Chief Editor’s Note: Biography, Killing Your Darlings

Elizabeth 2

I recently got hooked on a podcast called S-Town. As podcasts go, it’s not at all obscure. It was made by the same people who made Serial, and many of the the big UK and US papers gave it a writeup. The narrative centered around an eccentric denizen of rural Alabama, John B. McLemore. Initially he contacted a journalist, Brian Reed, about a possible murder and coverup conspiracy, and the story starts out as a kind of southern gothic detective jaunt. As the reporter uncovers more, the genre flips multiple times and the focus moves more tightly to McLemore. Ultimately it becomes a biography of this utterly baroque, layered character.

I am also at the moment taking Merja Polvinen’s course on autobiography, largely because the genre skeeves me out. An autobiography can be tastefully done when a life has been interesting and the writer-subject is outward looking towards some issue, cause, craft, zeitgeist, whatever. But generally, hearing the details of the life of a person I’ve never met feels like being thinly coated in slime. Same goes for biography, with the added problems inherent in one person representing another. Probably this distaste says as much about me as about the writers. I’ve been trying to better understand my aversion and the finer ethical points of writing about a real person’s life. After all, as an amateur journalist, don’t I sometimes partake in the same?

Portraying some real person closely, revealing their deeds, confided speech, foibles – this may be an act of love, but as D.H. says, anatomizing what you love kills it. To know about is intelligent, to know is vampirism at its purest.

Though I reject the library as tomb metaphor, sometimes I do think that we kill in the act of writing. A person, no matter how weak their action or deceptive their speech, possesses a kind of beauty and sympathy when witnessed living. Provided, of course, the witness adjusts her range appropriately. These same traits, fixed in writing, begin to stink of rot. As in so many things, the beauty is in the movement.

Closely rendered (auto)biography is like pinning an irridescent beetle to a board. Certain things just don’t survive being written.

By the end of S-Town, McLemore, initially an elusive and fantastic personality, had collapsed into a squalid list of details. I felt for him, the way I might feel for a taxidermied fox. It’s been a month since I tore through the seven part podcast, and I still sometimes feel the need for a bath on account of this experience.

What is to be written and what is not? An important question for a journalist and indeed for humanists of all stripes. What belongs in the public sphere and what constitutes a violation of a subject’s, dead or living, inner space (not to mention the reader’s)? These aren’t questions that can be answered generally. A quick google search of S-Town reveals convincing arguments for both sides, those who think McLemore should have been left well enough alone and those who think Reed stayed within bounds and even did service to McLemore’s life. It boils down to a matter of personal boundaries and tastes. When adventuring into the (auto)biographical genre, it is easy to suddenly find these boundaries overstepped, but perhaps there is value in that too, reflective and instructive.

Caveat lengthily expressed, I’d be remiss if I didn’t biographize briefly the deeds of one of my predecessors at the helm of BTSB.

I’ve never known a BTSB that wasn’t an active group of dedicated writers who cared as much for quality as for fellowship. This is because Kaisa Leino had been Editor in Chief a few years before I arrived and continued on for my first two years with the ’zine. She took the paper very seriously, and yet was a welcoming and supportive presence for new writers. I’ve heard rumor of ye olde dayes when apparently things were not so. By all accounts, Kaisa holds responsibility for what BTSB is now. As for me, Kaisa’s work on the paper has made my stint as Editor in Chief incredibly easy.

Kaisa received honorary recognition at the SUB 2017 anniversary dinner.

Kaisa received honorary recognition at the SUB 2017 anniversary dinner.

Happily, during SUB’s anniversary dinner this March, Kaisa received due recognition. I was quite pleased, and I know the other BTSB regulars in the audience were as well, to hear her acheivements appreciated and recognized complete with sweet certificate.

It is good to be remembered, to be known about, if not anatomized. So if my congratulations seem general, it is out of profound respect to a person who has shaped a small, but I like to think significant in it’s sphere, ’zine about which I also care deeply.

So please enjoy this small issue! Petteri also navigates the perilous waters of writing about the admired departed with a poem that lovingly satirizes his heroes. Danielle takes us deep into the psyche in the safe vessel of fiction. Elina brings wanderlust home in a personal essay and Missy questions the nature of shame in Finland and the United States. I revise my opinion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Jesper has something to say about people who have something to say about the Simpsons, and Inka admits to being wrong about mornings.

 

Editors in Chief past and present looking damn dapper.

Editors in Chief past and present looking damn dapper.

