What is Escapology?

It’s the art of escape from modern traps. These include debt, stress, unrewarding work, marketing, noise, managerial values, depression, bureaucracy, and obstacles to doing what you most want to do. Escapology asks you to consider the circumstances in which you’d most like to live and then encourages you to find a practical way to engineer them, ideally with a sense of play and adventure.

What is the magazine like?

The current incarnation of the magazine (Issue 14 onwards) is an A5 format, perfect bound, with 88 pages. It has an eye-catching colour cover and an Aubrey Beardsley-inspired black-and-white scheme inside. Regular items include a letters page, a “workplace woes” section in which readers can anonymously vent their spleens, and dispatches from our columnists including McKinley Valentine, David Cain, Tom Hodgkinson, Jacob Lund Fisker, Apala Chowdhury, and others. The rest of the magazine is for feature essays, how-to items, reviews, and interviews from prominent Escapologists. We aim to publish twice a year, in June and December.

The first thirteen issues are still available in print and PDF formats. This incarnation of the magazine largely consisted of essays and anecdotes, all of which was written to stand the tests of time so the content has remained relatively fresh. This original version had its own consistent look, typeset to a distinctive scheme. It is square in format. Issue One is our shortest issue at 34 pages and 13 is our longest at 122 pages. Volume 1 was released to an irregular schedule between 2007 and 2017.

Why was there a hiatus?

It was hard work and, after thirteen issues, we reached peak pay-off. After a lengthy break, however, there seems to be a rekindled interest.

Can I write for the magazine and/or website?

Most of our pieces are specially commissioned with an issue design in mind. However, we welcome unsolicited submissions from people who have read our contributor guidelines.

It’s alright for you with your fancy publishing business but how am I supposed to escape?

Actually, the publishing of New Escapologist is not-for-profit. It makes no money and never did. You can escape by embracing minimalism, embracing the Epicurean pleasures, and learning how to handle money. New Escapologist Issue 3: the Practicalities Issue and the book Escape Everything! are sources of information on how you can escape.

Isn’t it better to change the world’s shortcomings than escape them?

We recognise UBI, free movement, and an end to the Protestant Work Ethic as social values worth hoping and campaigning for. Our magazine and blog hopefully help with that. We represent escape for all. As individuals, however, we cannot wait for the utopia of Fully-Automated Luxury Communism to arrive and Escapology is the answer until then. And who knows? Once escaped, your mind may naturally turn to this sort of activism.

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 harmless laziness. To help answer this question in a sarcastic level of detail, our editor Mr. Wringham keeps an online diary to document a post-escape life. There is also a chapter dedicated to answering this question in Escape Everything!

Why be a minimalist? Who wants to live in a white-walled box?

Minimalism doesn’t advocate living in a white-walled box. That would be something like “nothingism.” Instead, here’s an expert answer from Leo Babauta (who fields more questions about minimalism here and here).

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.

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 challenge to mobility.

Why do you dislike television so much?

Because it advocates popular opinion. Escapologists should seek to build muscles of resistance instead of accepting whatever is popular or conventional. It also dictates where and when you pay attention; any technology that informs your actions or behaviour should be escaped.

Does your project have anything to do with Houdini?

He was the inspiration for it. We use Escapology as a metaphor. Here’s a clarifying excerpt from An invitation to Escapology:

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, Thomas 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.