We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.
– James Madison
Wake up to Alarm, in which Munchman abhors his morning routine, Aliyah Whiteley examines an imminent disaster due to collide with a conspiracy theorist, Chaucer meets the Transformers in a foolish experiment and John Osbourne rides for the first time with sirens.
Alarm featured quite a few contributors who have later gone on to exciting pathways (get down the Saison Poetry Library if you have the chance – home of one of the few complete back catalogues of the magazine in existence). The cover was a simple affair – a smash-glass alarm, as resources would allow ‐ and was once again rendered in black and white. The first part of Jonís Transformers-meets-Chaucer epic, The Prowl Log, made an appearance here too.
I can't believe it's over five years since I started The Prowl Log ('The Prologue', as told by Prowl ‐ get it?). It never went much further than a few cod-Chaucerian character portraits, but to this day some people expect me to turn in a manuscript full of Transformers poems. Alarm had other, much better pieces in it, but was a bit of a disaster design-wise. I had the terrible idea of putting in stock images as pseudo-illustrations, sometimes as a backdrop to the poem, and they all came out grainy.
There were a few happy decisions as well though. We started putting a famous quote on the inside cover (see above), related in some way to the spur word. We began using joke names in place of the editor and designer (editor of this issue was 'Kirstentatious', and designer 'The Desperate Moniker') and we included the first 'Fun With Forms' section, which suggested both old and newly invented poetic forms to try out. This issue we had the dunthorne, named after Joe Dunthorne and the pantoum. Finally, I loved the Munchman sequence of images, which showed Edvard Munch's 'The Scream' protagonist pulling his famous expression in response to various waking up/brekfast shennanigans.