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Media Shamans



Media Shamans

This was the first of the Ratio:3 series, a project designed to encourage new collisons of style and content. The brief given to the authors was simple: provide 31 pages for the book. No other instructions were offered, simply a promise from us to publish the results.

This first volume brought together three poets, friends. Ira Cohen, Gerard Malanga and the late Angus Maclise. Ira was instrumental in drawing together the threads, the shaker in the mix. Long-time ally of Gysin and Burroughs, he had long championed Maclise's work and it was through Ira that permissions for publication were obtained from the Maclise estate.

The connections went back to the Warhol factory days. Gerard Malanga of course is also the whip-dancer in the early films and photos of the Velvet Underground; Maclise the early drummer in the Velvets, pre-dating Mo Tucker's involvement with the group. Maclise dropped out of the band when they started to get gigs: the idea of having to start and stop playing at pre-determined times was, for him, control gone mad.

Receiving the manuscripts caused us a slight (ahem) problem. The words were wonderful, in many ways the easiest project to prepare for publication, but with one exception. Poetry requires accurate typesetting, and at the prices we were paying the project looked impossible. Think about it. It's one thing to run a block of prose through a typesetting machine, quite another to make sure each letter/line is accurately placed on the page. Oh, it's possible, but hugely time-consuming.

The solution was to purchase what was then (sometime in 1990) the best dtp package we could (Ventura). We ran this on a chunky 286 with 1MB of RAM and a 40MB hard drive. Seriously, we did all our publishing on just that. Plus a beast of a laser printer for producing camera ready copy. And even that required a font cartridge which more than anything resembled an 8-track audio cartridge. The experience of typesetting that book is probably what still influences me today in creating web-pages by hand-coding everything. Habits die hard.

The results were well worth the effort. On the next page is the introductory text, plus some screen shots...R3 more

Cover art by Steve Greaves.

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Ratio:3 v1


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