Arthur, on the Rocks, into the Drink

I’ve only seen Arthur magazine a handful of times, picking it up in various record stores or bookstores in random cities and places — I think I found it once in my home base Champaign, IL. I always enjoyed this free publication because it seemed freewheeling, with truly interesting interviews and reviews, and not published primarily for the purpose of selling me a lifestyle.

So I’m little sad to read that Arthur is no more, resulting from irreconcilable differences between the founding editor and publisher.

I was generally surprised to find it here in the Midwest, since a lot of the ads were very Los Angeles oriented. But now I understand that Arthur relied on a fairly grassroots distribution network of volunteers who moved it around the country. Chicago’s Lumpen magazine–which started here in Champaign–also relies on similar volunteer labor to distribute it outside of the city. In fact, I’ve carried a bundle or two home with me after bumping into its publisher/editor Edmar in Chicago or at the AMC.

It’s especially sad that Arthur’s demise appears to be the result of personal differences rather than a lack of success. Even though Arthur relied on ad revenue, according to its editor the magazine managed to maintain full editorial independence.

We need publications that can carry on in the spirit of the underground press of the 60s and 70s without having to get bought up into the not-so-alternative alternative weekly empires.

Alas, the grassroots is not always easy… but it’s worth it.







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