Elsewhere No.05: Submissions Deadline on Friday

IMAGE: Julia Stone

IMAGE: Julia Stone

For all you writers and visual artists out there, just a quick reminder that our deadline for submissions for Elsewhere No.05 – to be published in June 2017 – is this coming Friday on the 31 March. 

For the first time, along with our general theme of place, we are having a theme for the issue: TRANSITION, and the only guidelines are that completed pieces should be linked to both the idea of transition and place. 

With regards to length, most pieces we publish will be between 1000 and 5000 words. We also remain interested in photography, illustration and other visual arts projects related to the theme of place. Please remember that, unfortunately, we cannot continue to pay contributors to Elsewhere. We have long had this as our aim, but the project as it is right now cannot sustain it.

If you have something you would like us to consider, please write to Paul at: paul@elsewhere-journal.com

If you are interested in writing for the blog, you can find more information on our general submissions page.

Morning in St. Mary's Churchyard, Whitby

IMAGE: Laura Harker

IMAGE: Laura Harker

By Laura Harker:

8.45am in St. Mary’s churchyard. A jogger runs laps around the graves as I try not to lose Polaroid exposures to the wind. There are probably more bodies under my feet than are awake in the town right now on this cold December morning. A rare tranquil moment for the churchyard which, during the height of summer, is bombarded with crowds of tourists and goths. I forgot Whitby takes its time to wake up in the winter. As I ran from the train station through town and up the 199 steps to the clifftop abbey – trying to beat the sunrise – the only people stirring were a handful of delivery men on Baxtergate, the closest thing to a high street in the town. The few low-season tourists tucked up in their guest house four-posters wouldn’t be out for another couple of hours.

Whitby’s streets are riddled with ghosts, none of whom I wanted to bump into. Exes, former friends and old work colleagues. These old ties require more effort to fall back into the previous nuances each relationship had, and any conversations between us now inhabit a strange space between strained small-talk and stale in-jokes. The longer I’m away from the town, the more these ties fade, and the streets of Whitby are increasingly haunted with passing faces that stimulate only a haze in my memory. I felt more at ease facing the graveyard and its ghosts.

The film I’d used in my polaroid camera was out of date by a couple of years, and so the results were washed out and over-exposed. A grainy abbey silhouette; a white Royal Hotel behind the unmistakable arch of the whalebone arch; blotchy patterns on grey speckled sand. Barely-there images to match my barely-there ties to town. A strong wind whipped up over the lip of the cliff, I flipped up my collar and descended back down into town, head down, quick step, running from the ghosts.

Laura Harker is a freelance writer based in North Yorkshire. She blogs at northquarters.com

Postcard from... Sarajevo

IMAGE: Gavin Greene

IMAGE: Gavin Greene

By Gavin Greene:

The early evening rain spattered onto the marble floors of Sarajevo's Baščaršija, polished smooth over centuries by passing travelers, merchants and tourists. It fell in large spots at first, then smaller, lighter drops. Sitting on a rickety chair under the canopy of a dimly-lit café, I watched as the bustling market hastily retreated undercover to escape the shower. Traders hurried to cover their stalls with tarpaulins while young families dived for the cover of stone doorways.

From the sanctuary of the café, I looked up towards Mount Trebević, a looming shadow over the city, visible beneath the low clouds that had rolled into the valley. The mountain had hosted Sarajevo's 1984 Winter Olympics, and the world watched athletes speed down icy runs and steep snowy slopes. Just years later, skiers and spectators became snipers and mortar posts, raining destruction and tears onto the city below for over a thousand days. Again, the world watched.

Steam twisted from the copper pot of coffee at my side, swirling and hovering before disappearing into the crisp evening air. In the winding alleyways of Sarajevo's markets, the smell of roasting coffee blends with the warm aromas of herbs and spices of hidden backstreet food stalls. The sound of hammering metal and the gentle chatter of locals gives way only to the call to prayer from nearby minarets, and the pealing church bells echo across the city valley. The gentle drumming of the rain on the terracotta rooves of the bazaar built to a crescendo, the streets empty and shimmering with this latest deluge.
 
Sarajevo still bears the scars of the siege, but life has moved on, and there is now hope for this beautiful city. As I watched, three young children dared to dance in the rain, ducking and diving between raindrops. On the same road a few years before, their parents would have done the same, ducking between doorways to dodge the barrage from the hills above the city.

The rain continued steadily, now dripping from the canvas awning of the café into the gutter below, gathering pace and coursing down the narrow street, filling the scars left in the marble from the mountain high above. 

Pouring coffee from the pot into a small ceramic cup, the dark liquid turns to rich foam. They say the key with Bosnian coffee is to take your time. No rushing, no takeaway coffee in a paper cup. Time, patience and careful attention are all that is needed.
 
A break in the clouds let a shaft of sunlight onto the city and the stone buildings glistened in the warm evening light. Children emerged from their hiding places behind market stalls to splash in the fresh puddles, their reflections dancing and rippling in the clear water. Their parents watched on, smiling. The rain has stopped. The sun shines, and once more, Sarajevo is the most beautiful place on earth.

Gavin Greene is a travel writer and photographer based in London. Currently working at one of the world’s largest travel sites, it is Gavin’s aim to visit all of the 47 countries in Europe by his 47th birthday. You can read more of his work on his website The Travelogue.
 

Stoned: Castlerigg, Cumbria

Image: Caroline Millar

Image: Caroline Millar

By Caroline Millar:

Between an ancient, yellowed road atlas, an OS Landranger and a limited phone signal, I crept slowly along peering out for a trustworthy brown sign to tell me I was somewhere legitimate. I needn’t have worried. About twenty cars were parked up near the entrance. So much for Wordsworthian solitude.

Along the verge were signs of semi-permanent habitation. Gazebos strung out from the backs of vans created temporary shelter and marked out territory. Plastic picnic tables, cans of Tyskie lager, dogends and a single shoe told of long nights.

Looking back I don’t know what I expected to feel, but it wasn’t shame.

I almost overlooked the stones at first, my attention drawn instead to the people who’d set up camp inside. Within the stone circle sat another circle of hippies; crusties as we’d once called them, the dogs-on-string and lentil brigade, what my parents would call layabouts. A group of men their hair in dreads sat draped in duvets drinking early morning cider. Women with wilting flowers in their hair spread nutella on toast for unwashed toddlers. In the middle of the stones a white pile of ash from a dead camp-fire, empty packets of instant noodles and a didgeridoo.

