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Circles an


nd Cycles



Writers, artists, musicians, editors, photographers who create a magazine twice a year & also hold events in various places (so far Kingston and Toronto in Canada, and Edinburgh, Scotland. Some are performance and art-display based (performances of all & any kind), and some are creative workshops with cool mediums. We’re working on new event ideas!



Yes. We would love to meet you. If you would like to creatively collaborate either online or in person or both, come perform/help host/ attend our events or organize events in your city, then it sounds like we’ve been looking for each other all of our lives. become-a-contributor


So that we can host more eve



HELLO! W Today I’m thinking about loop pedals. The idea of being able to multiply your voice physically brings me into a kind of meditative state where all of my ideas can simultaneously coexist. What does repetition taste like? Breezy, it feels breezy. Lighter, somehow. The one I was drinking was a fresh other dimension, one in which I exist always but I only resume my living, breathing, feeling selfconsciousness there on occasion, the rest of the time my mind is in other worlds. You can have a conversation with yourself, physically, you can become different parts of your personality, greatly exaggerating “the willful” or “the impatient”, taking apart pieces of yourself which are saying different things and have them work things out. The blue of the shirt (what shirt). You know which, the one with the buttons (all of them have buttons). I think you know exactly what I’m talking about. You can demonstrate sending yourself in a negative thought loop or a calm paradiselike state. You build your world, the echoes, the mumbles, the bird calls & personalities. In this issue, each piece is created in a loop, whether circling the past or the cycles of the present. When something is repeated, it becomes three dimensional; it gains depth as well as length.

I am so happy that you’re here. I w ing of freedom, of pleasure, of absu

For many of the pieces in this flecting returning and moving forw certainty which is associated with gedness & uncertainty.

The art section speaks to the constructs your body, how do you e ing through the apocalypse, is wh Katsilakis, a greek sculptor & Malas pal, made an amazing sculpture/w

A book I read recently talked older, that the reality we perceive i realities (possible irrealities). The co cept & explores different interpre (my go-to piece for philosophical sp dichotomy, and mental health.

Music features a review of a an interview with Leaving Richmon bum “Human Minds , Robot Hearts to!

Creative writing has a continu Ideas Gone Bad, some beautiful Harris (both of whom read at ou YouTube!)

Aaaaand we are introducing our f of our articles are also - I thi appreciate any comments that you

Breathe through these pages. I hop


want this issue to give you the feelurdity.

s issue, I feel a circular energy reward and the ruggedness and unh both. Here, we explore the rug-

fragility of the body & soul (what envision the 7 sins, are you breathhat you’re seeing really there). Aris shree Suvedi, currently living in Newriting mix which blows my mind.

d about how we learn as we grow is only one of a number of possible ommentary section opens this conetations of art, time, consumerism piral - All Consuming), language &

concert by Vampire Weekend & nd (who just released their new als� which you are currently listening

uation of Fragile Thing from Good poetry by Ali Sutherland & Emily ur most recent Show - videos on

fashion section for the first time! All posted on our website ink every one of our artists would u may have!

pe they speak to you.






I SOMETIMES WONDE of the universe: the concepts of light and dark, of life and death, of beauty and beast. of endings and beginnings. maybe it is because i was never one who enjoyed endings. an ending was a sensation that comprised of a tugging of the heartstrings, a deflation of the lungs, an emptiness of the mind. an erasure. a nothingness. a dead kind of finality. even happy endings felt this way. perhaps they would not be as dark, but in their brightness, they would eclipse everything else. pleasure and suffering, joy and sadness: gone. finality tasted like a cold lack of significance. but perhaps this was the wrong way to view the universe. perhaps duality is purely a societal construct, perhaps it does not exist. like shrödinger’s cat, perhaps everything is eternally in a state of both dead and alive, both wavering and solidifying, both ending and beginning. perhaps everything is forever climbing and descending the penrose steps of the universe. perhaps everything is a cycle, one which does not reset itself continuously, but instead evolves, attaining more depth and becoming more significant with time. maybe the “circles and cycles” issue will replicate the ship of theseus, which was repaired through the replacement of wooden plank for wooden plank, yet remained one ship. maybe its beauty will be derived from issues and contributors past, maybe its ugliness will form our imaginings of the future, maybe everything in between will exist in eternity

and we will never forget and never be forgotten.


WRITERS I am shedding the I am shedding the stories and the narrastories and the narratives, the artist's fictives, the artist's fictions that we have tions that we have been telling ourbeen telling ourselves, both on a colselves, both on a collective and on a very lective and on a very individual level, and I individual level, and I am slowly rolling into am slowly rolling into this place of, well, this place of, well, life. life.



“A disease of writers too impassioned by their words, Kept up at night by sporadic inspiration that would spur them from their sheets�





























These images relate to the fragility of the human body, and how quickly health can be taken away. As i see it, death is fluid and unpredictable and these images are made to remind us that that life is precious. The form of the circle is a critical element as it is the simplest shape and my philosophy on life is simplicity.


The first was Lust. The expression of desire was an idea I wanted to build from. Wanting and yearning are emotions that I find intoxicating and I wanted to recreate these with a single look.

I wanted fixation, intimacy and misdirection to radiate from her eyes. As long as I satisfied my basic intent, the rest could be my conscious and unconscious playground. This laid down the foundation for the remainder of my work. Envy and Wrath followed, each a building block for the next. Anything I learned previously I would save and implement in the next piece. Gluttony and Greed became much more complex than their predecessors, pushing perspective, volume, and texture. Pride became the climax of the piece. I wanted to use everything I had learned, but also wanted to avoid a recurring mistake I had made in the past: overworking a piece is like over watering a plant. A little too much shading or adding one too many lines, and it all becomes one big muddy mess. A self-fulfilling prophecy that I was barely able to save, although content with the end results, I had set out with a specific goal in mind and I couldn’t compromise. I ventured into Photoshop; experimenting until I was able to achieve the details and textures I was looking for. When Sloth appeared, it was the sum of everything I had learned. The sin was no longer an obvious part of the subject, but had evolved into a presence, suggesting a feeling rather than imposing an idea. The red velvety cloak became a separate element simultaneously telling a story about the girl on the floor. Together, all seven sins became a blueprint through which I tackled everything I had put off learning.

Perspective, colour lighting and shading

theory, - all things that growing

up I kept putting on a pedestal. Realizing that my skill set from thirteen to twenty-three hadn’t really advanced much. I had gotten stuck at the equivalent of playing Ode to Joy on the recorder. I studied other artist’s work for years before I decided to focus on my own. I was fascinated by choice of lines, and the ability to create the illusion of textures and volume. Perhaps I had begun to take the backseat as an observer of art. I had become stimulated, entertained, and inspired, but unfulfilled and complacent giving up whenever I encountered a technical road block. This mentality resulted in my collection of unfinished paintings and sketches - a reminder of my unwillingness to push past my challenges. For me, completing the series became a milestone of personal growth. I sat down and began my journey fraught with frustration and reward. Challenging old limiting beliefs and solidified lessons learned, but forgotten. I relearned how limitless creativity is and how our past and present becomes an endless source of inspiration. Whether you can draw or trace like a pro, the real reward is making your dreams and imagination come to life.

