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.

Reviews by C and D (Arthur No. 16/July 2005)

Originally published in Arthur No. 16 (July 2005)


The Woods
(Sub Pop)
D: Before we begin, I would like to say that today I am in the mood to rock.
C: Well, my friend, you have come to the right place.
D: [first song starts, D leaps out of chair immediately] Is this one of those Japanese bands? With a girl?!? Who is this singing?
C: That woman is not a girl—she could show you a thing or two. [dramatic pause] It’s Sleater-Kinney, produced by Dave Fridmann.
D: [Jaw hits floor] Really?!? SLEATER-KINNEY?????!!!!???? Fuck, man! [shakes head] This is a MAJOR statement of psychedelic riot woman super-rock power! Rock ‘n roll album of the year! God DAMN!!!!
D: I know. Maybe the decade. Superfuzz-heavy in the Northwest tradition of Blue Cheer-Nirvana-Mudhoney, expansive like Neil Young with Crazy Hors…Hendrix… Built to Spill? There’s stuff on here that is out as Comets on Fire, possible even further. Who’s going to top this? Absolutely gigantic sounds…amps out of the red and into the black… a 14-minute song at the end that goes as far out as Comets On Fire, even into Les Rallizes Denudes and Ash Ra Tempel territory…
D: I have to admit I would never have thought these three women would make a record that’s this relentlessly face-melting.
C: I don’t know if they’d thought it possible either. There’s some precedent in Babes of Toyland, or early Hole, maybe, but this is just so much further… Well, I’m not sure that they’d call it psychedelic but it’s definitely psychoactive in an urgent kind of way.
D: [musing] There’s a bit of Jefferson Airplane in here, that’s for sure.
C: There’s a structure to everything but there are these void spaces, too. And then there are straight songs too, which rock in this tight, urgent way and then blow into something else via a drum charge or a panned guitar solo or I don’t know what. I know I’m going Beavis here but I don’t know how to [clears throat] …ahem… properly articulate the sensations I am feeling as I listen to this album. For a long time I didn’t like Corin Tucker’s voice, but here? It’s like this is the setting it’s always been looking for.
D: And that’s some hotshit drumming for sure.
C: [dancing] I can’t believe it, but seriously, one must acknowledge what is happening here. This is higher than High on Fire. They are Queens of a more stoned Age!
D: An unheard of power monster, that singlehandedly, forever eradicates the notion that women have no balls.
C: [Gives puzzled look at D, then continues] I cannot account for what I am hearing. Cannot assimilate. How did this happen? Seriously. It’s a lidflipper, a real wig-frier. Can you name another band that seven albums into their career, supernovaed into this kind of territory? This is so rare. It reminds me of something that Michael Moorcock was saying the other day: “In the ‘60s, Dylan, Beatles, Beefheart et al. were all thinking on their feet, if they were thinking at all. While Dylan remained a Guthrie sound-a-like he had no real credibility (although he did bring Guthrie a wider audience, I’d guess). As Dylan dumped the Guthrie cloak, especially when he went electric, he gained authenticity. The less like Buddy Holly the Beatles sounded, the better they got. Eventually, you went into a studio not knowing what you’d come out with.” I think that may be what’s happened here with Sleater-Kinney. Maybe this record just happened. Maybe we are witnessing the joy of unplanned, no-thinking, no-rules spontaneous creativity, of these three amazing women following and trusting their muse, confident in their abilities and each other to give it a trust that most other artists cower from giving these days? In any event, it’s an extraordinary creative breakthrough record made at precisely the right time by artists working at the peak of their collective rock power. That they are women in a stupid, male-centric culture doing this makes the whole thing even more important and inspirational. I want to go door-to-door like an evangelist for this record: “Hey sisters and brothers, have you heard the Good News?” But the old doors don’t exist after this album. They’ve all been blown open.
D: Word to your moms, Sleater-Kinney drop bombs.