I’d last been to Castlerigg about twenty years ago. As a student at Newcastle the Lakes had been an easy bus ride over the Pennines. It felt like I was there every summer, but in truth I think it wasn’t more than twice. In memory, my boyfriend and I turned up at the campsite late in the evening to be met by a red cheeked farmer crunching into an apple the same colour as his cheeks. He devoured our money with the same gusto as his apple and pointed to a wet field. For some reason his face has stuck in my head though it might be mixed up with the farmer from Withnail and I, the one with his foot wrapped in a plastic bag and a randy bull.  But re-watching Withnail was such a constant of my student days that fact and fiction are hard to separate.

That night we’d walked from the campsite across dark hummocky fields to a dream-like wood panelled bar. Like characters in a John Carpenter film we holed up inside, nursing our cheap bitter, dreading the call for last orders that signalled a long night in the cheap barely two person tent. When we walked down to the stone circle later with a take out bottle of wine, it was totally empty. I lay on my back, my bare feet placed on the stones wondering where all the stars had suddenly come from.

It was probably the Romantics who ruined places like Castlerigg by suggesting that by communing with old rocks we could find a way back to our primitive selves. Now we strain towards empathy at every heritage site, as if summoning the spirit of past is the only authentic response.  As I walked round the stone circle this time, I willed myself to feel something. I studied the alignment of the stones with the surrounding mountains trying to see how the entrance lined up with the Skiddaw and Blencathra. I ran my hands over the rough lichen-covered surface and even tried to hug one.

Disappointed, I headed back to the car, stopping on the way out to read the ubiquitous interpretation panels. They pictured illustrations of Bronze Age people looking a lot like the couple from The Joy of Sex. Long hair, beards, flowers in their hair. They were eating, drinking, watching the stars, having sex, playing instruments, sitting round the fire, pondering their future. Just like the hippies now.  It was me that was out of time and place here. What I’d felt in the stone circle was shame. The middle-aged hippies at Castlerigg were the real deal. Whilst I sought a relationship with the stones safe in the knowledge my hire car was parked near by and B&B already booked, they slept next to them, as I once had, before I grew up.

Caroline Millar is project manager for Discovering Britain - a series of interpretive walks run by the Royal Geographical Society. She also writes creative non-fiction and short stories inspired by the Kent Coast where she lives. Check out her blog – lights of sheppey

Caroline’s essay from Faversham Creek appeared in Elsewhere No.03, available from our online shop.

[25] Pockets of [Swansea], [Cardiff] and [London]

[25] Pockets of [Swansea]

[25] Pockets of [Swansea]

We were sent an email recently about a fascinating project called [25] Pockets of [...]. The idea is to create framed object assemblages through gifts, referrals and random encounters within cities. 

Participants give away to the assemblage an object possession and then write on a picture frame, directions for the next location and person, or 'pocket' to be visited in a particular city. The trail of referrals from person to person continues in any particular city until 25 objects from 25 referrals have been collected. The objects are then incorporated into a final collage.

[25] Pockets of [Cardiff]

[25] Pockets of [Cardiff]

Positioning of the assembled objects on the montage correlates to the locations at which these were obtained so that there is a relationship between the object's placements to these locations.
 
Instead of mapping out and arriving at a fixed definition of the identity and substance of a place, it is hoped that [25] Pockets of […] allows viewers to glimpse a city as a dynamic variation of living relations and discover a sense of a place via one of many possible open-ended, overlapping series of interconnections and encounters.

[25] Pockets of [London]

[25] Pockets of [London]

[25] Pockets of [...] is the brainchild of Victor Buehring, who drifts around cities, makes assemblages and enjoys writing. You can see accounts of his wanderings on his Artrospektive website, or take a look at the following video that explains a bit more about the project:

Event: Disappear Here Launch in Coventry, 16 March

We have recently discovered a fascinating project in which a collaboration of 18 artists have produced 27 films about the Coventry ring road as an inner city superstructure that crosses the boundary between Modernist and Brutalist architecture. Sounds interesting? Well, on the 16 March the work of the last few months will be launched at The Box - Fargo in Coventry where there will be a screening as well as a Q & A session with the artists and the organisers of the project.

Here are a few words from Adam Steiner, the Project Lead of Disappear Here:

“It’s been a great experience to work alongside emerging and established artists from Coventry and beyond to reimagine the ringroad through a series of poetry films. Coventry ringroad is one of the city’s most iconic (and notorious) physical landmarks , acting as both city wall, orbital conduit and dividing line. 

I feel the ringroad deserves to be celebrated as well as criticized – it is the duty of artists and citizens to engage with issues of public space, control of architecture and the human experience of our built environment – to shine a light on the fantastic, the boring and the universal in the everyday. Coventry has always been underrated as a place to live, work and create – so I hope the films will encourage people to visit and seek inspiration where they can to read, write and attend more poetry events!”

You can watch the trailer here and all important links are below:

New Music: Nadine Khouri

By Paul Scraton:

One of the joys of being involved with a project such as Elsewhere has been to discover many different artists, writers, musicians and other creative folk who we have connected to through via the journal, our events or our online activities. In the case of Nadine Khouri it was something of a re-connection, as I met Nadine in 2008 in Beirut where she was recording an interview for a radio show. I was staying with the presenter of that show, and after the recording we went for something to eat together.

Nadine was born in Beirut, although was forced to leave at the age of seven during the conflict in Lebanon. She is now based in London, and at some point over the past couple of years since Elsewhere was launched we got back in touch. I was especially excited to hear, and then receive, Nadine’s new album The Salted Air, which was released in January. It has been playing on heavy rotation ever since, a haunting and atmospheric collection of songs that contain a sense of loss, displacement and yearning for someplace or something else that certainly resonated with me as I was thinking about the theme of transition that is at the heart of the upcoming issue of the journal. 

Drowned in Sound describes The Salted Air as “a pocket-sized book of lullabies, and gothic shanties, whose sounds and lyrics evoke a series of wondrous daydreams and sorrowful, mood-filled, late-night tales,” which should be more than enough to get you to go and check the album out. Below are the answers to the Elsewhere five questions, that I fired over to Nadine by email in the last couple of days, and a live performance of 'Broken Star' from the album. For more on Nadine, her music and upcoming live shows, take a look at her website.

Five Questions for... Nadine Khouri

What does home mean to you?

For a person who was displaced from a young age and had to navigate between various cultures, you can end up feeling a bit fragmented, or at least unable to point to a single place.  "Home" is probably more of a state of mind for me, of total presence.  

Where is your favourite place?

Oh, it’s hard to say!  I love my room at my parents' place in Beirut as it’s inspired many a song…  And anywhere on the Mediterranean.

What is beyond your front door?

Some withered trees and a Turkish corner shop.

What place would you most like to visit?

I just got back from playing some dates in Portugal and I’ve always felt I'd like to spend some more time in Lisbon.  Honestly though… the list is long! 

What are you reading right now? 

