Photo and poster design by Neil.
Over the years, we’ve hosted many parties and events. This was one of the best.
The chosen venue was McPhabbs, whose basement has a cozy, speak-easy vibe. Friend Fergus had suggested it since he runs a comedy night there, but it was also perversely appealing in that I’d once been to McPhabbs for a work function in the pre-escape days so it felt good to return on these terms instead.
Once the room filled up, I welcomed everyone with a quick speech about the magazine and its new direction. I then read a couple of chapters from Escape Everything! including the book version of Don’t Break the Chain and the story of my first job as a Dudley News paperboy.
Our eudaemonoloy editor Neil Scott took to the stage next with a specially prepared speech about his work on the mag including his insistence on the title “eudaemonology editor” and some of what he’s learned in the role about happiness and productivity. It was a great piece.
Tim Eyre then gave us a reading of his piece from Issue 10 about my charge that he’s an absurd individual, dressing as a dandy and writing for The Chap magazine while also listening exclusively to death metal. “I like the music,” he says, “but not the style.” Who can argue with that?
Both Neil and Tim included anecdotes about their involvement with New Escapologist and it all worked rather well.
Remaining photos by Nick E.
The big feature of the night was live music, first from our very own sub-editor Reggie Chamberlain-King and his friend Malachy Costello, both of whom came from Belfast to perform; and then from LD Beghtol whose set included “Prole Axed” and “The Apocalypse is my Boyfriend,” potentially familiar to you as the sheet music from Issues Seven and Thirteen.
LD came all the way from New Jersey to see us, for which I’m very grateful. In fact, the whole event grew up around the fact that he was so keen to come over and perform his New Escapologist numbers. A real pleasure to have you in Scotland Uncle LD.
Despite (or perhaps because of) so much greatness, one of my favourite moments of the night was when guitarist Barry dropped his instrument at the end of a song, punctuating the piece nicely with an unintended full-stop before endearingly ensuring the audience that “um, that wasn’t supposed to happen.” It was (I’d say) a highly necessary and welcome cock-up in an otherwise seamless evening. Very Wabi-sabi. Amusingly, a fine kilt-wearing chap called Mark caught the moment on video!
The Outliers Party really was one hell of a night. It was well attended by wonderful friends, old and new. The perfect celebration and send-off.
Our happiness editor wrote a great quiz for the final print issue of New Escapologist. It’s called “What kind of outsider are you?” and helps to diagnose where you lie on the spectrum of society dropouts.
The quiz is now recreated online at Buzzfeed and it strangely works even better than it does in print. Check it out.
Just a reminder that this wonderful thing is happening on Friday.
Come along if you can reach Glasgow. It’s going to be a smash.
Poster design by Neil Scott.
Yes folks, it’s the big news I’ve been hinting at for a while.
Issue Thirteen of New Escapologist will be our final print edition.
But! If everything goes according to plan, New Escapologist will live on into the future.
New Escapologist was conceived in 2007 as a pop-up publication, originally intended for just three issues. It wasn’t meant to last forever in its current format and so, after much discussion, we’ve decided to call time on the magazine.
But fear not. After a decade of discussion around the great escape, I don’t intend to stop now and abandon anyone mid-leap. This website and blog will continue, I have plans for another escape-themed book, and the magazine is to be succeeded by an online subscription series of high-quality, regular essays.
We’re moving away from print production now and hoping to beam essays directly into your inbox. You will, I hope, support the next incarnation of New Escapologist just as you’ve supported this one for ten lovely years.
The new essays will be a healthy combination of theory and practice. There may also be an element of “advanced escapology” to them, pushing the envelope and breaking experimental new territory. I’m determined to make each essay worth substantially more than the £1 you’d pay for it.
To subscribe to the new essays and help usher in a brave new world for New Escapologist, please do chip in your quid. To do this, go to our page on Patreon (the service that allows us to do this) and soon we will swing into a new kind of production.
Here it is! Issue Thirteen: Outliers. It’s available right now, as of today, this minute in the shop.
The issue is our fattest yet at 122 pages, which is why the cover price is £7 instead of the customary £6. Sorry about that.
It’s worth it though, for we’ve got a great interview with celebrity mortician Caitlin Doughty, features by Reggie C. King on David Bowie and Sun Ra; Matt Caulfield on zen fool Ryokan; Jon Ransom on the halfway escape of part-time employment; and Jack McClure on his relocation from suburban Illinois to literally the top of Planet Earth. Come get some.