The seven deadly sins series are a projection of my dreams, my fantasies, and my insecurities. When I was younger, I was caught on the idea that if you couldn’t draw from memory then you couldn’t draw at all. A girl in the first grade caught me tracing a picture I was having a hard time drawing and announced to everyone around that I was a cheater. Instantly, I was filled with shame and embarrassment. With a hurt ego and in the hopes of winning her love and artistic approval, I consulted with my grandpa. An engineer and artist himself, he began to teach me a handful of basic principles. I started to sketch anything I could get my hands on, from my Goofy place mat to my Jungle Book colouring book, I discovered how anything can be broken down into a few simple lines. One day in school I learned that dinosaurs had tragically gone extinct. This, of course, was devastating news and I was able to only find comfort in drawing them. This inspired something new, it wasn’t enough to just copy a picture, now I wanted to make them alive. I drew them endlessly; I figured if I couldn’t have them in real life I would have them on paper. From there the ritual settled, I saw it, I liked it, I drew it. Snakes, tigers, and bugs, all became paper pets and anything I saw on TV was fair game. Without notice, much like my crushes on 5-year -old art critics; boundaries and limitations began to fade. On that blank piece of paper the subjects weren’t only mine, but they were now alive in their own right. I had just discovered a way to make my dreams and fantasies come to life and I was hooked. That is until I hit puberty. Fast-forwarding 10 years later I began to take my art more seriously and I chose the Seven Deadly Sins as my subject. They were a concept that fascinated me growing up, reminding me of all my human drives and flaws. Ω

The apocalypse is now. It opens at our end; and I feel like I knew you once even though you've become disfigured and dimorphic, and the love I felt for you is displaced. I do know who you are, technically, but you changed. And with you, because you were always the centre of everything for better or for worse, the world changed. The universe bulges in an uneven pattern leaving behind tumours of dread and ugliness, while all that's holding our lives together are a few meaty strings ready to break apart with one little movement. And contrary to what everyone might believe, what the media feeds us, what our teachers tell us, what our religious figures preach, what our parents warn us about, what our politicians talk about, what lunatics smoke about; contrary to everyone, the world does not end after the apocalypse. It's just natural. It's evolution because after all, that's what it is. That's what Darwin was getting mocked and praised and bullied for.



But it doesn't feel natural; no that it doesn't. I'm stuck between your eyelashes like a radioactive pearl sprouting off decayed hopes and decayed songs in the form of tentacles ready to grab at everything. Tentacles that take the shape of gramophones moralising nihilism and cynicism and absurdism in only one sentence that my tentacles repeat over and over again, like your finger's the needle that scratches at the surface of my heart over and over again. I, or since my being has become unrecognisable to me; it, screeches: We're all dead fish swimming towards freedom.

I can't explain it

but I know

what it means. And I know you do too even though all I can hear from you are unrecognisable, animalistic grunts, and the raging stink of your breathing tells me that all you want to do is claw your way out of that pimpled shell that I must call a body and become a part of the apocalypse that ironically, began from you. But now, even it is unrecognisable from and to you. It has become so much more and you still remain a crab scuttling across the universe in complete apathy.

I don't love you. I don't love the person I am addressing this to. I don't love who I've become. But I feel a familiarity that rings true in my burned ulcers, my twisted digestive tracts, my petroled lungs, and thus I must abandon myself, and I must abandon you, whoever you are, and became a part of the greater madness riding a mutated ship with a mutated crew to a mutated freedom.

An illusion Hannah Ustun

My main inspiration for this edition was the end of this year’s academic ‘cycle’ at Art College. This marks an end to a very successful year, which has laid a solid foundation for my work to continue with optimism and excitement in September. The film featured in my submission was the film that I took during the final month leading up to my hand-in, which illustrates the final stage of my second year in Painting. My grandpa passed down a book of ornament very recently to me, which weighs as much as I do, so I started there. I have most recently been experimenting with optical illusions and bright patterns. My work has usually consisted of more straightforward representations of everyday life and observation, as a way of translating my ideas. Recently I have become interested in integrating a more visually interesting element to my practice for aesthetic reasons and I look forward to translating this into paintings within the near future.

BY ANDREW BURROWS Photos by Ashley Laramie & Art by Melissa Wilson


Part I.

(I'M VIBRATING.) I am shedding the stories and the narratives, the artist's fictions that we have been telling ourselves, both on a collective and on a very individual level, and I am slowly rolling into this place of, well, life. I sit, and I experience, and I am in life, not in head, not perpetuating thought process and patterns that limit me and diminish me, deplete my energy and call me crazy. I am in the thickness, and the gentle thinness, of life. I see, I hear. These toes, they drag along the carpet. I crack them, my feet, because it feels simple, and good. The sounds of the outdoors, the construction. The people, doing the life, living to the best of their abilities, given what they have, given their circumstances. They know what they know, and they are as full as they are, every second of the way. I feel a gentle gratitude for my Being Here. And as soon as I recognize that this an existing frequency that I can attune and re-attune and re-attune and re-attune to, I feel an immense pleasure in this life, this mythical lifetime. I feel a pleasure from the opportunity to go and get my blanket that I bought from the bookstore, the soft one, the feathery light one, the one that has experienced a lot, like a child, or their blanket. I will go get this now. I wrapped it around my legs, and as I sit in a typing meditation here, with my water to flush my system, I listen to the little clicks of the keys, typing words that are coming from places not yet known, for they come like a curious climax, not knowing that you had it in you, not knowing what it's all about, nor why it is all here in the first place. All you know, all we know, is that it's here, it's around, and it's accessible, these feelings, these loves, these realizations, this channeling. I read a horoscope today for the month of June. It told me that a little ennui has settled in, and that I must have the spice. It encouraged me to find creative ways to snap myself out of the boredom blues, and also that if anyone can find ways to get my kicks, it’s me.

Since I feel that I have been cleansing myself, draining that which no longer serves me, I feel I’ve been left with a lot of room, a lot of open space. Opportunities, everywhere, in every corner, in every rolling field. This openness is unfamiliar, for, as noted, I’ve been spending my time telling myself stories about people and the people they know, the kinds of people they are, the kinds of illnesses they have. And so with the shedding of this filth, I am left, sitting with room, time, and space for creation. I sit in awe every day of my life. I am finding it hard to believe how clear and simple things can be upon hushing the humming craving to call someone a psychopath, adding unnecessary complexity that only furthers myself from all other beings, distancing myself both from other loving creatures and myself, for me and these creatures, we are no different. I sit, connected. Connected to and with all things, all beings, all of Life. And at first I perceived this space as, well, a burden. As something with weight. And once I admitted this to myself, that it was challenging for me to fill my (new) reality with, well, with anything, this challenge dissolved into bliss, into a quiet ecstasy, for everything, every pursuit, quickly became accessible to me just recently. Nothing is out of reach to me anymore. These limits, I now see, I have set up myself. And with the dissolution of them, I am free. In this newness, there is room to flow freely and to perform, to act and reenact art. To demonstrate. And so I place myself within an artistic context, the artworld, a sphere in which I can move and, well, exist in ways that others may just consider artistic art. I, however, have been blurring the lines between that which is art and that which is not. This in itself is a thought pattern, one in which I have been practicing, stretching it like a muscle, building it up to the point where it’s just habitual, to see the laundry machine as something worthy, as an art, its own little process, its own little creature, its own Soul.