Forge bravely on – if anatomizing a person is wrong, we can all happily anatomize ideas!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Girly and Brutal After 20 Years

Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayer-TV-Series

WBuffy-the-Vampire-Slayer-TV-Serieshen Buffy the Vampire Slayer first aired, I should have been well within the borders of its target audience – teenage weirdo with a taste for anything dark. Maybe I would have been into it had I encountered the show on my own, but it was the stuff of girly sleepovers and watching parties at the time.

So instead of being introduced to Buffy as a campy, episodic horror-mystery mashup, I was introduced to it as “You hafta see this! Ohmygawd Angel is so hawt!” I then spent a weekend in a basement den with three girls eating trash, experimenting with makeup, and listening to running commentary on the physical perfection of season 1-2′s mopey-faced love interest. I was too busy grasping at the tatters of my poor masculinity to appreciate the funky monster costumes, snappy characters, awkward fight sequences, and ridiculous plot arcs.

After that weekend, I refused to watch Buffy again, even with college friends who clearly regarded it as savvy comedy rather than a chance to ogle awkwardly bulky shirtless dudes.

That is until this December when I got snowed in at a friend’s place in Portland (it snows so rarely that the city just shuts down when it does). We wound up watching the musical episode from season six, and it struck me: this show is brutal. The musical episode is 45 minutes of upbeat song and dance around fear of commitment, control issues, sexual manipulation, and self destructive depression. The song and dance presentation encourages you to laugh through these dark topics until the very end when the music stops, the narrative looks you in the eye and says, you know all these things are daily realities, right?

So, when I got back to Helsinki and my borrowed Netflix subscription, I watched all seven seasons in a span of two months. I can definitely say young Elizabeth missed out.

Although my reservations differ from those of my 17 year old self, it’s not a perfect show. Season 4, with its blond, Iowan plot arc, sags under the weight of fake good mental health and implicit patriotism. While Buffy is all about strong women, the show could have handled sex and gender a bit better. “Nice” women aren’t supposed to like rough sex, there is such a thing as too many partners for a woman but not a man, and lesbians are cool but gay men are ugh-gaaaay in Buffy. On the other hand, it does feel pretty realistic to the climate for queer teenagers and 20 something women in the late 90s to early 00s in the US.

The first two seasons are delicious candy with their rubbery monsters, hamfisted fight scenes, and satirized high school angst. As the show progresses, it gets into the ugly problems that often accompany the transition into independent adulthood, albeit usually couched as a metaphor involving a witch who can flay a man at a glance or a vampire with a synthetic soul. The metaphor has kept the comment relevant, however, not to mention entertaining. Even if the socio-cultural climate of the show has aged, the problems it laughingly outlines in fake blood and prosthetic makeup recur through modern society.

More subtle is the shift from childhood black and white morality to an adult’s grey rainbow. The hero remains righteous, but increasingly ambiguous scenarios confront the viewer until, no matter how attached you’ve grown to Buffy, you have to ask if the “good and righteous” response is really the path of least harm in certain situations, especially where people and feelings are concerned.

The show also provokes the viewer more directly. This paragraph and the next should be ambiguous, but may veer into spoiler territory. Be warned. For several seasons the show serves up cartoonish violence – a lot of funny villain death and a little melodramatic heroic death or suffering. Then a villain falls into a coma after one of these cartoonish fights, and she just lies there handcuffed to the hospital bed, looking very human with her makeup removed. And the season’s final boss villain, a dad figure to the comatose woman, formerly jovially evil, brokenly snot cries. She just lies there and eventually the handcuffs come off. She does not wake up for a long time.

In another instance, a beloved support character dies of natural causes prompting an entire episode of very realistic grief. For a full episode our hero desperately tries to do CPR on a cold body and hears ribs crack, stares at walls, vomits in a hallway and tries to hide it under a towel, returns to look at the corpse as though it may come back to life and get up. The viewer tunes in expecting silly, entertaining death and instead watches real death for a harrowing 45 minutes.

Don’t get me wrong. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is primarily entertainment, but it will occasionally come upside your head, teeth bared and free of fear. The campy fun of the first few seasons slowly expands to encompass cleverly posed questioning of sociocultural constructs, without getting too po-faced. I especially appreciated the de- (and re-) construction of the masculine romantic hero in seasons 5-7. Too bad my 17 year old boy self couldn’t have seen that through all the shirtless Boreanaz.

