The Small Press
It is with great pleasure that Clod Magazine accepted the kind invite from the ASP organisation, to participate in their 3rd "Artists' Self-Publisher" Fair at the ICA in London. With a short break from the TestBeds programme, I was able to devote some time toward this other stream of creativity.
Along with my colleague and founder member of Clod Magazine, I loaded up a trolley with copies of Clod Magazine and other related limited edition products, and headed down to the Central Luton railway station on Saturday 8th July, to board the 0844 to St. Pancras.
We had been granted a wall table at our request, knowing that this would facilitate a display space in which to show off our merchandising skills, (see photographs below).
The Small Press publishing scene in the UK has its origins in 1960s and 1970s artists' books and magazines, followed on by late-1970s punk rock fanzines and 1980s indie-pop fanzines. These small-time phenomenons represented the predominant methods of issuing non-mainstream writing, encouraged mainly by the accessibility of the photocopier. (Not forgetting the release of Pritt-Stik glue, whose role in pamphlet production should not be under-stated!)
Clod Magazine began in 1987, and was no exception to the prevalent do-it-yourself attitude which permeated youth culture at the time. It represented a communication network, much like the internet, but done on paper and distributed by hand at gigs, or issued through the postal system.
So, thirty years on, and still not much bigger than when we started it, Clod found itself occupying a key position in the ICA main performance hall.
Before the day itself, Clod Magazine was asked to contribute a page toward a publication that was to be compiled and printed during the 8 hour ASP event. The image we supplied can be seen above.
It is called "Gentleness", and was inspired by a postcard spotted in a secondhand shop, containing a similar message but with a different accompanying image. This contribution will also appear in the next issue (number 31) of Clod Magazine, which is currently being compiled at the substantial Clod Office in Luton's Round Green district.
One of the highlights of attending press fairs is, alongside meeting new customers who are often an enlightened and fascinating breed, we also rub shoulders with other publishers currently active on the Small Press scene. Owen (the man who does potato prints), Mark (who sells a book about a dead chicken), Dan (who combines adjusted pornographic imagery with a stark political stance), and Richard (who celebrates multiple traditional printing processes in his commemoration of cafes and film noir).
It has to be said that although the financial rewards of days like these are negligible, the spirit of anticipation, engagement, spiritual mediation and alcoholic reward are immeasurable, put in the context of it being 'just another Saturday'.
If anyone would like to discuss this way of working (ie. Clod Magazine), in terms of creative writing and visual design, I would be more than happy (if that is actually a condition) to meet up. I am on the University of Bedfordshire TestBeds programme, and can easily be sourced in the institute, usually on a Thursday.