Say hello to the Ladybeard

04.10.2016 | Culture | BY:

Ladybeard is a relatively new independent magazine, and has recently welcomed its second release, ‘The Mind Issue’. For those who haven’t heard of it, Ladybeard is an annual feminist publication, committed to taking the form and format of traditional glossy magazines and subverting the content. The magazine, which spans over 70 contributors, platforms the voices you don’t hear in traditional women’s magazines, those that deviate from being the “straight, white, cis, able-bodied ideal.”

In ‘The Mind Issue’, which follows on from the bold and provocative ‘Sex Issue’, Ladybeard breaks down the strict dividing line drawn between the mad and the sane. It begins with several first person testimonies of losing one’s mind, before drawing on broad social issues, like exploring the use of MDMA and LSD as effective replacements to traditional prescription drugs. Twin spoke to the Ladybeard team to find out more about the magazine.

Ladybeard

Andrew Vladimirov photographed by David Vintiner for ‘The Mind Issue’

How would you describe Ladybeard for those who don’t know it?
We’re a feminist take on the glossy magazine. We theme each issue around a topic that we feel is misrepresented in the mainstream media in general, and women’s magazines in particular, and try to open that topic up to fresh, feminist perspectives. We started with sex and our latest issue is on the mind.

What were your intentions when you first started the magazine?
As a team, we grew up reading women’s magazines and hating the way they made us feel about ourselves. You hear the same voices and see the same ‘woman’ over and over again. The kind of definitions of beauty and sex and gender promoted by those magazines are so damaging. It’s impossible to live up to those standards so the magazine makes you feel like shit, but more than anything, it’s actually really boring reading them because nothing on those pages ever feels true to life. But the magazines themselves are so glossy and beautiful and covetable that you keep buying them, even against your better judgement. With Ladybeard, we wanted to platform the kind of voices you don’t hear in women’s magazines. We felt that if we made a space for many different people to speak honestly about subjects like sex and mental health, but that was also covetable and beautiful, then we might produce a magazine that we would have wanted to read.

What do you think sets Ladybeard apart from other magazines?
Ladybeard is very lucky to be part of a wave of independent women’s magazines that are departing from the glossy mag. What sets us apart, if we had to set ourselves apart, is the way we approach themed issues: we combine very bright, playful visuals with often quite serious content. In our ‘Sex Issue’, for example, we ran a series of very colourful, explicit Peter Stemmler illustrations of different sex positions alongside features on subjects like reclaiming sexual pleasure after rape, and a first person testimony of HIV and sex work. Similarly in the ‘Mind Issue’, we juxtapose really bold visuals alongside content that rethinks the preventative attitude to suicide in the UK, or calls out institutional racism in the mental health system. Our content is often serious, but the idea is to take a theme and celebrate it. We want to celebrate the people doing amazing things to challenge prejudices and inequalities around sex and sexuality, and now mental health.

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Illustration by Karan Singh for ‘The Mind Issue’

Can you tell us a bit about Issue 2: ‘The Mind Issue’?
‘The Mind Issue’ looks at our minds: the many facets of mental health; the relationship between how we think and how we live; how we express the self and what it means; how we change each other’s minds, and our own. It’s hard to sum it up! Much like ‘the mind’ as a concept, it is sprawling and hard to pin down, but it’s also colourful, playful and, hopefully, full of surprises.

‘The Mind Issue’ contains a huge amount of content, can you describe the process of putting together an issue?
It’s a lot of hard work! We don’t have a pre-existing structure so we can do what we want in terms of what kind of content we want – one of the perks of being an independent mag! Once we’ve decided on a theme, both the arts and editorial teams brainstorm all the different ways that theme could be approached, particularly through a feminist lens. We do a public call out for submissions and pitches while beginning to reach out to writers, artists, illustrators and people we want to interview. Then arts and editorial join up and begin to fit it all together until it takes its final form in layout. As we all work full-time, it’s a lot of evenings and weekends.

How has the magazine evolved since its first issue, and what can we expect next from the Ladybeard team?
In terms of how it’s evolved – it’s hard to say! The theme dictates each issue – ‘The Mind’ meant we could be more abstract and more exploratory and it ended up being much more explicitly political. We’ll see what happens with the next issue. We’re going to be holding an event later in the year so keep your eyes peeled for that. If all goes to plan, we’ll have another issue out in 2017!

‘The Mind Issue’ is out now. You can purchase a copy at Ladybeardmagazine.co.uk

The Ladybeard team is comprised of: Kitty Drake, Madeleine Dunnigan and Sadhbh O’Sullivan (editors); Scarlet Evans and Bronya Meredith (art direction and design); Tyro Heath and Hannah Abel Hirsch (arts editors)

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Enter The Mushpit

13.09.2016 | Literature | BY:

Having started humbly in 2011 as an A5 DIY zine, in the last five years Mushpit has really come of age, and is in the process of compiling its 9th issue: ‘The Crisis Issue’. Born out of frustration with the rule-bound world of fashion, Mushpit is a playful reaction to glossy magazines, featuring lots of satire, as well as all your favourite tropes of teen magazines, with flow charts and problem pages aplenty.

If you haven’t picked up a copy of Mushpit yet, look no further – we spoke to creators Bertie Brandes and Char Roberts about being vodka lime socialists, unemployment, and what’s in their latest issue, which will be available for you to get your hands on pretty soon.

How would you describe Mushpit to anyone who doesn’t know it?
As useful, useless and stupid hot.

What were your aims when you started Mushpit? What gap do you think you’re filling in the market?
When we started we were very critical of “women’s media” which clearly didn’t cater to us at all. If you liked magazines then you apparently either read Vogue, Dazed, Grazia or W, which felt extremely dated. We also wanted a place to give room to all the amazing writers, photographers, stylists and time-wasters we were hanging around with.

Aidan NL

Is there a political agenda you stick to in terms of content or political leaning?
We’re Vodka Lime Socialists and proud.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
Shop signs, fizzy drinks, rival mags and the Ham & High.

Who is your audience?
People with a sense of humour, who are willing to spend money on something they have no idea about – so a lot of media dads. Oh and young women obvvsss!

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How has Mushpit evolved since it began in 2011?
It has grown in every sense. It was A5 when we were students and it’s A4 now we’re unemployed.

How do you fund the magazine? Do you have other jobs outside of Mushpit?
Charlotte (hi!) is a stylist and Bertie (hello!) is a writer. We try to do as many morally dubious and anonymous jobs as we can to fund the magazine and it sort of works. We manage to remain proudly ad-free, somehow.

What have been your favourite collaborative moments?
Shooting with Tyrone LeBon was great, and working in Suffolk with Raphy Bliss and Victoria Higgs on the new issue was a real dream shoot. Eloise Parry is an amazing photographer who we love working with, as well as Dexter Lander, who has become a regular contributor. Everything Paul Gorman does for us is phenomenal as well, not excluding him and Caz’s next feature.

Wings

Can you give us any teasers for the next issue?
There’s some great editorial in issue 9; our good friend Martin has interviewed one of the founding editors of Spare Rib and, perhaps a little less high-brow, there’s a dandruff diet page for flaky scalp sufferers.

What kind of impact do you think Mushpit has?
We hope that once you’ve finished the magazine you feel vindicated and victorious… And ready to take on the world! The horrible, horrible world.

‘The Crisis Issue’ is coming in early October to Themushpit.co.uk

All images courtesy of Mushpit Magazine

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