That ladybug? A masterpiece. That time you fell in fifth grade? Enormously perfect. Outrageously beautiful.



Part II. We have evolved in such a way where we perceive only some things as, well, artistic. Having the opportunity to take an entire course on the philosophy of and behind art as a concept for me truly was mind-expanding. I’ve been interrupted by a YouTube ad: “The arts make us richer. It inspires and pushes us to develop new perspectives. It causes us to see the world in a different light. It can put our head in the clouds and plant our feet more firmly on the ground. We get so much inspiration from the arts. That’s why we support the arts in Canadian communities. You’re richer than you think: Scotiabank.” And that’s just it. I forget exactly how I rolled into becoming more and more of a performance artist, because upon reflection now, I realize that I’ve always been one, since birth, and hell, probably conception. Every time I’m asked if I’m an artist, I now happily confirm the title, and reassure the asker that they too are one. After an interpretive dance piece I did for a friend’s musical-psychedelic duo set last weekend, a man in the audience asked me if I was a dancer, to which I reminded him that we are all dancers. We are all movers, we are all flowing, and we are all creating, every time we choose anything in life, and even not choosing is a choice. Everything you do, every word you utter, every time you smoke, everything you smoke, damn, all of it. All of it I feel is creation, and creation and art to me are synonymous, terms used interchangeably, to remind us of the beauty of all things, in all things, surrounding us at all times. It makes uncomfortable first dates a little humorous, let me tell you, because when you remember that all of life is simply playing and performing, choosing, you’re golden. Everything feels lighter. You get to release any tensions or expectations of how you think life, or your life, should be. You begin to open up to the harmonious fluidity of everything. Performing in an artistic sphere is a lot like this, because anything is welcome. Everything is seen through an artistic sort of scope. It can be confusing for some, in terms of when the art begins and when the art ends. Does it begin when the song begins? When the young lady in the costume starts to sing and twitch and shift? Does it end with an applause? Or does the art of it all begin the moment the art-goer enters the gallery space, the so-called space for the arts to take place? Does it begin much before that? Is your life art?

Would you hang yourself in a gallery? Ω Would you hang yourself in a gallery? comment here:

invented the arbitrary nature of time are the only Earthly species that become anxious over the temporal pressure to leave their legacy


an fe liv



Procrastination is seizing each moment to enjoy to the fullest.

Why are we valui than the living, br



What constitutes an unfulfilling life? •

a failure to set meaningful goals

An inability to fulfill goals


nticipation of earful regret of ving an

nfulfilling life

ing the future more reathing now?

In both cases, the concept of prioritization is relevant. •The

inherent limitation of not being able to experience every facet of life means that some goals are valued more highly than others. WHAT MAKES ONE GOAL BETTER THAN ANOTHER?

⇒Peers ⇒Environment ⇒Genetics ⇒History

Fulfilling goals means that the present much be sacrificed for future success - to what extent do we allow ourselves to be unexpectedly sidetracked by the present?



RHETORIC MAGAZINE What you’re buying isn’t there, it’s a symbol, a connotation, a representation of what you think it will make you become. What you want to be is a

combination of every TV show, every character you’ve ever related to, you have an idea, of an idea, of an idea, of who ends up happy, of you being the protagonist, of tears trickling down your opponents face.

The thoughts you utter, the tears pouring over your contoured cheekbones, the jovial smile, all bound by ideas, by the clothes they bear, associations of representations, only constructions of the reality you’re willed to perceive, which idea is yours. I cannot bear to contemplate the realms of parameters within which this piece was written. I’m condemned to my own conception of self, my expectations, and they’re not being conveyed with the revolt with which they should, but being expressed passively within limits by which I’m culturally bound. In this bind we’ll never cease to have the ability to convince ourselves of anything and everything, a relentless denial of sorts streaming through our consciousness, faculties so precise and meticulous at blurring the lines between the real and the expected, the unexpected and the imaginary. It is no longer a connection between word and substance, but instead representations of interpretations of definitions of actions, and a reverberating set of syllables echoing ‘you matter’.

A PERSUASION OF SELF TO THE INDIVIDUAL, to the confines of egoism, as if this supersedes anything of human substance. It is posed that individualism is conducive to our society, tell me I’m different from them, tell me I’m better, because the mind convinces us of such a thing, in this there exists no positivist logic, surely we have to belong? To exist is to be bound by the most basic of human physical and emotional connections. Oppose the fabricated ideals of the constructs which make you so comfortable; from achieving survival to entertainment, the human; the empathetic was lost, all adventure lost in the drone of our own monotonous voices, tuned to power and wealth. One day words will be enough, they will be enough to consume the certainty and stubbornness that encroaches us cell by cell and cripples our faculties, the suspicion that permeates every letter I type, every word I utter and step I cautiously take. A utopian vision of no agenda, tactics, leaving us all with the fluidity of our own consciousness, bound only by creativity, a self not preoccupied by an excessive need to externalise the self/the ego, to prove one’s individuality. Your individuality is not defined by the clothes and your outer decoration. You see this is where they have you convinced? The choice between the red or black dress.


Do you think that individuality has to do with the freedom of anything? Comment here:

RHETORIC MAGAZINE You’re a fool if you think that individuality has anything to do with freedom of anything, only the freedom to succumb to materialism itself and the ideas you profess to represent through it. Freedom is far too inextricably linked to wealth and power to be considered free. A society so intricately and delicately woven to bombard us with our own self-importance, and the importance of self-importance, because people need the creases of a labourers face, the curvature of a malnourished child’s body, to shock them, to prove how important they are, to remain happy with all that they have and own, who decided this was happiness anyway? So bogged down are we with this idea of it, we’ve ceased to realise it can be any form, because it’s not a form it’s nothing, but you and your consciousness which combined for a split second in time, then another second in time.

A concreteness in time which arouses the effervescent beauty, by beauty I mean intrigue, that slight squint of an eye, the consuming curiosity that excites her to contemplate, so joyfully, all of existence, illusory, imaginary, reality.

