We decided to call our magazine Adbusters.
We vowed never to sell any space to advertisers.
Then we embarked on an aesthetic journey. A journey, you might say, to get off the grid . . . to blow up the precepts and norms of print . . . to create a magazine that was less about content you “consume” than a river you jump into and are swept downstream.
We wanted to grab you by the throat on the front cover and pull you into the flow.
First thing we did was kill off the page numbers, because they are just speed bumps that break the spell of the emotional experience. Like someone pulling out a measuring tape in the middle of sex.
And who needs a table of contents? Or article headings? Or a contributors’ page? On a fiery mind journey, who needs to be interrupted with pronouncements?
Then we started mucking around with punctuation, stringing sentences together with elipses instead of commas and full stops . . . creating seamless flows . . . why be so anal about grammar?
Then we took some of your letters and sprinkled them throughout (a move to make things more democratic).
Then we ripped ads we hated out of other magazines and used them as counterpoint (a neat reversal of capitalist appropriation).
We started dropping in poems we’d fallen in love with. Not randomly, the way most other magazines do, but as emotional punctuation.
We ran cartoons that made us laugh. Not all over the magazine like in the New Yorker, but carefully, where they’d resonate with other flotsam in the flow.
And when the deadline looms we start looking for ways to meld pic&text together . . . getting spreads to flow like sentences . . . trying to jell the whole issue into one long comic book flow.
After Covid, our magazine grew even splutchier . . . a disruptive, anarchist, DIY attitude asserted itself . . . we started handwriting and doodling all over the spreads . . . leaving post-it notes and coffee spills. We took our hand off the mouse . . . said goodbye to computer-generated boxes, rectangles and circles . . . we abandoned that horrible, sanitized, soul-destroying modernist look altogether.
I think something like this has to happen to our culture as well.