The Festival of Political Photography: A Visual Feast

Food Waste

Most of us think surprisingly little about something as essential as food. Even for conscious consumers, the daily necessity of eating creates a tendency to interact with food mainly through habit and ritual. But viewed from unfamiliar angles, mundane foodstuffs can look provocative.

This year The Festival of Political Photography focuses on food. Multiple exhibits around Helsinki recontextualize food production, distribution, and consumption, highlighting the politics, ethics, and humanitarian issues embedded in something everyone needs and most of us consume daily. The festival runs through May with exhibitions at the Finnish Museum of Photography, Virka, and Stoa.

Like most kids, I was taught not to waste my food, and like most urban adults I rely on supermarkets and restaurants to feed myself. Despite good upbringing and good intent, I am (and likely you are) implicated in a massive amount of waste before food even makes it to the plate.

The exhibitions at Virka focus on the wastefulness built into the food distribution systems of western countries. The show features several videos alongside still images. I gravitated towards Polish artist to kosie’s looped videos. Recorded with a hidden lapel cam while she worked as a waitress at a hotel breakfast buffet, the first video shows to kosie scraping plate after plate of food into the trash. Fruit salad, beans, toast, eggs, sausage, and porridge appear temptingly tasty as they tumble into the bin.

Dumpster Bagels

Photo by Sachi Yoshitsugu. A day’s worth of unsold bagels.

Her second video captures a dumpster diving session behind a supermarket. The camera angle, head height and overlooking a pair of hands, invites you into the scenario. I quickly found myself visually sorting the tossed buns, packaged bread, bruised fruit, and assorted vegetables, mentally filling up a shopping bag as the hands deftly made their own selection. Some of the food, especially the packaged items, is clearly still edible, appetizing even. Other items had been visibly spoiled only by the act of throwing them into a dirty bin.

To kosie’s videos are a distressing visualization of the dry statistics a quick google search spits out. Up to 40% of food on US supermarket shelves winds up in the trash. Through the whole farm to tummy process, one portion of food is lost or trashed for every portion that ends up on the table. Numbers vary between the United Nations, Business Insider, and Wired, but the estimates are all distressingly large.

Less immediately captivating if visually engaging in its own way is Filippo Zambon’s “Into the Bin,” images of trashed food framed by the neat square created by looking straight down a lined trash can. The colorful food tumbling abundantly over the folds of black plastic recalls Renaissance still life. The very state of being trashed imbues the food with aesthetic value, inviting the viewer to pluck the lovely yellow curve of an apple from a twining bed of leek greens. The images are pleasant to view but upsetting when aesthetic appreciation leads to consideration of what is wasted.

Many of the images at the Finnish Museum of Photography are difficult to look at, visually aggressive and distressing. The exhibit focuses on methods of food production and distribution. The easiest photographs to view are from Tim Franco’s “Metamorpolis” series. Surreal in composition, the photos depict tiny farmers working in patchwork fields beneath towering skyscrapers. Franco captured these images of abrupt rural to urban transition in the Chinese countryside where rapid urbanization creates strange juxtapositions of steel and greenery, glass and dirt.

Tucked behind dividers that allow visitors to choose whether they will view the photos are images of factory farming and another series showing the human consequence of farming Monsanto soja using glyphosate herbicide in Argentina. These are shot in a photo journalistic style that highlights subject matter over aesthetic. Indeed, viewing bodies twisted and broken by exposure to high levels of herbicide as aesthetic would be a bit suspect. Yet there is something compelling in the stark black and white textures.

While some of the works can be painful, others have strange beauty. I highly recommend a visit to at least one of the exhibits. It’s easy to habitualize and ritualize something as essential as food. Stopping for a moment to view it from another angle, to think, can make the mundane surprisingly enlightening.

Chief Editor’s Note: The Texture of Sleep

Elizabeth 2

One of my minor hobbies is reading comment threads, even on sites as notorious for comment quality as youtube. Rarely is any one comment illuminating, but it’s fascinating to glean the overall linguistic texture of a group: the vocabulary they create and use together, what they permit to be said, how it is to be said, and how these boundaries are enforced. The comments on noise music uploads are bounded by very different rules than those governing comments on black metal uploads even though the genres draw from contiguous pools of listeners, creating distinctly textured emotional-verbal communities in complement, or sometimes weird juxtaposition, to the music.

During one of these bouts of textural appreciation, I first encountered reference to ASMR deep in the comments of a noise upload.