Carlos Drummond de Andrade 'Multitudinous Heart' (Selected Poems) 
 

Beyond the Camera: Copenhagen

IMAGE: Laura Harker

IMAGE: Laura Harker

By Laura Harker:

The late-November winds blew down Nyhavn, biting my cheeks as I walked between colourful canal-side buildings and small wooden huts selling hot glog wine and sugared treats. Tourists and locals were meandering along the road, enjoying the Christmas markets that just opened a couple of days previously. Following the pavement around to the left, I came to a stop by the Royal Danish Theatre, its high glass walls loomed over the mouth of the canal, and the wooden decking was slippery underfoot. I peered inside and saw huge floor-to-ceiling photographs of stage actors in the theatre’s entryway and spacious café, none of whom I recognised from TV or cinema. This huge theatre also wasn’t something I recognised from the silver screen, and I’d never seen the view in front of me until now. Water in the canal sparkled under the low sun that cast a soft toffee light onto the ripples, a sight that the camera could never truly capture.

I’d only been in Copenhagen for half a day, and already my preconceptions were slipping. Even before I stepped off the plane at Copenhagen Airport, I had an impression of the city firmly in my mind. After being drip-fed information about Scandi-noir crime dramas from newspaper TV columns and mentions of Danish films by heavyweight directors like Susanne Brier and Nicolas Winding Refn in film podcasts, I’d immersed myself in Danish cinema and now wanted to see the city for myself, away from the rose-tinted glare of the camera. Even though I’d never been, I was convinced that the hours spent watching detective Sarah Lund chase suspects around the city in The Killing would be enough to get my bearings.  I’d even watch the city age and develop, going from political liberation in A Royal Affair to the gun-shot scared buildings during the Nazi occupation portrayed in Flame and Citron. Reams of show reel loosely sewed the city’s history, culture and geography together.

It’s impossible not to be influenced by what you see on film; a 90-minute snapshot greatly shapes your preconceptions of a city. James Bond’s London is all cocktail bars and Windsor knots; Amelie’s Paris centres around a bohemian Montmartre made up of quirky bistros; Hollywood shows us the American Midwest as a blur of white picket fences in God-fearing towns. I’d decided that Copenhagen would be chunky knit jumpers, muted Scandinavian tones, and omnipresent hygge.

Right at the end of the film Open Hearts one of the main characters gets in her little red car and drives around the city, the shaky handheld camera and low evening light giving this impromptu tour of Copenhagen a somnambulant atmosphere. As we’re taken around the city, it has a dream-like feel as lights in shop windows twinkle, cyclists and pedestrians are unwittingly caught on film, and the camera flicks across facades of hazy, non-descript buildings. In the run up to my trip, I used this scene as a starting point, recollecting shots from this final scene and weaving them together from scenes I’d watched elsewhere. I imagined walking through the city, through each scene, making note of each notable landmark: the town hall in The Killing; Tivoli Gardens in After the Wedding. Taking my mind along the pastel buildings along Nyhavn Harbour, knowing that the Charlottenborg Palace would soon pop up, and I could turn around and face the white-washed façade of the Noma restaurant across the river. My mind panned like a camera, framing the city in vibrant technicolour.

I told myself I knew the city: I could walk through movies and TV shows, I knew the tone of the city, I just had to follow the leads of directors, actors and film crews. I decided to leave the guidebooks and recommendations from friends at home. But I soon realised that wandering around the city isn’t as simple as flipping a page or cutting between scenes to get to the next attraction. It takes time working your way through a city and getting to all the sites. These slow walks or bustling train journeys always end up on the cutting room floor in the movies.

At the end of my first full day in Copenhagen, I climbed to the top of the Round Tower, looked across the burnt-orange skyline and realised I actually didn’t know this city at well as I’d told myself. This wasn’t going to be the Copenhagen showcased through film and chasing scenes in my head would be pointless; there’s no wide, sweeping shots of the city and there’s no camera that pans out, neatly framing each landmark for you. The nearest you get is staring out the window of the metro of the S-train as they pass underground, behind buildings or through industrial estates. You don’t have anyone telling you where you should look once you’re away from the TV screen. It takes longer to find the attractions if you’re your own editor and narrator, making your way on foot through streets.

I decided to write my own script for Copenhagen after that first day, and took to the streets on foot to explore and experience it for the city it really is, away from the stories told by a fil industry. Walking the streets, my view of the city wasn’t cut short by edited shots or hasty direction. I saw landmarks and buildings I’d seen on screen, but I also found a completely new side to Copenhagen, one that hasn’t had the gazing eye of an audience on it. And it is in these unpublicised, unglamorous areas and neighbourhoods in which the true soul of the city hides, far away from the intrusive gaze of the camera and the editing skills of a post-production team.

Laura Harker is a freelance writer based in North Yorkshire. She blogs at northquarters.com

Poetry of place: Chalybeate, by Evie Connolly

IMAGE: Evie Connolly

IMAGE: Evie Connolly

Chalybeate
(from a visit to Gorthaclode)

Do truths find their way home? Are there
imprints left behind from centuries before, when
smoke and steel drove paths beneath
amaranthine skies, through rolling forests
ablaze with oranges and golds? The spa well
spills its secrets into the pools of colour
collecting in the millrace and along the weir and
in the trout streams. 

In the shadow of a blasting furnace, iron water
was collected by the bucketload and pilgrims
soaked in the chalybeate spring. The
Gorthaclode Spa was hailed as miraculous
before events and circumstance dissolved a
ritual into history and stories were hidden in the
rivers and streams.  

Does a landscape summon its stories home?
Does an element return to its source over and
over?

Sitting along a pathway at Gorthaclode are
wagons loaded with steel as they wait patiently
for an old railroad to return to life. Sharing a
history with the crystalline rock birthed in the
soil and pulled home by the lodestone buried
in the hills, is this celestial metal merely finding its
way home and are we merely the transporters?

Evie Connolly lives in County Waterford, Ireland. Her poetry and short stories have been published in various literary journals and anthologies.
 

Mystical Mount Koya

IMAGE: Pete Martin

IMAGE: Pete Martin

By Pete Martin

Koya-san, which is 857 metres above sea level, is the base for the Shingon Buddhists, an esoteric sect of Buddhists. There are over one hundred and twenty temples on the mountain and there’s been a religious community here since 816. A monk named Kukai, who had studied Buddhism in China, founded the Shingon sect on his return to Japan. Legend has it that he threw his vajra (ritual sceptre) from China and it landed here in the mountains in Wakayama. The Imperial Court subsequently granted that Kukai was to build a place of meditation on the mountain. After his death, Kukai became known as Kobo Daishi. The monks to this day still believe Kobo Daishi to be alive, meditating in his tomb for the arrival of Miroku (the Buddha of the future) and they prepare three meals a day for him in Okunoin cemetery.  