The symbols, the connotations, the representations materialise as lines in her mind, a reality of lines that guide, lines drawn from the inception of time, good and bad, evil, purity, morality, right wrong. Lines that guide a delusion of safety, of familiarity, or the reality we believe that we perceive. Abstractions uttered and contorted to ensure us of our own safety, like it’s not within our power. This linear process is mirrored in every advertisement of our culture, ourselves and our identity, lines of a seemingly endless bombardment of bar codes, the perfectly parallel and perpendicular boxes you’ve so neatly created in your consciousness, within which you place ideas, good or bad, they never blur, or merge to express their opinions.




Preclude: love [luhv] noun, verb, loved, lov·ing. noun

I am free! I have rid myself of all of this horrible culture!


1. a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. 2. a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection, as for a parent, child, or friend. 3. sexual passion or desire. 4. a person toward whom love is felt; beloved person; sweetheart.

At an earlier breath in space and time, an idea was formed that in order to distance yourself from your own living, breathing, feeling morality all it takes is to think outside of the grains of language. What was born was everything that cannot be operationally defined in any meaningful, objective way (even though scientists try with all of their minds). Concepts were shaped, abstractions, which try to convey our simultaneous sensory experiences in a single word : “LOVE” or “JOY”. But this word cannot be thought in tangible thoughts, so we’re back here again:

which is irrelevant and tells us more about how the word is used than its essence, its highs and lows of existence.

5. (used in direct address as a term of endearment, affection, or the like): Would you like to see a movie, love?

Retrieved from

This is the story of how it grew from our senses, how we arrived at our dichotomous world split apart by the sharp lines of language.

She shivers knowing these words create her own reality, forever to be encased by the digital façade she so fervently detests.

The difference between thinking and feeling is that the former has concrete rules it follows (or seems to follow) – with one thought leading smoothly to the other.

Can you think of two things simultaneously? Three things? Is your mind overloaded merely with the thoughts of it, the concept? Thinking has a sense of time, you can pinpoint when you thought about something, was it yesterday, the day before, was it before you took a shower that day? Our memories aren’t perfect but thank goodness that the vague idea of time is tied to the vague idea of thought. But feelings, that’s a different story – they

…blend and bleed like the edges of colour in a tie dye shirt merging from red to purple to blue. The integration can happen slowly: when you sat nervously sweating in anticipation up until those moments when your name was called and all of a sudden every limb was filled with pride as you stood up in your row and squeezed past knees and hidden feet to make your way across the stage. But feelings like to keep you on your toes so they can also change at the flick of a switch; the tears of joy from meeting your family at the airport arrivals can quickly turn to tears of sadness as they tell you that he didn’t make it and passed while you were seventeen thousand feet above. They don’t fit into the linear grids, minutes, or ticks of time we like to map out in our minds. You cannot pinpoint the moment you felt disappointment or when that disappointment morphed into anger, defeat, then resilience.





PART 2: IRREALITY I don’t know which came first, the idea of evil, the notion of greatness or the concept of perfection, but in their entirety, in sheer absolute ignorance and asceticism, irreality was created, allowing us, encouraging us to paint ourselves in colours intricately laced with stories and parables uttered by illusory mouths.

She shivers knowing these words create her own reality, forever to be encased by the digital façade she so fervently detests.

It is within these abstractions that we succumb to the ideal, the archetypal, that version of a self-identity, a lifestyle we so desperately long for. A lifestyle formed by ideas, concepts, notions, none tangible to the human touch or taste but exclusively to the streams of consciousness wandering her contemplations, expectations created from sheer replications of simulations of what was, once upon a time, coined as reality. One day, one thought, identity is profitable Within this craving for lifestyle, there is value, some vague value so arbitrarily condemned upon objects, upon our ideas and whether they are accepted by people longing for that which completes them. An idea, a garment, in love or joy, for which they had longed for so excruciatingly that they only existed within the absence of it, and wholly within the comforting precision of an idea equating to love, a garment to joy. The fluidity of the inner transmuting with the seeming tangibility of the outer. Separately trying to materialise abstraction, to idealise reality.

The The real real only, only, really, really, exists exists inin that that which which we we can can touch, touch, smell, smell, see, see, hear, hear, taste, taste, existing existing concretely concretely as as aa sensory sensory experience, experience, inin which which there there must must exist exist some some sort sort of of factuality. factuality.

The most easily manipulated senses of man, that which they experience in ‘reality’ is faulty, wavering, inconsistent, yet the abstractions remain, unfaltering and steadfast, alike the stories that bound the first civilisations, those that dictate our own, and those that we create, within our memories and the expectations of our memories, those which we choose to deny and fabricate the ‘reality’ of our past. We must keep the pain, the threat of a pain she continually condemned herself to relive, not fully remembering words, or a semblance of facial expression, but a syncope of every cell of her identity so interwoven within that face, or her memory of it, her creation of it. Pain so provocatively emulated, simulated in the form of culture, so relatable, ‘so real’ they uttered. So fucking profitable, is this parable, Happiness, Love, Joy, so profitable in culture, yet so painful to experience the evanescence of.

The real only, really, exists in that which we can touch, smell, see, hear, taste, existing concretely as a sensory experience, in which there must exist some sort of factuality.




PART 3: BLISS If people existed as they do in storybooks, they would all be either happy or sad. She shivers knowing these words create her own reality, forever to be encased by the digital façade she so fervently detests. You can’t get t{here}. Happiness is a moment you look back upon and think, in that moment, you were happy. Is happiness ever captured in anything but hindsight? Can you realize in that moment, before it passes, thatyes; this is what happiness feels like. If you look to hard you won’t find it, but if you don’t consider it at all, you’ll never be able to appreciate it when it sneaks up into the <corners> of your smile.

RHETORIC MAGAZINE The ever difficult task of describing the indescribable:


I’m tired of all the platitudes that try to capture my happiness. Your words don’t illuminate the feelings behind my beaming eyes and goofy grin. Measure me a word, she’ll say Count out some thoughts Hold a couple of ideas in your fist, let them drag it down Do those abstractions keep you full, do they jiggle as you move?




RHETORIC MAGAZINE You're back again. I forgot my keys. Please; quick, leave. Without me, you would become nil. I'm already nil, already dead, my movement's not my own, I am a ceiling fan hanging from my neck twirling with your every whim, I am a slave to your will. You keep me moving, to keep me submissively disoriented. The sun rises in the east, I'm always facing west. Dead man walking. The clock's stuck 12, from riches to rags Cinderella runs, while the emperor stands naked. There are nights when the sky is so clear that I count every star in the universe hoping that at least one can give me a ride back home wherever that is. These are the nights when you're far away. My movements become my own again but my mind's never forgotten I can hear you hear you dangling your keys. Like a snake you creep up my spine and hold on to my neck, like a noose I whirl about a maniac, a pathetic loser. But unlike a snake, you never show Show me the way out of this poisonous garden.

Tik tik tok tik. Solitary confinement. Who turned on the lights? Who's there?

Knock Knock Who's there?

Knock Knock

I said, who's there?

