Still Looking for a Face that Shines…


They say you eventually become the person you were meant to be. Perhaps that’s giving into fatalism (not something we’re very prone to) but we like to think it means despite all the **** and the ********* that surround you your best side will show. The other side of this of course is that you eventually become the thing you fight. Lost in the post-it notes of non- positivism there’s probably a kernel of truth in both.

We were asked to give a lecture to some students recently at the art college recently though it like much else was postponed. It got us thinking though those rather stereotypical thoughts of ‘how did we get here?’ and’ where do we go from here?’ We didn’t quite get to ‘What does anything mean basically?’ (great album by the much underrated Chameleons – check it out) – but it was a close run thing. The first thing we were going to tell them was that we weren’t natural (that awful word) ‘creatives’ – at least in the instance of the Abridged editor – rather we always thought the Abridged started because there was some strange compulsion for it to do so (and we were merely its hosts) and we thought that maybe it would turn into something special or at leave inspire others to do something better. Perhaps in the way mould eventually paved the way for Penicillin.

We seemed to have a decent grasp on the way the wind was blowing and an obsession with fences and contagion helped. We had help from a lot of very decent people also – they know who they are – or we wouldn’t have got very far. We decided from very early on that we that we wouldn’t preach any particular political manifesto or position (though it’s pretty obvious what we believe – or at least we think so) as that doesn’t get us very far. We recognise that we are of course the product of our neoliberal/late-capitalist/*****-** world. But rather than reflect this we decided to create our own Abridged version of reality with (what we thought at the time) were over-the-top distortions of our metaphorical highways and byways and exaggerations of current thought and feeling.

This was early(ish) internet and pre-social media era remember and we hadn’t quite been overwhelmed by the vast sea of data, opinion and emotion. Then there were stories that needed to be heard. Now there are too many stories to listen to. They build up in the digital ocean in vast numbers until they burst screaming into the real-world giving rise to the clown-like but dangerous populists we are currently having an epidemic of. Frustration is the source of many stupid or even lethal decisions on an individual and societal level. We dived into this ocean for the later Abridged using ancient myths as the basis of an exploring of contemporary anger, hatred, resentment and helplessness.

So, where are are we going to now? There’s that cliché that says if you look too long into the darkness it starts looking back at you. Another version of you always become the thing you fight. Creating the Abridged still scares us, even after all this time. It’s as far from magazine by numbers as you can get (though it is a magazine that is numbered of course). So we fought the battles we could, took note of our scars and allowed you to add yours. Then we made them sound and look good. We’ll continue to do so for as long as we can. It’s a small contribution to the art world and the real world but it’s ours and we’re proud of it.