Flexi Press

Flexi Press is the home of The Irregular Press’s Micro Collections. Micro Collections are small collections of poetry or sudden fiction (fiction of extreme brevity or micro-fiction or postcard fiction or whatever you want to call it this week) that are intended to help promote/offer an online vignette of a writer’s fiction and intended to complement their print work.

Why Flexi Press? 

Remember those flexi-discs that used to come attached to music magazines and how they provided a sampler of some new or old artist or other? Well we decided to trade on this concept as a kind of gimmicky metaphor for what we wanted to do with our micro-collections.


Submissions can be made in one of three popular formats – Single (A Side and B Side), Long Playing Album (A Side and B Side) or Jukebox EP (with as many as six pieces). Also, please include some sleevenotes that can act as a mini-biography including a few previous publications, etc. Please either fill in the form on the submissions page to submit or – if you hate filling in forms – just send the lot in an email to: flexipressed@gmail.com.

We don’t plan to publish anything and everything and will attempt to exercise some kind of editiorial control. If we don’t like what you’ve sent or it just doesn’t fit with our thinking then we regret that we probably won’t have time to write back but feel free to submit again any time.


The History of the Flexi-Disc

Flexipop!’s Shameless Pop Legacy


Beginning – as he did – as the co-inventor and owner of short lived (1980-1982) pop magazine Flexipop! (exclamation marks were very important then – see Wham or Wham!), writer Tim Lott straddles our collision of flexi-disc and literature like some kind of colossus. This is his account of how he did it.

Soviet Jazz – Sentimental Songs on X-Ray

We like this one because it tells the history of the Soviet Flexi-Disc as a Samizdat (“self-published”) activity. Samizdat was a term – originally coined as a pun by Russian poet Nikolai Glaznov in the 1940s – to describe a key form of dissident activity across the Soviet Bloc where individuals sought to reproduce censored documents by hand in order to pass them from reader to reader.

Aside from Magnitiizdat (the passing on of taped sound recordings) and Tamizdat (literature published abroad and smuggled in and passed on), there was also Roentgenizdat – a portmanteau-word made from roenten ray (“X-Ray”) izdat (“publishing house”) and known colloquially as ‘bones’ or ‘ribs’). These were essentially flexi-discs made from discarded medical x-rays, a cheap, reliable source of suitable raw material. Roentgenizdat provided an underground medium for the distribution of jazz music, which – post-World War II – had been banned. Such bones or ribs were produced from the late 1940s to the early Sixties, often by members of the Stilyagi who were a Soviet youth subculture (the appelation Stilyagi variously translated in English as ‘style hunter’ or ‘dandy’ or ‘beatnik’ or ‘hipster’ but actually used pejoratively in a Soviet Union due to their “open admiration of modern, especially American, Capitalistic lifestyles”.

See also here and here and here to find out more about roentgenizdat.

Hip Pocket Records

A rather masterful history of the flexi-disc from Stylus magazine that introduces us to the story of flexi-discs in the West. From their beginnings with Philco (the electronics arm of the Ford Motor Company) and their invention of Hip Pocket Records, mass-marketed flexi-discs of top forty hits to the more intellectual aspirations of Aspen (touted as “the world’s first three dimensional magazine”) which featured contributions from the likes of Roland Barthes, Marshall McLuhan and Andy Warhol.


Why Flexi Press?

Remember those flexi-discs that used to come attached to music magazines and how they provided a sampler of some new or old artist or other? Well we decided to trade on this concept as a kind of gimmicky metaphor for what we wanted to do with our micro-collections.

Do you actually produce flexi-discs?

No, we just use them as a conceptual framework by which to package micro collections of poetry in a new way that is suitable for a blog. In a way that is smaller than a poet’s full collection and, in some cases, smaller than the amount of poems needed for a pamphlet even.

We could just as easily have used the home recorded tape or the dub plate or the DJ mix or some other analogous thing but this is the one we decided on. So there you go.

Why did we do this?

Firstly, there are alot of attempts to publish poetry and short fiction online and most (not all, of course) are pretty awful affairs which offer shoddy interfaces and nothing in the way of editorial control. We hope to offer something a little smarter. Secondly, we are part of The Irregular Press and The Irregular Press is dedicated to finding new and interesting ways to publish poetry online and in print form, this could be one. Thirdly, we’re interested in a collision are obsolete formats in this format this shifting age and would find it interesting to be able to garner enough content to produce Top Tens, etc.

As a writer, why should I bother with all this?

Hopefully, this can become an interesting way to work with publishers and writers/artists to publicise new writing and to help promote new print collections, e-books etc. For writers, particularly ones who are au fait with popular culture of the last century (don’t accuse us of looking to the future), can interest themselves and their readers by playing with our three allotted formats.

Everyone will have their own ideas (we hope) but a few that spring obviously to mind include:

  • the whole idea of the relation of the B Side to the A Side of a Single.
  • the whole notion of sequencing a long player with opening tracks, final tracks, last tracks of Side One, etc. Not to mention experiments such as David Bowie’s ‘Low’ where the whole of Side B is taken up with an instrumental tracks.
  • considerations of different genres. The shorter, punchier brevity of the A Side and B Side versus to the longer, more contemplative indulgences of Progressive Rock.
  • spoken word albums, novels serialised in magazines, etc.

Writers, please feel free to offer newer work or to re-contextual older work in whatever way you see fit. The copyright is yours not ours.

Are you serious?

Yeah, we are. Although, there is an element of latitude and play in offering your poetry/short fiction via our formats. For poets, we see no reason why they should interfere with the seriousness of your work or why they should be incompatible with the existing range of poetic forms from the sonnet, the sonnet sequence and the villanelle to free verse.  Similarly, for writers of fiction, we think that short fiction and shorter flash fiction, not to mention the whole idea of sequencing chapters and sections, etc  would be compatible with our formats.

Money? Do you pay any?

Nope, we’re merely hoping to be of use as a promotional tool for work that you’re selling elsewhere. Also, you (or your publisher) retain the copyright of whatever you consent to be used here.

How many words per piece?

Upto you. No particular limit. Adapt the formats how you will.