If e-mails were people, my inbox would make for a helluva party. Someone interesting joined the party today. Name Daniel Březina; position in life, editor in chief. Cool: "Dear Mr. Ebaen, I found your contact on your website and would like to start cooperation with your magazine. If you are not the right contact person, please forward this mail to the right person. Let me introduce myself and the Hi-Fi Voice project in a few short sentences. We are a new small online fan magazine in the Czech Republic about high-end hifi, music and home cinema. We started our website two months ago and would like to start informing Czech hifi fans about all the important events, hifi news and also offer component reviews. But this right now is our main problem. In the Czech Republic, the hifi professionals are commercially dependant on one big magazine and don't want to cooperate with us. So here is my request for cooperation.

"We would like to reprint some of your reviews and articles, if you agree, just translated into Czech and always with an advert for your website and text that will say the article was created under your sponsorship. It would be great to have a chance to have some of your articles. It would help us very much in the beginning, because now we work with no sponsors, no income - just for fun and with passion. If you would be so kind and provide us one or two articles per month, it would be very helpful."

I've gotten similar prospects from Italy, Japan and China, for online and print. Selfish bastard which capitalism taught me to be, I immediately wondered. What was in it for us who worked our collective arses off to baby status - smooth like that spot on your calves where the Western boots rub out the hairs? I believe in win/wins. And giving back. But helping someone plaster his shack with our content just to have something to show? Our arrangement with fairaudio.de is quite different. It's mutual syndication. Plus, I speak their language.
They do a brilliant job translating, better than I could in that direction. Going from German back into English is far easier for me after 20 years of no speak aleman. Hence the regularity by which our German friends' reviews appear on our site.

Consistency and quality are important. I'd not feel good about an inferior presentation credited to us in some language I don't read. My response to Daniel was thus potentially interested but. His already less formal reply -- good, I'm a jeans and boots kinda guy -- explained the situation. "First, thank you for your e-mail and second, please don't feel like I want to take for free something you've been building for years. I only wrote you because I really respect your success and I am experiencing very big problems with people on the Czech hifi scene. There is only one big print magazine and that belongs to the biggest Czech importer of hifi equipment. Therefore most of the hifi studios and dealers don't even talk to us or loan us components for review. Everyone is writing for the big magazine and everybody makes a profit of this - except for the readers and hifi fans. And except for two or three people here, nobody works in hifi full time. It's a hobby for one or two days out of the week even for all the dealers. It's very strange, I know. What I was doing for the last two months was first asking and then begging for cooperation with the dealers but all I got was one preview of the Pass X30.5, not even a full review. Every professional here is simply a slave to the one and only magazine and afraid to work with anybody else. It's a serious problem. I'd love to write a competent review but I can't - nobody here will give me the components to test. So that's the situation. Right now I am planning on profiling famous hifi brands - I am writing profiles of Czech hifi studios, I'd love to start music reviews of CDs, LPs. I am also planning some articles about home cinema just because people here love to read about this topic and I want to bring them to our site. As you can see, I really try but the Czech hifi scene is almost useless so that's the reason why I tried to contact someone outside the country."

Let's recap this knee cap job. The country's largest audio importer runs the main print magazine. Check. The established players keep the door to their club tightly locked. Check. A young impassioned student tries to do something about it to find himself blocked at each corner. Hey, we already checked that. Double check. If 6moons collaborates passively, just by allowing certain content translated, we might somehow be involved in some perhaps possible change?

Hmmph. Call me rebellious, self indulgent or plain delusional but suddenly our upside looked very promising. So I made Daniel Březina a simple deal. Translate one review, anyone you want. Format it properly just as you would to publish it. Send me its hidden URL. If I like it, all systems go and you're on. Which is where a few of you come in. To jump the language barrier, I need some Czech readers of 6moons fluent in English to help assess the quality of Daniel's first translation. My focus is on the feel, vibe and meaning of the original. Capturing nuance and double entendres buried in colloquialisms and casual Amerikansi (as opposed to formal Oxford English which is entirely different) requires a good command of three languages as it were - Czech, American English and hifinese. So it's not as easy as it seems.

If you can help and feel inclined to, I appreciate hearing from you. When the time comes, you'd get two links to compare - one English, one Czech. Should, based on multiple positive feedback, the outcome be a green light for Daniel (or blue - after all, hifi is nuts about blue), those involved might consider themselves part of a nefarious plot to facilitate a little change in a different part of the world. Being one world, it ends up no different than helping a neighbor down the street. Of course Daniel has his real job still cut out for him. Big time. To be the new kid nobody's heard of and expect of manufacturers, dealers or distributors to just send you things to review is, after all, a quite unrealistic expectation regardless of whether a good-ol'e boy network is involved. Privileges always must be earned, not assumed a priori. This would merely be a very small beginning then. But that's how everything starts. With a beginning no matter how small...