Canadian magazine EDIT – Since I first saw British comedian James Mullinger perform four years ago at the Montreal Fringe Festival, he was constantly bringing to life the title of the solo show that he performed to full houses at the MainLine Theatre during the summer of 2014: “Living the Canadian Dream”.
Since he moved to New Brunswick with his wife Pamela more than four years ago, Mullinger has done the impossible and carved out a career for himself in stand-up comedy not only in New Brunswick, but throughout the Maritimes. He has toured extensively in clubs and arenas throughout the region (as well as across Canada; he wraps up his latest tour called “Let’s Do It Again” on April 28 at the Harbour Station arena in St. John); has produced several comedy CDs and DVDs (his latest, “Anything is Possible”, was released a few months ago); and has written and produced a feature-length film, the autobiographical “The Comedian’s Guide to Survival”.
“When we moved here over four years ago, we fell in love with the place and were amazed with the quality of life in New Brunswick. However, we grew frustrated that no one knew a lot about it, because this region of the country conveys a lot of opportunities,” said Mullinger during a recent phone interview. “For years, the way people perceived the Maritimes was never in a positive way. They saw it as a place that was always in debt and had lots of problems. It led to a lot of blind perceptions about the area.”
In order to remedy that perception, Mullinger and Pamela decided to use their respective backgrounds in magazine publishing (he wrote for the British edition of GQ, while she worked for a popular British magazine called “Monocle”). The end result was “The Maritime Edit”, a high quality, lavishly-illustrated quarterly magazine that made its debut last summer. It’s available at a number of Chapters and Indigo bookstores across Quebec and the rest of Canada and costs $9.99 a copy.
“The magazine is a celebration of what it’s like to live big in a smaller town or city. It’s a lifestyle publication that doesn’t gloss over the problems that the Maritimes face, but it offers an alternative view of how it’s a genuine place for people to live in or spend a holiday. We show you the sights that we know and love,” he said. While the couple serves as the magazine’s co-founders, James serves as its editor-in-chief, and Pamela is its publishing director, as they oversee a stable of freelance contributors, many of them hailing from the Maritimes.
And leafing through its recently-launched Spring 2018 issue, the Mullingers’ mission to spread the word about how attractive the Maritimes can be for residents and visitors alike through quality articles and coffee table book style photographs succeeds quite admirably. In this issue, Mullinger conducts an interview with his favorite author, British novelist Alan Hollinghurst; there is a cover story about Dennis Prescott, a New Brunswick musician-turned-internationally renown chef and cookbook author; there is a look at the natural beauty of Sable Island; how businessman Glynn Williams almost singlehandedly revived the fortunes of a picturesque small hamlet in Nova Scotia called Guysborough; an article at how Newfoundland is experiencing a fashion renaissance; as well, there are featurettes that list essential spring cultural events throughout the Maritimes, the five road races that you have to run in between May and October, and Maritime comedian Mandy-Lynn Donovan explaining how small-town living saved her life.
And how did it come up with its out of the ordinary name? “We got the idea for calling the magazine ‘The Maritime Edit’ on the idea that we the staff will do the edit for you. All you, the reader, has to do is go out there and experience the things that we wrote about so that you can get the best possible Maritimes experience,” he said.
The decision to give the magazine a coffee-table book aesthetic quality – and using the same shape and size as National Geographic – was quite a deliberate one. “Pamela and me decided to make the magazine resemble a coffee table book was for the sake of longevity and functionality,” said Mullinger. “You purchase it, put it on your coffee table, and periodically, you come back, pick it up and read the articles until the next issue is released six months later. People do like the look of a physical magazine, whether it be the cover, the photos and even the print stock we use for the paper. It helps make the content applicable no matter if you are from the Maritimes or not.”
James and Pamela produce each issue of “The Maritime Edit” in their New Brunswick home, and devote 10 hours a day to it, and with James performing comedy shows practically every night. He admits it’s a whirlwind way of life for him.
“Right now, the magazine is a grass roots operation, and it can be a crazy thing,” he said. “A day for me can consist of a photo shoot, then getting a phone call from a local Indigo store saying their stock of copies are sold out and they need more, and having to drive there with boxes of magazines in my trunk. Also, we are out on the road a lot to get new advertisers. And then three hours later, I have to go do a comedy show that same night. With all of these ventures, I end up being more busy than ever.”
“However, this is my dream scenario and my #1 passion, yet I have never rested on my laurels,” he added. “I perform more stand-up comedy across Canada, but I get to choose the gigs that I want to do, which helps me to stay more sharp and focused, as well as gives me the chance to make new fans. And yet, I always ask myself this question: can I make a living at this and can I sustain this?”
With an increasing number of stand-up comedy gigs becoming part of his itinerary, as well as a year’s worth of stories on tap for future issues of “The Maritime Edit” and a growing subscription base, the answer to the above question for James Mullinger is a resounding “yes”.
For more information on “The Maritime Edit”, or to purchase a subscription, go to www.maritimeedit.com.
Feature image: Pam & James Mullinger, Dennis Prescott at Spring issue launch-min