Editor: Robert Wringham
Past Contributors (Issues 1-13)
Artist Hugo Arias; blogger Leo Babauta; actor Adam Bargroff; travelling family guy Stephen Barry; brewer Gary Bearchell; musician LD Beghtol; entertainer Mark Biddiss; scholar Tim Blanchard; artist Paula Billups; cartoonist Benjamin Birdie; artist Jason Botkin; philosopher Alain de Botton; illustrator Geraldine Boyle; skateboarder Michael Brooke; thinker David Cain; NLP coach Matt Caulfield; musiphilosoph Reggie Chamberlain-King; connoisseur Joe Champniss; film-maker Aislinn Clarke; sociologist Stan Cohen; prose writer Andrew Croskery; pseudonymn Gertrude Cubicle; anxiety combatant Brian Dean; vagabonder Shikha Dhawan; business advisor Meg Dougherty; mortician Caitlin Doughty; illustrator Philip Dearest; dandy diarist Dickon Edwards; typographer Tim Eyre; outdoorsman Drew Gagne; author Joshua Glenn; academic and artist Laura Gonzalez; scholar of nonsense Marco Graziosi; tax resister David Gross; artist Lawrence Gullo; artist Ellie Harrison; tentaclist Rebecca Mary Hartz; philosophy professor Joseph Heath; comedian Richard Herring; Idler founder Tom Hodgkinson; bohemian rhapsodist Oli Hudson; eventual deliverer Sipaway Jackson; parentoid Bryn Jenkins; photographer and film-maker Alexander Jorgensen; friendly anarchist Fabian Kruse; earlier retiree Jacob Lund Fisker; poet Graham Fulton; journalist Judith Levine; comedian Ian MacPherson; editor Shanti Maharaj; artist Billy Mavreas; Alaskan Jack McClure; pigeon presser Holly Meier; journalist Tom Mellors; historian Chris Miller; political scientist David Miller; tight lark Paul Jon Milne; artist Nick Moore; blogger Mr. Money Mustache; author Ewan Morrison; academic Bernice Murphy; student of economics Sam Nair; witty boy Jonathan O’Brien; journalist Tania O’Donnell; artist Kareen Pierre; DJ Steven Rainey; postie Jon Ransom; designer Justin Reynolds; author Luke Rhinehart; cartoonist Joel Ryan; designer Neil Scott; writer Will Self; writer Nicolette Stewart; cartoonist Kelly Tindall; comedian Dave Thompson; pseudonymn Mark Wentworth; artist Tristan Tolhurst; pseudonym The Walking Dude; builder Rob West; librarian Rob Westwood; dandy Lord Whimsy; author Allan Wilson; blogger Jeremy Williams; writer Kaiti Vartholomaios; and poet Murray Lachlan Young.
I’ve been doing my best to promote the New Escapologist book.
Marketing always makes me feel uncomfortable, partly for ethical reasons but mainly because I’d rather be doing something else, like reading P.G. Woodhouse books in my gently-rocking my hammock. That’s what summer is for.
Whatever the reason, even just politely inviting people to buy my stuff or asking them to tell others about it really takes something out of me. I largely enjoy tabling at book fairs, for instance, proudly representing New Escapologist and signing copies for friendly people. But even this level of promotion inevitably leaves me exhausted and spending the whole of the following week in a vegetative, convalescent state.
This puts me in mind of an article I wrote last year for a marketing blog. I met the nice lady who runs the blog at (of all places) the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair. I think she was looking for someone who wasn’t a natural marketeer but somehow muddled through.
I said I’d do it. No cash offered, of course, but I thought I’d win some of their readers over and make a few naughty jokes about marketing people (most of which, to their credit, made the edit).
In the piece, I express my aversion to marketing, explain how we sell New Escapologist, and also re-tell the magazine’s origin story. Here it is:
Our friends and regular New Escapologist contributors, Reggie C. King and Aislínn Clarke, are the masterminds behind Wireless Mystery Theatre.
Anyone who came to our Issue 6 launch party in Edinburgh last year will already have experienced their splendor.
A couple of weeks ago, WMT played to a thousand-strong audience at the Ulster Hall in Belfast. The show, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, was broadcast live on BBC Radio.
What better way to spend an hour of Christmas Eve than with this performance? Enjoy the show for free on the BBC iPlayer.
Congratulations are due to the WMT. It’s quite a thing.