I get off the bus at Okuninguchi for the Okunoin Cemetery. The cemetery is a sacred area and the pathway runs for two kilometres from here to Kobo Daishi's mausoleum. The path is lined with old, tall cedar trees and the cemetery contains over two hundred thousand gravestones and memorial pagodas. The trees are huge and close together blocking the sunlight. The graves are also packed together tightly, the dark grey stone, wood and black-grey marble give an eerie atmosphere. The ground is covered with snow and the base of the trees and the headstones are covered in moss. It’s not a place for anyone who is claustrophobic. The air is fresh, but the whole place is damp and slightly misty, adding to the enchantment. 

There are various signs in English and Japanese describing the legends that abound in the cemetery. This just adds to the ambiance. At the Sugatami-no-Ido (reflection well), legend has it that if a person looks into the well and does not see his reflection then he will die within three years. At the Ksitigsrbha Shrine, the bodhisattva Jizo is the Asekaki Jizo (sweating Jizo). The Buddha is made of black stone and is often moist due to the weather conditions. It is said that the statue is sweating because it bears the sufferings of others for their wrongdoings. At the Zenni Jochi memorial, a visitor can place his ear on the stone and hear the cries in hell. Near the end of the pathway, at the Mizumuke Jizo, the faithful pour water on the statues of the Buddhist deities for the peacefulness of their loved ones. Close to this is the Miroku-ishi, which is a stone that it is said to feel light to virtuous people and heavy to sinful people. I can't tell whether this is true or not, as it’s too heavy for me to lift. 

Along the path there are many gorinto (five-tiered stupas). The five tiers represent the five elements, from bottom to top, of earth, water, fire, wind and space, and these elements form the Buddha Mahavairocana, the fundamental deity of Shingo Buddhism, or the life force that is the origin of everything and that illuminates all. The goal of Shingon is the realization that each one of us is identical to Mahavairocana in nature, a goal achieved through initiation, meditation and esoteric ritual practices. 

Many of the statues have bibs, which provide the only colour in the cemetery. The bibs are placed on the statues by those who have lost children, in prayer to Ojizo-Sama, who is the guardian of children. It is said that the souls of children who die before their parents are unable to cross the mythical Sanzu River, as the children have not been able to undertake enough good deeds. Ojizo-Sama saves these souls from the eternal penance of piling stones on the river bank by hiding the children’s souls in his robes and this is symbolized by the bibs on the statues. 

At the end of the long pathway through the cemetery, there are three wooden temples in front of the stone bridge that leads to Kobo Daishi’s mausoleum. A group of four monks, again in orange robes and geta, walk noisily from temple to temple, stopping to pray and chant at each one. The stone bridge depicts the entrance to the precinct of the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi. The bridge was originally wooden but it’s now rebuilt in stone. It has thirty six stone planks that, with the bridge itself, mark the thirty seven Buddhist deities of the diamond world mandala, which is the representation of the unchanging cosmic principle of the Buddha. 

To the right of the mausoleum, up the steps from the bridge, is the Torodo, the lantern hall. This is a plain wooden building, a modern reconstruction of the prayer chapel of 1023, erected by the disciple Shinzen. In 1016, a poor woman sold her hair to buy a lantern to pray for the rest of her deceased parents. The Emperors, Shirakawa and Showa, donated lanterns also, in 1033 and 1948 respectively. These three lanterns are kept burning continuously in the hall. 

Inside the mausoleum itself, monks sit at stalls at the front copying sutras carefully. The wooden building is dark and atmospheric. Lanterns and pendants hang from the low ceiling. Two monks flank another who sits in the middle of the temple chanting. Incense burns and the only colour is from the orange robes of the monks. I feel I’m encroaching on a sacred service, but another monk waves me forward for a closer view. It feels very spiritual with the chanting and the incense. It even smells other-worldly. I’m apprehensive about intruding further. On my way out, to my embarrassment, I noisily slip on the wet entrance floor. Nobody notices. Outside I catch my breath. The tomb is usually closed. I was only inside for a matter of perhaps five minutes but it felt like time stood still inside. The gobyo (tomb) has an aura that I have felt only in a few other places.

Pete Martin’s book Revolutions: Wandering and wondering on a sabbatical year is a compelling tale of travel and change and is out now. More information can be found at www.wander2wonder.com.

Breath

IMAGE: Louise Kenward

IMAGE: Louise Kenward

By Louise Kenward:

I sick up the last of my breakfast. Spittle drips on my arm and over the side of the boat. Diesel fumes mingle with sea and sweat. Anxiety has purged my stomach and pumps adrenaline in an attempt to stop me. I am compelled.

It is the second time I have reached this point, I cannot stay on the boat again, I cannot return to the shore without seeing for myself what lies beneath the surface.

Watched over by Mount Agung, I tip backwards over board and into the Indian Ocean. Weight and discomfort of my dive kit on land disappears with the horizon.

I suck at air, teeth gripping the mouth piece. It sits awkwardly, jaw aches, I'm holding too tightly. I adjust weight belt, tighten straps loosened by the water. The pressure gauge registers a full tank, clean tasteless air. I have already checked these things twice.

I am last to dip beneath the waves. Air released from buoyancy jacket, I am weighted down with equipment and 6 kilos around my waist. Despite this, I struggle to sink. Instinctively I take a deep breath before putting my head back under water. I bob up to the surface again. Looking down I watch others as they drop through the door to an other world. I continue to pull, to knock, it is jammed. Resistance of water against my body is too great. The blue beneath me tantalises and terrifies.

I'm being pulled down. My right leg is being tugged below me, dragging me under. I realise the need to push at this door, not pull. I let go of the breath I've been holding and slowly, slowly sink.

My first breath beneath the waves. Colour scattered blue, movement of fish, glitter and gold. Constant motion and total stillness. Swollen bubbles escape my mouth joyously as I descend further. Three, four, five metres deep. Submerged in water, a return to the womb, to the source of life, a time before evolution brought legs and lungs. A sanctuary. Yet life is taken as easily as it is given, stolen by cruel and unsentimental seas. A careful balance of body, air, water. It is easy to perish, to dissolve into saline. I try to swallow, for airways to adjust and regulate pressure in air cavities. I shift my jaw, willing ears to pop. Swallowing with the mouth piece is difficult. I bite down hard, swallow, ears release. I drop further.

Ten metres. I realise my buoyancy and its control is the biofeedback of my breath - my body acts as a balloon. I inhale, lungs swell, I rise up. I exhale, lungs deflate, I fall deeper. Having risen and fallen with initial breaths, I am now learning to pace inhalations, exhalations, slow, deep, breath. Steady, calm breath. An exercise in stillness, a meditation. The whole of my body is needed to focus on this one thing. Body connects breath, breath connects body.

