Quick flick – B, Or Something

by Steve Watson in April 2011
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“An encylopaedia for obstinate ideas”, Or Something is a new magazine that plans to march through the alphabet, a different issue for each letter. I didn’t see issue A, but issue B has been knocking around for a few weeks and it’s quite a lovely thing.

A few weeks of knocking around in my bag has taken its toll on the cover, but I like the smudginess. It makes the whole thing feel very handmade. And the contents on the cover works nicely too – you find yourself turning back to the cover as you go to see how they’ve summarised each story.

The idea seems to be that they solicit contributions and put each issue together out of the best stuff. This series of lino cuts of a barn owl by Hester Steedman Thake is nice.

And this story on the secrets of bee communication is really interesting. Not sure the honeycomb design works as well as it might, but I like the variation. The only common theme linking stories is the letter B, which encourages the reader to see each entry as separate from the rest of the magazine – each thing works either as a whole or in isolation.

Brian Blessed Wouldn’t Lie in Bed – “an inspirational pull out poster for your wall”. Cue the usual agonising over whether it would ruin the magazine to pull the poster out.

The quality of the writing varies, but there’s some good stuff in there – I really enjoyed this first-person piece by a woman who volunteers on the Port Erin lifeboat.

At 34 pages it’s short but sweet, and feels genuinely original. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with issue C.

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