We enjoyed a spike in blog readership this week after being mentioned on a couple of more prominent blogs. Huzzah!
I’d like to welcome these new readers. Welcome! I very much hope that you stick around for a little while.
In case you’re wondering precisely what all the fuss is about, here’s a little FAQ by way of an introduction:
What is Escapology?
It’s about deftly avoiding the potential traps of modern life: debt, stress, unrewarding work, bureaucracy, marketing, noise, and over-government. It’s about embracing freedom, Anarchy and Absurdity. It’s about overcoming miserliness, passive-aggression, mauvaise fois and submission. Escapology asks you to consider the circumstances in which you would most like to live and encourages you to find a way of engineering them.
What is this blog?
It’s the online companion to a magazine called New Escapologist (available to order in both print and PDF at our shop).
Both the blog and the magazine both discuss the above subject of “Escapology”.
The blog is updated regularly, but not to a schedule.
What is the magazine like?
Each issue is a compendium of funny and existential essays and anecdotes relating to Escapology. It is beautifully typeset, it is square, it is released to an irregular schedule, it is between 34 and 110 pages, and it can be purchased (in either print of PDF) here.
Who writes all this?
The magazine has writers and illustrators from all over the world. The blog is maintained by me, Robert Wringham. I’m the editor of the magazine and also a humourist and a stand-up comic and a bunch of other stuff.
What would I do if I didn’t go to work?
There are many options. Escapologists have reported enjoying travel; charity work; political activism; cottage industry; dedication to an art or craft; physical challenges; autodidactism; and decadent laziness. To go some way to answering this question, I maintain an online diary to document my post-escape life. It’s called An Escapologist’s Diary.
You talk about minimalism a lot. What does minimalism have to do with Escapology?
One of the most important things to strive for as an Escapologist is mobility. Each possession or dependency is a threat to mobility.
Why be a minimalist? Who wants to live in a white-walled box?
It’s a way to escape the […] excesses of consumerism, material possessions, clutter, having too much to do, too much debt, too many distractions, too much noise. But too little meaning. Minimalism is a way of eschewing the non-essential in order to focus on what’s truly important, what gives our lives meaning, what gives us joy and value.
Does your project have anything to do with Houdini?
He was the inspiration for it. We use escapology as a metaphor:
Houdini’s popularity as an escape artist came about during a time of technological and political revolution. It was during the 1900s that Ransom Eli Olds implemented the ﬁrst mass production of marketable cars, Tomas Edison’s phonograph made a commodity out of music, and the colonial expansion of Europe and America prompted the birth of the somewhat unpleasant political period known now as New Imperialism. Technologies and movements initially plugged as liberating would soon be discovered by thinkin’ types to be nasty, horrible traps designed only to placate, segment and enfeeble. When people become dependent upon companies or governments to entertain them, to transport them, to plan their days and to import their goods, they forget what it is to be free, alive and autonomous.
The work of Houdini and his contemporaries escaped the province of curiosity – that of conjuring and ventriloquism – and into the universe of metaphor.
Taken from An invitation to New Escapology.
BBC News reports on Gunther Holtorf who has been travelling the world for twenty-three years.
Back in 1989, as the Berlin Wall fell, Gunther Holtorf and his wife Christine set out on what was meant to be an 18-month tour of Africa in their Mercedes Benz G Wagen. Now, with more than 800,000km (500,000 miles) on the clock, Gunther is still going.
The German former airline executive has travelled the equivalent of 20 times around the planet in the vehicle – which he calls Otto. He says he has never had a serious breakdown. Recently in Vietnam, Canadian-born photographer David Lemke joined Gunther on one section of his epic journey.
It shows once again how a transitory, minimalist lifestyle can be more rewarding than a stationary, materialist one.
The forthcoming seventh issue of New Escapologist, “On The Lam”, will be precisely about transitory lives versus stationary ones.
Thanks to Heather for sending me this quote from Bukminster Fuller:
We must do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. The youth of today are absolutely right in recognizing this nonsense of earning a living. We keep inventing jobs because of this false idea that everybody has to be employed at some kind of drudgery because, according to Malthusian-Darwinian theory, he must justify his right to exist. So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors. The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.
Originally from this 1970 edition of New York Magazine.
Montreal comedian/musician, Tony Ezzy, has a web series about getting a job. Episode 2 is rather funny and is called A Day at the Office. My favourites are the insane, crying receptionist and the weird hair-combing man.
Tony’s new life of working 12 hrs a day in an office with strange and frightening coworkers compares somewhat unfavourably to his old life of playing music, traveling and doing whatever he wanted whenever he wanted.
Our long-awaited PDF may have launched this week, but our real enthusiasm will always be for print.
Lulu, our printer, is offering an 18% discount on print editions if you place an order before 13th July. A nice opportunity to fill any gaps in your New Escapologist library.
Rejoice! By popular demand, New Escapologist is now available in downloadable PDF format.
Buy it today through the usual online shop. Just click the “Buy PDF” button and you’ll be directed to a secure Lulu shopping cart.
If you buy all issues in a single PayPal transaction, you will receive them (hopefully instantly) by email rather than Lulu download.
To keep things simple and in the spirit of New Escapologist, there is no Digital Rights Management imposed upon on our PDFs. This means you can share it with your friends, but for the sake of the project’s future, we’d encourage you to limit this practice. We’re using the honour system.
To reflect the lower production costs, each PDF issue is £1 cheaper than its print counterpart (making Issues One to Six £3, £4, £5, £5, £5 and £5 respectively). You will also avoid the shipping costs associated with the print editions.