An Escapologist’s Manifesto

Here’s a copy of our under-exposed manifesto, originally printed as part of an introductory essay in Issue One.

It occurs to me that we’ve focussed a lot of discussion on replacing the Protestant Work Ethic with Idleness (thanks largely to the inertia from our collaborations with the Idler), and that “Convention/Rebellion” was the subject of Issue Two: The War Against Cliché, but we’ve only skimmed the surface of the other topics. There is still so much to think about if we want to build up a proper treatise on the Escapologist’s life.

It’s a nice little manifesto though, isn’t it? Three years after jotting it on the back of a Scotrail train ticket, I don’t think I would change much about it. Such direct simplicity.

It is perhaps strange that Minimalism doesn’t feature explicitly, but is most certainly a facet of the “Objects/Information” dichotomy.

Also, I suppose ‘walking’ could be added as an antithesis to ‘cars’, but doing so might dilute the implied community-minded parable of using public transport over cars: that to contribute a small amount to a public service is more productive than investing in the illusion of one’s own privacy.

What do you think, dear reader? Can you think of anything to add or amend?

Expozine 2010: 13-14 November

Samara and I will be selling New Escapologist at Expozine 2010 on Saturday and Sunday. Come along if you’re local.

In preparation for the weekend, our apartment is now a stockroom for several hundred copies of New Escapologist. If you’d like to relieve some of our burden, Issues 1-4 are (as ever) for sale at the shop.

An Escapologist’s Diary. Part 18.

Somewhat lethargic this week after spending time with four fine and fruity friends visiting from Britain. Wherever they go, alliteration follows.

It was brilliant to see my friends again and to have them close by, perhaps especially Dan, whom I enjoyed having as a Kramer-like neighbour for three weeks. I’ve just read that his return flight was turned around in midair when someone noticed smoke coming from the cockpit. Blimey. He’s safe and sound at home now, though perhaps with trousers slightly browner than what he’d left Montreal with. Kudos, Dan. I’d have panicked and released the emergency escape hatch in an instant.

So yes, somewhat lethargic as I endure a general hangover in the absence of my pals. To make matters worse, I’ve also decided to give up coffee completely in accordance with the ‘Escape dependencies’ piece in New Escapologist Issue Three and the recent blog post suggesting others do the same. Needless to say, this has resulted in my feeling groggy and slow for a few days and my numskulls forming a trade union and going on strike. The most productive thing I’ve been able to do these past few days is to read chunks of Larkin on the chaise.

Thankfully, I think I’ve finally arrived on the other side of this lethargy, so I’m ready to kick a few projects into shape including the New Escapologist ‘collected works’ book; the pending New Escapologist Issue Five; and, most imminently, our attendance at Expozine 2010.

Expozine is a very well-attended local zine fair at which we hope to sell quite a few copies of our little publication and to generate commitment among a new Montreal readership. (Don’t worry, loyal British readers: we’ll run an event in Blighty during the first half of next year. Let us know if you have any specific ideas of what you’d like to see event-wise and we’ll see what we can do). Expozine should also be a good chance to make friends in the publishing world and zinesphere alike. Looking forward to it.
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Escapology Microblog

I’ve spoken very disparagingly in the past about Twitter. “A vicious little technology,” I called it in Issue Three.

Yet here I am, setting up an account. It’ll be used to announce blog updates; to retweet any chatter about New Escapologist online; and to post any links to Escapology-related interviews or guest posts we do elsewhere.

That’s not a big deal is it? If it gets to be too much, becomes distracting or begins to have a corrupting influence over what we do, I’ll kill it.

Follow us @NewEscapologist if you want to. Smash the system! In 140 characters or fewer.

I may live to regret this. I’m embarrassed already.

Larkin’s lament

These are the amusingly honest words of Philip Larkin, written in a letter while slacking off from his librarian job in Shropshire.

I’m tired of being here, and seeing those I do not love, and doing that I do not care about, and being paid too little money for doing it.

