As if I didn’t have enough to do I’m working towards launching a magazine. Not just me, my good friend Danny Smith is my partner in this foolhardy enterprise.

We’re both of the opinion that there are a lot of good writers that don’t have the opportunity to stretch themselves — and that commercial magazines don’t afford that chance at all, driven as they are ‘backwards’. ‘Backwards’ in the sense that writing exists to fill gaps of a certain size: 50 words for a joke sidebar, 1,000 for a short article  — and that those gaps are defined by the sensibilities of advertising.

If we’re going to try, we’re going to try to do this the right way round:

  • Find good writers and give them the freedom to write — a piece should be a long or as short as it needs, in whatever style the writer wants.
  • We’ll edit as minimally as possible — if we think it needs much more than that the author will get a chance to re-write.
  • We’ll match each piece with an illustrator and give them equal freedom.
  • The whole package gets made into a magazine as beautiful as is possible.
  • It’ll have as many pages as it needs, and no adverts, filler or regular features to distract from the good writing and drawing.

Given that when handed completely free reign to choose what to do, most writers, and creative people in general, seize up. We’ve decided to theme each issue. The first issue theme, appropriately enough, is ‘Birth’. We’re open to offers of work now.

This is hard, it’s unlikely to make any money — and it’s unlikely that to start with it’ll sell enough copies to make the cover price able to pay for everything. To that end we’re planning on financing printing through a series of events — of which more soon.

What makes it even more interesting is that we’ve decided that it should have only the most minimal internet presence, there’s not going to be online issues, or content available on the web — so how to use the web to promote a thing that only exists in the real world?

Not sure yet.

At the moment it’s called Dirty Bristow, and we’re planning to release end of April. And, yes of course we both get to have an article in every issue.