Interview with the Pakspectator 2008

A strange request but the answers sensible..from 2008

I was asked to pen some thoughts on this blog for the Pakspectator

Would you please tell us something about you and your site?

I am an artist and my blog is an art criticism blog with my own cartoons illustrating my criticism. It is basically about the English art scene but sometimes touches on International themes.

Do you feel that you continue to grow in your writing the longer you write? Why is that important to you?

In some ways but also as I do not have much time I do think my writing style sometimes suffers because of the speed of ‘blogging’. I need to think before I type more often!

I’m wondering what some of your memorable experiences are with blogging?

Well being contacted by the Pakspectator is pretty unusual. I mostly get visited by, advice and comments from, people interested in the art scene rather than politics although I do cross over when it comes to government funding of the arts which we lucky enough in this country to have received ..well until recently that is. When the economy does badly so do artists. People have other priorities and we lucky to have such a thing in first place compared to other countries. Art is not about just money though it about spirit too.

What do you do in order to keep up your communication with other bloggers?

I simply try and keep the blog updated as much as possible which not easy.

What do you think is the most exciting or most innovative use of technology in politics right now?

Probably the use of ‘interactive’ technology via the internet. We have a lot of U.K. politicians using youtube which is amusing…they try to look ‘up to date’ for the voters.

Do you think that these new technologies are effective in making people more responsive?

I do. I know a lot of English people are sceptical but I work with young people and they have long since abandoned their pens for the computer screen.

Politicians should speak in a language people understand even if on internet.

What do you think sets Your site apart from others?

My cartoons and my art dog character ‘Moogee’

If you could choose one characteristic you have that brought you success in life, what would it be?

Being inventive and seeking new solutions to problems.

What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?

Meeting my partner and losing my father in the same year.

Do you think [the use of Twitter and other social networking tools by politicians] is bandwagon jumping or what?

As I said before politicians need to communicate in whatever way is suitable.

If you could pick a travel destination, anywhere in the world, with no worries about how it’s paid for – what would your top 3 choices be?

Nashville U.S.A.
New Zealand

What is your favorite book and why?

Raymond Carver – Fires – short stories and poems
because it made me a poet.

What’s the first thing you notice about a person (whether you know them or not)?


Is there anyone from your past that once told you you couldn’t write?

A lot of arts adminstrators, politicians and lecturers are uncomfortable when one says the truth.

How bloggers can benefit from blogs financially?

I wish I knew..I do not..and never set out to make money from my blog..

Is it true that who has a successful blog has an awful lot of time on their hands?

They need to be sat down in front of a screen and type a lot that is for sure. They also need to avoid R.S.I. and related diseases from too much typing…

What are your thoughts on corporate blogs and what do you think the biggest advantages and disadvantages are?

I not that familiar with ‘bigger’ blogs although something like Huffington Post does seem to have changed the rules about how news is provided.
I think the world has changed and blogging is helping to change it even more…for the better.

What role can bloggers of the world play to make this world more friendlier and less hostile?

Just help with communication..we all need to communicate and avoid misunderstanding each other.

Who are your top five favourite bloggers?

I do not have a top five..I like the Guardian Newspaper Uk Bloggers – five of those do?

Is there one observation or column or post that has gotten the most powerful reaction from people?

Yes but not written by me ironically! A noted New York artist chose to comment on my blog and he gets lots of ‘hits’. He also going to write some ‘artist in New York’ travelogues for my blog so looking forward to those.

What is your perception about Pakistan and its people?

I have a very nice Pakistani family living next door who offered us some party food last weekend because welcoming someone from Pakistan.

So my impression was very good as was the food!

Have you ever become stunned by the uniqueness of any blogger?

My cartoon dog is pretty unique I haven’t seen another.

What is the most striking difference between a developed country and a developing country?

I have never visited Pakistan but I would guess people the same the world over and health and happiness not related to wealth at all. We are wealthy in some ways but poor in others.

What is the future of blogging?

I think it will become more like television because of technology but I hope there will still be a place for good writing.

You have also got a blogging life, how has it directly affected both your personal and professional life?

It has affected my profile as an artist. I believe more people may have heard of me because of the cartoons.

What are your future plans?

Keep blogging and asking questions even when I get no answers!

Any Message you want to give to the readers of The Pakistani Spectator?

Many thanks for spending some time reading my little thoughts from a damp and raining England. May you enjoy health and happiness and good weather!

Shaun Belcher

Artist and Poet and Songwriter

Nottingham, England

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