Co­me­dian James Mullinger liv­ing the Cana­dian mag­a­zine dream

Montreal Times - - News -

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 co­founders, 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 mu­si­cianturned-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

Pam & James Mullinger, Dennis Prescott at Spring is­sue launch

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