One of the great things about getting Bearded into places like WHSmiths and Borders is that people look at the magazine in a different light. It gives a certain amount of kudos to the title and people respect that. What it also does is give more exposure to the magazine, which in turn attracts people who want to get into writing in ‘proper’ music magazines.
Now Bearded may not have been a proper music magazine (at least in my eyes), and it attributed pretty much its entire identity to fanzine culture. It was, therefore, strange – but ultimately uplifting – to have been besieged by different types of fanzines from people who wanted to write for my proper music magazine.
These people are much like myself, but with a much more sensible head on their shoulders. All I wanted to do was make a fanzine, I just made it too nice, and the receipt of fanzines has left me yearning what I set out to do in the first place.
One such fanzine was Niche Homo, which was sent to me by Nick Jones, one of many people I get writing to me daily asking to contribute to Bearded. Even though that upon (unexpected) receipt of this fanzine I misplaced it in a semi-drunken rush to get home from a Saturday’s drinking, I had got through enough of the Leeds-based zine to find one of the jewels of fanzines that you never get in proper magazines – in depth/full interview conversations.
At the heart of Niche Homo, and the thing that turned me off upon first glancing at a copy, was that there was A LOT of text. Anyone who has seen Bearded could guess that cramming pages with words is something I don’t like, and there was enough text in Niche Homo to probably fill a blank copy of the bible. When I started reading though, I discovered that all this text was so mischievously pointless, that it served a massive point – to show us what we don’t read when browsing an interview in a magazine.
For a proper magazine, pagination (or how many pages there are to normal people) is king. It controls a lot of costs and publishers don’t like a lot of them (well they do, but usually refuse to due to cost). Therefore all articles must be cut down to the bare bones. What then gets cut is a lot of the random mumbling that are insignificant waste to a casual reader (or an uninformed editor) but are absolute factoid gold to a crazed but dedicated fanboy.
From memory, the Niche Homo piece that did it was their Fucked Up interview. Everybody from Plan B to NME has featured Fucked Up, but this interview with frontman Damian Abraham was the best I read. It enlightened us to how Vice (Records, although they do the magazine as well) reacted to the band not signing with them, it also talked at length about Damian’s absence from the band, different spheres of power and influence in the band dynamic and other musings that most publishers would cut because it talked about other titles or veered away from the subject matter. To me though, it was brilliant, and I’m ruing my misplaced copy…
As you can tell – I love fanzines, so if you want to send me yours, please do. You can contact me using this form: