The Beast is Loose

By all the gods, it’s been a week. Engaging catch-up mode, as I try to, you know, up-catch to events.

The second issue of Dirty Bristow landed at X&HTowers on Wednesday, and oh my, it was worth the wait. This is one gorgeous package. The Bristow boys have always been upfront about making the mag as collectible and lovely as possible. They’ve outdone themselves. The double tracing-paper/card cover looks and feels great, with a matt finish that purrs luxury at your fingertips.

Inside, the open call for submissions under a theme has led to a gloriously all-over-the-place chunk of editorial. With no adverts, there’s a lot there to read and enjoy, and the quality of illustration throughout is a notch above top. If you want an idea of the tone, then the editors Jon Bounds and Danny Smith tell it like it is in the intro:

arty and unashamedly intelligent, no pretension or division between high and low culture and not governed by the Crown.

So, the second issue contains a cookery page that begins with the slaughter of a whole pig, a report from a My Little Pony convention, reprints of the work of acclaimed music scribe Dirk Collins, an entomology of the imaginary beasts of the West Midlands and, and, and I could go on for ages. I should perhaps mention a piece on the contribution yeast has made to the hungry drinker, especially as I wrote it. Even if those clever Bristows came up with a better title for the article than I did. They’re far too talented for their own good. I’m not sure I like them.

Dirty Bristow is available online at the Dirty Bristow website, logically enough. If you’re lucky, your copy might come with a cover-mounted cassette featuring songs and a ZX Spectrum game. Yes, a cassette. Yes, a Speccy game. Glorious, isn’t it?

Buy Dirty Bristow: Beast here.

Smells good, too.


Dirty Bristow

I’m pleased, proud and excited to announce my involvement in one of the more interesting magazine projects around at the moment.

Dirty Bristow is, as the clever buggers who thought it up say, a project dedicated to resurrecting the magazine as a fetish object. That is, as something to both covet and collect. An object of desire. Beautifully printed on premium stock, DB is designed to be proudly displayed on your bookshelf.

Each issue takes a loose theme as the subject, which the contributors explore as they see fit. Issue 1 fittingly takes on the subject of birth, with articles on (to thinly scrape the surface) overpopulation, free-running, the creative process, architecture and stand-up comedy. Impeccably designed, deliciously illustrated, the thing is a joy to own.

Yes, of course I’m overegging it. Vested interest, donchaknow.

Aart from the cover price, the mag is funded through merchandising and live events, to make sure that you get a product free from ads. There’s no compromise, no sellout. Everyone who contributes to Dirty Bristow is free to say what they want, how they want. It’s an open forum, mixing the freedom of the small press with the production values of the glossies. The closest thing to it on the  news-stands is probably Little White Lies, which has the same themed approach, attention to detail and love smeared thickly over every page.

Finally, finally, issue two is on sale. The theme is BEAST. Eighty pages of articles, thinkpieces, illos and fiction. And somewhere in there: me, with an article on the smallest and most important beast of them all. I’m chuffed to bits to be asked to contribute, and can’t wait to see how it looks.

Here’s the important bit. You can order Beast here. While you’re at it, Birth and badge and sticker sets are available too. And the call is now out for contributions to issue 3: BREAK. I plan to submit to that, too.

Further, the launch party for Beast is on July 23rd, at the Edge in Digbeth, Birmingham. Six quid gets you entry, a copy of Beast and all kinds of music and general frivolity. If you’re in the area, you should give it a go.

Dirty Bristow. The fetish object that you can show to your mum.