The Wedding
C: New one from New York underground trance/art-rockers Oneida: a favorite around the Arthur offices for years now.
D: [Listening to “The Eiger”] They’re using strings?!?
C: Yes! This sounds amazing. The songs are catchier, there’s more dynamics in the structure, the arrangements are more varied. And the production is just nuts. This is another huge artistic breakthrough. Damn…
D: Something is in the air… Something good. A new scent.
C: Shit! Listen to how the keys get sucked out of the soundfield [on “Lavender”]… Listen to the almost-Espers psych-folk that is “Run Through My Hair.” “High Life” is an optimistic vocal over a total Kraftwerk/Cluster/La Dusseldorf electronic bed that changes into something more organic… “Did I Die” is like Wolf Eyes without the noise, [chuckles] whatever that means. Wow. I can’t believe this album…
D: It’s true, it’s beautiful.
C: Listen to how massive the drums are on “Spirits” and “Heavenly Choir,” and how majestic the guitar is. These are their “Kashmir”’s, their “When the Levee Breaks,” and this album is their Physical Graffiti…
D: We are in the presence of genius, manifesting itself.

Continue reading


Originally published in Arthur No. 1 (October 2002)

Ask Neil Hamburger

Each issue, comedian Neil Hamburger will answer Arthur readers’ queries about relationships, career, sexual intercourse, table manners and particle physics. Email your questions to and we will pass them along to Neil at our next Cappuccino Blast party. For this special premiere issue of Arthur, we didn’t have any questions from our readers for Neil, mostly because we don’t have any readers yet. So we adapted the following questions from The Sun.

I am 22 and living with my 20-year-old girlfriend of two years and our baby son. Our relationship is routine and boring. I’ve never been in love with her and only stayed because of the baby and because it was somewhere to live. My life changed a few months ago when I met this beautiful, intelligent older woman. We met at the gym where she works out most days. She doesn’t look anywhere near her true age. I am younger than her children but I don’t care about the age difference between us, although she does. She asked me out for a drink and afterwards we went back to her house and ended up making love. She is the most fantastic lover a man could wish for. Her calls and texts are so erotic, I’m addicted. She asks what underwear I like, then buys it for me. She laughs at my jokes, listens to everything I say and she’s only interested in me. Even without sex, being with her is good fun. We recently sat on the beach for hours just talking – something I’ve never done with my partner. But my lover is married and says she will never leave her husband. They live in a fabulous house and I think it’s only the money that keeps them together. I’ve promised my lover that if ever I win the Lottery I will take her away with me. She agrees we could be blissfully happy together if we had money. She is going away on holiday soon and I worry she will meet another young guy who does have money and head off with him instead. I’m pretty sure my girlfriend knows something is going on because of the text messages. I feel bad but I can’t live without this woman. My partner is trying hard to please me but I just want my lover. Will she ever leave her husband so I can have her to myself? —Who’s Laughing Now

Dear Who’s, I can relate to your wish to win the Lottery. But the rest of your problem is somewhat foreign to me. I haven’t had this sort of situation, unfortunately. You say, “She laughs at my jokes.” I would love to meet a woman that would laugh at MY jokes. It seems that at far as that is concerned, sir, you HAVE won the Lottery! A lot of times I have done shows to huge crowds and received no laughs at all. Here you have a situation where this woman laughs at your jokes…and still you complain! I don’t understand what your problem is. Except where you say “I worry that she will meet another young guy who does have money, and head off with him instead.” Because I’ve had that happen to me, which ruined my marriage. Except that it wasn’t a young guy…it was a dentist! So my advice is, yes, keep playing the Lottery. And suggest to your lady-friend that she brushes her teeth three times a day, thus ensuring that she stays away from the dentist. A good, name-brand baking soda-based toothpaste should solve your problem, as it neutralizes the acids that cause cavities.

