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Issue 6, July/August 2020



Growing up, I was a big fan of comics: not the graphic novels that one considers as the term’s meaning these days, but publications such as the Beano, Dandy, Beezer and stuff like Roy of the Rovers. I was a member of the Dennis the Menace Fan Club, and obsessively collected annuals, all chronologically ordered - which might hint at the sort of person that I grew up to be.

These comics had Summer Specials. They were usually double the price of a standard edition, but had a lot more content as well as the usual fare such as word searches and puzzles. They were an interesting publication product in that they were bigger (in content) than normal comics, but smaller than annuals.

Although they were designed to keep the kids entertained for a few weeks in the absence of a weekly comic, they singlehandedly failed in this strategy - because rather than save them up for being indoors during a wet holiday in Devon, kids such as myself would devour them all at once, thus pissing off our parents because we then wanted something else to read, or do - which would end up costing them money.

This is not our summer special, or is it? What the hell. It’s summer (supposedly) and, I say with utmost sincerity, every issue of Imperica Magazine is special. So, here for July and August - don’t read it all at once - is our summer special.

We start with a rather timely piece from Sooraj Shah on how our sense of experience has been augmented, if not wholly replaced, by our desire to capture everything and not miss out. The experiences continue, in a very different light, with Keith Kahn-Harris’s piece on military meals, opening up a world of (so-called) cuisine that few of us will have the opportunity to experience.

Elsewhere, Jennifer Crichton and Katie de Cunha Lewin talk about how their past experiences make them stronger and more understanding women. Elena Alston returns to Imperica Magazine to cover the extraordinary development of 3D-printed plants which “live” according to the conditions around them. 

Even in summer, we still have to clean, and the concept of the Cleanfluencer is something which Harvey James explores. Are these Instagram cleanliness gurus carving out a new identity, or are they in fact reinforcing traditional stereotypes? The Demon Headmaster is a well-known children’s book and TV series; William Shaw also returns to Imperica Magazine to analyse how its newest TV adaptation is a perfect political commentary for our age.

If your summer involves a continuation of our collective scream into the void, Kiran Sidhu is here to tell you about the positives that she is finding out of our global lockdown.

As ever, we also cover topics and issues which you may not see anywhere else. Gillian Fisher offers up an extraordinary analysis into how social media, and Facebook in particular, connects willing sperm donors with willing recipients. Finally, Parisa Hashempour covers extraordinary ground in her article on how the co-opting of psychedelic drugs by mainstream white societies often conveniently forgets the rich history that such medicines have had in ethnic and indigenous peoples. It’s an incredible eye-opener.

So, here you are: your summer special. 

Don’t forget to wear a mask.