This month’s Little Magazine is Them Pretentious Basterds, designed and published online from Chennai in the year 2012 by a brilliant bunch of young writers and artists. The three published issues stood for “non-mainstream poetry, fiction and narrative art from India”; for “writers and artists who seem unable to quite fit themselves into an established genre”; for “wit and dark humour, and poems that pretend to be stories”. These issues were about taking writing seriously, and lightly, about creating structures, and breaking them, about welcoming surprises, and banishing blandness. But they also stood for yet another promising little magazine prematurely closing down. It might be a good thing that alternative literature and little magazines are free of petit bourgeois emotions such as hanging on. But who can tell! It also might be equally true that every time a little magazine dies, the guardian angel of alternative publication sheds a tear and loses a feather from her wings…

Illustration – Satwik Gade

Them Pretentious Basterds can be read from here. And here is how they came to exist :
Thomas Manuel for Them Pretentious Basterds : TPB started just after Chitralekha (Manohar) went to Los Angeles to enter a slam poetry competition and was slightly blown away by the level of support and camaraderie shown by the slam poetry community and wanted to try and recreate the energy back in Chennai. So she had the idea of starting a group and she called a few people and we met on terraces and discussed art and other such pretentiousness. The original aim was to create a space for feedback and critique but I think it worked best just a support structure – a place to receive encouragement. We started the magazine because we had all this writing and wanted a place to publish it. Second and third issues had outside contributions but a loose editorial team meant that too much work fell on Chitralekha and Satwik (Gade). It just became a little too much. The fact that our outside contributions weren’t any good didn’t help. Our fourth issue was stillborn. Almost all of the original group works in some related field – journalism, graphic design, music, editing, filmmaking, some do content or advertising, so it goes.

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