Knock Knock Please respond, who's there? It is I, god. But god hears keys, and she knows she doesn't stand a chance, so she leaves.

godspeed. I keep my eyes closed and press my hand to my chest. The darkness keeps me comfort, but my lungs still hurt. You laugh, you stick around. Another day, another breathing exercise. Standing on the edge of darkness, madness draws closer to my lips like a bottle of vodka. There are nights when the sky is so dark that I'm convinced our axes have been lost, as we hurl across the universe with nothing to hold on to. Orphaned.


Still slower than the speed of light. Standing on the edge of darkness. Drive faster, you whisper, take that exit, no one wants you here. Drive fast, like you're axisless, no one wants you here. Another day, another breathing exercise. I like learning things, hoping the knowledge drowns out your hate. But I'm the only one drowning, aren't I? My self esteem reflects the monsoon, some days it doesn't rain, other days it




Your shadow follows me everywhere, I seem to have misplaced mine.



That's it, I'm leaving, breaking the fucking wall, gone, awol, free, escapee.

Mad woman on the loose. But there are monsters out there,

evil people, terrible creatures, who look for blood, Blood like mine, Better stay in here. I have forgotten, what does the rain feel like? Another day, another breathing exercise. Hello darkness, your highness, you're back.

Who turned off the lights?



I died today with the sister who got cut open, and with the brother whose skin was darker than mine. I walk differently, everyone notice my

disjointttttttted legs, you words are strong, I

always comply.

These four walls seem closer, don't they? I want to drive slower. That's a bad idea. Please. I forgot my keys. The trip's been cancelled.

Unforseeably circumstances.


Always, the damn keys. I live for the days it rains, the lightning reminds me that there is a god, the thunder sounds like god hasn't abandoned ship yet. â&#x201E;Ś






W To fall in love with a band is a process — one with many stages. The album is purchased. Every lyric and guitar solo is inked on brain tissue to a neurotic degree. A crush is developed on the mysterious lead singer. The songs eventually hold more than just meaningless notes and words — memories are made to these tracks. And finally, the relationship comes full circle with the concert experience. For the crowd of twenty-something-old, diehard fans filing into The Fillmore — a truly beautiful historical venue of Italian-Renaissance style located in downtown Detroit — the upcoming night would be a landmark moment of their young lives. It is one thing to listen to a song in the confines of a car, or at an intimate gathering with friends. But to hear something live, to shout out the lyrics with hundreds of other fans? That is the moment everyone waits for, a transcending experience that a studio performance cannot do justice to. On this May evening, devoted music lovers gathered to see Vampire Weekend, a group made up of four preppy Columbia University graduates who formed an afro-pop influenced indie rock band in their college years, and eventually rose to critical acclaim and worldwide success. I was one of these fans, anxiously standing on my tip toes and craning my neck with anticipation and excitement. Finally, it was all happening.

Corinthian columns suspended from the ceiling were lowered as the band — Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Tomson and Chris Baio — walked on-stage to the sound of screams that would rival the crowd at a One Direction concert. Mussorgsky’s ‘The Great Gate of Kiev’, a Russian instrumental piece of the highest level of grandeur, satirically played in the background, enforcing the unspoken agreement that tonight, Vampire Weekend — four skinny boys in boat shoes and cardigans — were deities with the power to rule us all. The band immediately




launched head-first into a hyped-up rendition of hit single Cousins — up-tempo and fast paced, with an anthem-like chorus — and from the first note of the song, the crowd went wild. The energy among the throngs of girls trying to throw themselves into the eye-line of Koenig, who long ago secured his status as a heartthrob among the indie set, was sky-high. General admission always calls for a high degree of stamina — the sticky floors, and the physical damage that can arise as a result of being part of a sea of bodies jumping up and down in unison — and you have to hold your territory in the pit. This is a scene that reduces boxing day madness to child’s play, and between the elbowing, foot stomping and subtle shoving, warriors of the crowd were sure to leave with some kind of battle wound. We danced our hearts out to 60s-inspired Diane Young, sang along at the top of our lungs to the chorus of old favourite, Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, and fist-pumped to the band’s latest single, Ya Hey.

It was every man for himself out there, and all in the name of music.

RHETORIC MAGAZINE The set list contained an equal number of songs from each album, which the band performed to an impressively high caliber of expertise. Tomson breathed life into the music, playing the drums with a passion-fueled force that, in combination with Baio on bass guitar, provided a rhythmic anchor for Batmanglij’s complex keyboard sets. Laced with classical influences pulled from a span of decades, these arrangements distinctly separate Vampire Weekend from other indie rock bands. In a live setting, this sonic diversity transports the listener, giving them for that brief moment in time the power to be whoever and wherever they want. Koenig’s voice is an instrument on its own, capable of producing sounds that turn the lyrics from words to feelings and moods, and this quality was exponentially amplified by the accompaniment of hundreds of fans attempting to exceed lung capacity by reaching new decibel levels.

It was an impressive performance, one that coincided nicely with the release of the band’s latest album, Modern Vampires of the City earlier in the week. This album has been deemed as the completion of a trilogy, thus ending the first cycle of the musical history of Vampire Weekend. With this revelation, it is both interesting and necessary to examine how Modern Vampires of the City fits in with the previous two albums. Vampire Weekend were trailblazers at the time of their introduction — the first band to really capitalize on blog buzz, filling the gap The Strokes had left wide open as New York’s “It band”. They had Ivy League degrees, wore cashmere sweaters and madras shorts on-stage, and made references to obscure architectural designs, fashion brands and Peter Gabriel. They were the perfect band for the kids who wanted validation that it was cool to be smart, to be geeky, and to dream of something bigger and better.


When listening to Modern Vampires of the City, it is immediately obvious that Vampire Weekend has grown up — Baio is married, Koenig’s hair is polished, and recently in public appearances, the band has been choosing a grayscale wardrobe over their usual colourful New England inspired ensembles. They have come a long way since their early days, with a debut album (Vampire Weekend) largely narrating their experiences in New York City as undergraduates at Columbia University. Upon writing their second album (Contra), Vampire Weekend had abandoned New York for the world at large — the band was embarking on a major multi-continental tour, Koenig was residing in Los Angeles — and these changes were reflected in the global sounds of a new funk and reggaeinfused album.

Vampires of the City, this darkness is explored in a more serious manner to new depths. Despite this evolution, the album maintains the bands tradition of danceable pop heavily saturated with references — Step and Ya Hey are rich with this signature intellectual wordplay that often turns the songs into puzzles that the listener is too intrigued to not try and attempt. Unbelievers and Finger Back are incredibly dance-worthy pop music creations, set apart by the band never once questioning the intelligence level of the listener. Modern Vampires of the City is unlike any other album on the market — an impressively original piece with the power to sustain the test of time due to the seamless fusion of multi-genre influences — from hip hop to Paul Simon — universal subject matter, and high-quality writing.

