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By Anna Bowness

We thought we’d better jump on the bandwagon before it left us behind: this issue of Broken Pencil is devoted to The City. It’s been getting so much attention lately that it’s starting to saturate the media and dominate our conversations. Which city? It doesn’t matter. Every city – and even the idea of “the city” – is turning into a fetish object. People are writing about the city in books, now, when they used to write about alienation in the prairies and dead sailors in the Maritimes. They’re devoting gallery shows to the city, to its concrete everyday realness, instead of just to the abstract and ethereal. They’re writing about it in magazines, and they’re even writing whole magazines about it. They are, in fact, even writing whole books about it – Coach House is already contemplating the sequel to its 2005 book of urban-theory-porn, uTOpia. People are writing songs with the names of their cities in them, and using digital cameras to immortalize their cities in photoblogs. Some people wear fashion devoted to their subway systems; some people have sexual fantasies about their mayor. We figured it was time we looked at this phenomenon – whether it’s a hipster trend or the first big step in a new cultural direction – from the point of view of the indie world.

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