Ten years ago — 2002 — right about now: 70,000 free copies of the 56-page Arthur Magazine No. 1 somehow hit the streets across North America.

Thank you to everyone who helped get this train rolling.

Thank you, publisher Laris Kreslins and art director W.T. Nelson. Thank you, adfellow Jamie Fraser.

Thank you, senior advisors Mark Lewman, Paul Cullum and Shawn Mortensen (RIP).

Thank you, contributors Paul Moody, Byron Coley and Thurston Moore, Geoff Mcfetridge, Spike Jonze, Neil Hamburger, David Berman, Ian Svenonius, Dame Darcy, Eddie Dean, Joe Carducci, Camille Rose Garcia, Jason Amos, Joseph Durwin, Daniel Pinchbeck, Alan Moore, Pat Graham, Dave Brooks, Steve Giberson, Mike Castillo and John Henry Childs.

Thank you, all the agents in our improvised guerrilla distribution network across the continent.

Thank you, all the entities that spent money to advertise in our untested pages.

Thank you to everyone thanked on Page 3 of the mag: Brendan Newman, Kreslins Family, Oma, Kristaps, Gary Hustwit, Chris Ronis, Kate Sawai, Janis Sils, Bernadette Napoleon, Vineta Plume, Fred Cisterna, Richard Grijalva, Ned Milligan, Lizzy Klein, Robin Adams, Jack Mendelsohn, John Shimkonis, Prolific, Chris Young, Ed Halter, Mike Galinsky, Jim Higgins, Plexifilm Family, Alie Robotos, Domainistudios, Fistfulayen, Natalie and Zach, Janitor Sunny Side Up, Yasmin Khan, Rachel Stratton, Lady Montford, John Coulthart, Henry Childs and Joshua Sindell.

Thank you, Sue Carpenter.

Thank you, Darcey Leonard.

Thank you, John Payne and Andrew Male.

Thank you, Robin Turner.

Thank you to the bands that played Arthur’s launch party at Spaceland in Silver Lake (thank you, Jennifer Tefft): Fatso Jetson, Chuck Dukowski Sextet… I’m not sure who else.

Thank you, Matt Luem.

Thank you, Steve Appleford, for being a real journalist.

Thank you to everyone who played a role who I’ve forgotten or neglected to post here. (Please be in touch!)

And thank you to everyone who found the magazine, picked it and read it.

We’re coming back.

"My Conversation With the Secret Service" by IAN SVENONIUS (Arthur No. 15/March 2005)

Originally published in Arthur No. 15 (March 2005)

A Conversation With the Secret Service
Was I being investigated as a threat to the president—or as a potential hire for a sinister job?

By Ian Svenonius

I have a suspicion that the current president might be assassinated. How do I know? I was interviewed for it.

About a year and a half ago, I took a call from people who identified themselves as the Secret Service. They expressed an urgent desire to see me, which in their highly considered psycho-babble, was made to sound like a choiceless inevitability.

On the demand for an explanation, the agent, a woman, told me that they had intercepted an email which seemed to implicate me in a plot to harm the POTUS: that is, the President Of The United States.

I immediately surmised that her concern was related to a mass mailing I’d written in beat-prose to attract attendees to a night of record playing at a local club, called “Spilt Milk.” Thinking that my audience would enjoy the same amusements as myself, I had perhaps contained some reference to a dispatched leader of the free world.

The Secret Service’s responsibility was to check out every instance of a threat, no matter how far-fetched.

“We need you to come down to the office. It’s extremely important,” the woman insisted.

To get the initial sale, through, they used a female agent, knowing via a psychological assessment based on telephone and computer surveillance, that this would seem less threatening to me. Like a talented telemarketer, she was gentle but firmly coercive. In fact, the two professions are related, as the FBI and CIA’s inquisition techniques are lifted straight from Nelson Rockefeller’s bible for salesmen, How to Win Friends and Influence People, and feature the exact same mind control tricks. Of course, telemarketers don’t have the weight of state security at their disposal.

“I can’t come down, I’m really busy,” I told her, though my inbred instinct was to obey.

“We’ll come to your house, then,” she insisted, another offer I evaded.

After much back and forth, I agreed to meet “them,” the Secret Service agents, at a French bistro not far from my house. It seemed less likely that they’d kill or abduct me in a public setting.
Before I left my home, I alerted a few people as to the nature of my rendezvous and they agreed to witness the interrogation from afar, unannounced.

