Cockles and zombies – turning reading and running into Feeding

How a magazine, a pair of trainers and dumb ways to die can get the cogs whirring...

By: Clare Howdle,   3 minutes


Sometimes Feeding is about just taking some time out. When you’ve been tied to your desk, finger cramp is setting in and there’s steam coming out of your keyboard having the opportunity to step away and find some space to be inspired is a godsend.

That’s what happened on my last Day 10. A hectic summer of exciting projects has meant I’ve been in the office more than I’ve been out so as Feeding time rolled around I just wanted to read, relax and give my brain cells time to recharge.

So that’s what I did.

Of course, Feeding isn’t like any given Sunday, this needed to be relaxation with reason, creative impetus and opportunity had to be found. So I made a plan.

Genre bender


As luck would have it, our Stranger Collective Stack subscription hit the studio doormat the day before, with a little beauty of a journal perfect for a day of simple inspiration. The Gourmand, as the title suggests is a veritable feast of editorial: intelligently crafted, stunningly shot and beautifully written. After a deep, deep read I found myself wanting to dine in New York in the 1970s, considering where I might be able to buy cockles from and quietly coveting the life and objet d’art of Anissa Helou.

However, the beauty of being immersed in the world of  The Gourmand for a few hours was realising that this ‘food journal’ wasn’t about food at all. It was about life, culture and experience – food was just the launchpad for wider exploration and discovery. Which got my brain ticking about independent publishing. As the print magazine industry is forced to evolve and mould to suit our digitally-powered, instant content-led times, will the survivors be the ones who not only find a niche but find the right way to use it? Perhaps just like the best genre films, the best ‘genre’ publications around today aren’t about specialist subjects, but are simply framed by them. Only people interested in cooking would read Good Food magazine – that’s what its for. But something like The Gourmand is different. It isn’t just for people who are interested in cooking, or food. It’s for anyone with a hunger for culture, a curiosity about the world and a hankering to find out what makes people tick.

That’s the smart way of doing things. Using the constraints of a genre to discover a fresh perspective to content gives magazines like The Gourmand the edge. Publications like this have a true point of difference,  a stand out factor that makes them well worth a read. Whether or not you care for cockles becomes irrelevant. Food for thought indeed.

The running dead


Next up, time for a run. Though no run of the mill would do. Bubbling away from Feed to Feed, I’ve been looking into game writing of late and on a recent Day 10 I came across Naomi Alderman, Orange Award-winning novelist and game writer. For a while I got lost in the possibilities of transmedia, inspired by Naomi’s Perplex City project and then I happened on Zombies Run! an app designed to keep your feet moving and your mind engaged as you pound the pavement.

A narrative driven game which encourages you to run by weaving post apocalyptic zombie storytelling with the music on your phone, Zombies Run! was exactly what I was looking for.

As the story unravels and the zombies attack you find yourself running faster. And faster. What’s more, throughout each run you pick up supplies so you can build your base and unlock more of the story once you get home and log on. It was the perfect way of augmenting a daily activity with a thwack of creative thinking and got my mind reeling about the possibilities of gamification in other aspects of our lives.


If interactive stories can get us exercising, what else could they do? Raise awareness of other health issues, campaign on important topics, help us manage our finances, prevent bullying, address unemployment? Who knows. There’s definite form for interactive games engaging audiences and spreading the word better than traditional media, as the Cannes Grand Prix-winning Dumb Ways to Die – a public service message about train safety from Melborne Metro – has demonstrated. So what’s next? Exciting times.

Reading a magazine and going for a run. Just goes to show that a truly extraordinary Feed can come from the most ordinary of places.

Time to get back to that steaming keyboard… 

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