ESCAPISMO is a football magazine focused on providing captivating and insightful content, to an audience that shares a passion for the beautiful game. Cult Kits caught up with its creator James Gamlin, about the mag's debut issue, which originally started as a pretty special Father’s Day gift.

CK: First things first, James – who do you support?

JG: I’m a big fan of my local side Bristol City, and love getting to games when I can. It’s an exciting time to be a City fan, Ashton Gate has been redeveloped in recent years and the team is getting closer and closer to the play offs each season.

I love travelling around the country to visit all of the wonderful grounds and see different teams play, whilst also love playing the game (often not brilliantly!) at a local level. I’m also interested in lots of European football and love the passion in South America too.

International football, particularly the major tournaments, are probably my favourite element of the game. I love getting behind the England team and am also part Italian so enjoy supporting the Azzurri as well. I think 2018 will hold a special place in the hearts of all England fans and it’s so exciting to look forward to the Euros with renewed optimism for the national team. I’m so happy that Italy will be there, and I love the way that tournaments allow us to feel so connected and proud of our countries. My first memory of the game is the World Cup of 2006 and seeing Cannavaro lift the trophy remains one of my favourite-ever football moments.

CK: When did the idea to create Escapismo mag come about and are there any publications you admire and aspire too?

JG: I’ve always been a fan of print and always think something means more if you can hold it, whether it’s a photo, book, magazine or record. I discovered Mundial about three or four years ago on Twitter and it really opened my eyes to a different type of magazine. I think it’s an amazing brand with a really distinctive voice that so many people can identify with. The first issue I read had an amazing feature on Maradona, and I’ve been a subscriber ever since.

My Dad’s birthday is in June, and usually tends to be close to father’s day, and in recent years I’ve tried to get him some gifts which are a bit different, and after discovering These Football Times, again on Twitter, I ordered him their amazing World Cup Issue, which he absolutely loved and I really enjoyed reading too.

We were lucky enough to attend the amazing game between Bristol City and Manchester United a couple of years ago – Dad has always followed United and I was United mad for a few years growing up – so this was a particularly special cup tie for us. It is definitely one of the best games we’ve ever been to, and most City fans would probably say the same. We speak about this match all the time and Dad said to me one day just as a passing comment “Why don’t you write a little piece about it and send it off to a magazine like Mundial or Four Four Two or something?”

I thought about this and started writing something about the United game but through this came a few other ideas and I started to put together a couple of other short pieces on things we were both interested in. From here the idea of making Dad his own mini magazine as a Father’s Day gift came about and that’s where the concept of Escapismo was born really.

In the end I made it 66 pages long and Dad had it to enjoy with the 2018 World Cup. I really enjoyed doing it and felt that there were so many more things I could do with the magazine in terms of articles, designs and graphics. We are both keen photographers and Dad has taken some incredible photos over the years, so it was a great way to display a lot of them together. A lot of the shots you see in Issue One and on social media are his, so a big thanks to him for them!

I always had the ambition to take this idea further – I’ve been so inspired by how great publications such as Mundial and These Football Times are, and to have created something of my own is a really great feeling.

It’s been a fantastic experience so far and I’ve learnt so much, work has started on Issue Two and it’s amazing to think that people from as far as France, Spain, Italy and the USA have bought and enjoyed a copy of Escapismo, when not very long ago it was just an idea for a gift.

It’s wonderful to see so many new football magazines being launched that cover the game from so many different perspectives, as well as wonderful new independent titles appearing online and in the beautiful specialist magazine shops across England and Europe nearly every day. I think Mundial and Copa90 have completely revolutionised the way we consume the game, both in print and online - there are so many incredible stories at all levels of football, and it’s great to see them covered on lovely paper in publications that are so well designed and presented.

CK: Why 'Escapismo' as a title?

JG: I suppose this goes back to my Italian side really. I had a few ideas for the name – Regista was one, not only because I’m a big fan of Pirlo, but I think this term really symbolises the game being played with real style and is one that people associate with the romance and beauty of football, which is something I’m always aiming to capture.

Estadio, Fantasista, Rigore, Libero, Squadra and a few other Spanish and Italian words were considered, but I think that Escapismo really captures exactly what the magazine is all about. I think that football is a form of escapism to so many people – you always hear people say that when you’re on the pitch or at the match nothing else matters, or that you can clear your mind and forget about anything else that might be going on, and it really is true.

CK: What is the essence of the magazine and its aim for readers?

