Marsha Taylor

Hunt for Steel

Center City



"This is my production, my money, my gift to reader, writer and myself – and, I might add, my ass in the event someone gets inordinately PO'd. Pinch will not emanate from some bold-faced organization, so I do blush a bit when I declare that my tastes will dominate."

Jerry Murley (4/77)



Memphis 1977-1978


The Nickel Pamphlet

Weary of Center City-type [1] "journalism" and trying in vain to scrape together the cash, copy, and time to publish and distribute multiple issues of a journal per month, I embarked on the publication of a tiny, handmade entertainment monthly. The dimensions of this pamphlet were small in every respect, including the number of copies printed per issue. I don't think I ever printed more than five hundred copies per issue. It is the only time in my career that I handled all of the preparations and ran the printing press myself. I distributed the no-frills black and white copies by placing them in walnut-stained pine boxes that resembled old-fashion, wall-mounted residential mailboxes. I made the boxes as well. A smaller box with a slot on the lid, secured by one of those itsy-bitsy key locks, was attached with a sign on the front that read "PINCH 5¢" in bold black-on-white type. The boxes were placed in a trendy cafe in Midtown, a bookstore, and I forget where else.

I got to exercise and develop my sense of humor and say things I could not say even in my most brazen pieces and headlines in Center City. I expected PINCH to fold long before it did. But in the meantime I got to play and make connections with a different kind of writer than I had encountered while editing Center City.

One entire six-page issue consisted of one wild Brad McMillian cartoon after another. Regrettably, I have not been able to find a single surviving copy of that issue. Five months into my first year, I invited David Bowman, the Center City gadfly extraordinaire, to edit a series of pieces by locally known, if not famous, writers.

And then, not so famously, PINCH disappeared much as many things usually disappear in Memphis: into the night in broad daylight with barely a word said one way or another. [2]

PINCH, April 1977  [Pinch (PW); Ink Drought (JM); Recognitions (ML); Molehill (JM)]

PINCH, May 1977  [Critics (JM); Words (BM & WT); Molehill (JM)]

PINCH, June 1977  [Mississippi Grapevine (A.V. Mitchell); Molehill (JM); Words (JM)]

PINCH, July 1977   [Penury (H. Pearre); Words (HP); Molehill (JM); Obscure Things (PW)]

PINCH, August 1977  [Memphis Writing Series (D. Bowman); Supporting the Arts (M. Leonard)]

PINCH, September 1977  [Memphis Writing Series (D. Bowman); Two Christmas Stories (J.F. Ryan)]

PINCH, October 1977  [Memphis Writing Series (D. Bowman); Those Were the Afternoon Rooms (E. Glaze)]

PINCH, November 1977  [Series (DB); Tails of the Arkansas Wood (C.D. Taylor); Rake (JM); Meeting (ML)]

PINCH, December 1977  [Molehill (JM); Obscure Things (PW)]

PINCH, March 1978  [Molehill (JM)]

PINCH, August 1978  [Moelhill (JM); Failure (JM)]

PINCH, October 1978  [The Crystal Theatre: A Conclusion (HD & JM, after the series originator went AWOL)]


1. I was associated with Center City in one way or another from July 31, 1974, until February 3, 1977.

2. PINCH survived for almost two years, disappearing in sudden death at the end of 1978.


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