Dusting off CL's first issue on our 40th anniversary

After four decades, Creative Loafing hasn't strayed too far off course


  • Dustin Chanbers
  • "What is a creative loafer?"

This week's edition of Creative Loafing, issue no. 1, volume 41, marks the 40th anniversary of this here arts and entertainment weekly newspaper, and oh how things have changed.

"Who is the creative loafer?" asks the first line of print that CL ever published.

There's only one surviving copy of that issue here at the office, and it's been filed away in our morgue archive since Richard Nixon was still in office, its pages now yellow and almost too brittle for human hands to touch. The cover query continues, "Our latest scientific research indicates creative loafers are persons whose origin and behavior are of endless variety and defy description. However, certain characteristics are obvious. They are displeased with the 'Establishment's Rat Race' and motivated to enjoy distractions of a particular nature. We have only a limited estimate of these distractions, but shall describe some of the most interesting.

Many of these distractions are caused by five of their many senses. With their eyes they look for things that are different. This stimulates their curiosity, a motivating force. Their noses search out enjoyable fragrances of nature, and of food stuffs that satisfy their taste sense. Their ears send them to different places to hear weird sounds. A sense of touch is used to experience everything. They feel, fondle, or fix countless crafty things which delight this and other senses."

And so begins a legacy of loafing, and really, after 40 years we haven't strayed too far off course. The exact publication date for issue no. 1 is difficult to pinpoint, since there is no date printed on the paper, although there is a hand-scrawled, "May 31, 1971," marked on the inside cover of the bound volume that chronicles each week's paper from June of 1972 on up through Oct. 1973. But if it was truly operating like a weekly back then, the May 31 date doesn't match up with the June 3-9 date that's stamped on the cover of issue no. 2. Like so much of Atlanta's history, the past is riddled with inconsistencies.