Interview: Henry (Twain) Clément

CS: It’s been almost a year since we last sat down with you. Perhaps the biggest change, in terms of your intermicronational participation, is that you are now the Acting Chairman of GUM. One of the notable initiatives that you’re currently leading is the second 24 Hour Quorum. It’s been five years since it was first held. What do you hope the latest quorum will achieve and why hold it now?

HC: The goal of this Quorum is to, very broadly, bring our community together. The community isn’t as tightly knit as it was five years ago, and while that’s not a problem that can be directly confronted, we can work to improve personal relationships between one another through events such as this. We will also be including several younger micronationalists as temporary delegates so they can gain experience and reputation before applying in their own right. The simplest reason that it is being held now is that the idea was proposed and I liked the idea being front-and-center on my agenda.

CS: Will the quorum again take on a philanthropic approach this time around and if so, are there preferred charities?

HC: Yes. The 24 Hour Quorum is planned as a charity event. We have gauged how many people will be making donations, however have not asked to what charity the delegates will be donating to. For the most part, donation is left up to the individual to decide.

CS: What other initiatives do you have planned for your time as a member of GUM‘s executive?

HC: We’ve already done several other things. We created a GUM email address that I use under, we are working on a GUM Portal, and I am working with King Tarik – my nominee for Statistics Secretary who was confirmed recently – to reform the Statistics office, as well as potentially doing the same for the office of the Media Secretary. We are also working on cultural exhibitions that will be published soon. There are a few other things that are in their infancy that I’ll avoid talking about because of this fact.

CS: Can you tell us more about what you want the Statistics Secretary and Media Secretary to accomplish during their mandates?

HC: The main goal of the Statistics Secretary and Media Secretary during my term is to bring the offices back to activity and their regular updates and reports. The Statistics Secretary will provide weekly updates to Quorum and a comprehensive statistical report every three months, just as the Media Secretary will continue to update the Quorum overviews in GUM News. More details on the precise plans will be released once we get the reformations of the offices complete, which should be sometime before the 24 Hour Quorum.

CS: Beyond the intermicronational stage, you’re also the monarch of the Essian Commonwealth, which was refounded back in January. For our readers who are unfamiliar, perhaps you can provide some background on the Commonwealth? Is it a follow-on to your previous project, the Quetican Islands?

HC: The Essian Commonwealth was originally founded in June 2015 as the direct successor to the dissolved Federated States of America. After the dissolution of the Federated States in May 2016 I ventured into other projects – the foremost being the Democratic Republic of the Quetican Islands. The Commonwealth obviously was reformed after the Quetican Islands, but isn’t a legal successor and will not claim to be.

CS: Still on the topic of the Commonwealth, are there any notable or exciting projects you have planned for the micronation for which you’re willing to share some details?

HC: Projects are a central part of development in the Essian Commonwealth. It has had to take a backseat since I’ve taken up my duties in the Grand Unified Micronational, however I am very much still invested in the projects we are doing. I’m doing a lot of cultural projects with music – I’ve actually written a few songs myself – and there’s also some art and other cultural bits that we’ve been engaged in. You’ll be able to see a lot of this on showcase in the GUM International Exhibitions, a project that should be published within the coming weeks.

CS: You’ve also relaunched plans for Micronation Report with Henry Twain, a television program that unfortunately died on the development table in 2016. Can you tell us more about this exciting cultural project?

HC: Yes. The Micronation Report was my plan to make a radio show to fill the void left by RadioMicro. Unfortunately, my two interviews planned for the debut episode – those of Brandon Wu and John Churchill – fell through when they requested me to trash the interview for privacy reasons. How long it’ll take for the reboot, titled Clement!, to actually premier is yet to be determined – I do have many duties which are of higher priority – however I’m hoping for it to be within the next few months.

CS: Much of your participation in the community last year was within the field micronational economics, though you seem to have moved on from this as a focus. Is there a particular reason for the change of heart? Is “Henry Twain the Economist” a thing of the past for good?

HC: At this point – more than anything else – I’m doing whatever I enjoy. Economics was fun, as was the QMSE and the MEG, but now I have much more I can and should be doing. To many people, I’m still ‘the Economist’, but to me, there’s much more ahead.

One-on-One: Kit McCarthy

MICROWIKI – It was back on May 4, 2015, that Kit McCarthy announced his intention to produce a radio news programme for the MicroWiki Community, to become known as RadioMicro. Since that time, through six episodes and an awards show special, McCarthy’s efforts have earned him significant praise – including appointments to various state honours – from numerous MicroWiki micronations and micronationalists.

