© 2009 Lynsey

032 – Mass media experiments


In my second year of high school I decided I wanted to launch a magazine. I had no experience in these matters, no audience, no market, no skills, and most importantly, no fear and so I launched right in. I did have complete faith in the concept and that, my friends, is all you ever need. Faith is another word for love.

I was a member of a church youth group and I was able to be convincing enough to get access to the weapon of mass instruction, the Gestetner (no nasty Banda machine fumes for these folk). Step 1 – get a printing machine. One of the older kids had a job as a typist, so there was no worries about getting the type set. Step 2 – get someone with skills. The church had all the styluses and texture plates for making graphics (I was good for the design stuff). Step 3 – add value. The other kids agreed to come up with content. Step 4 – distribute the labour and make full use of the excellent skills of other excited and motivated people.

I was so excited. I’d read that Castro had taken over Cuba with two Gestetner machines strapped to mules. The revolutions were about to happen.

What happened: who knew that getting double sided pages into an eight page document would be so difficult? It’s so counter intuitive that page 1 is on the right and page 8 is on the left. Upside down, back-to-front, foul is fair, feel the fear and do it by the pricking of my thumbs. Magic!

I wasn’t surprised to find the other kids were suddenly incapable of stringing two words together, and being that this was beginning to look quite a lot like homework just didn’t want to know. I wrote most of the content.

Who could’ve guessed that someone with School Cert typing and a job as a typist would be so completely unable to accurately copy type, or even care that they were inaccurate?

It never occurred to me that the only paper the church would have would be white. White! What is with that? Inspired by Castro, I liberated some paper from school – it was pink – that special horrid pink still in vogue today. Note: the paper was foolscap – this is well before that modern metric paper was even heard of.

I got the mistake-ridden stencils and added the very limited graphics. I biked over to the church after school on the Friday night, ran off the sheets, folded and stapled them on Saturday, and sold them after church on Sunday.

I’d love to say that my classy little document (complete with weak grey, typo filled, feeble graphic content and an avant garde pink cover) went over a storm, but it really didn’t. I raised enough to pay for the white paper and supplies, and I slunk away into publishing obscurity. At least I didn’t have to feed the mules. And I still love media production.

Manifesto
26. Every day take action. Every small step counts.
43. Every day accept you will make mistakes. Learn from them. They are opportunities in disguise.
32. Every day have a laugh.

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