ASMR is also noise, but not music. Most of the videos work like this: a pretty, happy woman modestly dressed and well manicured appears in head and shoulders view seated somewhere in her home. If she speaks it’s in a whisper rocking slowly back and forth so that the sound moves from one side of the listener’s headphones to the other. Maybe she tells a story, chats like an old friend, or plays the role of a mother or a big sister putting the listener to sleep. Many videos feature sounds other than whispering. She may introduce items from around her home, a jewelry box, her favorite soap, a plastic makeup case and tap on these rhythmically while moving them in the same side to side motion to create a stereo soundscape. Some videos focus primarily on the sound. One video shows nothing more than two forks scratching a foam covered microphone.

Listeners who experience ASMR, audio sensory meridian response, feel something like tingles on their scalp, hair raising on the back of their neck, or an intense wave of sensation in and about the head. A variety of stimuli set it off the response, many of them particular sound textures. Some people draw parallels to orgasms, and compounded with most of the video makers being pretty young women, this has led to claims that ASMR is a sex thing, an assertion strongly rejected by most of the community. Personally, I’m inclined to think that the young women element has more to do with the stress and loneliness of modern life. I’ll guess that for most people, whispered comfort and acceptance have come from female voices.

Counter to both the sex and comfort hypotheses, there’s Ephemeral Rift. I have no clue what he’s doing unless its performance art. His videos contain the familiar ASMR elements, whispering, tapping, scratching, but with twists that hover ambiguously between the horrific and the bizarre. In one video we see a large, old box, behind which a plague doctor slowly shuffles. In a whisper muffled by his mask, he introduces himself as Corvus Clemmens. He then proceeds to tap and scratch the box occasionally whispering phrases about relaxation, sleep, and brain tingles, a routine familiar from ASMR videos but couched in a way that threatens or at least makes uncomfortable. If Corvus puts you to sleep, will you wake up?

Ephemeral Rift does many characters, such as Margaret, a red wig and a featureless white mask, possibly a mad cross-dresser in the mould of the Queen of Hearts. You can relax with Death or Satan. There’s a low key, sleep inducing simulated kidnapping. The weapon filled late night chat about suicide with a home invader video is as serene as any of the late night chat with big sister videos.

Perhaps Ephemeral Rift appeals to the same people who listen to horror stories to fall asleep. While horror novels may creep me out and I can’t really watch horror movies, there’s something inexplicably bland and comforting about a voice telling me these stories. Takes the teeth right out of them. Perhaps Ephemeral Rift’s videos remove the teeth from frightening subjects for some, much in the way that some people find death metal comforting.

There are many ways to seek relaxation and relief from the demands, anxieties, and fears of the world. And, apparently, many textures of sleep. It’s a weird world out there, but don’t forget to get outside your bubble from time to time. The world is filled with fascinating textures.

This issue brings you many delightful textures. Elina offers another poem as soothing and rough as the sea. In an interview with Eve, Caitlin reflects on how different life in Benin feels. Danielle tells about her preferred sonic experiences, and Hanna gives us a grainy yet poignant snapshot of the world’s end. Petteri draws our attention to the many elements involved in a classic anime in one article and laments and praises the travails of housekeeping in another. Timo lets us know just where the big wheel is rolling, and finally, I have a few things to say about pictures of food.

Whether trying something new or sticking with old favorites, dive into this issue for a moment of relaxation.

Noise and Regret: Boris Plays Tavastia

Add a layer of smoke at 80% opacity and it's pretty representative of the gig at Tavastia.

There’s no expiration date on good music, but there is a certain flavor of regret reserved for discovering an awesome band through a midcareer album’s 11th anniversary show. Boris recently played the entirety of Pink at Tavastia, a noisy, smoke-drenched, perfect experience. I’d heard the name Boris before, but with the sheer volume of good music available these days, I hadn’t made time to listen. Finally stumbling across 2014’s Noise back in August, the regret was as immediate as it was short lived. The band’s particular mix of doom, psychedelic rock, and avant garde noise leaves little space for any sentiment other than pure enjoyment.

Trying to pin down a band’s sound with an unfortunate number of modifiers results in some pretentious mouthfuls and is quite futile in the case of Boris’s music. The band has rejected genre labels wanting to escape musical pigeon holing. They’ve succeeded. Though generally heavy and held together by passages of drone and feedback, every album has a distinct character from the punk inflected energy of Pink to the evil noise of Dronevil to the total aural annihilation achieved by simultaneously playing both records of the Boris + Merzbow collaboration, Gensho.