Fifteen metres deep and I have never been so aware of my own breath. Never before have I had to attend so carefully or so completely to inhaling and exhaling. Rib cage expanding and contracting. It is more than concentration - to think about what I am doing I may lose control - I am a whole, mind and body acting as one.

Elusive, delicate, fragile breath. Mouth open, organ of life, pulls in air. Lungs, heart, connected, pumping blood, sustaining body. Twenty metres. Slow, full breaths. Senses alert. Mind quiet. Air swells from regulators as I exhale. Steady, measured, breath. All I can hear is the escape of bubbles to the surface and the crunching of parrot fish on coral beneath me.

I sink further. I look more closely, orange and white clown fish dodge the caress of pink tipped anemones. Wide flat laced table corals shelter blue and purple nudibranchs - tiny molluscs the size of a finger nail wearing their lungs on the outside of their highly decorated bodies. Delicate red sea fans sway gently as yellow tipped black and white striped angel fish glide past. There is an abundance of life quite oblivious to my presence. I watch, I drift, all feels at peace, all feels just as it should be.

Slipping through depths the gentle grip the ocean has taken does not let go. I do not ask it to. The further I descend, the tighter grasp the sea takes of me. Temperature drops, light weakens, I surrender to it. All consumed, it holds me. Immersion of body and mind. My pulse gently beats in my ears.

Sense of time is lost. I check the pressure gauge, I am running out of precious air. The spell broken, I have to surface. Again, gradually, slowly, I readjust my body to changing pressure. Rising too quickly is as risky as not rising at all. Emerging upwards warmth returns and sunlight dusts my face.

I return again and again. A calling of the sea sings more loudly than before. A sense of arrival, of coming home when I stand on the shore. A restful calm descends and envelops me, a sense of other, of completeness. Shoulders fall, breath quietens, thoughts calm. I am now embedded in molecules of ocean and they in me.

Louise Kenward is an artist engaging with place and person, past and present. Making journeys, writing, connecting. At times accompanied with 19th Century Victorian traveller, Annie Brassey.

Elsewhere editor Paul Scraton on the Papertrail podcast

By Paul Scraton:

I was extremely pleased to be asked to take part in the Papertrail podcast, a fantastic new audio series that invites writers and other artists to chat for a while about some of their favourite books. Because of my own writing, and the theme of our journal, we decided to select three books that are somehow dealing with the idea of place but which also have a special personal connection for me. If you want to find out what they are about, and why they are important to me, then you'll need to have a listen. Thanks to Alex for inviting me, and I hope if it inspires any of you to read these books I am sure you won't regret it.

Edinburgh and Elsewhere at the Artists' BookMarket

We are extremely pleased to be taking part at the Artists’ BookMarket at the end of this month, a two day celebration of books and artist-led publishing that is hosted by the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh. We are being represented on a stall titled ‘Edinburgh and Elsewhere’, and as well as the many different stalls featuring a wide variety of artists and publishers, there are also talks and workshops to take part in.

‘Edinburgh and Elsewhere’ at the Artists’ BookMarket brings photography, illustration and publishing together with a special emphasis on place in all its forms, including the imagination. Edinburgh-based artist Catherine Marshall will be launching her book Fleetway, an imaginative story based on a failed roll of photographic film taken at the Cammo Estate in Edinburgh. Elaine Robson will be showing her artist book inspired by Japanese urban landscape and found text, Under City. As the Scarrow press co-founder, she will also present the contemporary photography 'zine Simulacra.

Husband and husband team O'Brien & Chiu will showcase their illustration and photography projects. 'Drawings in a Time of Dreaming' by Gerald O'Brien, features tiny mixed-up buildings and invented structures, humorously subversive in their resistance to daily life norms and expectations. In 'An Unexpected Return on my Journey to the West', Yi-Chieh Chiu embarks on a personal photographic journey in his partner's home country. He finds an Ireland suffused with colour and abstraction, finds poignancy in the everyday; a way back home even as he is far from his real home in Taiwan.

We are extremely pleased and proud to be in such company, and we think that if you are going to be anywhere close to Edinburgh on the 25th and 26th February you should certainly check it out.

The Artists’ BookMarket at the Fruitmarket Gallery
25-26 February 2017
Sat: 11am – 6pm
Sun: 11am – 5pm
Free Entry
Website

The art of Ellis O'Connor

We are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to feature the artwork of Ellis O'Connor here on the Elsewhere blog. Ellis is a visual artist based in Scotland, and since graduating a couple of years ago from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design she has worked in residency programmes in Iceland and Norway. She recently returned from an expedition with the Arctic Circle Organisation to the High Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard, and in her work you can see how she uses the visual language of drawing and lithographic printmaking to challenge assumptions about the natural environment.

Through her work, Ellis wants to reintepret the grandeur of natural land forms and re-present this visual information laden with power. As an artist, conservationist and keen mountain climber, Ellis aims to address the issues of climate change and wild land in her work, in the hope of inspiring others to take action for the future as well as to highlight the significance of the natural world around us.

If you would like to see more from Ellis, you can check out her website, her blog or visit her instagram feed.

Blossoming Hands

By Patrick Phillips:

That sweet soft scent from an apple tree in bloom is a smell of profound amazement. The garden in which I am stood, is not my own but once a peasant’s. It is not a garden of dreams but a garden from a single dream landscape. The apple tree, placed within this designed and ordered garden, has presented to me that the tree itself is from outside the garden; here is not exactly where it intrinsically belongs. The apple tree and I live in that dream – together. Not a place to escape but a place of real beauty. Hence in any dream, beauty can only be provoked from imagination. How can anyone ignore the beauty of Nature? Yesterday looking through a book of paintings by Van Gogh, I remembered Blossoming Pear Tree. I noticed that from a distance when looking at the painting, it gave the impression of church bells, petals jingling. It could be heard as well as seen. As though the image itself was vibrating before me, alive.

Then walking slowly on the green grass in bare foot, I notice the distance I have yet to travel before I arrive at the tree. I am surrounded by a creative atmosphere that continues to animate around this ethereal apple tree. Scents, colours, sunlight; the whole space creates a sense of harmony.

Stood now in front of the tree, its light has become intensified. I appear to be almost touching light. At every moment I feel as though I am dissolving, quietly forgetting myself and the world I was once in. Tiny flies and birds are flying almost everywhere; everything that moves from what the eye can see is visible. I can smell scents that have no name. Scent truly makes one appreciate the intricate moments that are in place in life for us to enjoy. 

Then pulling my hand from out of my pocket, still enjoying the tickling blades of grass from beneath my feet, I start to reach out my arm to pull a small branch in flower towards me.

Whilst looking… I’m moving my entire body, arm, hand and then gently my fingers, as they begin to open and receive.