Modern Vampires of the City is very much a homecoming to the world of songs from their debut album like Campus and M79, name checking Manhattan landmarks and characters with names like Hannah Hunt and Diane Young. The songs have a darker sound, moving on from inquiries into the societal role of grammar rules and exploring deeper themes such as religion and death. The dark side of Vampire Weekend has made appearances previously, both sonically and lyrically, in songs like I Think Ur A Contra and The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance, but on Modern

With their latest release, Vampire Weekend reaches the end of an era. Although future changes are highly unpredictable, there is one thing that will always remain constant, for Vampire Weekend and all musicians alike: what it means to be their fan.

Put your records on. Sing along to every word. And enjoy the unconditional love you feel for a simple little song — it may be one of the most rewarding relationships you will ever have. Ω




With over 5,000 miles between us, eight hours of time difference and two conflicting accents, I was speaking with one half of leaving richmond, Jordan Pier, for the very first time. I had just been introduced to the music of atmospheric, rock instrumental band.

Jordan Pier made the 3,000 mile trip to Los Angeles, leaving behind Richmond Hill,


ving richmond

New York to broaden his horizons and embark on a music adventure. Initially contemplating if instrumental music was at all viable in today’s music industry, Jordan decided that if he was going to be a musician, he would be the musician he really wanted to be: “I said, you know what, it’s an uphill battle to do this anyway, so you might as well follow your heart.’ Jordan’s brother introduced him to Adam Sanborne, an experienced composer, en-

gineer and soundtrack writer for television and independent films: “Adam had a long background of composition; he was a great soundtrack writer for television and some independent films and he also owns his own publishing company. Adam took Jordan under his wing and guided him as they began to write and produce together. With this, Jordan had found the other half of leaving richmond.

leaving richmond has so far released two EP’s: The Secret Traditions of Washington Avenue and The Bird And The Submarine, with their third, Human Minds, Robot Hearts, due for release later this year. Jordan and Adam have enjoyed exceptional feedback across a wide spectrum including music fans, reviewers, bloggers and radio stations. When it comes to the prospect of fame, the only part that really appeals to Jordan is knowing he will entice a larger audience and be able to share more of his music with the rest of the world. “Someone told me a long time ago, create for the sake of creating and then you’ll truly be an artist. And that is why I do what I do: because I feel like I have to.”

When I first listened to leaving richmond, I went in blind; I had done no research. I wanted to go in with no predetermined ideas, for the music to narrate my initial thoughts on this band. Needless to say, I was surprised by the lack of vocals and instead found myself lost in the numerous instruments and the intricacy of the sound. This turned out to be exactly what Jordan had hoped for: “I don’t have to leave room or sacrifice parts within the song for vocals, I find it very liberating!”.

The cinematic nature of leaving richmond’s thought-provoking music makes Los Angeles the perfect location to showcase their unique sound. You could even say the world of cinema was another reason Jordan was so drawn to instrumental music: “I love the successful marriage of film and audio, and I think that a good soundtrack is another character in a film. Because I’m very aware of it, it can make or break a scene, it can change the direction completely. I think the invisible force it has over the influence of the image you’re seeing is such a cool thing.”

While these Los Angelenos are not the first to compose instrumental music, originality and true artistic expression is at the forefront of everything they do. With Hollywood next door, Jordan is all too aware of the many reality-singing competition programs, and while acknowledging them as an outlet for people to enjoy, he doubts their ability to encourage artistic measure and instead do the very opposite and urge artists to conform: “I was at American Idol when Harry Connick Jr. was there as a guest judge and this one girl did her own version of an Etta James song. All the judges told her how she had done such a great job and how important it is to be an individual, but that she would be better off sticking to the more popular version. Harry Connick Jr. came up and was like, “Man, you just told this girl to be an individual, do your own thing, but do it the way everyone expects you to do it”. I think if you’re going to be original you need to throw caution to the wind because if you don’t, you’re not creating anything new, you’re just staying within the boundaries of what exists.”

Amongst his musical influences, I'm startled to hear Jordan confess the endless appreciation he holds and always will hold for Nine Inch Nails, whom he credits as a major influence along with contrasting artists, Ulrich Schnauss, BT and Paul Oakenfold: “Anyone who was able to combine the sort of organic instrumentation with burgeoning technology were people that I always found interesting. There’s an electronic artist called b.fleischmann and a duo called Es Posthumus who were huge influences on the stuff I decided to do. Es Posthumus were brothers and unfortunately, one of them recently passed away, but the music they put together was a fantastic combination of electronic elements, keyboard and synth technology with beautiful live orchestration and choral vocal points.” Pier’s list continues with Massive Attack, Sigur Ros and Explosions In The Sky.



With the release of their third EP, Human Hearts, Robot minds, Jordan is understandably excited to see how the music will be perceived. With the initial release sounding more down tempo and the second consisting of more of a rock sound, leaving richmond believe they have now achieved a balance between both: “I’ve combined the two into this atmospheric, electronic rock sound, and every time I work on the songs or listen to them, I get really excited about the direction the music is going in.”

leaving richmond did not stand timidly in the background and dip one toe in the instrumental music water, they jumped head first, with courage and conviction for what they were trying to achieve. They have forged a successful name with a foray of fans who adore their music and respect their intention of demonstrating honest and unique music. Despite all of this, Jordan acknowledges the hardship of being an artist in the music industry and sums it up quite wonderfully: “They’ll be times where you walk outta the house and birds land on your shoulders and wildlife comes up and sings to you and it’s one of those days where everybody is interested in what you have do and what you have to say; and then there are other days where you might as well be on fire, people want nothing to do with what you’re doing.”

leaving richmond have produced a beautiful, organic and stirring sound which allows you to take hold of the song and accompany it by any imagery you so desire. It's the listener's story to create. It’s leaving richmond. Ω





le Thing

By: Malashree Suvedi

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wedding more beautiful was never seen Than that of Martin Haywood and Penelope Green. Her mother, crying, walked her down the aisle, While chubby flower girls shuffled behind in single file. It was her mother who reluctantly gave her away On the loveliest, sunniest morning in May

It was almost as if you could hear their love sing, When he said ‘I’ll make you my wife with this ring’. In fact their bliss out shone the sun, Their radiant joy evaded no-one It was as if every hug and kiss they gave out Made seeds of profound happiness sprout And after their blissful wedding day, When the cake was eaten, night not far away Martin carried away his bride And they forgot about their guests still dancing outside Though her mother had warned her against life like this The thought of it all filled her with bliss All she had ever wanted from life, Was a family: with all its glory and strife. To swim in the oceans and seas with her son To watch her daughter dance and run She wanted to build snow forts, and to fall asleep With a baby on her chest, their breaths steady and deep


artin and Penelope lived their first year in peace With weekends in the country and a holiday in Greece Until Penelope woke one night Crying, lost in fear and fright. Martin held her close to his chest

