Blood and Guts
Print is dead and buried. Not for Dublin magazine Guts.
30th March 2016
We paid a visit to the Liffey Street studio of Dublin magazine Guts as they were busy wrapping up Issue 5 of their already award-winning magazine. The last thing they needed was us poking around with a camera and asking annoying questions but we persisted and got founder Roisin Agnew to tell us all.
I’ve inherited all the worst features of both cultures
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m born and raised in Rome, but have been living in Dublin for 7 years. Sadly I’ve inherited all the worst features of both cultures. What’s more I’m 27 and felt grown up for the first time this year so everything is terrible.
What's your background?
I’ve been working as a journalist and writer for about 3 years, and before that I was doing little bits of acting and was in college, and in the future I’m going to be a filmmaker, an author, an acclaimed dancer in the New York vogueing scene, and a natural history expert.
Steve McCarthy and Rosin Agnew
It was an area that was being neglected by the new surge of creative energy
Why did you set up Guts?
I set up Guts because I wasn’t being given space anywhere else, and because I wanted to create something that I could put my whole self into – writing and aesthetics.
When I started Guts there weren’t any other new magazines starting in Dublin and it seemed like it was an area that was being neglected by the new surge of creative energy we were experiencing here. I felt I could contribute something original and execute it well.
Who is the core Guts team?
The Guts team has mainly been me Steve McCarthy and Steve O’Connor - it’s based out of their studio. With the videos it is ultimately a collaborative process - I come up with the script and contribute ideas, Stevey interprets it into a concept and a style, Steve Mc contributes illustration and both the boys find the content.
We also have two amazing designers - Shane Kenna and Paddy Dunne.
We’ve had some repeat contributors like Brian Herron, Neil Watkins, Roisin Kiberd, Seamas O’Reilly, Megan Nolan, and even Mick Minogue in some ways who we love. We’ve also had some amazing production assistants like Emily Horgan, Benedict Shegog and our social media girl Laura X.
Guts crew Steve O'Connor (top) and Mick Minogue (bottom)
Money is always out there somewhere in the wild blue yonder and not in our sweaty fists
Why is running something like Guts important to you?
Guts gives me the space, the freedom, and the control to be the evil villain I truly am, as well as create something that is totally me and mine. I don’t have to compromise and I can execute a vision however small it might be
What is the most frustrating part of doing the mag?
Money – we would like to pay our contributors and have more events but money is always out there somewhere in the wild blue yonder and not in our sweaty fists.
“I’ve thought long and hard. Do As I Say, Not As I Do pops into my head a lot. I’ve always thought it was very Irish. Reminds me of my mother.”
(Issue 5 excerpt)
What was the most satisfying moment you had with Guts?
Overhearing someone I don’t know describe what Guts Magazine is to her friend and explain it really clearly and articulately – it was this ‘oh my God they get it!’ moment. Winning the Stacks Award for cover of the year was amazing too, as is the fact that we’ve had 154 applications. We love our Broadsheet commenters too
What can we expect in issue 5 of Guts magazine?
Here's an excerpt from my introduction to Issue 5 to give you a flavour;
- “I’ve thought long and hard. Do As I Say, Not As I Do pops into my head a lot. I’ve always thought it was very Irish. Reminds me of my mother.”
Back when we were a twinkle in a Kickstarter’s eye, we gave away the theme and title of our fifth issue to a generous soul willing to unleash a certain amount of dough on us. That soul belonged to chef and popup maestro Kevin Powell, the man behind amazing food project Gruel Gorilla.
Do As I Say, Not As I Do looks into issues of authority at Kev’s request in this period of post-election readjustment. The phrase describes the intrinsic injustice in orders - being told to do something that the speaker is not going to do. It’s a cliché and a cliché for a reason. Punishment and Power come up if you play a word association game, quickly followed by Mum, Work, School, Government, Dog. In a place like Dublin you are never allowed to forget the omnipresence of orders and the institutions they belong to. From your education to the shade of your boss’s lipstick, do as we do and look into questions of authority in this our fifth issue.
Artwork from Issue 5
I’d heard she changed her name when she was 8. She was in class one day and the teacher asked her what her name was - she flicked through the millions of possible lives and names she could have and settled on something she liked because of its suggestion of a strong vivid colour - “Fuchsia” she said.
I like to think this story is true even if it’s not, as it gives Fuchsia a precocious Matilda-like quality, throwing newts across classrooms with the power of her mind while she forges her identity under the mantle of this new moniker. It’s like an origin story that explains that idiosyncratic humour present in all her illustrations, as well as her total disregard for anything other than the beat of her own drum. Aside from her monstrous talent, it was this quality that made her perfect for our issue about authority. -
Artwork from Issue 5
Recommend some other magazines to us that you love.
Huck Magazine, The Gentlewoman, Little White Lies, Anorak Magazine for visuals, OOMK (one of my kind) was a huge inspiration, it’s mainly a group of Muslim girls in London and it uses a lot of collage and illustration as well as great themes per issue. Then Root & Bone, The White Review, Gym Class Mag, a magazine about magazines that picked up on us early and is very informative. And The New Yorker.
Issue 5 of Guts Magazine is out on Saturday 2nd April 2016 at Thirty Four Cafe in Portobello.
You can buy Guts magazine and see local stockists on Thisisguts.com