We’re a not-for-profit social enterprise publisher. The idea is to publish things in a slightly different way, to make the industry more accessible.
A lot of people either do printed zines or online magazines, which are essentially blogs. There’s nothing wrong with having a Blogger or WordPress site – but people tend to just chuck stuff up there. We wanted to craft something a bit more thought out.
We have fiction, poetry, articles and illustrations. Part of the role of a publisher is to give editorial guidance, feedback and encouragement and we were really impressed by a lot of the submissions.
I met Gary Sykes Blythe back at Aberdeen University. We eulogised about the idea of making something accessible and topical – getting an artistic response to universal issues, not just things that affect the artistic community. We wanted to break out of what could feel a bit like a clique.
Gary’s very open-minded, a bit of a Socialist, so he wanted to make things that would be interesting to a wider range of people. On the other end of the spectrum, I talk too much, love modernism and am probably quite pretentious. So we balance each other out.
The third person in the group is Alyson Hall. Her main interest is in marketing – she’s been so helpful and given us lots of really good advice. All three of us brought different aspects to the project.
Never Mind The Ballots is kind of a nod to the punk tradition – subverting the current political situation because it’s so ripe for mockery. We live in a media-heavy world and it’s hard not to be saturated. Political parties, like most industries, live and die by their marketing campaigns, rather than their policies. Policies are just knocked up on the back of a napkin.
So we decided to take a typical British town and use that to bring up all of these issues; unemployment, the death of the high street, the generation gap. It really focuses on this one character of ex-MP Sir Howard Trenchford and his experience of an election after he’s lost his position.
I have a few favourite submissions. I really enjoyed Constance Smith’s submissions; she was very experimental with form. I also really enjoyed Jessica Siân’s poem; it’s a sincere response to poverty and struggling in crap jobs. The email-like format was something our designer came up with – I really like that it lends the magazine a sort of air of artifact.
Our Jerusalem Issue is going live on Here Comes Everyone on Tuesday 15 October. We’re also accepting submissions for our upcoming Idiots issue [submissions close on Friday 15 November]. You can find out more on our website or the Silhouette Press website.
To read the Never Mind The Ballots anthology, visit the microsite.
For more articles, jobs and opportunities, visit our Writing and Publishing hub.