The apple flower is now touching my nose; its petals are tickling my nostrils. Then beginning to smell, I close my eye lids gently. In the act of smelling, we instinctively want to experience the isolation between our visual world to that of smell. In the act of closing our eyes, darkness creates a kind of forgetfulness – a moment’s respite from looking. This moment of smelling and not looking created our reciprocal approach between thought and feeling. We lapse into our senses. By isolating our senses in the mind, we begin to live within the sensations of our imagination. For many humans closing their eyes, when in the act of smelling a flower has become a natural act. However, for some it is still an act of Romanticism. Therefore because this is seen as being romantic, it cannot constitute anything about reality; for them it does not exist. Mystery is inexplicable. Once isolated, sensation becomes everything.

Breathing in slowly, through my nostrils and into my lungs, the scent of the flower is now present. I am now not only feeling the sensation of scent but I am experiencing it. The mind instantly tries to process and present to us – what is it I’m smelling? We can never name the smell, only describe it. Immediately at that point in which my eyes are closed, I am travelling… somewhere within, and yet outside myself. Where? I don’t know. As though the flowers stigma has sucked you into an eternal and intimate space, a kind of sanctuary. I wish I could encapsulate this sweet scent, so that every time I slept or awoke I could experience the sensation that life is eternal again and again.

 

Apple tree is related to the rosacea family.

 

When in the act of smelling a flower, this fusion of scent and imagination represents not only the sensation that life is eternal but death.

 

And so it appears,

that to die actually is a pleasant experience.


Words & Illustration by Patrick Phillips

Patrick Phillips is a revolutionary writer, lyricist, humanist and artist based in Edinburgh. He successfully wrote in 2015 the lyrics for the song Man Of The Mountains for a new musical Out Of Place at the York New Musical Festival. His first non-fiction book about a lawyer, who started his own circus more than thirty years ago, will be published in 2018.  @PatrickWriter

A lost world at Crewe Station

IMAGE: Alex Cochrane

IMAGE: Alex Cochrane

By Alex Cochrane:

Late night at Crewe station. I wander empty dark platforms where rain drips down and fog drifts through the lights. A non-stop London-Glasgow train arrows past with unnerving silence and speed. 

It’s Sunday night and there are few travellers about which is surprising given Crewe’s renowned status as a major transport junction. Then again Crewe is also smaller than you would expect. The station will interest the railway history buffs with its many firsts, for example the first station to have its own adjacent railway hotel. The Crewe Arms was built in 1838 and is still in use although tonight its dark, foreboding airs make it look like the setting for a 1930s murder mystery novel. Then there are the glimpses, on the approach to the station, of ancient and decaying railway stock clustered around the Crewe Heritage Centre.  Crewe will interest and frustrate the urban explorers with its large swathes of inaccessible overlapping edgelands, wilderness and railway landscapes. One of the platform stalls serves an excellent hot chocolate often needed to warm up passengers waiting for connections. Even at the best of times, with the sun shining through its new roof, Crewe station is a little charmless. At night it is downright shabby and gloomy. But if you’re there on a Sunday afternoon or evening you can imagine a world now lost that does lend Crewe a hint of nostalgia. 

Ronald Harwood’s celebrated play, The Dresser, explores the relationship between a personal assistant and a brilliant but disintegrating Shakespearian actor as they tour the province theatres of World War Two England. In an emotional outburst Her Ladyship, the wife of the actor, Sir, laments life on the theatrical road, a litany of complaints which includes spending Sunday evening on Crewe Station.

In the age before television, theatrical and musical mass entertainment was provided in the variety theatres up and down the land. Every town had a variety theatre and the migrating performers were its blood. Bookings were weekly and on their Sunday rest the performers would travel to their next venue, often via Crewe. The station became a social as well as a transport hub; where the performers caught up with each other, like the railway lines criss-crossing, before separating and heading off for another town and another week of performance.

Tales of Sunday at Crewe, no doubt exaggerated, have been handed down one side of my family. In those days the goods vans of trains carried all the equipment which would be unloaded onto the platforms along with dancing girls, comedians, singers and circus acts. There was chaos and gossiping on the platform, drinking at the station bar, performers dancing and practicing their acts, performing dogs running amok amongst cases, props and surreal looking costumes.

It always sounds chaotic and lively.  Crewe is quiet and this world is gone now, even its ghosts have disappeared and the variety theatres have closed down or been redeveloped into flats and bingo halls. The train for Glasgow arrives. There’s little nostalgic or elegant about these trains with their stale airs, cramp seats, sticky plastic tables, garish lighting and jarring colours. Not unless you pay for the muted, sleek modernity of first class.

The train slides out of Crewe, gathering pace as it heads north.

Alex Cochrane is based in Glasgow and blogs about exploration, travel, history, historical erotica and other curiosities on his website. You can also follow Alex on Twitter at @alexdcochrane.

Looking For The Southern Cross

IMAGE: Yessica Klein

IMAGE: Yessica Klein

By Yessica Klein:

crickets / across the ocean / loud songs of summer in the tropics / chords of trembling leaves / frogs // sleep with the windows open to the drizzle / warm breeze / moonlight / cicadas // a red double decker / visit Brazil / I’ve betrayed my mother tongue for foreign sounds instead // silence gone / fights / sirens / headlights dancing on my ceiling / adapt to the most unusual situations / look for the Southern Cross / Alpha Crucis / Beta / Gamma / Delta / Epsilon / to Camberwell or Brixton // no / the North Star kingdom / don’t know where that constellation is // lucky enough getting a glimpse of the moon / full in Virgo / purification, astrologers say // saw Venus once / only at sunset or dawn // a glimpse of my skin / ash / craving the sun as the days get darker / 730 days abstinence / beating for sunshine / tropical heart / solar soul // an English word for that restlessness in the stomach / craving for the unknown / emotional anchor up / sail to new shores / don’t predict what’s coming / pack the bags / black hole of the future // the crickets I miss the most / through perfectly still silence / another red double decker / visit Morocco / maps / phone / music / the noise inside my head / Starbucks every other corner / chains make believe the world is tiny / yeah / I’m aware of the distance / miles and kilometres / the physicality of space / learned concept / the furthest place we know is our grandmother’s house / 45min up the mountain on a dirt road / once across the Atlantic / take the train and Paris / Le Starbucks // cultural predators learn others’ ways to lose their own / adapting / freckles after the sunburn in Málaga / knuckles rough after frost bites in Berlin / skills at Maths from calculating currencies / scars / sweet trophies of endurance / visible or not / where is home if we’ve left it already / where to go next if we can always go back // can’t trace those accents home anymore / where are you from / a country defines an identity / thought you were French / a red double decker / visit Brazil / last time I spoke Portuguese I was told I had an English accent / oh dear / my native speech cadence drowns in Earl Grey / time to go / not back but forward // warm breeze tangles my hair / leaves / frogs ribbiting // muscles stretching / too long a hibernation // hope is a feeling not a place / can’t pin it down anywhere // crickets / cicadas / the air vibrates / the sky lights up / Alpha Crucis / Beta / Gamma / Delta // Venus the love planet / full moon in Libra / my star sign // reunion, astrologers say // finally going home

Yessica Klein is a writer and artist currently based in Liverpool (UK). Her first collection of poems is coming out in Brazil in 2017 and her artwork is represented by Carolina Badas Gallery (London). @yessicaklein or www.yessica-klein.com.  