A second, even more massive announcement will follow this one, potentially upstaging it entirely and once and for all blowing your mind. Hope that’s okay.
To launch Issue 13, we’re throwing a party in Glasgow on 14th October 2016.
It promises to be quite the event. As well as readings from some of New Escapologist’s finest, we’ve got live music from the incredible LD Beghtol, Reggie C. King and their band. If you can get here, it’s truly a night not to be missed. There won’t be any more like these!
We’ve got guests and performers coming from New York City, London, Belfast and Dublin. Why don’t you join us?
Want to come? Please do! Go here for full details and to grab a FREE ticket right away.
This article is a few months old now, timed to come out around the Swiss Referendum, but I only just got around to reading it. Oh well. It’s excellent and contains this simple little gem:
UBI is a somewhat uneasy mix of two objectives: poverty relief and the rejection of work as the defining purpose of life. The first is political and practical; the second is philosophical or ethical.
The piece is written by Robert Skidelsky who also co-wrote that smashing book How Much Is Enough? towards the end of which Citizen’s Income (UBI) is recommended as a sort of societal equivalent to individualist Escapology.
There’s also an illuminating brief history of welfare and this wee thing about the morals of being idle:
Most of the hostility to UBI has come when it stated in this second form. A poster during the Swiss referendum campaign asked: “What would you do if your income were taken care of?” The objection of most UBI opponents is that a majority of people would respond: “Nothing at all.”
But to argue that an income independent of the job market is bound to be demoralising is as morally obtuse as it is historically inaccurate. If it were true, we would want to abolish all inherited income. The 19th-century European bourgeoisie were largely a rentier class, and few questioned their work effort.
We’ve substantially reduced the price of New Escapologist digital editions.
Each bundle now costs just £20. This is down from £33 and is an awful lot of content for twenty quid.
The first bundle contains PDFs of Issues 1-7. That’s 567 pages.
The second bundle contains PDFs of Issues 1-13. That’s 594 pages. This is the first time Issue 12 has been included in a bundle and also includes a PDF pre-order for Issue 13 due out next month. This is currently the only way to pre-order Issue 13.
It’s also worth mentioning that the British pound is currently in the potty thanks to Brexit, so readers in Europe, the USA and Canada (whose currencies we accept at the shop) will be getting a steal. Get in there while it lasts, my international friends.
there’s one uniquely Japanese term you don’t want to relate to: karoshi, which translates as “death by overwork”.
Thanks to friend Drew for alerting us to this article about the history and medical theory of Karoshi.
Intriguingly, karoshi might not be caused by stress or a lack of sleep, but time spent in the office. By analysing the habits and health records of more than 600,000 people, last year researchers found that those who worked a 55-hour week were a third more likely to suffer a stroke than those working fewer than 40 hours. Its not known why, but the authors speculated it might simply be the result long periods sat at a desk.
So I just turned the last page of Sarah Bakewell’s At the Existentialist Cafe. A superb book. I marked far too many pages with little sticky notes.
One such sticky note marks a single sentence on p124:
In coming years [Sartre] would become ever more interested in the way human beings can be swept up by large-scale historical forces, while still each remaining free and individual.
It caught my attention because I recalled Bakewell saying something similar about Montaigne in her previous book How To Live. I’d considered this quote for an epigram to Escape Everything! (ultimately deciding against it since Bakewell’s work is a bit too new to quote from so liberally and prominently, and also because it detracted from the centrality of the Houdini motif) so I have it to hand:
Ordinary people’s lives are sacrifices to the obsessions of fanatics … The question of any person of integrity becomes not so much ‘How do I survive?’ as ‘How do I remain free? How do I preserve my true self? How do I keep my soul?
It’s a recurring theme in Sarah Bakewell’s books. In the Existentialist book she brings in Heidegger and Husserl’s thinking around historical place, and Bouvoir’s acknowledgement of gender and race as defining situations. In the Montaigne book, she discusses the memoirs of Holocaust survivors and how they maintained a sense of self while cast asunder by these “large-scale historical forces” and “obsessions of fanatics”.
The idea originally caught my attention because it’s something I think of a lot too and it’s central to Escapology:
At this point in history–the time of neoliberalism and a time in which the institutions of employment (“what do you do?”) and consumerism are super-normalised–how do we stay true to ourselves? What happens to our perception of freedom? How do we maintain a sense of integrity and self?