Even comforting his wife he felt he was blessed, For everything she did made him love her more And his love for her made him fly, made him soar. When he asked her why she was crying, All she said was she wished she was dying. The nightmare had shaken her to her core But she kissed him with the words ‘we’ll speak of it no more’ But when the dream came back, night after night And he felt he was failing as her hero, her knight Martin took her hand and said ‘Penelope, dear, You must share your burden; you must share your fear.’ he couldn’t tell him the truth she knew So she made up a story, something in lieu She said she was dreaming of monsters and beasts, Preparing her and her loved ones as feasts The odd behaviour in her sleep That caused her to cry, to moan, to weep Was accompanied by a new found taste That soon was explained by her growing waist.


enelope was pregnant, it was crystal clear The knowledge swept away the dreams, made her whoop and cheer Martin cried (a little) with joy He had always wanted a baby girl or boy

But as her belly grew her baby began to kick,

Her nightmares returned, making her sick And when they found out it was a girl in her womb Her face became ashen; she was consumed by her gloom Martin would ask her what was wrong, She would shake her head and sing him a song Because she wouldn’t tell him that her mother had been right She should have stayed away from him, from family out-right But one night it was all too much, It might have been his scent, his kiss, his touch, She wasn’t aware before it was done That she had lost control or that she had begun And as she stood, soaked in blood and gore The aching pain in her stomach was no more In her womb her daughter danced with delight Penelope’s dreams were laid out in plain sight The walls were splattered with ruby red blood It clung to her feet and her hands like mud It was still warm and wet in her mouth It repressed her desire to scream and to shout The tears on her cheeks left two clean lanes As they did their best to lament her pains For though satisfaction and peace had claimed the child Penelope was going crazy, to put it mild


he had eaten him up, every last bit It wasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t till now it finally fit Her absent father, her motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s tears The wedding-reluctances confirmed all her fears She called her mother that very same day

Her mother knew what had been coming her way She had had the same dreams of eating her love When he had held her close, his darling, his dove And like her mother before her she had eaten him whole Raw, no frying, no mince in a bowl There was a savage hunger that ran in their genes Their daughters wanted flesh from the world unseen Penelope would have cried over the news But her horror, her anger had begun to diffuse Satisfaction and calmness had taken hold of her heart

And she knew she was an ending, a middle, a








Amnesiac, Aphrodisiac, Insomniac. It all sounded

so romantic and mysterious.

A disease of writers too impassioned by their words, Kept up at night by sporadic inspiration that would spur them from their sheets Like evidence of angst and rumination or reflection. But her insomnia was no enigmatic act, there was no gain from listless nights awake. The rhythm of the world operates on cycles of night and day. But the insomniac exists between the cracks, Dreaming up the company she lacks, Laying in almost-rigomortis on her back. Amongst light and dark, dawn and dusk, the insomniac occupies the grey left in between; She operates on scales and spectrums, Never quite slipping into darkness, never burning white. She pours it in the dark, please don’t turn on the light! In shadows the liquid can sweetly trickle down her throat, Remnants linger nonetheless: inklings of the fight Daylight The Nyquil pools like blood stains, Faster now the moon wanes, It numbs the pain. Pulling at the edges, straightening out her sheets, They don’t feel so crisp and clean now, just fuzzy like the sharp edges dulled to curb corners and the blades worn down to butter knives. The morning comes so she shakes up, the mirror points at the circles she’s got to cover up, just put on some make up! just wake up! But the waking up is the easy part, don’t set the alarm she doesn’t need it. Play the metronome instead, Let the notes sound in her head, And when they can no longer rouse her from her bed, breathe easy; SLEEP IS FOR THE DEAD. Ω

We are never, ever, getting back together By Malashree Suvedi



Infinity eats into infinity, hungry with chaos and death, the eternal footman snickers, and even the bald gods bicker.

I like my eggs to be scrambled And my love to be jumbled I like my words to be salted And my thoughts to be spiced.

Darkness always repeats itself, as light laughs alone, Death annexes frigid stars, as lighthouses lay awake.

I've led you to the beginning, And you, my lonely tunnel to nowhere, Have shown me wars fought by dead soldiers, Shadows merge with the darkness, And we lose ourselves to the pain. Forever has a way of meeting in your eyes, All so that I can think of love when I see you cry.

We've walked with winners, talked to tattling tools too, Been between bulging bedsheets, laughed, loved, lied, led, lost.

The weight of your dead body on my lips, The feel of your bones in my hips, Remind of that I will die alone.

Infinity eats into infinity.

I feel like I am connected to you by a string

that unwinds faster and faster with each moment that I age and I know, If I put one foot in front of the other, I get closer to my pyre burning all my desires to a great fire, I want to be closer to you again, so I walk. Even if it means arriving early to my own funeral.

You God h You h

So tell me, If time doesn't exist then why does it make mortals of us all? We're drifting away and apart, And I wish I were chained to where you are I would become an anchor anchored at the bottom of hell chocking for breath, burning alive, if I could keep both of us at bay. I have seen God in your warmth, I have seen God in your words. Darling, we're all just particles dancing to an unheard tune, fooling our untrained eyes, teasing our easily swayed perceptions, we're all just breakable, brittle bones, Just blood that flows easily, Just hearts that want to live. You and I are both mortal, regardless of the existence of time,



And my love to be jumbled I like my words to be salted And my thoughts to be spiced. I've led you to the beginning, And you, my lonely tunnel to nowhere, Have shown me wars fought by dead soldiers, Shadows merge with the darkness, And we lose ourselves to the pain. Forever has a way of meeting in your eyes, All so that I can think of love when I see you cry.

u are not d, you are home. u are my home.

The weight of your dead body on my lips, The feel of your bones in my hips, Remind of that I will die alone. Infinity eats into infinity. I feel like I am connected to you by a string Whence does the universe come from? Is it a tree that grows out of the soil, or a lake that flows out from the mountains? Darling, I know that these questions sound wise, But all it is, is cowardice,




If you breathe in the stark night, We have to accept, We come from nothing and for nought, We're born in the dark and die in the dark, and much of the in between is also dark, it possesses your lungs, and stars begin flowing through your veins. Then surely we'll drift away and apart, like stars hurling across the cosmos. I once went to meet god to ask her about life, the universe had hung a 'do not disturb' sign on her door, I wanted to talk to the stars, they laughed at my humanity and hung a 'Fragile: Handle with care' sign around my neck Give. Sympathise. Control And please hope for peace because when the god puts his foot down tired from all the dancing when his firmness overtakes his love for us the universe will have its ending A gateway to the forthcoming. But that's okay what do stars know, they're distant, cold, and dead. Our existences might be in vain, but you give me shade like a tree that grows past God's abode, and you quench my thirst with a fountain that

no mountain could replicate. You are not God, you are home. I apologise for the all the epilogic reprise that prefaces all my words, actually all I really want to say is that I am sad. I feel like I am floating in the vast nothing of space while still drowning in the vast everything of my soul. It hurts my spine, I cannot stand straight. It has been an eternity since I saw you last, since our drunken bodies loved the cold, as much our minds the stars.