Organising the zine fair was a surprisingly stress-free caper. There are really only three components: venue, audience and contributors. Thanks to the Internet, these things all fell into place quite easily. This can be our little secret though. The event looked very impressive and we’re happy to take any credit that’s going around.
Less easy was the physical work of carrying the all-important trestle tables up the hill from a local church, which Samara and I did together at 10:30 on the morning of the big day. The chap from the church who’d arranged to meet us was amused that a lanky young man in running shoes and a tiny Canadian woman had planned to tackle the whole load alone. True, we’d have done better with more volunteers but it felt too much of an infringement upon various friendships to ask for help at such an intolerable hour. It was only upon Samara’s insistence that I didn’t do the entire schlep on my own. Samara, who is accustomed to much harder work at major art shows (“carrying a bronze sculpture, backwards, while wearing heels” is her job description) made light work of it, but two days later my muscles are still burning from the rare feast of lactic acid.
It was fun (and unusual for me) to scurry around so early in the day with a clear agenda. It felt perfectly symbolic to carry the zine fair tables past the building in which I used to work; my bleary-eyed former colleagues almost certainly labouring quietly within, unaware that I was up to such monkey business. They’d be clicking around on Facebook and drinking poisonous instant coffee, while their one-time water-cooler pal was embarking on an Escapological caper right outside the window.
The zine fair took place at the Free Hetherington, the student-occupied university building I mentioned in my last diary entry. The numbers blue-tacked to the ground floor window declared that it was Day 122 of the occupation. Most of the occupants were at a student protest at nearby Strathclyde University, but a few sleepyheads were still savouring some zeds on the upper floor and two friendly girls were juggling colourful balls on the front step.
After parking the tables at the Hetheringon, we went home for a shower, a rapid lunch and to collect our stock of New Escapologist. We brought an ambitious number of Issue 5s and a smaller selection of back-issues. In the end, I think we sold more back-issues than we sold of the new edition, but these things can never be predicted.
As we cleared the upper floor and began to set up the tables, the other dealers began to file in. Among their number were our friends from Team Girl Comic, Kleinzeit, Lock up Your Daughters and Aye-Aye Books. I was also happy to see Stuart Smith with his back-issues of Beard magazine, about which I am fondly nostalgic.
For posterity, the full list of dealers can be found on our event page at the eternally brilliant Zine Wiki.
Once we were all set up, the rest of the day whizzed by very quickly. Just as I had done at the Montreal Anarchist Bookfair and Expozine last year, I had perfected a little sound bite to describe New Escapologist to anyone browsing the stall. I explained that we are an “anti-treadmill publication with a nice mixture of funny and earnest articles, and with contributors from all over the world”. I don’t know why exactly, but different venues make me want to describe the publication slightly differently. In Montreal, I was keen to describe us as “a humour periodical from England” simply to explain my accent immediately. Here, it felt that the anti-treadmill (education>employment>retirement) angle was the key for some reason.
Lots of pals showed up to support the gig. I was particularly glad to see my comedian friend Ian Macpherson. I had been feeling pretty ragged from the table carrying and magazine touting so I was very happy to see the hangdog chops of this not-quite-fallen-but-hanging-from-a-thread trickster god in our midst. He regaled us with anecdotes about getting his new book published by Rory Bannerman-Coutts, who sounds quite a character.
It was also good to meet Graham Fulton whose funny poetry about office life will make an appearence in Issue 6 of New Escapologist; and two of the librarians from the Glasgow Women’s Library: a cause highly worthy of your support.
As ever at these things, we had to ration the number of publications we bought from other people, lest all of the days proceeds be completely absorbed in the same enterprise. Nevertheless, we bought some of Graham Fulton’s brilliant stuff (a book of poetry about the Glasgow subway system and a single poem about The X Files); New Escapologist contributor Paul Jon Milne‘s zine, Guts Power; issues of Team Girl Comic; and a Lock Up your Daughters to boot. Browsing through the latter, I was surprised to see a photograph of myself! It was this one.
The zine fair was a modest success, I reckon. Big thanks to Tom Coles and everyone at the Free Hetherington.
Today we managed to find the energy to march along with the Slutwalk between George Square and Glasgow Green. You can see my head sticking out of the crowd emu-like in this picture. It looks like I’m talking to myself but I’m actually enjoying a nice conversation with tiny Laura Gonzalez about Momus who we hope to see perform in Edinburgh next week. New Escapologist salutes the Slutwalkers.
