Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Rolling Stream?

One of the pipe dreams I've always had (along with opening up a used book and gun shop, living under a bridge in the Florida Keys, training a QAA field trial chessie, building a time machine so I can travel back in time to see the Pixies in concert, and spending an entire fall on the road, Jim Fergus-like, bird hunting across the country) is to publish my own little alternative hook-and-bullet magazine.

I've always been a big believer in the old adage "look at how everyone else is doing something, and then figure out a way to do it completely differently." And that's exactly how I'd like to create my 'zine.

You take some classic counter-culture weirdness; 70s-era Rolling Stone, a little Mother Jones, then mix it with some literary gravitas, maybe a dash of Paris Review, some early Gray's Sporting Journal and Sports Illustrated, and a little vintage 60s and 70s Playboy and/or Esquire, and then throw it all in a blender with an equal measure of the classic Big Three sporting mags from the same era, hit the puree button and what you end up with is my magazine, sort of a sporting New Yorker, but just a tad stoned, and minus the pretentious assholes.

You know, the kind of magazine that would publish the type of authors that sporting magazines used to publish. And no, I'm not talking about Corey Ford, Robert Ruark, Jack O'Conner, etc, etc, ad nauseum. Don't get me wrong, I love those guys. I have most of their books. But I'm talking about modern writers, edgier writers, as opposed to the more traditional outdoor writers we tend to wrap in standard-issue nostalgia.

Wouldn't it be great? No "how-to" for simpletons, no 200-word feature stories for the ADD demographic, no stupid graphics - in short, no abandoning of print's story-telling strength for the folly of trying to emulate the web. Just a weirdly eclectic blend of many different but equally wonderful styles, all hewing to the simple premise of great writing, great photography, and the primacy of the word as expression and art.

And it would, of course, be a colossal failure. It'd appeal to, oh, about 27 weirdos nationwide, while at the same time completely alienating virtually every traditional demographic from which it drew inspiration. Cool and unusual ideas often don't make good business models. Good business models don't often inspire and excite, which is why we're saddled with the choices we have. Ever it was thus.

But a dude can dream, right?


  1. Who needs paper? Do it online. 27 weirdos might be enough...

  2. Do it. Put the project up on Kickstarter, raise enough money to pay to print a couple of issues and pay for writing and art. Make it a quarterly or a yearly. I'd both pay for a subscription and chip in $25 or $50 for a Kickstarter campaign. Worst case scenario it doesn't fund and you realize the idea won't work. If it funds you've got a baked-in audience and some funds to make it happen.

  3. What they said. Sounds good.

  4. A dude should dream....May I make a suggestion to include a Spy v. Spy cartoon from Mad Magazine, or some National Lampoon mayhem?...I love it!...Phil

  5. Definitely do an e-zine. I'll be subscriber/weirdo #1. I'd subscribe to a paper version too but why waste all that time and money dealing with printing and distribution? And viral exposure beats paying for advertising every day. Seriously, you threw this out there and now I'm gonna hound you until you do it.

  6. See they are out there! I'm not the only reader you'll have
    The kickstarter campaign is a great idea - I'll run ads for it on my blog, submit loads of awful story ideas, and possibly turn up on your doorstep to be your intern. Who gets to play Robert Anton Wilson?

    PS Kilburn National Ballroom, London, 5 July 1989, but you wont recognise me i was a lot thinner then

  7. Hmmm, Kickstarter. That's an idea. I can solicit donations for a bold, exciting new publication, and then skip town with the dough, buy that S03 I've always wanted and then simply disappear into the plains forever...

    Actually, for someone with a little ambition, that might not be a bad idea. I wonder how many literary projects get funded through Kickstarter? May have to do some looking around.

    SBW, just as soon as I can scrounge up a flux capacitor and a DeLorean to put it in, I'm so there...

  8. Do it online and it is a viable business model.
    Do it in print and the program will be bankrupt, but perhaps more satisfying.

    Either way do it. I'll subscribe.

  9. Saw the Pixies in the late '80s (we'll talk more next time in hunting camp), played ping-pong with Kim Deal and when you get a sec, check out the co-author of "Drivin' on 9" on the Last Splash (Breeders).

  10. Whoa, Steve! That's impressive! I love the Breeders, and whoda thunk I shared duck camp with a guy who wrote one of their songs...

  11. Good times,straight out of grad school. Cannonball made that album, eh, and a Rolling Stone reviewer (ironic, eh?) called our song "hokey" (it is, of course). Thing is it hit double-platinum so there's no accounting for taste, I guess. Listen, man, the 27 other weirdos and I are longtime Chad Love readers. You've got something nudging close to an online 'zine here in the blog. Build around it?

  12. 8, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Count me in as one of the 27. I mean Geez, we already read all this incredibly wonderful wacky head barf of a blogosphere, ya ?! I'd vote for a hard copy, old style mag - not a zine. A glossy, feel and smell the ink, tattered to shreds after two months in the traveling gear kind of hunk of tangibility. A there's no colossal failure like a tangible one.

  13. Chad,

    There's a whole category on Kickstarter for publishing, and a sub-category for periodicals:

    There are a ton of very successful campaigns there for quarterlies, yearly magazines, etc. People raised 17k, 42k, 45k, etc.

    the pledge gifts can be small. a "founders" page in the first issue. preview of the first issue. digital subscription (if it's print+digital), etc. perhaps a hunting or fishing trip for the big spenders.

  14. Bodio needs a memo on this. Steve B.: Seem to remember you talking about this back in the '90s? Confirm, or just my wishful thinking? Can't go wrong with Captain Love and you on the masthead.

  15. Late to the party but count me in... will recruit, edit, write (just no or few book reviews PLEASE!) I'd even do it free for one issue if I must. Steve H, you are not dreaming.

    I don't have money but I still seem to have energy & more ideas than I can follow up, and I get more reckless as I grow old-- nothing (or less) left to lose... Trouble is most regular mags these days think I am strange. Can't imagine why.

    And guys-- email me if you want detailed stuff on the next (not the just- finished) book-- you two and at least 5 (27?) others will like it...

  16. You had me until the last paragraph. Why would it be a colossal failure?

    There you go with all those negative vibes.

    You've got to be positive. If it feels cool, run with it. It sounds cool to me and I am not even on my first spliff yet (although I have sunk a couple of medicinal scotches but, in my defence, it is already after eleven in the morning).

  17. Brilliant!! Let me know how to help/hinder/bender...