In The Air Magazine. Your Place in a Story
Creative nonfiction periodical outlet based entirely on oral history
In The Air Magazine. Your Place in a Story
Creative nonfiction periodical outlet based entirely on oral history
“This is how you react when you are hit in the balls”
“I spilt an orange juice on the contract by accident and stayed clear of the bank scandal”
“Why don’t we have at least one insider from the food industry who could tell us what really goes into our everyday meals? Are they frightened to death or what?”
“There is an element of me, which would like to be famous. I'm poisoned by aspirations of status”
“The obsession with schools in London is a sort of mass psychosis. My friends have found a solution how to avoid it and get the best education for their children”
“I can smell a sausage, I can smell it through the skin”
“Amazing how good you can feel in a one bedroom flat”
“I used to sit at the parties and think: who is she married to? Because she was playing footsie with him under the table”
TO SEE MORE / TO READ: http://intheairmagazine.co.uk
WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT
- Creative nonfiction periodical outlet based entirely on oral history
- Completely independent of widespread and deeply ingrained media mechanisms of politically and commercially motivated content
- Highly personalised authorial approach to texts
- Multiply everyday personal experience revolving around the most pressing topics of modern life
- Non-partisan but at the same time actual material
WHY WE'RE DOING THIS
The huge difference between what people talk about privately, and what one can read in media, has always been striking to me, so that's why I decided to launch this magazine. It is based entirely on oral history.
WHAT IS IN THE AIR
Everyone has a story. Or a “story”. Or a Story. But not everyone knows that.
During all these years, I've been working as a journalist – 18 – I've learned, among others, two important things. First: all stories are the same, no matter if it is a novel, a screenplay, or a book review. There is a damsel in distress (a nation, a government, NHS, a reader), there is a mortal danger (default, collapse, bankruptcy, flood, nonsense), there are bad guys (banks, terrorists, politicians, extra-terrestrials, authors) and there is a knight errant, the one who ultimately either saves the day or is eagerly awaited to do so, depending on the agenda, hidden or otherwise (a book reviewer, Federal Reserve, an opposition leader, a government again).
Second: there is a story in every single one of us. The only problem is to extract this gold from the ore of our lives. It is a huge job – mining natural resources – and this is why those publications don't generally work, which invite their readers and people in general to send them their stories. It simply wouldn't do. You can't send your story. You have to find it, to release it from everyday junk, to shape it into a passable form, according to certain, sometimes pretty complicated rules, to polish it, and to finish it with gusto. You can't just communicate anything you consider interesting or important any way you like: more often than not, it will come out as one of those endless granny narratives describing their days of yore.
But still, there is a story in every one of us. Every single person could write a novel given a decade or two to learn basics and to sit down alone with a laptop.
This is what this magazine is about: your stories, as actual as any piece of news.
I remember all the great conversations I’ve ever had with people – with my friends, interviewees, colleagues, or a neighbour, or complete stranger in a pub. The best talks are the stories, of course, those which absorb both of you completely, change you if you want to give in to their power. Every time it happens to me, it is one of the greatest delights in my life.
I would like to share this pleasure. This is why I’ve decided to launch a magazine, which will tell stories about people around us. Actually, they will be telling those stories themselves.
What I would like to be is a sort of a ghost writer for the people around. Studs Terkel, the brilliant oral historian, did it better than anybody. He would let people talk freely about the things they cared about, expressed their opinions liberally, and tell the stories. He had a passion for spoken language and immediacy, and he could listen as no one else could. By starting the magazine, I would like to follow an example of this great journalist.
I have been meeting all sorts of people lately – from babysitters to scientists, from butchers to CEOs. Of all these people, every single one turns out to be as extraordinary as a film star or a daredevil explorer. Everyone has a story, it turns out. Or a “story”. Or a Story. Every single person has at least one story worth publishing and my job is to extract it, to shape it and make it readable, actual and catchy.
Thus in the UK alone, there must be about 60 millions stories yet to be published. I plan to tap this goldmine.
I will make in-depth interviews with them – sometimes even with a real film star or a daredevil explorer, why not, but mostly with the people we see every day in the streets, cafes, pubs, on the Tube, with total strangers – and then I will turn their monologues into a well-organized first-person narrative with plots, build-ups and denouements.
In the magazine, this material will appear as features, news, profiles, lists, sketches, columns, small talks, opinions, reviews, interviews etc. It should be a general interest magazine containing all the traditional genres associated with these publications. In that respect, first person stories are the magazine’s way of telling about actuality, tendencies, what is in the air.
