100 VAGABONDS

by Georgi Lozanov

The readers of Vagabond, Bulgaria's English Magazine, know what it is. That's why I will now try to tell what it isn't.

Vagabondis not a propaganda magazine – despite some local expectations, based on the parochial fear of "not showing our dirty linen to outsiders," that it should be. There is nothing parochial in Vagabond. Starting with its challenging name, this magazine has the self-confidence to show what life in Bulgaria is like through its problems. Instead of pouring out platitudes, it investigates, criticises and is daringly ironic. This is a way of getting to like present-day Bulgaria once you have come to know it from the backside of the compliments and the self-conceit. The opposite would have been to like it without understanding it, which is like eating a sweet without first unpacking it.

Vagabondis not a "project" magazine in the sense it has never been affiliated to any local government agency or private corporation. The magazine continues to fight an uphill battle for survival and has never relied on Bulgarian-style walkovers as it lives on its ability to attract readers and keep them interested in what it has to say next.

I think that after 100 issues we have all the good reasons to refer to aVagabond Circle, but it is not political, economic or corporate, like other such "circles" the Bulgarian public keeps talking about. It is more of an elite virtual club, in the English fashion, where the members are a varied lot of diplomats, entrepreneurs, experts and media types but where students, tourists, visitors, drifters and retired couples who spend most of their time digging their little Bulgarian yards are also welcome.

Last but not least,Vagabond is not a foreign media. Though it is in a foreign language – or perhaps because of that – it belongs to the local media environment which, sadly, has been plummeting in terms of press freedoms year after year, owing to its many dependencies.Vagabond offers an alternative, its own model of quality journalism that can speak out where the mainstream Bulgarian-language media keep still.

This reminds me of Tsvetan Todorov, the French philosopher of Bulgarian origin, who insists that any type of culture, by necessity, is being produced in some kind of internal, external or professional exile. In this sense,Vagabond continues in the great tradition of the BBC World Service, Radio Free Europe, the Deutsche Welle and Radio France Internationale, all of which used to have a resounding media presence in this country but gradually withdrew, leaving many of the intelligent members of the public feeling nostalgic for quality journalism.

I want to believe that in its next 100 issuesVagabond will preserve the sound of the splash it has already made in the local pond.

  • COMMENTING RULES

    Commenting on www.vagabond.bg

    Vagabond Media Ltd requires you to submit a valid email to comment on www.vagabond.bg to secure that you are not a bot or a spammer. Learn more on how the company manages your personal information on our Privacy Policy. By filling the comment form you declare that you will not use www.vagabond.bg for the purpose of violating the laws of the Republic of Bulgaria. When commenting on www.vagabond.bg please observe some simple rules. You must avoid sexually explicit language and racist, vulgar, religiously intolerant or obscene comments aiming to insult Vagabond Media Ltd, other companies, countries, nationalities, confessions or authors of postings and/or other comments. Do not post spam. Write in English. Unsolicited commercial messages, obscene postings and personal attacks will be removed without notice. The comments will be moderated and may take some time to appear on www.vagabond.bg.

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.

Discover More

LES FRANÇAIS EN BULGARIE
Before English took over in Bulgaria, in the 1990s, mastering French was obligatory for the local elite and those who aspired to join it.

BULGARIA'S NEW 'PATRIOTISM'
In the summer of 2023, one of the news items that preoccupied Bulgarians for weeks on end was a... banner.

WHAT WAS THE SEPTEMBER UPRISING?
Raised hands, bodies frozen in a pathos of tragic defiance: Bulgaria, especially its northwest, is littered with monuments to an event that was once glorified but is now mostly forgotten.

WHO WAS RENÉ CHARRON?
Not all people who make a big difference in history, or attempt to make one, are ahead of great governments or armies.

REARVIEW MIRROR OF BULGARIA AND AMERICA
When John Jackson became the first US diplomat in Bulgaria, in 1903, the two nations had known each other for about a century.

200 VAGABONDS
When the first issue of Vagabond hit the newsstands, in September 2006, the world and Bulgaria were so different that today it seems as though they were in another geological era.

LAPSE OF TIME
Sofia, with its numerous parks, is not short of monuments and statues referring to the country's rich history. In the Borisova Garden park for example, busts of freedom fighters, politicians and artists practically line up the alleys.

WHY DOES 'SORRY' SEEM TO BE THE HARDEST WORD?
About 30 Bulgarians of various occupations, political opinion and public standing went to the city of Kavala in northern Greece, in March, to take part in a simple yet moving ceremony to mark the demolition of the Jewish community of northern Greece, which

BULGARIA'S LAST MONARCH
On 3 October 1918, Bulgarians felt anxious. The country had just emerged from three wars it had fought for "national unification" – meaning, in plain language, incorporating Macedonia and Aegean Thrace into the Bulgarian kingdom.

WHO WAS ALEKO KONSTANTINOV?
In Vagabond we sometimes write about people whose activities or inactivity have shaped Bulgaria's past and present. Most of these are politicians or revolutionaries.

RUSSIA BRINGS ON... VANGA
The future does not look bright according to Vanga, the notorious blind clairvoyant who died in 1996 but is still being a darling of tabloids internationally, especially in Russia.

FINDING ANTIP KOEV OBUSHTAROV
In early 2021 veteran Kazanlak-based photographer Alexander Ivanov went to the Shipka community culture house called Svetlina, founded in 1861, to inspect "some negatives" that had been gathering the dust in cardboard boxes.