When I arrived, the officers were sitting in the outside cafe section under a sun umbrella which said “CHIMAY.” One was the woman I had spoken with on the telephone and she was accompanied by a man in a lowslung baseball cap with some rugged facial growth.

They looked drab and angry, respectively.

As the woman agent clasped the evidence and sat businesslike, her partner assumed the “bad cop” persona, searching me like a berserker and then scowling fiercely through the duration of the meeting. The implication was clear; if he were let off his chain, he would make quick work of me for god and country.

The purpose of this choreographed psycho-ballet is of course to draw the detainee into the maternal arms of the good cop so as to escape the paternal bad cop figure’s wrath. This psy-op cliche was immediately transparent, but it still worked; psychological reflex is at least as dependable as the blood-and-guts kind.

Meanwhile, my own spy witnesses had taken their anonymous positions, taking snapshots innocuously in case I were later dangled from a helicopter by these freak thugs.

When the waiter came by, I ordered a latte.

The mama character drew the offending email from a folder dramatically, like it was a bad report card. She read it aloud, slowly and haltingly as if translating from hieroglyphs. Continue reading

ARTHUR'S ASTROLOGY No. 2 by Ian Svenonius (Nov. 2003)

by Ian Svenonius

first published in Arthur No. 7 (Nov. 2003)

Predestination; a concept older than free will and borne out by recent scientific elucidations on historical dialectics, genetics and chemical psychology. Each of us is caught in a tangled labyrinth of circumstance and cosmic programming, acting out our grotesque fate in an awful, ignorant manner. The restless contractions of the astral bodies affect us in a profound way; each offhand movement of a planet can have enormous repercussions for humanity and our various client species, via magnetic fields, space dust and thoughtless lunar alignment. The moon can likewise be an irresponsible entity, tumbling through the sky carelessly, without regard to the tidal waves it may or may not cause. A correlation could be drawn to our own unthinking rearrangement of ant life or microscopic organism culture. This column is a transmission then, not only to the Arthur readers (who have star signs), but to the stars as well, an attempt to get them to understand that even their nonchalant actions have repercussions…

You are armed with scales in the one hand, and a sword of justice in the other. Also, you’re blindfolded. Everyone you meet is weighed and then sliced accordingly. You often slice the wrong portion because of this strange voluntary eye impairment. As with many handicapped people though, your other senses have become hyper-attuned. This means that, while justice is blind, it can smell and hear very well. According to Marshall McLuhan, this puts you at odds with society because, since the introduction of the Guttenberg press, people are much more sight-reliant now than in previous historical epochs. Due to your alienation from the hegemonic eye-based world, you enact harsher sentences than you normally would. But that’s okay; they deserve it. Keep on slicin’!

You’re proud of your designation as the cosmological fornicator; and you are good…maybe too good. People are starting to resent you. Didn’t you know that God hates sex? This month take a self-imposed dry spell; go to your pal the Dalai Lama’s house and mow the lawn or read a book. You’re starting to smell the place up.

You like to give people rides on your stout equestrian torso. Recently though you’ve been fined for defecating on the sidewalk. The double standard is clear; while the mounted police are allowed to spread feces everywhere, you and your beast man brethren are fined and flogged. Though this oppression is maddening, remember that these modern day chevaliers are mere jealous pretenders while you, Sagittarius, are the real thing. They attempt animal fusion through fancy gear but at the end of the day (in the words of Conway Twitty) “it’s only make believe.” Otherwise they would understand the difficulty of straddling a toilet with an ungainly horse bottom.

Recently you’ve taken time off from fondling your impeccable record collection and turned your gaze outward. Like fellow sea goats Nixon, Stalin and Mao, you’re compelled to commit mass murder in the name of some political theory. The same idealism unites the two seemingly disparate urges of course; perfectionism can be a harsh taskmaster. Remember: just as you should allow that late-era Fleetwood Mac album to sit in your bin without fear of a purge, so you must forgive humankind of their foibles and let them live.

You’re angry and rightly so. What’s the use of being the water bearer when everyone has their own personal bottles of the substance these days? In fact, aspersions have been cast as to the quality of your particular stock. Apparently it’s not from a “reputable enough” source. Don’t worry though, this poseur shit will die and you’ll be there with the water when no one else has it anymore. And they won’t miss you til that well runs dry. But in the meantime it seems important to expand your repertoire. Perhaps it’s time to bear something else for awhile, like pizza or insulin.