I see In The Air as a family-oriented monthly lifestyle illustrated with a twist, where people share their stories and experiences with other people – sort of personal blogs on paper, but better structured, and collected around a topic of current interest.
I have spent two years on creating a balance between journalism, actuality, blogs, crowd-sourcing, Twitter, spoken language, entertainment and literature. This balance is the know-how of the magazine.
In any case, my starting point is always a particular person, her cares, interests, needs and desires, loves and hates, longings etc. I believe that people around us are a new media in a sense: often they are the best “indicators” of what is going on, what is in the air. Everyone is an expert in at least one field.
Once the conversations were the source of the most valuable information – be it friendly advise about family affairs, a smart social remark, a shopping recommendation or a conspiracy theory. In this sense I am guided by the idea of London coffeehouses of the 17th -18th centuries. They were the place where people at one table could have a serious social dispute, at another – start up a business, at third they simply gossiped.
I see the participants of this project as one circle of people from many walks of life, those who share many different kinds of information – from personal stories to consumer recommendations – but the same values. In science it once was called elective affinities – the ability of chemical elements to combine with certain substances or species in preference to others.
I can imagine my readers as people with strong opinions and well-defined goals – in other words, as that ever growing group, which according to many studies, seems pretty much lost to the world of relentless consumerist propaganda. These people rely mostly on their common sense, intuition, experience, word-of-mouth, friends and people they trust. I hope to create a sort of Samizdat (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samizdat) for this readership.
I plan to attract to this project many talented artists, illustrators and photographers. Some high-class professionals are already involved in the project.
WHO WE ARE
Lena Egereva, editor
Lena interviewed locals and politicians in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, North Korea, Mongolia, and in her native Moscow. She interviewed world celebrities, such as Jeff Bridges, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Greenaway, Gordon Ramsay, Arthur C. Clarke, Tom Stoppard, Alan Parker, John Fowles, Steve Buscemi, Peter Ackroyd, Nick Clegg, Terry Pratchett, Mel Brooks, David Lachapell and Anton Corbijn, among others. She interviewed Londoners for her book London. The only three persons who refused to give her an interview were a local plumber from Putney, a director of The Moscow Theatre of Cats and Margaret Thatcher.
Colin Caradec & Morgane Rébulard, art-direction
Colin and Morgane, two Paris-based graphic designers and publishers, have loved print, books and paper all their life. While some were saying that print was a dying form, and others were mourning it bitterly, Morgane and Colin kept on loving print. First, they started The Shelf Company that specialises in editorial and typographic design, visual identity and book manufacturing consulting. The dying form achieved to attract, not only such clients as a state commissioned group that works on French Sign Language and French National Centre of Plastic Arts, but also Veuve Clicquot. Morgane and Colin started a print bilingual bi-annual review on books, The Shelf Journal. It is distributed throughout the world now – from Paris and London to Australia and Singapore – its site is one of the most beautiful and bizarre places on the web. The magazine has got an army of worshippers: graphic designers, typographers, and simply print lovers. Jeremy Leslie, a creative director at magCulture http://magculture.com/blog/, is a big fan. But not only. Last year Morgane and Colin received a call from Louis Vuitton. The company proved to love print not less than Morgane and Colin – it commissioned them a set of notebooks for Louis Vuitton boutiques. Recently, they got a call from Sonia Rykiel. Morgane and Colin continue to love print, books and paper.
Zoë Taylor, illustrator
Zoë Taylor is an illustrator and graphic artist based in London. She illustrated a column for AnOther Magazine for a few years, and her work has also appeared in publications, such as The New York Times, The Guardian, The Independent, Le Gun and The Fader. She has collaborated on projects with Luella Bartley. Her characters are profound, thoughtful and solemn. She might be one of the most serious individuals of London art scene – the funniest thing that has ever happened to her personally was when a baby bat had flown straight into her hair during a thunderstorm.
Gavroche Gauché, illustrator
Gavroche is a blacksmith, who learned his trade in the south of France and still practices his skills. He is a freelance installation artist of Ateliers Artigo, who put a huge white imitation of The Eiffel Tower turned upside down on a little boy’s top hat in Galeries Lafayette in Paris in 2008, and made a window installation for Hermès boutique in Deauville in 2013. He is a gifted craftsman who realized some works of Winshluss, a comics artist and co-director of Persepolis. He is a painter and an illustrator who drew a man hit in the balls for our first cover.