Return to Lakenheath, Suffolk, England

 By Rosamund Mather:

When I was four years old, I moved to a village with a foot in two camps. Tucked into the northwestern corner of the eastern county of Suffolk, Lakenheath straddles two climates; search for it on Google Maps, switch to Satellite Mode and zoom out a little bit. You’ll notice that to the west, it is light green, and the villages are few and far between. This is the Fens, a marshy area spanning four English counties and lying almost three metres below sea level. To the east, there’s a clump of dark green spilling out, denoting an abrupt contrast: the Brecks, the driest part of Britain.

And funnelled right in between these diverging landscapes is a strange organelle. This is RAF Lakenheath, a base that has hosted United States Air Forces since the 1940s. Its presence meant that the new classroom I had stepped into was a microcosm of the US.

Today, I have made a trip to Lakenheath with my mother. We’ve been doing this every couple of years. We say it’s out of curiosity, but we both know it’s more for reassurance. The school looks the same. Some shops are still there, others have been pulled down.

The car grumbles along the track to the Warren’s entrance. Comfortingly, the crunch under the tyres hasn’t changed since those weekends of putting the bikes into the wide boot of the red Volvo.

The Warren is where the Brecks portion begins. It is a mysterious place. There’s a touch of Roswell about it; electricity substations, tall wire fences, juxtaposed with a sandy heath, houses concealed by tall bushes. If you’d asked me to describe the Warren as a child, I would have said it looks just like Mars; perhaps grassier, but very dry, certainly, with patches of sharp fringing the dusty craters. The fields are dotted with Scots pine, which I always thought were the same trees in the African Savanna. When I learnt the word "drought", I associated it with this place. Before any of us were alive, the Brecks were characterised by their seas of sand. What’s left behind is what makes the area so supernatural. It doesn’t look like it belongs in damp England at all. Even when it is grey, it glows.

‘There is a rusty light on the pines tonight;
Sun pouring wine, lord, or marrow.’
'Emily', Joanna Newsom, Ys (2006)

Mum and I traipse over the thin, golden grass shimmering at our ankles, then tear through fluorescent ferns to get to the sandy part of the Warren. A nettle nips my shin. I remember that you’re not supposed to scratch the sting.

I was slighted by the Warren on one of these walks as a child, when my blue Tamagotchi fell out of my rucksack. Swallowed, never to be retrieved. That’s when I realised that the Warren signified something greater than myself. The tall wire fence, cordoning it off from the base, still lends it a spooky undertone.

‘There are nuclear weapons under there,’ Mum mentions as we survey the vast airfield, coated in tarmac and dotted with hangars. Indeed, it chills me that deadly US military operations in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq have all started life in my childhood hometown.

After school, I’d jump into my American classmates’ SUVs - many of which had a puzzling combination of a left steering wheel and a UK licence plate - and tag along to the base. Admitted on their parents’ IDs, we’d go rollerskating, eat bubblegum ice cream and see movies not yet officially released in the UK.

These friendships were fun, but fleeting; usually they return to the US after a year. First there’d be tears, but finally a stoicism in the way that only children know how. How was their impression of my country shaped, from within the incongruous Lakenheath bubble?

The airbase’s history may be palpable, but there is still something primordial in the air in Lakenheath.

The craters giving the Warren its Martian look were Ice Age periglacial ponds – pingos – linked to sediments of the Bytham River found there. This is thought to have been the main route into Britain by its earliest settlers.

In 1997, the skeletons of the 6th-century Lakenheath Warrior and his horse were excavated, heralding the discovery of some 400 further graves. This archaeological breakthrough put Suffolk on the map again, 58 years after the discovery of a gargantuan ship burial at Sutton Hoo, on my grandparents’ side of the county.

It all refutes the aphoristic belief that villages are stagnant, that the only thing that changes is their residents, who faithfully live out their days until the next generation receives the baton.

The six years of Lakenheath that I can call my own – the window in which I existed and grew, shadowed by centuries and millennia – saw a village with a cosmopolitan edge. That window closed when we moved away. A fortnight later, there was one more, most unforeseeable change.

The past is a foreign country, they say. Lakenheath now straddled not only the Fenland and the Breckland, but pre- and post-9/11.

Not long afterwards, we were travelling via Lakenheath. The entrance to the base was bricked up, lines of cars backed up, fences even barricaded the residential area. It was now a fortress. No visitors. No after-school ice cream. All vehicles subject to inspection.

America no longer existed just at the end of my street. The world had been flung into an inscrutable, grown-up turmoil.

We have seen what we came for today, yet melancholy will follow us home. We indulge in a minute or two of stalling outside our old house. The garden fence has been pulled down, solar panels inserted into the roof. My childhood bedroom window is now frosted, suggesting it has been merged with the bathroom: no cell of me remains in there, not even in the rough white carpet.

Rosamund Mather is a Berlin-based writer, editor and translator. She tweets at @spookytofu and blogs at roseailleurs.net

Postcard from... Papaverhof, The Hague

By Kelly Merks:

I was riding my bicycle when I first saw the Papaverhof. The sense of place I felt is unforgettable: with the simple motion of turning a street corner, my 1930s brownstone neighborhood ceded to a horseshoe-shaped row of low-lying but imposing white concrete blocks. I froze in fascination, and my bike slowed gently to a stop.

“It’s De Stijl! In real life!” my head clamored. My eyes followed the geometric masses of white that tumbled down the street, hemming in short and bold lines of black, blue and yellow. The scene recalled Piet Mondrian’s iconic Tableau and Composition series; the buildings mimicked the paintings’ cubic rhythm and primary colors. This unique housing development, the Papaverhof, was like nothing else I had ever seen, and my modest district of The Hague was not the place I would expect to see something like it... but here it was. 

The discovery was only a personal one, of course, because people have been living in the Papaverhof for almost a century. It’s a housing development that represents a unique moment in Dutch and local history, yet many people in The Hague don’t know about it. 

