It’s almost a year ago that the first edition of Ladybeard arrived, a remarkably complete debut that remains a highlight among recent launches.
Its theme, Sex, was a bold starting point for a publication with a strongly defined feminist edge, and had us asking how they would follow up for issue two. That concern was echoed yesterday when one of the editors, Kitty, delivered copies to our shop and admitted the they were worried about ‘second album syndrome’. It’s one thing making a big entrance with a first issue – but how to equal it with the next one?
The good news is that the team have matched that first issue. The theme Mind is a more abstract than Sex but they successfully bring it to life visually. It’s just as rich and assured, the design still strong but discreetly allowing the content – written and visual – to take the lead. The editorial and design team have combined again to produce a really strong piece of publishing.
Visual highlights include the opening illustrations by Lea Dohle (‘Losing My Mind, above) and Anton Gottlob’s photographs of ex-mental hospitals and their new uses. The cover and section openers by Rose Pilkington provide a colourful coda throughout the issue, loosely scientific in their references to the brain and the nervous system.
I’m still reading the issue – there’s a lot of it – but am already convinced by its mix of the personal (Losing My Mind, again, a series of first person recollections of breakdown) and the more common (a look at how emotions are directed by external factors).
In this time of ‘post-truth’ nonsense it is refreshing to have a beautifully produced magazine offering well-conceived content from a strongly defined, intelligent point of view. Ladybeard is not unique among indie magazines in striving for that but wow it does it well. A year well spent.
Editors: Kitty Drake, Madeleine Dunnigan, Sadhbh O’Sullivan
Art directors: Scarlet Evans and Bronya Meredith
Arts editors: Tyro Heath and Hannah Abel-Hirsch
Maddie, Sadhbh and Scarlet will be speaking about Ladybeard at ModMag16.