In conversation with Plathoes’ Cave

I was first introduced to the blog Plathoes’ Cave (PHC) in its very early stages, when it was but a gleam in its creators’ eyes. Bella Spencer and Alex Howlett are the mothers of this glorious wunderkind creation, and met when they were fresh-faced freshers at King’s College London. Plathoes’ Cave is a blog run by women for everyone, much like yours’ truly at Girls That Gig. From one glance on its impressively slick site, the topics are varied, from the hilarious to the tragic, the pondering to the anecdotal. Now, a couple of years down the line, and Plathoes’ Cave has germinated, producing a well put-together print zine that makes it stand out from the digital crowd. In the wake of their zine publication, I interviewed Bella and Alex to get the first scoop on their hopes and dreams for PHC.

Bella Spencer (L) and Alex Howlett (R)

In your own words, can you explain what PHC is and its defining ideology?

PHC is a platform where anyone can talk about anything. We bring aspiring writers and artists together to pair confrontational topics with beautiful aesthetics to start conversation and open eyes. While the majority of our content is published on plathoescave.com, we recently went old school and printed our first zine (how’s that for a smooth plug?!).

How did PHC come to life?

It began in the most humble of ways, over an over-priced pint in London. We created the site mainly because we wanted somewhere to express our own opinions, but it has grown beyond our wildest expectations into a gorgeous community of young creatives.

What made you decide to transition to physical print with Volume 1 of your zine?

PHC was our lovechild and we decided it was time it grew to a papery toddler. We wanted to celebrate the hard work and genius minds of our contributors by making something physical. Although the internet is a fantastic tool, the shear mass of information out there means that there can often be a ‘throwaway cyber culture’ and articles don’t always get the attention they deserve. We felt that a physical zine would allow give the work the appreciation it deserves.

Buy your copy of the PHC zine now on their website

How do you source such a range of writers for your blog?

To begin with it was just us, and then it was friends, then friends of friends, and now, by some miracle, we have reached an exciting stage where contributors from around the world contact us wanting to collaborate.

The majority of your articles are accompanied by original illustrations – why drawing over photography?

There’s a sneaky force called copyright, so to avoid our asses being sued we decided to feature art created especially for the site. What started as a practical solution to the problem has now become an integral part of the PHC identity. Our own artistic ability only allows for stick men with wobbly legs, so we’re always flabbergasted by the art that people send our way.

How are you finding it distinguishing yourselves as a brand when anyone can start a blog these days?

The thing that makes PHC is the community- we haven’t come across many other sites that prioritise inclusivity. One of the joys of the blog is the diversity of the contributors, and we believe this is reflected in the content.

Following on from that, how do you, as blog editors, see the internet affecting journalism further in the future?

That’s a tricky one because without the internet PHC couldn’t exist. However, while the web has brought about a lot of important conversations from various blogs, online magazines and platforms, it has also allowed an equal amount of hate and abuse that comes with the anonymity. It’s an aspect of our society that is equally exciting and alarming and which holds a lot of power. But essentially it’s good that journalism doesn’t belong predominantly to middle-aged, middle-class white men anymore.

If PHC was a song, what would it be?

‘For What It’s Worth (Stop, Hey What’s That Sound)’ by Buffalo Springfield

We’re living in a time of political uncertainty and our generation needs a platform to talk about the things that matter to them. This song perfectly encapsulates our aim to give a voice to those who aren’t necessarily heard in the mainstream media. Plus it’s real funky, and so are all the contributors of PHC.

What do you see in the future for PHC?

We will take over the world, become dictators and enforce the matriarchy. Failing that, we’ll expand our fantastic community and readership.

Jemima Skala

All images courtesy of PHC

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