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EDITORS’ NOTES > > > > Dear Calne,

Dear Camber,

It’s been such a long time hasn’t it? Since we last played the Charlie Boorman game on the quiz machine, since we manufactured a spot for ourselves against the counters of the Charcoal Grill, and since, all importantly, we began to laugh at Ginger Dave for his football chants. I really miss you, small town. It’s awfully cold here, I believe it’s the same with you and yours. Mine and I are fine, we’re relaxing with the snow piled up against the door and the newspapers spilling onto to the very necessary fire. But importantly, Murray and Jack are still producing Melon Shrub, and now even, a digital preview edition called Micro Shrub. This is my reason for writing, their continued efforts are astounding to me and when they asked me to write an editor’s note, well, I was honoured and made beautiful again. However, they wanted me to write to you and see if it would be possible for us to write letters to one another, and for this to form the ‘Editors’ Notes’. I’m eating pastrami and French fries. I’ll explain where I am; there’s a girl in a fake fur coat sat across from me, I’m staring at her. There’s a baby crying, bystanders are critical of the noise. The baby’s mother has great hair, long and in my colour. There’s a conversation about university halls and their meal routines. Oh, blue blood tastes so much better, I had to tell you. You must try it! But Micro Shrub, it’s never going to be printed, and I just can’t imagine that, but I guess we are burning these newspapers to keep warm. I’d never burn Melon/Micro Shrub though, even if Micro Shrub was on a broken memory stick.

Oh it really has been a long time hasn’t it? Well a few months; silly! It’s much the same at this end to be honest, well, the Somerville clan have left altogether, so I assume that Murray’s return will be delayed. I’ll have to accept my digital copy of Micro Shrub as ‘a mannequin for his soul’ as they say. I got this far without thinking about the whole ‘Editors’ Note’ business, but I’m not going to let it alter my course, they must’ve just wanted us to communicate anyway. They wanted to build some new quarries around the town, to dig for sand and grit. We all protested, some of us put stickers on our cars, it worked. No quarries. No new jobs. I’m still working on retainer. Hottest town in the west they call it, but most of us are just waiting for a new circus to arrive. We’d like that. I’ll explain where I am. Before you get your hopes up, there’s no quiz machines. I’m in a restaurant on a hill, it was recently visited by Danny Dyer for a television documentary. The owners have four children, they all work in beautiful conditions and all produce great pancakes. Julie Andrews is playing in the background. It’s busy as hell, and I feel a bit awkward, writing in such an atmosphere. But it’s the best around, I always come back. But Murray and Jack, I do miss them, and it was very good of them to include me in this process. Can you wait for Melon Shrub? It has to come soon. Maybe they’ll ask us back? I wouldn’t burn Jack, Murray or their publications, even if I was freezing and resting on icicles that were pushing against my town boundaries. Oh, send them my love in a big way!

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ILLUSTRATION


From Paul From Paul iv Klax’s Klax’s Diary iii

I’ve come here to hate on it, to relieve myself. Much like my friends, who enter an establishment and critique it loudly in one word, I want instant catharsis. So, I’ve started hanging in places that I despise, to hate on them and with them. On them, in me.

Diary i

He said I looked like a jumble sale, I said I was going to get changed, yet that didn’t seem to hit him correctly. He continued to swan around in his chair, only he could swan around in a sitting position. There was a wasp on the other side of the window, darting around, mistaking glass for air, I silently pleaded with it to make it’s way through the open door and into my critic’s lemonade.

ii It was an opening for a cheap designer Christmas fair that probably had nothing going for it. There was a big queue, I think I may have been selling something. It was ages ago now. Yes I was selling something, I sold around 1% of what I produced.You could talk to a lie detecting Santa or blow up a balloon with Rudolph though. Oh it was the night that I said to him: I don’t want to go ice skating at Somerset House.

Right now, I’m thinking about a letter I should’ve written several months ago, and a petrol station that they’re turning into a cinema. A beautiful mother is reading the Telegraph in chinos. -Excuse me. Apparently my card didn’t transact properly, I move to the counter and try again. In the car park, there are electric charging stations for cars, you receive two hours of free charge. I could do with a free charge, I don’t see one coming though to be honest. This is horribly bad hot chocolate, really bad stuff.

We play a game where we try and dress as unusually as possible, once we’ve all done this, we declare a winner. I win around 15% percent of the time. Once a winner is chosen, the rest of the competitors return to their regular clothes. Then we head out into the nightlife. The winner garners adoration from the losers all night long, you know, free drinks, free kisses, anything that they desire. The victor always ends up making love to two people in the club. Generally, the winner will tell his partners about the competition. Last night I won, but I couldn’t face any bed partners, I was still thinking about her and the time I saw her learning to make coffee. I don’t think there’s anything better than a girl learning coffee, especially when the barista’s male and he’s all over her and you just get to watch in the security of your corner table. Asking nobody about milk and espresso. I regret not taking a few partners to be honest. It was an ensemble befitting sweat. It’s such a stupid game, but I’ll play again.


DISMANTLING BIRMINGHAM In its contemporary state, Birmingham has realised that its relatively early industrialisation means that it is approaching the end of its life. The disuse and disruptions of the city had a to changes, changes that are amongst the most revolutionary conceived by a city administration. ‘Realising the impending death of a city will soon become more commonplace.’

‘The Commonwealth Games were planned so far outside of Delhi that you wouldn’t believe it!’ This statement , retrieved from a hidden post box in Birmingham’s jewellery quarter is part of a building body of evidence that suggests Birmingham City Council was directly involved in the funding and planning of Delhi’s Commonwealth Games.

Our anonymous informant flatly disagreed with the lengthy existences of London, Paris, Cairo, Rome and Babylon:

According to our most pessimistic sources, this is just the first in a series of out-of-city investments that the powers of Birmingham are planning.

‘All of these places existed long before industrialisation. For us in Birmingham, which I believe to stand amongst the very best cities in the world, it is about leaving a good memory of ourselves. When factories empty, they are turned into flats, and then when the flats become empty, what can they become? Nothing. Cities must die.’

These developments, although revolutionary, are exceptionally worrying. In terms of causation, some commentators are pointing to urban redevelopment as a key culprit. When redevelopment opportunities fade, city powers see little coming newness, and therefore begin to fear for their purpose.

According to a different source, Birmingham’s administration has made moves to spread its wings to other cities. Preparing for the end of the city.

Birmingham must survive. Good memories will always be produced, with or without money. Prepare to read more on this in the upcoming Melon Shrub.


Micro Shrub was written by Jack Burston and illustrated by Murray Somerville. It was produced with the assistance of Calne and Camber.

Micro Shrub is a preview of the forthcoming Melon Shrub. Contact: twitter.com/ melonshrub melonshrubbing@ gmail.com

Guest Fonts: League Gothic (by The League of Moveable Type) Junction (by Caroline Hadilaksono)


Micro Shrub #1  

The digital preview of Melon Shrub, the zine created by Jack Burston and Murray Somerville.

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