BLAST is youthful in its make up and set up alone. There is little to no care for efficiency or conservation of space. Words are written large and boldly across the pages. A single picture will take up an entire page simply for the purpose of understanding its true meaning. The words and messages seem to shout at you as you read them. There is nothing subtle or refined about this magazine. It is a teenager rebelliously blasting rock music throughout the house. It is unconventional and certainly rebellious.
My favorite part of the magazine is featured in The Manifesto. “Curse the flabby sky that can manufacture no snow, but can only drop the sea on us in a drizzle like a poem by Robert Bridges” it says. I love the whole curse and bless concept and the chaotic and unconventional layout of it make it that much more exciting to read. The Manifesto also gives the readers a strong sense of what the authors believed in. They bless England for its beauty but curse it for its snobbish ways. It is similar to the sublime we discussed in the romantic period, which also relates to youth.
I think there are many aspects of BLAST that show youthfulness. First off, it mentions that art will be about the individual, and once they declare themselves as an artist they “cease to belong to any million or time,” which I believe to be a very youthful concept because when one is young their primary focus is on themselves, as an individual. Plus, there is a dislike of focus on older topics, that dominated the victorians, like that of the wonders of machinery, so I believe the rejection of old traditions to be something that is again very youthful, like the teenager who rebels against their parents belief so to make themselves something different. Another youthful aspect, found in the Manifesto, is the rejection of England as some great, unconquerable empire. Instead there are many jabs at England, which I think shows that the end of the age of the 1800’s has fully ended and newer, more youthful ideas about England have taken over, devoid of any illusions on how great England and just Europe in general really is.
Youth is found in BLAST in its passion for art. The main concentration of the “Manifesto” is on art and how England is the prime area for an art explosion. BLAST does not seem to care about more serious matters such as an impending war but is focused on reviving the art culture of England. However, many war metaphors are used in BLAST perhaps showing how despite the seemingly unrelated content of BLAST, war has managed to permeate even the artistic culture of England. The focus on art in light of current events points to youthful authors and a youthful audience. BLAST seems to be waging a war of its own on the lack of artistic talent in England perhaps trying “fix” the British culture by inspiring the young artists of the day to pursue their dreams.
Blast takes the concepts and idealistic thoughts of youth and condenses them into a single publication. It seems as though if the magazine were a person, one could easily see him standing atop a police car at any given rally, swinging his shirt over his head and screaming obscenities. It is a pure expression of youthful angst. In the first article, “Long Live the Vortex,” the writer casts away care for “the sacripant Past” and “the sentimental Future” (9). The youths of the day cared neither for the past nor the future. They want nothing of the day’s philosophies or cultural norms, they “only want the world to live, and to feel it’s crude energy flowing through us” (9). Rebellious youths, especially those of the 20th century forged their own way with their own ideologies, the old guard had no say in their future. The magazine also criticizes many of the institutions of England such as the shipping trade, the navy and ports. Satirically, they write “Bless England!” and “bless all ports” to criticize the great national pride of England in the early 20th century- pride that led to decades of war (24, 25). Blast gave those who never lost their youthful, rebellious spirit a place to vent their frustrations with the status quot.
What seems most youthful about BLAST is the way the articles are written and typed up. The CURSE and BLESS sections have a random style that literally floats along the page with no apparent order. This may have been a way to keep the interest of the reader, but it seems more likely that it was an illustration of how youth can think. Though the sentences have no apparent order and often weird structure, they have a witty tone that is amusing. Sentences like, “BLESS this HESSIAN (or SILESIAN) EXPERT correcting the grotesque anachronisms of our physique” on page 25 are humorous considering all that people go through to calm their natural beauty into a false one. The most youthful statements though are in the “Manifesto” article, “We start from opposite statements of a chosen world. Set up violent structure of adolescent clearness between two extremes. We discharge ourselves on both sides. We fight first on one side, then the other, but always for the SAME cause, which is neither side, or both sides and ours.” (30). This shows the unrest, but tenacity of youth. They do not want their thoughts to be put in a box of typicality, so they synthesize the boxes.
There seemed to be quite a lot of youthfulness in “Long Live the Vortex” and “Manifesto.” Both writings have a very bold and youthful tone, as they it declare that they were not fond of the idea of conformity.
In “Long Live the Vortex,” there is a youthful need to live in the moment. “We stand for the Reality of the Present- not for the sentimental Future, or the sacripant Past”. It was as though they were afraid that their experience of life might somehow be subdued or tampered with in order to make it more appealing. They seemed to want to live in way that was completely real and visceral. “We only want the World to live, and feel its crude energy flowing through us.”
There is a very youthful humor in “Manifesto.”, as it also seems to have a certain fear of monotony. They have become aware that people viewed England as boring, and were able to laugh at themselves while proving them wrong. “We hear from America and the continent all sorts of disagreeable things about England: ‘The unmusical, anti-artistic, unfilosophic country.’ – ‘We quite agree’.”
T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” expresses a preoccupation with the passing of time and the events that–ostensibly–fill it. The details and specificity which the narrator relates form a profusion of incoming data and information, and in these the modern individual struggles to find meaning. This can be seen in the lines “And time yet for a hundred indecisions, / And for a hundred visions and revisions” (32-33). Youth’s transformation into maturity involves some kind of growth and progress, yet these things are precisely those which it is most difficult for the narrator to get a sense of.
Ideas in the flow of the “song” are ambiguous and slippery, and the momentous and the trivial intermingle in a way exemplified by the strange phrase, “Do I dare to eat a peach?” (122). These words illustrate the difficulty one finds in modern times when trying to decide which questions, challenges, and even basic aspects of life are important, and how one should invest in each of them emotionally–a theme particularly relevant to youth, as young people are most actively and of necessity involved in forming their own views about what is important and making connections between their world and their identities.