Jocelyn Gravot, illustrator
Jocelyn’s interests are fashion, movies and comics. His series of illustrations for fashion designers l’Essentiel Monsieur have just been featured in the last Taschen book Fashion Now! His portraits of famous film directors are on the covers of a magazine on independent films called Trois Couleurs. His comic stories have rather intriguing plots – women slapping bottoms of other women, women eating other women and whatnot. Though, we failed to provide him with such dramatic plots and celebrities, Jocelyn’s interests nevertheless found their way. Thanks to him, the characters of a doula’s story, who are actually just normal people, look like real stars, and this is exactly what this magazine is about.
Nick Fewings, photographer
Nick worked in Barclays as a Change Director – he was responsible for “the people aspects of the effective implementation of large-scale global programmes”. Then, he started his own company Ngagementworks, and now he is a highly-regarded UK team-development facilitator and conference speaker. Nick is also an amateur street photographer – actually a very popular one on Flickr. 1 in 10 of his shots have been chosen for Explore’s Daily 500. People on Flickr comment that his work reminds them of Norman Rockwell, an American painter famous for The Saturday Evening Post covers.
Peter McConnochie, photographer
Peter worked as a teacher in primary and secondary school for 16 years. Once his father made him approach a wine merchant that Peter liked – Peter photographed him. Peter loved it so much, that since then, he can’t stop approaching strangers – recently he even left his permanent job. Thus, Peter has met 400 strangers and plans to meet 600 more to issue a book of London street portraits.
Guillaume Guilpart, illustrator
Guillaume is a graphic designer, book designer, illustrator and engraver. He was one of the founders of DuVent, a kick-ass drawing, printing and binding workshop that publishes fanzines and comics. He created a bi-alphabetic typeface for English-Tibetan editions. One of Guillaume’s recent achievements was a presentation of Les Cobayes, the censured novel of 1971 about two guinea pigs that started a bank crisis written by a samizdat Czech author Ludvík Vaculík. Guillaume’s assignment was to install 17 gallons of hamster dung in front of a Paris bookshop where the event took place.
Annabelle Buxton, illustrator
Annabelle worked for l’Opéra Nationale du Rhin, as well as for an illustrated French newsmagazine XXI, and for a magazine of illustrations and comics Nyctalope. She has just published her first children’s book The White Tiger, about a little boy who runs from home and turns into a tiger, then into a bird, then a mouse, and finally feeling lost and lonely wishing to see his mother again. He comes back calmly and happily. Annabelle’s biggest wish is to stop her own transformations as well, and muse only on stories for her future books, calmly and happily.
Djilian Deroche, illustrator
Djilian is one of the founders of DuVent, a publishing group that issues cool French fanzines and art books. He is an illustrator and engraver possessing two contradictory talents. He draws incredibly detailed, black and white panoramas of dystopian cities inhabited by salacious monsters, shameless blondes and terrifying children (one of his works The Clouds Factory made of ten engraved copper plates, won a mention at the last International Contemporary Engraving Biennale in Belgium). He is also the man behind the illustrations of the lovely tweed pants and suits in advertisement.
Bruno Wennagel, illustrator
Bruno likes to draw heroes. He made a vigorous portrait of Barack Obama for The Huffington Post, and a portrait of Winston Churchill for Le Figaro. He has drawn Nelson Mandela, Napoleon, Louis XIV and Charles De Gaulle for a children’s educational app for Quelle Histoire‘s publishing house, where he is an art-director. For In The Air, Bruno made a portrait of a heroic London butcher, who had to sit in a women’s shop for hours listening to ladies chat.
Gail Gout, proofreader
Gail is an American expat who lives in a small fishing village in the south of France. She teaches English in a local school, writes prose in English and French, harvests wine grapes with a village librarian and helps her husband, who is a fisherman, to distribute dorados among inhabitants. The rest of her time, she divides between French novels, the films of Elia Kazan and absorbing discussions with neighbours about whose nasty dog keeps weeing on her front door, and who stole the huge pork knuckle from a village festive table.
Chris Pearson, legal adviser
Chris has a particular focus on intellectual property, media and entertainment, advising and representing clients, ranging from large companies and substantial brand owners to entrepreneurs and artists. Chris also writes novels – his latest is Proof of Death, a thriller featuring lawyer Richard Troy.
Guy Bridger, accountant and tax adviser
Guy is an accountant and tax advisor with offices in London and in Devon. He has recently been advising the Office of Tax Simplification, and has won several awards, such as The 2011 Lambeth Business Award in a category “Best Small Business”. His client list is topping 2000. Regarding this magazine, Guy wished to operate also in another capacity. He asked us to call him Mr No. He said that every time we would need his professional advice – for example, if we should hire someone, spend money on this or that, in short, make our life easier – he would say, “No!”
