“As someone who really, really wants a pig, I loved Hamish Dolphin’s How To Cook A Cassolet. If I had pigs I’d name them, tho’.”
Julia Gilbert, who braved a My Little Pony convention for us loved Mark Steadman’s A Love Story In Large Print:
“A painfully honest account of the embarrassment of falling in love. The author may be surprised to learn that we’ve all all done many cringe-worthy things in front of someone we fancy, blind or not. Single ladies queue here.”
Co-Editor Jon, who turned in a piece confusing ‘the English disease’ and the Spanish Civil War that was so long the accompanying illustrations didn’t fit, picks Cam Docherty’s Bawjaws:
“It’s the sweetest, most gentle, thing we’ve ever published and combined with Shona McQuillan’s soft artwork style it’s beautiful. On first read it might be mistaken for a children’s story, and maybe it is but it has a real depth. It’s a tale of loss, loneliness and libraries—add love in there and it may well make you weep.“
Danny found his interview with an Otherkin was relatively easy to write but tracking someone down willing to talk to him was in his own words ‘the ballache of the year’. His pick is Tom Lennon’s Mythical beasts of Birmingham.
“It’d be a cliche to say how difficult it was to pick my highlights because they’re all so good wouldn’t it? I’ll just say that Tom’s piece is top quality funny and writing from a fresh local talent given room to write something that probably wouldn’t fit elsewhere. With frankly jaw dropping illustrations from Nigel Lowery, it’s why we started the magazine in the first place”
And tutor on the Facebook Degree™, Jon Hickman just gets it for the pictures:
“I thought the illos were amazing this time around. Great last time too but next level issue two”
It might not appear that obvious, but one of the inspirations for Dirty Bristow was a magazine aimed at teenage computer game fans. Your Sinclair, was the first publication that I read that sought to be more than its remit—yes it did reviews and forthcoming attractions, but both within those and in the normal extraneous features of a magazine (news, letters page and so on) it showed no regard for the boundaries of its topic or audience. It was, for the want of a better phase, grown-up.
But grown-up didn’t mean serious or rude—the mag could be, but wasn’t often, serious and its rudeness was very mild—it meant not being po-faced or sniffy about ‘other’. It meant that it wasn’t afraid to expand the horizons of the reader, and it wasn’t afraid not to explain things that you could go off and find out elsewhere.
Yes, alongside Crash, it was a beacon of intelligent writing about a maligned subject—many of the writers went on to bigger things after the computer they were covering faded from view. The computer games journalism industry was a great place to find talent at that time, better perhaps that the more traditional music papers, Charlie Booker came from games—who’s broken out of music journalism in the past five years?
They were responsible for my first steps as a publisher too. Along with a couple of others from school, I started a fanzine: Blast. Yes, it was named for the vorticist’s journal. No, it wasn’t much to write home about. I don’t have any copies left to see whether it forewarned of Bristow.
One thing all these magazine had in common was something sellotaped to the front—a tape.
It sometimes contained demos of games to come. It often, especially when the format was on its way out, contained free versions of old games. Sometimes it even contained in-jokes (YS’s Advanced Lawnmower Simulator is the classic), such as this:
That is YS journo Rick Wilson (or Whistlin’ Rick Wilson as he was styled), with his croon-classic Hold My Hand (Very Tightly).
So, when we decided to have a tape. I knew it had to somehow have a tribute to those tapes of my youth. We wouldn’t think to make you put up with us singing, so we wrote a computer game. For the ZX Spectrum of course. It’s a choose-your-own-adventure all about how we made Dirty Bristow issue one, heavily fictionalised but still it’s all true.
verb, broke or ( Archaic ) brake; bro·ken or ( Archaic ) broke; break·ing; noun
–verb (used with object)
1. to smash, split, or divide into parts violently; reduce to pieces or fragments: He broke a vase.
2. to infringe, ignore, or act contrary to (a law, rule, promise, etc.): She broke her promise.
3. to dissolve or annul (often followed by off ): to break off friendly relations with another country.
“If God lived on earth, people would break his windows.” Jewish Proverb
“One of the symptoms of an approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important.” Bertrand Russell (1872 – 1970), Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 5
“Shee-it son, Dirty Bristow magazine is the straight bomb yo” Martin Luther King Jnr (1929 – 1968)
Issue two is soon to be launched and in all the excitement we are eager not to have to wait so long before we get the next issue out. So put the word out, The Bristow Boys are looking for all the best brain spunk you can offer. We at Bristow believe that most people of a reasonable intelligence have an article or two in them. And as we both associate ourselves daily with very smart people there’s no excuse.
The theme of the next issue is ‘BREAK’ now this could be a holiday story, reminiscing a mental collapse you once had, your penchant for one of the five elements of hip-hop or even the battles you have with the first meal of the day. To be honest, we’re not all that strict with the theme it’s there to jog your brain into taking a fresh breath. If you need any more inspiration check out the extensive definition here of course we not adverse to a bit of wrodplay so brake, beaks and repair are all perfectly cromulant.
If words just aint your groove thing and it’s drawing that flicks your switch then despair not, after the words comes the pictures. Watch this space and we’ll be asking for you soon.
As ever we promise to help you produce a piece we all can be proud of, illustrate the living shit out of it and lovingly print it in a magazine that is worth all your hard work.
In a break with our usual tradition of breaking with tradition, we’d like to see first drafts by the traditional Bastille Day —July 14th—although we’re happy to look at ideas or alpha versions before then.
If you’re thinking about getting involved email firstname.lastname@example.org and if you can, add few words about what you’ll be writing about