iiii Magazine is an independent arts and culture publication, based in London and Manchester. We talk about culture in the sense suggested by Francis Bacon, when he said of intellectual enrichment: 'the culture and manurance of minds’. Our approach to culture is the same: that something bright and engaging may be derived from detritus. We love cultural ephemera in particular, and despite Bacon’s near-perfect turn of phrase, it is the position of the magazine that it is not sufficient. We publish articles that stretch our assumptions of what culture can be, so long as they are forged with originality.
We place no limits on subject matter or form — we have published incisive criticism, personal essays and memoirs, humour pieces and odes to oddities — but we take as a guiding principle this from Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman (1967):
‘Always ask any questions that are to be asked […] Turn everything you hear to your own advantage. Always carry a repair outfit. Take left turns as much as possible. Never apply your front brake first’.
¶ Work With Us
iiii Magazine is a non-profit organisation, and our modest team of editors, reporters, and social scribes work on a voluntary basis. We do have plans to address this in the future. As it is we are looking for a creative, driven individual to join the team, to help shape future editions. If you would like to work for iiii Magazine, do send a CV and a cover letter outlining the sort of role you would like to take to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will do our best to get back to you quickly.
¶ Forthcoming Editions
A Publication by iiii Magazine: A look at football culture through twenty classic kits
(crest) is a book that entwines history, design, and football culture to enliven debate about belonging — both local and national — in a fractious British and European moment. Classic football kits are artefacts highly sought after by collectors and fans alike. Is this a question of design, of a club’s success, or of nostalgia? Can it be all or none of these things? In twenty short essays by twenty writers, (crest) charts the peculiar histories of each of the 2018/19 Premier League football clubs through the lens of a prized classic kit from the past decades. The book takes football seriously at its root, and looks at how larger forces drive the sense of allegiance of football-loving individuals — what hidden personal stories make the Beautiful Game beautiful when it can seem so ugly?
Produced by iiii Magazine, (crest) will feature quality photography and minimalist design. iiii encourages deep and engaged archival research, as well as idiosyncratic and strange personal stories. Whatever the mode or the form, iiii Magazine is committed to providing generous editorial support to writers.
The online publication continues all year round, and publishes articles in three broad categories:
- Esoterica and funny writing [the stranger, more parochial, the better]
- Long-form interviews and features
- The 500 [react, respond in 500 words to an artefact, a lyric, a piece of punctuation, anything]
If your text does not fit into one of the above categories, don't fret, we just need a pitch. Please send a query or an extract from your text to email@example.com with SUBMISSION in the subject line. Work should be previously unpublished; but we will consider work under consideration elsewhere if you let us know. We are run by a team of volunteers, and thus we are unfortunately not yet in a position to offer a fee.
Please provide a short author’s bio-line which will be published under your piece. 'Algenon Overling is a fictional writer based in 12th Century Denmark. He likes to relax with his kestrel and his crossbow. Good with kids’.
Please defer to the short style guide. It not only saves on editorial nit-picking, but illustrates commitment to the publication.
- Oxford commas, yes. In lists of three or more things, include a comma between the final two, before the ‘and’ (Manchester, Leeds, and London).
- Titles of books, films, exhibitions italicised. Titles of artworks ‘Like This’ (2018).
- One space after full-stops. Always.
- ‘Use single quotation marks “except for quotes within quotes” at all times’.
- Include spaces before and after em-dashes. (I wouldn’t — but for in unlikely circumstances — consider a teacake).
- Dates: 5 May 2016 / Decades: 1980s.
- Special formatting requirements are difficult to manage on an optimised website, but we will always try to meet a writer’s needs.
The Carpenters - Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft
It’s 1977 and Karen and Richard of The Carpenters are miming their latest hit before a greenscreened gallery of deep space. Neither of them look very well: Karen is gaunt from the effects of creeping eating disorders that will eventually claim her life, and singing partner Richard is plonking vacantly at the piano beside her, by now in the firming grip of a Quaalude-dependent perma-haze.
‘In your mind you have capacities, you know / To telepath messages through the vast unknown’, sings Karen, her voice a peculiar mix of naive wonder and weariness. It is the opening of a dialogue between singer and listener, and a lyric that remains oddly instructive:
Please close your eyes and concentrate
With every thought you think
Upon the recitation we're about to sing …
The message is a grand declaration of human decency, though it’s not without an undercurrent of fear and propitiation: ‘we’d like to make a contact with you, we are your friends… please come in peace we beseech you.’ The voice of alien life (emulated through a robotic vocoder) replies in English and with some ambiguity: ‘We’ve been observing your earth, and we’d like to make a contact with you.’
‘COIC’ was released by Canadian Space Rock group Klaatu the previous year, inspired by the International Flying Saucer Bureau’s instruction to all its members in 1953 that a telepathic communication with alien life should be attempted through mass meditation on a newly appointed ‘World Contact Day’.
Still image courtesy of The Carpenters. 'Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft'. A&M Records, 1977.
It was much admired by Richard, but that such a bonkers composition should have fallen into hands of America’s most homely group spoke of a changing nation, and with it, the band's commercial decline. The Carpenters had always been dependable purveyors of bubblegum pop hits like '(They Long to Be) Close to You', 'We’ve Only Just Begun', and 'Rainy Days and Mondays', a paragon of staid Republican values, who, in the words of Richard Nixon, ‘represent[ed] all that is true and best in America’.
Despite the sexual revolution of the 60s, mainstream pop in America remained safe and decidedly de-sexed. Of the track Superstar, a 1971 cover of a groupie’s lament by Bonnie and Delaney (considered one of The Carpenters raciest tunes), Richard said: ‘... Top 40 radio in America would not have played something that said “can hardly wait to sleep with you again”. So I changed it to “be with you again”.’ Strict adherence to ‘good taste’ was rewarded with a string of gold albums and top 10 hits, but it was an instinct they couldn’t shake.
By the mid- to late 70s, Punk and Disco’s popular appeal to disobedience and unapologetic sexuality meant chart success no longer relied on doe-eyed appeals to the obstinate puritanism of Middle America.
And in a year that saw the release of both Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Star Wars, The Carpenters reacted to a growing culture of sexual expression and willful 'bad taste', not by joining it, but by ignoring it altogether and relocating to space.