xrisville magazine podcast xristopher blandI consider humor to be a craftwork like any other form of writing, and have been practicing humor writing for years, not only as a tool for balance and information-retention in business writing but also for its own pure medicinal value.

Social commentary, satire and parody have been mainstays for me since the ‘80s, when I published my first independent magazine—a college humor quarterly called Diatribe. Roughly modelled after National Lampoon and other magazines I admired, the magazine won me Sheridan College’s annual ACTRA Writing Award. After that, humor became a recurring character in my writing life, from TV Guide’s famous humor listings of the ‘80s and ‘90s to freelance features, copywriting, employee communications and the critically acclaimed first-person non-fiction narratives that I wrote for Mosaic magazine over some 20 years. Yet humor made its fullest return for me in 2010, when I wrote and published the critically successful independent print magazine called Xrisville.

Combining social commentary, satire and parody within the framework of the social-media page, Xrisville circulated at coffee shops and other small venues across Toronto, but eventually spread as far as Vancouver, New Brunswick, Northern Ontario, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Amsterdam and Jamaica. The growth and distribution was chiefly due to the gracious support and enthusiasm of readers, and I couldn’t remain more grateful for all that.

Xrisville ended its print run in 2014 but evolved into the Radio Xrisville podcast, first on SoundCloud and afterward on Mixcloud, where the podcast remains (along with the Radio Xrisville Facebook page). And I’ll admit that attending to it all can be a bit sporadic at the moment. Yet I can’t see myself ever fully dissolving the world called Xrisville because, when I look back on humor as a inexplicable and defining thread in my writing life, I know that it all just rises and rests, just taking its time to gather and reshape itself before it fully bursts forth again.

The Vault

About A Hard Day’s Flight (or, More Bothersome Reading)

The Exciting Back Story: This is my first-ever Xrisville “character.” When I was working on the prototype for Xrisville magazine #2, I accidentally left it on the subway. So I had the idea of making up a story about an escaped magazine called Rogueville.

The Awesome Technology Behind This Gripping Adventure Tale: It’s a short list: a cheap Pentax camera, Windows Movie Maker, Microsoft Paint and… well, that’s all I had at the time. (I didn’t even have a microphone to record narration. Hence, all the horrifying reading.)

Here’s Why I Think Rogueville Is the Dog’s Bollocks: The video represents some of the best fun I’ve ever had making a video. There was absolutely no Photoshop. Much like pre-CGI FX filmmakers, I took the cover of Xrisville #2, taped it to a cardboard stand and actually went around Toronto, setting the prop here and there randomly, including my apartment at the time and the offices of now-defunct TV Guide Canada. Some awesome “fellow villagers” (a.k.a. Xrisville readers) even got involved. Notably, the every-groovy Boogie Girl and Xrisville contributor Jamp1 (a.k.a. Xrisville North). Then I wrote the Rogueville story afterward. I had a blast.