Gauthier Mesnil-Blanc, web designer
Gauthier is an independent web designer, graphic designer, artist, photographer and IT-specialist. He is also an adventurous traveller and a brilliant illustrator-diarist – a sort of French Erik Hesselbergan, the crewmember of the Kon-Tiki expedition and the author of the illustrated book Kon-Tiki and I. Gauthier likes to drift on melting icebergs (he was a part of an expedition to Greenland). He likes to draw disappearing human figures. He likes stories that disappear as soon as they have been read (his interactive project Éphéméride). The site http://intheairmagazine.co.uk that he programmed for us, will disappear as soon as we succeed in finding the money for our Pilot issue and launch In The Air magazine!
We don't have any – we're all volunteers by now. I've been working on this project for the last 2,5 years, the art-directors joined me last summer. I'm absolutely impressed by the fact that all these brilliant people including the illustrators, the proofreader and the others have been working on the project for free for such a long time!
WHAT WE WANT TO ACHIEVE
Newspapers are read in a café or on the Tube. Glossy magazines are read in a dentist’s waiting room or on a balcony. Good books are read in a bed. I think that a bed today is a modern checkpoint of quality. If people start reading the magazine in a bed (but not only!) – that would be the best praise.
HOW WE PLAN TO ACHIEVE THE GOALS
For the nearest half of the year/one year we plan to carry out into effect austerity policy. Fees, overheads, general conditions of work will be affected. Each member of a small group of participants, who are all freelancers, will have a number of responsibilities, not only the direct ones. We will use outsourcing. At the same time, it’s going to be a time of active word-of-mouth work, including various on-line activities. Along with it, we will train journalists in our know-how and general approach.
See more here: http://intheairmagazine.co.uk/menu/
WHERE MONEY WILL GO
83% Pilot Print Run
9% Kickstarter rewards and postage
8% Distribution and promotion
WHAT IF WE RAISE MORE MONEY?
£21,000 – Base goal! Our Pilot Issue will be out!
£44,000 – The Pilot and the First issues will be out! There is a big chance that you will see us on newsstands, in bookshops and maybe in your favourite cafe!
£76,000 – We will make 3 issues! We will attract more illustrators, photographers, talented authors, bloggers and many other creative people!
£111,000 – We will become self-sufficient!
"Support oral history magazine In The Air"
"Love the concept, and the illustrations. Can't wait to get my hands on a copy."
Alan Rutter, digital content consultant who oversaw the launch of WIRED, GQ, Vanity Fair and Vogue on the iPad, consultant for Guardian Masterclasses
“The world desperately needs quality, non-partisan content that isn’t afraid to go where the stories lead, regardless of what ideologies might be offended.”
Eric Marcoullier, founder and CEO, Gnip and founder, MyBlogLog
Risks and challenges
At first sight it seems that it’s not the best time for a printed magazine start-up. A wide spread opinion on the issue is that traditional press has become unpopular, the circulations are falling, print is dead and all efforts should be applied to development of on-line media.
Print is not dead – content is dead.
The Guardian’s Nick Davies – the bestselling author of Flat Earth News, the much heralded book on “falsehood and distortion in the media”, a former Journalist of the Year – commissioned specialist researchers from the journalism Department of Cardiff University to investigate a sample of the stories running through the British media.
“I asked them to focus only on the most prestigious and serious media outlets in the country… they chose two random weeks and analysed every single domestic news story put out by those outlets, a total of 2,207 pieces… At the end of this unique investigation, they came up with a striking finding – that the most respected media outlets in the country are routinely recycling unchecked second-hand material. And… this tends to come from two primary sources: wire agencies like the Press Association, and public-relations activity which is promoting some commercial or political interest.
“They found that a massive 60% of these quality-print stories consisted wholly or mainly of wire copy and/or PR material, and a further 20% contained clear elements of wire copy and/or PR to which more or less other material had been added. With 8% of the stories, they were unable to be sure about their source. …only 1% of wire stories which were carried by Fleet Street papers admitted the source…And these are conservative figures.”
The Cardiff researchers concluded, “Taken together, these data portray a picture of journalism in which any meaningful independent journalistic activity by the press is the exception rather than the rule.”
Tyler Brûlé, the chief-editor of Monocle magazine and the top UK journalist, is an advocate of the same idea: media is facing a fundamental problem – a lack of quality content, smart and well-edited stories. He puts it this way: “Content — don’t you hate it? It’s the new c-word. Once upon a time, content would have been shorthand for editorial. Now it’s just filler.”
Please see more here: http://intheairmagazine.co.uk/menu/Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (37 days)