Monday, 2 July 2012

In the beginning was The Word…

Sometimes it seems like every music magazine I read goes bust. I'm like the Typhoid Mary of popular journalism. First Select, then Vox, now Word - it got thinner every episode while the price inexorably rose, so the writing was on the wall. NME staggers on as a repository of press releases and fawning interviews, but there's very little of anything recognisable as journalism in there. 

I'm a Word reader more by default really: its proportion of dead/60s+70s rock blokes on the front cover was slightly lower than Mojo or Q: if I never see Richards-Jagger-Bowie-Weller-Cohen-Waits-Curtis (even though I like the last three) on a newsstand again I'll be a happy man. Once a year they allow a woman to grace the front page, as long as it's Kate Bush or PJ Harvey (again, both of whom I like). Word was similarly guilty, but to a lesser extent. It was well-written and thoughtful - a mix between the good bits of Radio 4 and Radio 3's Late Junction. It was, like all these magazines, pretty masculinist, and paid far too much adoration to 'craft', but it was always a good read. The music coverage was fairly wide-ranging, they took popular culture seriously without being pompous, they took criticism well and their passion shone through in every article. 

Where does an ageing indie-kid go these days? I'll cut off my ears and pull out my eyes before touching Mojo or Q, and NME is now like a bright 15-year old hopped up on E-numbers telling me that everything's brilliant, but the dominant websites are similarly unbearable - the Quietus and Pitchfork are so po-faced, so utterly determined to be the hippest kids on the block that I want to leave their authors locked in a bunker with only Whigfield and The Corrs for company. 

One new kid on the blog is Hand in Glove, written by some friends of mine. It's only just launched, but sounds like it could be good:

Hand in Glove is a new on-line magazine, it is a scrapbook of nostalgic memories and artefacts, a sound board to voice our anger against anything that irritates or annoys us, a vehicle to showcase the talent that is inherent in us all.
It is unashamedly biased towards bands, artists, football teams, culture, emotions and ideas that have shaped the people we have evolved into, and will continue to change by the volatile and dynamic environment in which we are ensconced.
Hand in Glove is currently in an embryonic state and unsure of its future direction at this moment in time…
I'm cautious: it's a bit nostalgic and they don't know how to deal with apostrophes, but we'll see how they get on.

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