I should like to get back to the halcyon days of suppers in Nick’s rooms [at St. John’s College, Oxford]. Et ego in Arcadia vixi or whatever it is. And I want to see books with my name printed down the spine, and seeing people saying how clever I am to write them, and giving me money. Blawks!

It reminds me a bit of Morrissey’s lyrics in Frankly Mr. Shankly.

As it happens, I’m absorbed in Larkin’s selected letters at the moment and am amazed at how such a tediously regular life (of work, job interviews, wanking, bad beer, paying the rent, procrastination) lead to such ‘clean’ success: that is, to be universally recognised as one of the brilliant poets of the Twentieth Century through a modest body of work.

Larkin succeeded in artistic integrity (seldom would he deviate from producing anything other than his poetry); career integrity (for all his moaning about it, he was an excellent librarian); and educational integrity (he got a First-class degree in English language and literature from Oxford without pissing around with lesser qualifications).

I wish I had those three kinds of integrity, but I fear my record is already blotted through a youth of dancing, prancing indecision. Let that be a lesson to you all. Be like Larkin and have a brilliant degree, career and canon. Blawks.

On resistance, minimalism, workplace tedium and cottage industry

The only real difference between an Escapologist and someone who simply hates their job is that the Escapologist has begun to take deliberate measures toward actually changing things. I think most people who hate their job don’t realise that escape is an option.

From an arrogant interview I did for Andrew Williams at his new blog, Rainy Day Wonder.

Chap schtick

Our Chap advertorial in-situ:

More on vegetarianism

As something of a follow-up to last week’s divisive post about ‘Weekday Vegetarianism’, I recorded a one-hour podcast with my friend Daniel Godsil to capture our various thoughts around vegetarianism and meat consumption.

Dan is a lifelong omnivore and used to work as a butcher, so he’s a good mirror to my nine-year-long vegetarianism. I think this is a pretty balanced conversation and we both (hopefully) get a few good points across.

The podcast is called Wringham & Godsil: V is for Vegetarian. There’s a bit of swearing on it and a few tasteless digressions. Sorry about that. There’s something about the medium of podcasting that invites it. In any event, enjoy!

Wringham & Godsil: V Is For Vegetarian by Alphabites on Mixcloud

GmbH shop at The Modern Institute


As I understand it, New Escapologist is now stocked at the GmbH shop at Glasgow’s The Modern Institute.

TMI was always an excellent contemporary art gallery so it’s a pleasure to have been accepted there. The GmbH itself seems a superb project, filling the indie and artsy publishing gap after the closure of Borders Books last year. Pop in and buy a copy of Issue Four, supporting their decision to stock us, if you can.

Cheers to Neil for getting this going.

Hello, Chaps

I’d like to extend a special welcome to any chaps or ladychaps arriving at our publication after the recent advertorial in Gustav Temple’s most esteemed publication. Hello!

We hope you stick around. You can purchase our printed editions at the shop and subscribe freely to our RSS feed.

For regular readers, here’s how we promoted the magazine in the pages of The Chap:

Latest issues and offers

1-7

Issues One to Seven

A bundle of our first seven issues. Featuring minimalism, Houdini, Leo Babauta, Bohemianism, Alain de Botton, Sartre, and Tom Hodgkinson. 567 pages. £35.

8-11

Issues Eight to Thirteen

A bundle of our last six issues. Featuring Luke Rhinehart, Flaubert, Mr Money Mustache, part-time work, Will Self, home life, Richard Herring, and E. F. Schumacher. 593 pages. £30.

Issue Thirteen

Our final edition. Featuring an interview with celebrity mortician Caitlin Doughty; Matt Caulfield on zen fool Ryokan; and Reggie C. King on David Bowie and Sun Ra. 122 pages. £7.

Escape Everything!

A hardbacked guide to scarpering. Essential reading for wage slaves and slugabeds alike. Published by Unbound. 230 pages. £12.