Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Pulp To Pulp In Three Generations


There's an old Yorkshire saying : "nowt t' nowt in three generations", which is a kind of shorthand form of the Hegelian dialectic and suggests that what comes around goes around. Now my grandfather was a window cleaner with his own donkey and cart, but I am not suggesting for a second that I am about to take up the shammy leather - nor am I intending adopting a donkey. In noting the itsy bitsy spider climbing up the water spout I am merely reflecting on my own approach to writing (or whatever this thing that I do is called).

For some time now I have been exploring the margins: both the margins between words and images and the margins between traditional print media and digital media. For most of my early life the word digital was a reference to your fingers and toes and my publishing efforts were directed into paper presentations - everything from cyclostyled leaflets to specialist printed newsletters. In most cases these were full of words and in most cases, of necessity,  the words were pretty boring.

And then, ten years ago, I stopped working and started blogging, and the digital format gave me an opportunity to indulge my love of images. I was happy to cast aside the yoke of paper and ink (and the associated costs of each) and worship at the digital altar of free expression. And so I blogged .... and blogged and blogged.

Now blogging is wonderful - I'll never have a word said against it - but its one shortcoming is presentation. This is a necessary shortcoming, the thing about digital media is that it has to be capable  of being displayed in a variety of formats: anything from a smart phone to an oversized desktop, a tablet to a laptop. You might achieve a layout that is perfect for your own computer of choice but once that is viewed on another machine the formatting collapses into a near meaningless jumble.

And so, as printing technology and publishing started to undergo its great leap forward, I began to return to paper - first with books and more recently with magazines. For the last eighteen months I have been experimenting with formats and publishers but now I think I have arrived at where I wanted to go. And consequently I would like to introduce the first issue - Spring 2016 - of News From Nowhere Quarterly. 

This quarterly full-colour magazine is not a replacement for the News From Nowhere Blog, it is merely another way of experiencing it, presented as I would like it to be presented rather than as dictated by a computer screen. The Spring issue has 80 pages packed with words and images that will be familiar to all readers of the News From Nowhere Blog (familiar because they are exactly what you have been reading since the beginning of the year!). If you were so inclined you can buy a copy from the Blurb Bookshop (just £10 or $14.42), or you can even download a digital edition from the iBook shop free of charge).


Although it costs a bit more, I must confess I do like the paper magazine format - it has a nice chunky feel about it and you can wrap your chips up in it after you have read it. I suspect that the future lies in a combination of large-scale digital distribution and small scale paper distribution of the same product. If nothing else, I am enjoying my experimentation in the margins - it is nice to get back to pulp and paper again after all these years.




13 comments:

  1. Must admin I shuddered at the expression, 'great leap forward'. Too many connotations. Once over that I wondered whether you had to accomplish a lot of reformatting for the paper version - is it a work-up?

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    1. The trick is to produce it and format it for paper publication first (I use the wonderful iStudio as a DTP package costing something like a tenner) and then download to the blog. Print publishing has undergone a great leap forward - with print on demand. The ability to produce an 80 page full colour US letter size magazine for less than £10 is breathtaking.

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    1. Thanks mate. Amended. Now try doing that to the paper edition!!

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  3. And by the by, Phil, the header was taken in Kinlochleven, Scotland and shows a boat going up to the then aluminium plant at the head of the loch.

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    1. Who is this Phil bloke? Shades or Para Handy then...

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    2. Of, of Para Handy. Damned sausage fingers...

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  4. Alan you are clever.
    But why aren't you adopting a donkey? I think we should be told.

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    1. Don't need to - we have a son.

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  5. That looks great. I'm interested how you did it. I use Blurb to make books. I saw the choice of magazines. What I want to do do is publish posts but not all of them. Did you have to copy and paste or did the program just slurp them in.?

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  6. Back to print, but impressed!

    I must however put a word in for our grandfather Enoch. He certainly cleaned a few windows in his time but he was also a highly skilled clock and musical instrument repairer. In the First World War he was awarded a medal for "Work at the Forge". I have inherited his medal and many of his tools. Furthermore, he sent his Old Age Pension back to the Post Office with a note to the effect that when his work was finished he'd be finished.

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    1. Love the story about the Old Age pension - not heard that before

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