JG: I’ve tried to create something that can resonate with anyone who is a fan of the game or has played football at any level. There is a real sense of belonging and togetherness that comes with supporting your team or playing alongside your mates, and I’ve tried to capture some of the emotions and excitement that come with it. There are so many brilliant little aspects of the game that make it so special, there’s nothing quite like walking into the stadium for the first time, experiencing the roar of a goal going in, or seeing someone perfectly execute a volley or a free kick.

Through the articles and photos featured in the magazine and online, I’ve aimed to capture the beauty of the game, just to remind us all how incredible it is really. Football is often viewed in quite a negative way by lots of people, but I’ve tried to step away from the crazy transfer fees and wages, as even though the money in the game today has maybe gotten a bit out of hand, at it’s core football is has such an amazing capacity to bring people together, allow us to feel a sense of achievement (as well as a fair bit of disappointment!) and really does allow us to escape and enjoy ourselves. It’s this more romantic and emotional side of the game that I’ve looked to focus the magazine around, football in its purest form I suppose.

CK: What can readers expect in the first issue?

JG: There is a core theme of the underdog that the first issue is focused around. I’ve tried to give it a global feel with articles covering clubs and national teams as well as players from various different countries.

The first main article is about Mexico and their curse of not being able to make it past the round of 16 in the World Cup. It was something I heard about before the 2014 tournament and I think it’s a story that all football fans can identify with – we’ve all experienced heartbreak through following our national teams, especially in England! Mexico have such an amazing passion for football, we are going to see an amazing celebration when they do break the curse!

Whenever an underdog story is mentioned, Leicester City are often one of the first teams that come to mind, when we look back at their title win now it was just so unbelievable – in many ways it epitomises everything that makes football so special and I’ve tried to cover it from a slightly different angle, so I really hope it’s an enjoyable read.

There are a whole host of other articles – Fabio Quagliarella’s finishing as the top scorer in Serie A at the age of 36, Deportivo’s golden period where they achieved one of the greatest comebacks of all time against AC Milan, and a feature all about the Barcelona’s artistic and beautiful nature as a city beign reflected on the pitch in the Camp Nou.

The other main articles include an extended piece on the Superclasico, which is always such a spectacular occasion, Hamburg being relegated for the first time in their history after maintaining their status as the only German side to have always played in the top flight for so many years in such dramatic style, and a feature on Yohan Cabaye, who is a player who I think has always played the game in an honest and exciting manner, with beautiful skill and technique, and has become so likeable as a result, so there is a real mixture of articles in the first issue.

In between each longer article is a shorter piece, with each one concentrating on a specific little element of the game that encapsulates its beauty. From the tension of taking a penalty or the pride of wearing your scarf, to the magic of an evening match and the excitement of a cup tie, there are nine of these shorter features in total to be enjoyed alongside the rest of the magazine.

Finally there are some exclusive interviews with fans from across the World where they have shared what their club and national team means to them, and in this section I think we have captured something quite special, as everyone loves the game for different reasons and have their own special memories of it. So, there is a fair bit in there, and I must say a huge thank you for all of the support that Escapismo has received so far!

CK: Can you tell us a bit about the aspirations for the mag?

JG: It’s still in it’s early days, but I’ve learnt so much and have so many things I’d love to feature in the future, in terms of both the design and feel of the physical magazine, as well as the content – I’ve got so many ideas for interviews and collaborations, as well as themes to base future issues around, and this has also helped me to consider how to expand the brand into different areas too.

CK: Can you tell us a bit about what you have planned for your next issue?

JG: I’m so excited for this, the theme is going to be mixed fortunes, so looking at sides that have enjoyed a glorious past but have faded away recently, but also those sides that may not have enjoyed much success in the past but are currently enjoying golden periods. I’m hoping it will show a contrast and relate to situations that we have all experienced whilst supporting our teams.

There are also going to be a host of contributions from a number of artists, brands and contributors, whilst I also have a couple of interviews arranged, so that’s going to add a whole new dimension to the magazine. Of course we have what is set to be a brilliant Euros tournament in the Summer so there will definitely be a few sections of the magazine related to that, and I’m also going to try to do a podcast or two as well as maybe a few mini-documentaries to bring some of the content in the magazine to life. I’m aiming for it to be released in the summer so it can be enjoyed with the tournament – the wait between matches can feel like forever can’t it so hopefully this will be something to enjoy during those gaps!

You can get your hands on the first issue of Escapismo Mag, here.


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