on the back cover of issue one of "the common swings" i proudly advertised issue 2 - "whatever happened to cosmo mandinsky?" and, i promise, it will be what issue 2 is *properly*. however the second thing to come out under the title "the common swings" is an all together odder beast, a rummer state of affairs known only as "i evade fish"
my thinking for doing this is threefold. firstly, issue one was very much trial and error and done without realising i could access a lot of word packages through work through citrix for free. instead it was a case of printing stuff off, rescanning it, printing it off *again* and rescanning it once more every time a change needed to be made. hence the really faint reproduction of bits of it and why i had to print it all off in colour (so you can read the thing!). now i've done this one in black and white, fiddled with word and photoshop a bit and have been able to do it *so much cheaper*. so part of why i wanted a risk free issue 1.5 was to fiddle with the format a bit, quite literally
secondly, and why it was 1.5, it's a sort of clearing house of silly ideas before the meat of issue 2. it's 1.5 partly because "cosmo" will be issue 2, but partly because it's very much the companion piece to the first issue. the conceit of a magazine that has existed in a hinterland of eccentrics and oddness is run with here, and it's allowed me to indulge in what's basically a slightly stress free world of william cobbett jokes rather than pushing myself in the way "cosmo" will. it's the second thing to be produced because, well, ten years was a long time to wait for the first and i wanted something immediate and more easy for me to produce to keep up the momentum. *now* i know i can produce something in a pretty much three month turn around, i don't have to worry so much about finishing "cosmo". also, i've experimented a bit and can really push myself with the second issue. if that makes any sense (which i doubt!)
and finally... i was showing the first issue to some friends, and one of them (the wife of my old RE teacher of all things!) immediately said, "goodness, it's really like j l carr isn't it?" which - well - pretty much made my year. carr, as many of you may know, was primarily an author, most famously of "how steeple sinderberry won the FA cup", "the harpole report" and - adapted into a pretty okay, but not great film - "a month in the country". after wodehouse, he's probably my favourite author. but he also had a second, far odder career. he printed his own pamphlets and maps and other odd ephemera, selling them from the back of his house. by day he was a headmaster in kettering, and the rest of the time a really passionate producer of self published ephemera. key among these are his little directories and maps, both of which are filled with loving asides and eccentric potted biographies of strange characters and events. i have the yorkshire one - a signed and numbered edition no less! - above my desk in my study/ book dumping area and it's one of my most prized material possessions. anyway, when daphne suddenly saw the link with carr, my heart skipped a beat. truly a bit of praise! a pioneer in self publishing and an unruly genius. see byron rogers' masterly biography for more. anyway. "i evade fish" is very much my tribute to his masterpiece, "carr's dictionary of extraordinary cricketers" even if it isn't worth an ounce of that bit of true genius
"i evade fish" will be available later today from the blog and lulu. i'll keep you posted as to issue two as it progresses too!