Add a layer of smoke at 80% opacity and it's pretty representative of the gig at Tavastia.

Add a layer of smoke at 80% opacity and it’s pretty representative of the gig at Tavastia.

Boris’s variation is a refreshing draft in the packed basement that is metal, where any band that’s climbed the steps to the ground floor of wider notice has a hundred competent imitators lurking. Boris certainly made it up those steps years ago, but imitators would be hard pressed to keep up. 2015 alone saw three albums and a collaboration.

As though that weren’t sufficiently prolific, they tour frequently too. Which brings me back to Tavastia. I’d been anticipating the show for a month, but when November 18 rolled around, I had no idea what to expect. I missed most of the opening act, but snagged a raised spot on a bench while everyone else grabbed drinks between bands. Tavastia was packed to the back, but with a little forethought, even my short self secured a clear view of the stage. Behind the sprawling drum kit, a large, burnished gong promised good things to come.

The promise of that gong delivered in full. Shrouded in theatrical amounts of smoke that swallowed the orange of the stage lights like a  Kurosawa hellscape, Boris tore into Pink. The band delivered the hooks and familiar riffs while reinventing the overall shapes of songs, improvising a unique performance with the easy grace of musicians at the peak of their craft. Drummer Atsuo infused the performance with crazy energy, bouncing between drum kit, flourishes on the gong, and the snarling of a noise producing white box. Guitarist Wata vied for my attention with snakey melodies and complicated progressions. Takeshi underpinned it all with massive drone on the bass and the occasional harmonic response to Wata on the guitar portion of his double necked instrument.

Despite perching on a narrow bench, I couldn’t help but dance. Packed as the club was, no one could hold still. Heads bobbed and hands waved above the billowing smoke. The musicians were little more than silhouettes placing the focus entirely on the music that set the air shivering and the body vibrating in time.

An hour was not enough, and the band came back for a long encore that nonetheless left the crowd shouting for more. I left Tavastia with the musical high still in my step and a little bit of that regret remaining – how was this only the first time I’d seen Boris and how long would I have to wait to catch a show again?

Chief Editor’s Note: Evil Year

Elizabeth 2

2016 was an evil year, or so I’ve been hearing. In the public sphere at least, a sufficient number  of artists and entertainers died, politics in Europe and the US sunk to new extremes, the regularity and acceptability of lying in very public venues increased, and lives continue to be destroyed at an alarming rate in several Middle Eastern countries. All this is true, and yet I’m not sure I feel that 2016 was particularly bad.

I’m not one to keep track of celebrity deaths, but the internet assures me that Leonard Nimoy, Terry Pratchett and Bobbi Kristina Brown all died in 2015. The same year saw shooting after shooting in the US, same old horrific war in Syria, and the fighting in the Ukraine, which is still dragging on, was still in the news. Russia and China further restricted citizen access to information and persecuted human rights activists and lawyers. There was rampant, unfounded imprisonment of government critics and opposition leaders in Egypt and Kenya was peppered with terrorist attacks. Probably I can draft up a similar list for 2014 and 2013 if pressed.

But frankly, I don’t want to. The world has been and will continue to be an evil place, in part. Other parts, especially for someone as fortunate as myself and I’m guessing for many people reading this, are quite lovely.

In 2016 I traveled with a good friend to two countries I’ve never seen before. I got my teaching qualification so that I never have to face the stress of being jobless and without a certificated marketable skill again. A childhood friend had the healthy, sweet-tempered baby she’s been waiting for. I learned a beautiful conlang used mostly for writing poetry. A few of my students markedly improved their language skills over the course of the year, making progress towards their goals. Graves at Sea finally released a full length album (it crushed), and I heard some great live music. You can read about one of those concerts in this issue and perhaps discover a new favorite band for 2017.

If that list seems a bit personal, well, the best things in life are. Reminding myself of those happy experiences that really meant something is the best way I know to keep going in a world that continually, in my opinion, makes very little sense even when it’s not being run in a completely ass-backwards way. I hope everyone reading this has a similar collection of fortifying experiences.

If 2016 was a bad year for you on a personal level as well, Sampsa’s article on the unlooked-for outcomes of rough experiences may be more your line. In this issue you’ll also find Elina’s exploration of nostalgia, another popular antidote to a less than ideal present. Maarika joins the BTSB crew to share her insight on growing up between cultures, and Danielle’s poem about the feels may strike a chord for many readers. Or, if you’re just looking to laugh the old year off, Milla has reviewed a humorous book that may strike your fancy.