After the First World War, Dutch cities faced a shortage of adequate housing and building materials. In 1917, before the war ended, a 25-hectare (61.7-acre) plot between The Hague and an adjacent village called Loosduinen was created as a suburban extension and given the name Daal en Berg after the farmland it occupied. This new development was meant to help alleviate the region’s crowded urban living conditions, and is seen today as an early example of Dutch suburban social housing. Later the same year, Daal en Berg became a Coöperatieve Woningbouw Vereeniging Tuinstadwijk — roughly translated, a Cooperative Housing Garden City Association. I found no evidence that this garden city initiative was influenced by Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City Movement. Daal en Berg’s reality, in fact, was closer to that of a mini garden suburb. Garden suburbs are built on the outskirts of cities and are typically absent of industry, density, or connectivity: the antithesis of Howard’s garden city dream. 

Daal en Berg’s social housing complex—called the Papaverhof in keeping with the area’s botanical street names, like Rozenstraat, Magnoliastraat, and Irisstraat—went from concept to creation under the direction of architect Jan Wils. In 1919 Wils was favored in a design competition by the cooperative’s commissioner, Hendrik P. Berlage. Berlage is regarded as the patriarch of Dutch modernist architecture. He was especially enamored with Frank Lloyd Wright’s work after a 1911 tour of the American Midwest and east coast, and he became a liaison between Wright and “both the expressionists of the Amsterdam School and the rationalists of the De Stijl movement,” according to the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. 

Indeed, the Papaverhof is not only one of Wils’ and Berlage’s important works, but bears the fingerprints of other contemporarily and regionally influential artists and architects: Gerrit Rietveld, Vilmos Huszár, Piet Mondrian, and the De Stijl movement founder Theo van Doesburg, who lived at Daal en Berg (on Klimopstraat, across from the Papaverhof) for 20 years. 

The Papaverhof is also an exemplar of a short-lived architectural movement called Nieuwe Bouwen, or “New Building”—an offshoot of Functionalism that centralized economy of scale and relied on modern technology. If De Stijl provided the development’s aesthetic, Nieuwe Bouwen concerned itself with materials and organization. It was a response to the interwar demands of economic and demographic expansion. Nieuwe Bouwen reorganized the home to provide more light, air, and space, focusing on efficiency and modernization instead of ornamentation. “Form follows function” lives on at the Papaverhof.

Despite its architectural and social importance, the Papaverhof’s 128 units were initially slow to sell. People were wary or just turned off by the large open garden in the center. But this problem doesn’t exist anymore; residents tend to stay for decades, and the waiting list to buy is long. The Papaverhof is among the top 100 national rijksmonumenten, or heritage sites, and one of only 11 in The Hague. 

Today the city has subsumed Daal en Berg. The once-suburban satellite is now well within city limits and sits only a short walk from the Laan van Meerdervoort, the longest avenue in the Netherlands at 5.8 km (3.6 miles). To celebrate Daal en Berg’s 100th anniversary in 2017, residents of the Papaverhof have created a virtual tour of a model home, and hope to eventually recreate for virtual tour a home as it was designed by Jan Wils in the early 1920s. 

(Follow this link to take a virtual tour of the Papaverhof)

Kelly is an American enjoying life on the frigid North Sea after a few years in Japan, having swapped great sushi for better beer in the Netherlands. As the daughter of an aerial photographer and a geographer, she grew up in a home of mapping equipment, old globes, and atlases that have informed her search for hidden contexts of the landscapes we travel and live in. You can find her on Twitter at @flaneurie and read more of her work on her blog, Bullet Trains and Bike Lanes

Transition: The Future of Elsewhere

With the publication of Elsewhere No.04 in September 2016 we reached the end of the initial four-issue cycle that we envisaged at the time of our crowdfunding campaign in early 2015. Over those four issues we learned a lot about the process of putting together a journal such as this, the costs and the challenges, and it became clear that for the journal to move forward we need and want to make some changes. We are really excited with our plans for the future of Elsewhere and wanted to share them with you here:

Print Journal

Elsewhere No.05 will be published in June 2017 and from there on we aim to publish at least one print edition a year but without a fixed schedule. We need this flexibility as Elsewhere is a labour of love – none of the editors (Paul, Julia, Tim and Marcel) are paid for their work and so the journal has to fit around the projects that allow us to pay the landlord, the supermarket and tram tickets.

For subscribers this means nothing really changes. If you have issues that you have already paid for, these will be delivered to you on publication of Elsewhere No.05 and, for those it applies to, Elsewhere No.06. We have stopped taking future subscriptions, and will sell the journal individually (or as back-issue sets) from now on.

Elsewhere No.05 – Transition

We have also decided to increase the number of pages in Elsewhere No.05 and, for the first time, have a theme for the issue. Elsewhere is and will remain a journal of place, but within that we thought it meaningful to explore a theme and for the next issue it is TRANSITION. As always, the writing that will appear in Elsewhere No.05 can be travelogue or memoir, history or short fiction, reportage or descriptive essay… or a combination of them all or none.

Submissions

With a theme comes a new submissions process. We will open submissions for Elsewhere No.05 for writing on place and transition from now until March 31st. The only guidelines are that completed pieces should be linked to the general theme of place and the issue theme of transition. With regards to length, most pieces we publish will be between 1000 and 5000 words. We also remain interested in photography, illustration and other visual arts projects related to the theme of place. Please note that, unfortunately, we cannot continue to pay contributors to Elsewhere. We have long had this as our aim, but the project as it is right now cannot sustain it.

If you are interested in writing for the journal, please send your work to paul@elsewhere-journal.com.

Blog

We also are inviting submissions to the blog. For the blog there is no theme other than place, and we will accept blog submissions at any time. Please note that for the blog, we very rarely accept pieces that are over 1000 words and again we are unable to pay contributors. We also encourage submissions of photography, artwork, illustration or film for the blog. Submissions for the blog can be sent to paul@elsewhere-journal.com.

Marketing and PR

We are not massive fans of these words, which might explain why we are – in all honesty – not very good at it. So we are looking for anyone who is interested in joining our unpaid team working on this labour of love to help us spread the word about Elsewhere. We offer free copies of the journal and our eternal gratitude. And a more funky position title, such as Minister for Propaganda or whatever you think fits best.

If you are interested in helping us reach more potential readers of Elsewhere, please let Paul or Julia know.

A Big Thank You to end the blog

If you have read this far you are probably one of our dear readers and followers that have jumped on the Elsewhere train over the past two years and stuck with us. We are really proud of the four issues of Elsewhere that we have published so far, and we wouldn’t have got this far without your support. Independent publishing is tough, and to keep going through Elsewhere No.05 and No.06 and beyond we need your help, whether it is buying the journal, sharing the links to the blog or simply telling your friends about us.

For everything you have done up to now we say a great big thank you, and we hope you enjoy what we have planned for the future.

Paul & Julia