We’re sometimes rather surprisingly accused of lacking a certain sense of humour or a sense of humour at all. In fact we’ve often been accused of being miserable b*****ds, Now admittedly the Abridged does have a certain aesthetic. There is never going to be a ‘love and kittens’ issue unless it’s subtitled ‘pain and psychotic killers’ – we have actually been accused quite recently of being psychotic and making magazines for psychotics, (we took it as a compliment) – but the humour in each issue is never far away. The first issue for instance had a cover image that had a fenced-off sign that said something along the lines of In Jesus We Trust. Another early issue had a bar-code raining down on people from a cloud. Done by an Irish artist and eerily prophetic as it turned out. Also the fact that anyone has managed to keep a poetry/art magazine going for more than 20 minutes suggests they must have a well developed sense of humour.
Anyway this came to mind as I was listening to ‘Andrew Eldritch is moving back to Leeds’ by the Mountain Goats. Andrew Eldritch is the singer in The Sisters of Mercy. The song is described by it’s creator John Darnielle thus:
This song began its life on a 1973 Guild while I was at the beach a couple of summers back; I wrote the first verse and the chorus and then I put it away. In the darkness of my desk-drawer it gathered strength and plotted its return to the surface …
In the lyric, I imagine one of my teenage heroes, Andrew Eldritch, returning to the town where the band worked and played when they were young. His friends give him a hard time about ending up back where he started, but not because they’re mad: it’s good to see an old friend wearing the marks of time on his hands and face like well-loved tattoos.
So shall it be in these times: your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions, and Andrew Eldritch, whose music has reached spirits in every corner of the globe, will move back to Leeds.
As you (may or may not) know there is usually a hidden Sisters reference in each issue. On occasion we have even used a title from a song as the them of an issue. In fact it could be argues that the Sisters have shaped the Abridged as much as any poet or artist has. The idea was to create in magazine form the (from our perspective) perfect gig with lots of smoke, bright lights, lots of people and loud yet subtle noise. A magazine that you could lose yourself and find yourself again (as Mr. E put it) in. A magazine that would make you sweat.
We like to think that in the ominous little world of Abridged there is a strange of dark humour running through it – a kind of ‘Made in Derry’ bar of rock type thing. Sometimes this is local as in our Magnolia issue was named after the fact that every house in Donegal seems to be a variant of magnolia despite the fact that it rains pretty much most of the year there. Or the universal, as in our recent Mercury Red issue which was named after a substance that doesn’t exist.
At any rate we’ll keep doing what we do. The first 0 – 1979 essay will soon be ready. It’s based upon an Anthrax outbreak. Hmm maybe we don’t have a sense of humour after all….
Below you’ll find a link to the song: Stereogum