NERVEMETER wouldn’t want a fawning explanation of what it is – it would want us to read it, think about what it has to say and then to get up and create change. We could all start by TP-ing an estate agents.
Text by Ross Aston
“We once had a word puzzle which was just the word ‘cunt’ repeated in different directions. It still makes me laugh,” says Ian Allison, co-founder of Nervemeter magazine. First printed in 2011 by Kieron Livingstone, who handles its art direction and imagery, and Allison, who looks after the words, the underground publication has one aim: to be a free resource that can be sold for occasional income by people reduced to begging. It’s donated to those in need, rather than sold to them in bulk like the Big Issue, and all proceeds from its sale go to the vendors to keep. Though this does mean that the raising of production budgets for the publication can be a major hurdle. “We have found some quite creative ways of solving this problem such as putting on benefit gigs, or being early investors in cryptocurrencies and liquidating the gains when we need to pay a print bill,” explains Allison. Self-described as “unpalatable to advertisers”, due to its tackling of controversial issues such as child sex abuse, suicide and addiction, the magazine isn’t forced to kowtow to financial bargaining. Because it exists through fundraising, it is able to create content without self-censoring, a richly textured art experiment made up of disparate text and visuals to reflect our times.
Nervemeter’s multi-layered style, drawing on references from across the cultural spectrum, sits alongside contributions from artists and institutions such as Studio Voltaire, the ICA, Bonnie Camplin, Steven Claydon and Clunie Reid. Asking the right, but nevertheless difficult, questions that we try to deny to ourselves as a society, Nervemeter is a much-needed force for change. It reminds you that brilliant content still exists and is literally out there on the streets.
More Or Less is happy to be working with Nervemeter, by donating any run-offs of this issue that are still on the shelves after a couple of months to be sold by its homeless seller network.