Synaesthesia Magazine Cities - Page 38

Do you Gimbal?

Do you Gimbal?

Our editor, Carlota Eden, chats to Comma Press digital editor Jim Hinks about their new short story app, featuring stories set all around the world

You and I are strangers. We’re strangers in a big scary world full of even scarier people and endless, endless expectations, governed by things we have no control over, like taxes and the weather. We take comfort in stories because stories get it. They make us feel like we’re not alone because they put into words those feelings we can’t understand, feelings that often make us feel terribly miniscule.

And more often than not, short stories get it more than novels do. There’s no time for whimsical narrative or ego-centric prose. Good short stories get in and get out. They’re a single malt whiskey where novels are a leisurely glass of wine. Their brevity makes them sweet.

Independent publishing house, Comma Press, cottoned on to the fact that short stories were the bees knees a decade ago, when co-founder Ra Page commissioned a series of booklets of ‘city-specific’ short stories for Manchester arts and news magazine, City Life. The project soon developed into book-length story collections, which began the birth of Comma Press. Since then, Comma Press have specialised in publishing short stories with site-specific narratives in the UK and beyond.

This year, Comma Press went one step further by launching the Gimbal iPhone app, intended to immerse the reader into an interactive story experience. The app is a mixture of all that Comma Press are founded on: short stories, translation, audiobooks and a certain element of wanderlust.

Navigate, listen, explore

We asked Jim Hinks, digital editor at Comma Press, to give us the lowdown: “The idea behind it is simple. All the short stories featured on the Gimbal app are set in different cities across the world, and as you listen to a recording of a story, the app traces that story’s journey across an actual map. You’re taking an imaginary journey while you sit on your same boring commute every day.”

Jim experienced this firsthand, having designed the Gimbal app with the commuter in mind. He

This looks like an advert. Urgh. Might try to fit it all on two pages