Our rhythms were always off, but we danced with the might of a herd of bisons stampeding the plains. Were we running away or towards something? It has been an eternity since we succumbed to the night and our lungs felt like they were dying. We're all dying. But I love you. You are not God, you are home. I would abandon eternity, I would abandon God, for home. â&#x201E;Ś


I went to bed at



through the past seven hours of almost quiet, almost quiet if I shut my doors and the sun rises from the curtain tops. When I went downstairs, it had started. The reality box was on full blast, beaming through the house. I tried to turn it off (turn it off), but she stopped me.

CAN’T YOU SEE I’M WATCHING THAT SHE SAID, I LIKE TO HEAR IT. (CANT YOU SEE I’M WATCHING THAT SHE SAID I LIKE TO HEAR IT.) Do you hear me, do you really Above that grandiose buzzing That incessant chitter-chatter Of our reality box, hanging off the table Reality is subjective But only just And when work is but contrasted with entertainment Then what do we have left at the end of it, statement





What are you looking at, she said. Can’t you see the reality box is ON, she said. Can’t you see I don’t have time for your silly stories. I guess I don’t have time for my silly stories either, do I, I guess I don’t have time for my silly stories either, do I what with all this work & reality box entertainment.

ABOVE ALL ELSE I BELIEVE IN MUSIC & art & the spiritual magic of creating something (from the core of your mind & the corner of your soul) But above this clear I went in to the forest, with the dark blue trees and the beautiful sad sad birdsong & asked why it felt so lonely, why it felt I had to be so lonely. She looked at me for a long time and said that they had no time for my silly stories. But above this clear Breath. But above this clear, distant forest This clear, distant island I Can only hear the heart and the buzz and the dogs cry Ω


[Type text]

[Type text]





With such kindness, such theory takes on redundancy Shattered in the face of those creases Melted in all of the jargon they cannot understand But the pain alleviates with simplicity, to help the one or the many The dilemma instilled from those words discussed years ago Among a class of culture, a class of seeming intelligence Whilst we waste time, desecrating the words meant to evoke our

Empathy Our aid Our humanity Gone, crumbled with complexity, in the fires of any manner of understanding But who are you talking to? Who are you writing to? Who are you drawing? Who needs your help? and the ignorance surfaces


Rhetoric magazine

Rhetoric magazine


One of the most defining youth movements of the past century has been the punk scene. The punk subculture began in the 1970s as a rebellion against establishmentarianism and for personal freedom. Since it first flourished forty years ago, punk elements have occasionally re-emerged in fashion. Most recently, punk looks popped up on a few runways for Fall 2012. This year’s Met Gala was punk themed, and attendees were encouraged to dress for the occasion. The runway shows in March this year were slathered in black, spikes, tartan and leather, proving that punk looks will be one of the most popular trends this fall. However, keeping in mind the ideologies punks of the 1970s and 1980s advocated, I can’t help but wonder if these values are being paid homage to by the fashion industry. Or, if the adaptation of punk fashion into the modern mainstream is akin to throwing punk self -expression onto a Givenchy runway and stomping all over it with a striped snake-skin boot. Punk looks first began to develop in the early 1970s. A section of the youth culture found themselves concerned with self-expression and antiauthoritarianism, promoting freedom and irreligion. As the subculture grew, punk ideals were more widely expressed in aspects of culture, such as art, fashion, and music. The punk subculture was based off of DIY, independent, individualistic ideology, and punk fashion became a statement of this. Punk clothing was originally handmade, and many punk trends were inspired by the young designer Vivienne Westwood and her partner Malcolm McLaren. Together, the two designers opened a store at 430 Kings Road in London, which became the first go-to store for punk fashion. Offensive t-shirts (such as the popular “Destroy” shirt), leather jackets, military boots and motorcycle boots (or suede Puma Clydes and Chuck Taylors), torn clothing, custom blazers, slogans, blood and patches are all characteristics of the punk era’s fashion. Westwood collected inspirations for her designs from BDSM and fetish culture, incorporating fishnets, spikes, chains and bracelets into her looks.

Rhetoric magazine



Rhetoric magazine

As the 1980s began


culture and fashion became more established. Punk ideals evolved into anti-fashion and utilitarianism, and the looks evolved also. Punk hairstyles branched from shaggy looks into specific styles, such as mohawks, and were dyed bright colours. Dr. Martin boots became a punk staple, and clothing and jeans were intentionally torn, bleached and dirtied. Tartan, plaid and leather jackets all adorned with safety pins, patches and slogans were customary for any punk, and piercings and tattoos increased in popularity. Many of these styles are what people think of today when they talk about “punks”, and the trends have never died in some circles. As bands and punk music developed with the fashion, different types of punk-cultures were established (such as Celtic-punkand anarcho-punk). It seems, though, that as the art, ideals and music of punk subculture grew, the fashions of punks became limited, predictable and, dare I say, unoriginal. This, of course, completely contradicts everything believed by punks at this time.

Since the punk scene somewhat diminished after the 1980s, pieces of punk culture have popped up in fashion from time-to-time. For example, punk elements were adapted by the Goth culture in the 1990s. Many of the Fall 2012 runway shows exhibited elements of punk fashion (such as Thom Browne’s 2012 menswear show), but the Met Gala’s punk theme in May of this year really thrust punk fashion back into the mainstream. [Notable punk looks from the Met Gala were Sarah Jessica Parker's, Madonna in Givenchy, Miley Cyrus in Marc Jacobs, Christina Ricci in Vivienne Westwood and Jaime King in Topshop.] The Fall 2013 runway shows for both menswear and womenswear displayed a lot of punk inspiration and styles. However, the current punk fashions seem to be just that – only a fashion. Many of the punk ideals that died down after the 1980s (disestablishment, antiauthority, DIY-ing) don’t seem to be gaining a particular amount of social support lately. However, a few of the values upheld by the original punk subculture (individualism, free-thinking) have continued to grow in society since the punk withdrawal. Perhaps fashion houses are hoping to reignite a passion and fire in youth culture through the rebirth of punk fashion. Or, maybe designers are paying homage to the original and trailblazing fashion of punk culture. Regardless of their intentions, it already seems as though punk fashion has entered mainstream style, ultimately blaspheming the basis of punk culture through the destruction of its ideologies. Maybe this is just a perfect example of a trend in modern society: to recycle passed ideas and cultural trends. Ω


Having been adopted by 50s housewives and 80s punk rockers alike, the polka dot print has made many appearances throughout the 20th century. Currently appearing in many items of menswear, it can be dressed up or down to provide both casual and sophisticated looks. It is impressive to see how so many small circles can make such a big impact.

Rhetoric magazine

Rhetoric magazine


Rhetoric magazine



Rhetoric Magazine: Circles & Cycles  
Rhetoric Magazine: Circles & Cycles  

ART/MUSIC/CREATIVE WRITING/COMMENTARY/FASHION written by contributors around the world