You are a fish or a pair of fish swimming toward one another. The fish bowl is a drag for the likes of you, the fishbowl inhabitant. The redundancy of the route and the ammonia levels in the water are getting you down. Plus the fact that you eat those flakes made of ground-up fish entrails and worse. That’s pretty degrading. In the old days, before fish food, people just fed their fish leftovers, such as the crust of a peanut butter sandwich or an old lasagna. Due to the bogus animal food industry though, you have this sicko soilent green food factory crap. You’ve gotta break out of that bowl and go get a fish filet.

You’ve sliced through the enemy shield wall and you’re covered with their chopped up arms and legs. Now it’s time to burn the church and take all the precious items back home to your cold and brutal kingdom. But you’re tired of this life of conflict. You want to settle down and maybe colonize this burned up battleground. Do it! Follow that dream! These people can be your new subjects. But don’t betray Odin to the Christian gods or he’ll turn his wrath on you.

You’re feeling smug. As though you’d figured it all out. But as usual you’ve turned a blind eye to the exploitation which has befallen your archetype/namesake. Did you know that in thousands of cowboy bars across America the bull’s backside’s likeness has been reproduced in mechanical form for riding in a latently erotic display? That grinning, self satisfied cow people are using your facsimile as an enormous crypto-vibrator? Isn’t that disgusting?

This month, strangle your twin in his sleep. she/he’s holding you back! You’re the real star and they’re not pulling their weight. Aren’t you sick of dragging that idiot around with you, while every good deed turns to naught due to their constant nagging and naysaying? Their doubt has wreaked enough havoc on your life! At least have him /her clean out their desk and leave the premises. And don’t listen to the tears; it hurts you as much as it hurts them.

Your big claw isn’t very good for doing fine tuned tasks such as drawing or splinter removal. Meanwhile your small claw isn’t good for scaring away predators. You’ve got a bad case of dyslexia and you keep getting confused with which claw to use. Also, people think you’re coy since you inadvertently walk sideways when they approach you.

You’re interested in changing your title. King/Queen of the jungle doesn’t speak to you, jungle inhabitants don’t pay taxes and besides, you’ve never even seen a jungle! Maybe you should rule a tony stretch of Manhattan or a monied subdivision in Maclean. You could be: “Queen of Central Park West” or “God of Fondlewood Court.”

You’re treating your inborn repression as a license to work with some unsavory elements like Opus Dei, The Vatican Bank and CIA-mafia types. If you don’t get with it, Jesus won’t give you a golden cookie when you die.

TEN OUT OF 5: A comprehensive guide to the MC5’s recordings, for the curious, the enthusiast and the hopeless completist

photo: Leni Sinclair



This guide was originally published in Arthur No. 9 (March 2004) as one of a set of articles on the MC5 in that issue that ran over several pages (see two of the section’s two-page, 22×17-inch spreads above.) Copies of Arthur No. 9 are available for $25 each (our stock is almost out, that’s why the price is that high) from the Arthur Store

A comprehensive guide to the MC5’s recordings, for the curious, the enthusiast and the hopeless completist by Seth “The Seth Man” Wimpfheimer, James Parker and Ian Svenonius

Continue reading

Saturday, Aug 15 NYC: Arthur co-presents Publicist with Ian Svenonius & more all-nite, all-ages dance party


PUBLICIST live! with guest vocalist IAN SVENONIUS!
Plus DJs Ian Svenonius, Justin Miller (DFA)
& Jacques Renault (Runaway)
Video installation by Alison Childs (Donuts!)
Free vegan spacecakes!
Market Hotel
1142 Myrtle Ave. @ Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Midnite – 6am

ARTHUR MAGAZINE & GALAXIE are excited to present a rare live appearance (THE ONLY U.S. DATE!) of TRANS AM drummer Sebastian Thomson’s solo electro project called PUBLICIST this coming Saturday at Market Hotel. His set features guest vocalisms by Ian Svenonius (Soft Focus, Chain & The Gang, Scene Creamers, Make-Up, etc.). You may recognize Sebastian from other acts such as Weird War. He loves making music with his friends but he also loves to make music on his own. As he once said “I love making music with my friends but I also love making music on my own.”

Ian will be DJing for the first hour or so from his collection of soul, funk, boogie & disco 45s. Galaxie residents Justin Miller & Jacques Renault will join Ian on the decks for an all-night, all-ages afterhours disco danceparty at Market Hotel in Brooklyn. We’ll also have a laser-like video installation courtesy of Galaxie resident video artist Alison Childs and free vegan spacecakes. Doors are at midnite and we’ll go til 6am!!