I’m a 17-year-old girl and this happened after I’d gone to a nightclub with some of my mates. After a few hours they were bored and decided to go on somewhere else but I wanted to stay as I’d seen a really cute guy standing at the bar. He’d been looking at me all evening and when they left he came over and bought me a drink. We got chatting and seemed to hit it off straight away. At the end of the evening he said he’d walk me home but as we started walking down an alleyway he suddenly pushed me against the wall and started kissing me. I was surprised at first but we ended up having sex. It was a bit rough but it was the best I’d ever had. Now I’m desperate to see him again. I’ve looked out for him in the club and around town but he’s nowhere to be found. I don’t know whether to tell my mates or keep it to myself. —Likes It Rough

Dear Likes, This happens to me all the time. People leaving nightclubs to have sex, thus missing my act. Oftentimes they leave shortly after my set starts, which doesn’t look good in the eyes of the club owner. These nightclubs are reluctant to book you a second time if people are walking out during your set, whether it’s to have “rough sex” or just to get some cigarettes across the street. It’s people like you who are ruining my career. Yes, I do have some advice to you! Next time you are out at one of these nightclubs, watch ALL the acts on the bill, particularly the comedy segments of the night. Be patient—and THEN go home and have your rough sex, however you want to have it. It’s just common courtesy.

My girlfriend and I are both in our thirties and have been together for three years. Last weekend she went to her mum’s with our baby daughter so I could decorate our bedroom. As I tidied the wardrobe a bag fell out and curiosity made me peep inside. I could hardly believe my eyes when I discovered the vibrator. I haven’t mentioned it to her yet. I’m so confused and upset I don’t know how to deal with my feelings. Should I say anything? —Seeing Is Believing

Dear Seeing, This is a very modern age, so this is the sort of problem that comes up now and again. Unfortunately, we men have to accept the fact that we are now replaceable, because of the invention of the battery. You can say something to your girlfriend, but you’ll probably be told that you are impeding “progress”, that you are a fossil, a relic of a by-gone era. Nowadays they have computers that can do anything…including comedy routines! The old-style comedian, such as myself, must make do with bookings in smaller towns in which the computer age has not yet arrived. This is why I have so many bookings in Oklahoma. This is what I suggest you do: find one of these small-town girls who has not yet been exposed to the new technology, who still believes in the simple things, like the human touch.

I am 29, my husband is 39 and we’ve been married just over a year. When we met he was everything I ever wanted in a man and–as a bonus–he accepted my son who absolutely idolizes him. But things started to go wrong within weeks of marrying. He likes to experiment sexually and his sexual demands are getting worse. I go along with his wishes to keep him happy but I don’t enjoy most of it. Stupidly, I agreed to a threesome. He found her through an advert. She was quite matter-of-fact but I had to drink a bottle of wine before I could go through with it. I feel totally worthless now and I can’t understand why he needs someone else if he loves me. I have refused to do it again but he won’t stop asking. What am I going to do? I love him when he’s kind and gentle, but not when he’s trying to be a sexual deviant. —Liquored Up

Dear Liquored Up, I see what you mean. I had a show booked recently in Denver, Colorado, at a little nightclub there. It was supposed to be just myself and my opening act, Pleaseeasaur, which is also a comedy-oriented act—we often travel as a package deal. Anyway, we both arrived in Denver early, prepared to do this show…but when we got there, we found that a “third party” had been added to the bill, making the night a “threesome,” as you call it. I felt totally worthless because I had believed that we were able to perform adequately for the Denver audience without needing another act on the bill to keep the evening going. And to make matters worse, this third party, a band called “The Fire Show,” sat in the back of the club all night saying bad things about my act, and about Pleaseeasaur. I had to drink a bottle of wine before I could sit through their set. But you know what: we were vindicated, in that no one bought any of this third party’s merchandise afterwards, not a single thing! Yet we sold quite a few Neil Hamburger souvenir CDs, fridge magnets, buttons, and T-shirts. So my advice is to hang in there, because, as the legendary entertainer Phil Harris used to say, “cream always rises to the top.”

Neil Hamburger says his next comedy album, Laugh Out Lord, is due soon on Drag City Records. For more information, say hello to