Each episode, ranging anywhere from approximately ten to twenty-five minutes in length, typically features McCarthy speaking about current events within the MicroWiki Community and a special feature, such as an interview with a prominent community member. Some episodes have also included original programming, under the title of “At Sea”, a radio drama inspired by Sealand according to McCarthy.

The hard work invested by McCarthy behind the scenes is also evident with each episode. For example, the sound editing and musical scoring for RadioMicro has been praised and, in this author’s opinion, is among the best of all the locally-produced radio news programmes to have graced the community since the turn of the millennia. The scripting is also succinctly edited and maintains the listener’s attention without feeling drawn-out.

This past week, McCarthy took a break from his busy production schedule to sit down with the Coprieta Standard for a short interview:

CS: For those who are unfamiliar with who you are, would you tell us a bit about yourself and your micronational involvement?

KM: My name is Kit McCarthy and I am the founder of Mcarthia. I’ve been in the community for around 6 months now, and through projects, such as RadioMicro, I flatter myself to say I’ve done alright. I believe I am age-wise one of the younger members of the community. I started Mcarthia through a long-standing interest in politics and modern studies.

I’ve had many projects in the micronational world: the USM, RadioMicro, the new Bildaut Panel, SkillsShare and the RadioMicro Awards. Out of those, RadioMicro and its awards have been far the most successful.

Doing all these things however led to my leaving the community in June, due to other commitments outwith micronationalism. I returned last month, with the new RadioMicro Awards.

CS: What inspired you to create RadioMicro?

KM: I was inspired to create RadioMicro by Rhys Gregory’s MicronationTV. I felt it was a good area to get involved with, and with my skills in sound editing and composing, I would be able to create something of quite high quality. I decided to make my news agency an audio-only one for several reasons; in particular privacy, the ability to edit footage much more easily, and the ease to make programs reasonably high-quality.

CS: The production of an episode of RadioMicro undoubtedly involves quite a lot of effort. Can you walk us through the typical process you undertake to produce one?

KM: The first step for any episode is to make rough plans. I’ll browse through the forums and the Skype logs looking for good stories and I’ll often ask people on the RadioMicro thread what they’d like to see.

After that, I’ll try and get hold of my scriptwriters for other programs that I don’t write myself. After telling them what I want, I’ll then write the main script. This is the most time consuming part of the operation.

After getting all the scripts together and any other material, such as music, I’ll then start to record. The file I end up with at the end can be over 40 minutes long as I redo lines over and over again. Then, everything is loaded into Audacity and I edit my recording, as well as adding the music and any other effects. It’s exported as a sound file that I attach to a little video and upload it to YouTube.

Publicising is also quite a time consuming step. The new video must go onto the website, the forum, the main MicroWiki page, the RadioMicro MicroWiki page, any relevant Skype room, and be linked into other playlists and videos on YouTube. After that, follows a stage of keeping track of views and comments, before the whole process starts over again.

CS: What impact do you feel you’ve had with RadioMicro on the community and micronational journalism?

KM: From what I’ve heard, RadioMicro has had quite a significant impact on the community, micronational journalism, and Mcarthia. While it’s not necessary to have a news source in micronationalism, it’s enjoyable to listen to, especially as I’m able to get some things on the show (in particular, interviews) that wouldn’t be possible elsewhere. It’s also a nice format – programs like the Micronational Tour of the World present information in a readily accessible format.

I’m not the most qualified to say what kind of impact RadioMicro’s had on micronational journalism, though I hope it’s perhaps promoted good quality work. There’s nothing currently like RadioMicro available, but many other new news agencies were set up after RadioMicro, which I feel may have been due to RadioMicro making it seem like an attractive area.

It’s had a particular impact for Mcarthia and myself – Mcarthia and myself now have moderately high standings in the community, which I’m sure would never have come about so quickly with RadioMicro.

CS: You say it’s not necessary to have a news source in micronationalism. Why do you believe that?

KM: The community is actually very close knit. Everything happens on the forums, with a little bit of secret stuff done on Skype. If you’re on the forum, you know a lot, and it’s not necessary to have me telling them what they already know with some nice music in the background.

News agencies have a much more important role to play in providing information that’s not so commonly known or isn’t part of a main event. This is where RadioMicro programs like the Micronational Tour of the World and How to Start a Country come in. They’re factual programs, not news.

CS: What new initiatives can we expect to see from RadioMicro in the future?

KM: I’ve got lots more planned for RadioMicro! I’m looking at setting up a text based news website, and a new channel, RadioMicro Extra in particular. Give me a year, and we’ll have a new round of RadioMicro Awards as well. I do also have one very special project tucked up my sleeve. I don’t want to give it away, as it may never happen, but if it does… well, it’ll be fun.