I’m certainly ready to laugh off 2016 and get on with 2017. As the wheel of the world turns, more crap will be flung up, I’m sure, but maybe I’ll see a chance to do something good this year. Certainly there will be more good music, more long chats with close friends, more adventures big and small, all the things that make life bearable, even lovely.

Chief Editor’s Note: What’s in an Outfit?

Elizabeth 2

Halloween, carnival, and other dress up holidays give people a break from being themselves, it’s said. For one night a harried marketing director can inhabit the being of a simple milkmaid, your average parent can be a favorite superhero, a school kid can be a Nobel winning scientist or songwriter. But for every other person escaping into their costume, I’m willing to bet there’s one who’s reveling in the rare chance to dress as themself.

Back when there were no consequences to my appearance, I used to take elaborate care with my dress. I modified thrifted clothes and eventually moved up to tweaking patterns and sewing whole garments. Some Tuesdays in March you wake up a rainbow princess bag lady. On a wet November day you may be the ghost of a drowned snail.

Then I graduated from college #1, a haven for academically driven weirdos where comparatively there was nothing outre in my sartorial tastes, and had to get a real full time job. There went dressing as myself.

Some might regard this whole issue as trivial. What’s the big deal about clothes? Suck in your entitled child and at least act like an adult. Well, yes, that’s how the world works. But why? If clothes are so trivial, why the fuss over a little mould breaking? As Miya and Danielle point out in their article “Embrace Your Inner Slutty Pumpkin,” costumes are empowering. And quite many people use them to communicate, even within the paradigm of normal dress. A cat print romper says it’s a fun day. An outfit from the L.L. Bean catalogue says I’m medium wealthy and certainly won’t let you or anyone else see me bothered. A yellow sundress could be a covert Evangelion tribute. Certain hats say I’m a serious young woman versus a mysterious one.

Not only is there a push to socially normalize, but there’s significant pressure to set personal norms If you often wear graphic tees and jeans, a Yves St. Laurent structured blouse will draw comment – positive, bewildered, and snide. Wearing your favorite Cascadian black metal band’s shirt will elicit surprise if you’ve had a pastel cashmere sweater habit. Such changes are often interpreted as bids for attention, attracting concern from some and censure from others.

But what if you’re just having a black metal day, and you don’t feel like playing 20 questions before triaging the social fallout? I’ve never quite figured out the origin of this socially encouraged flattening when everyone’s a creature of at least a few facets.

Pretty much everybody’s got an inner ghost of a drowned snail or comparable metaphor. The outfit may not be about communicating (though many seem compelled to take any deviation in dress this way) but a rechanneling of a feeling or an aspect of one’s self. I mean, if you’ve spent ten hours crafting your snail dress, you probably won’t throw yourself face down in a puddle. No, you’ll go about your day with slow, otherworldly poise.

There have been times when an outfit showed me how to get through a day; said something that I couldn’t get into words, didn’t need to be heard, but did need to get out; or just made me damn happy. Does there really need to be further reason to clothes than that?

To be honest, it doesn’t boil down to the expectations of others purely. Particular taste in dress requires taking your wardrobe into your own hands, and sewing quality clothing takes time. And maybe some of the repression comes from the inside? Graduating into the teeth of a recession has a certain conservatizing influence. It does seem I can wear a plain velvet gown to work and school… Can I add the cape?

This issue I was supposed to write about making props for Halloween, specifically a horned headdress. But I realized I didn’t want to dress as the god of the hunt for the holiday. I just wanted to wear a pair of antlers and an ice crown for a couple of weeks to celebrate the turn of autumn into winter and how happy I makes me feel. …And I didn’t have time.

Luckily there are other ways to channel creativity. Look no further than this issue of Better than Sliced Bread, a collection of thoughtful and expressive pieces, clothing related and otherwise In addition to Miya and Danielle’s take on the subject of costumes, Elina provides insight into the thought processes of an introvert in a new environment. Eveliina evokes feelings of home in her poetry, and Petteri evokes Plutarch in celebration of Alexander the Great. Danielle makes her BTSB short fiction debut, and Hanna gives us another atmospheric story. Jesper considers the relevance of truth in films that claim to be based on a true story. While I didn’t document the construction of a fantastical headpiece, I did make a comic about the three hardest Finnish words.

And after all this talk about clothes, here’s a little something for anybody who’d just rather be naked. (Contains animated, non-graphic, comedic nudity.)