shakeup as well. Quench Technology had a number of excellently written articles. But there was a certain stiffness about it. At the end of the day, a magazine should feel like a conversation, even if that is a one-sided conversation with a charming friend. Words should be falling off the page as a personable voice, rather than a clinical, strictly unrhetorical argument. Anyone with passion can do it. Just be yourself. Be witty, be acerbic, be expressive. And if you don’t know how to be, that’s fine – have a go, it’s my job to help you find your voice.
Confused? Pitches are out now on the contributors page; they should give you a practical idea as to what we’re all about. If none of those really pique your interest, and you’ve got something you want to say about the digital space we all roam, hit me up on Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org as we roll out the exciting new changes.
Over and out,