Thanks to Neil for the above pic.
Tired of the Everyday Grind?
New Escapologist is the magazine for wage slaves who want to break free.
Escapology is the art of getting out of things. And New Escapologist is the journal of the art of getting out of things.
Primarily a small-perss magazine but also a newsletter and blog, we talk about escaping the overbearing world of work, consumerism, and anxiety. We see this system as a trap complete with bait and locking mechanisms, and worthy of our efforts to escape. We tend to describe the alternative as the good life.
80% of us are dissatisfied with our jobs; what with them being pointless, boring, deskilled, anxiety-producing, humiliating drudgery and all.
We reluctantly spend 87,000 hours at work before dying. Some of us even die at work. We also spend 5,000 hours sitting in trains and buses and traffic jams, getting to and from work. Despite all this toil, most of us are in debt because we’re so desperate to reclaim our dignity by participating as consumers.
But at New Escapologist we say: goodbye to all that! Instead, we look at the exit strategies from those demeaning day jobs, and celebrate the ‘flight’ part of ‘fight or flight’. We don’t think it’s shameful to want enough time in life to read library books, laze around, throw parties, go for walks, pursue our own creative projects or (heaven forbid) better ourselves. We refute the notion that being a successful worker-consumer is the height of it all.
Our operation is run by Robert Wringham and friends. As well as the current edition, you can still buy all thirteen glorious issues of the original magazine too, along with the well-received books, Escape Everything! and The Good Life for Wage Slaves.
Over the years, we’ve had some top-drawer contributors including Alain de Botton, Will Self, Richard Herring, Judith Levine, Luke Rhinehart, Leo Babauta, Mr Money Moustache, Ewan Morrison, Caitlin Doughty and many others. We’ve also featured great writing from working stiffs looking for ways to leave it all behind.
As well as our printed and online productions, we sometimes like to host ‘escapades’. These have included New Escapologist launch parties at famous venues such as The Arches and the CCA in Glasgow; a Zine Fair at the student-occupied Free Hetherington; a night of thought-provoking entertainment with Tom Hodgkinson of The Idler; and an evening of last-minute cabaret at the Edinburgh Festival. We also sell our products and host talks at ink-on-paper conventions like Montreal’s Expozine and the London Anarchist Bookfair.
Escapologist. Noun. (pronounced: es’cap·ol’o·gist). One who actively seeks to escape the imaginary manacles of modern life: work, debt, government, leisure industries, status and anxiety. – Urban Dictionary.
Praise for the magazine
“Delightfully eccentric but perfectly serious” — Outside Left
“Entertaining and highly literate reading, even if you’re relatively content with wage slavery.” — Moneysense.
“Ambitious, elegantly-designed, literary.” — Yahoo! News.
“Foppish, irresponsible, and very needed” — Pat Kane, Thoughtland.
“A brilliant magazine on the theme of escape as a sane response to an insane situation.” — Brian Dean, Anxiety Culture.
“I have the latest New Escapologist on my bedside table. I go nowhere without it. And I always make sure New Escapologist is on it.” — Ian Macpherson, writer and comedian.
“A splendid publication. So cheerful and light, yet with a ninja-sharp intellect hiding just beneath the surface.” — Mr. Money Moustache
“We had to wait thirty years for someone to come up with an idea like this – an indie magazine about escape attempts!!! Next step: a whole Escapology Cult.” — Prof. Stanley Cohen, co-author of Escape Attempts.
Death to Advertising!
New Escapologist is not a money-printing machine. The only thing we print at present is an attractive and thought-provoking magazine.
We would, however, like to have the financial clout to:
– pay our contributors more frequently;
– host more events than we currently do; and
– set up a small, related books imprint.
We would also like to achieve these things without selling advertising space in either the magazine or at the website. With this in mind, we quietly solicit your support:
Ways to help us for free
1. Recommend New Escapologist to a friend.
2. Like us and follow us, sharing and retweeting wherever possible.
3. Link to us at your website or blog.
4. If you run a magazine, website or newsletter and would like to run a feature on New Escapologist, get in touch.
Ways to help us financially or materially
1. Visit the shop and buy a copy of the magazine or even a back-issue bundle. Every issue is available in print and on PDF.
2. Make a one-off donation. Unless requested otherwise, we print the names of donors in future issues.
3. Provide a free or low-cost venue for one of our events. Get in touch.