Monday, April 19, 2010

Manchester magazines, online and off

Here's a long overdue roundup of new activity in Manchester's cultural media landscape. Some gigantic web launches lurk in the wings, but at the moment there' s some evidence that, at least on the smaller and more grassroots side of things, print is not entirely dead here.

There's encouraging action on the zine front. I should have heard about this one ages ago, as it's already pretty well established, but Pull Yourself Together is a music zine dedicated to the indiepop scene that's published every two months. They also have a nice sideline in gigs, and clubnights at Common. And they now have a web presence over here. Also in the zine and music business is Moon Printed Shadows, which is shortly launching a publication called Knick Knack featuring poetry and short stories from Manchester writers.

I got a chance to peruse the Salford Zine Library at Islington Mill the other day - some real gems in there, and its good to see someone taking responsibility for collecting and championing zines. If you make a zine, get in touch and send them a donation. They also have what appears to be every single edition of the long-departed City Life over there. That made for some pretty interesting reading.

In case anyone missed it, Words & Fixtures published an excellent list of Manchester magazines, fanzines and online publications that are open for creative writing submissions, as well as writers' groups - incredibly useful info for writers in our fair city.

Copywriter Tom Mason, who was responsible for November in Manchester, has a new web-based publishing project: 330 words "The concept behind 330 Words is simple. Take a photograph and let it inspire you towards a piece of fiction. Let your photograph form the foundation of your story. Choose your own genre and style. Keep the entire thing under 330 words." (Auto) Flash fiction?

Not to be confused with the previous, 3030 Magazine describes itself as "articles, reviews and stories aiming to get people in Manchester interacting. Fans of old-style documentation - written on paper. Free press out in early 2010." No information on when/where/how it is launching, though going by their Twitter activity they seem to be collecting submissions and doing a spot of matchmaking.

Now Then, the Sheffield arts and culture print magazine that planned to launch a Manchester edition this month has postponed the launch and will take a few months to regroup: "It is with sincere regret we write to inform you that, despite our best efforts, we have been unable to gather enough support from independent retailers, charities and community groups to print an edition of Now Then Manchester this month," they wrote on their blog today.

"This is not us giving up, but a postponement in order to create something which is sustainable on a monthly basis. We are all still hugely committed to seeing a magazine on the streets and in the cafes of Manchester, and to the task of informing people about their local independent artists, traders and politics," they say. They'll continue to publish content on the blog in the intervening period (props for including the word bombinated in their recent Magnetic Fields review.)

The Skinny, the Glasgow listings magazine that was planning a Manchester edition, has now reportedly shelved those plans. They started posting a bit of MCR content online, but stopped short of launching a print mag. Just like Time Out. That's right, we got stood up again. (sniff.) Come on, what's wrong with us? We deserve a what's on magazine just as much as anyone else does, dammit. Is it something we said?

Or is it the fact that everyone seems convinced that there isn't the local advertising market to support a print magazine in Manchester, to say nothing of the fact that we're in a recession, or that the entire model of financing print journalism by selling ads is crumbling before our eyes.

Oh yeah, well, okay. There is that.

(Illustration from Toothpaste for Dinner)


Chimp said...

Oi! Don't forget live and kickin'!!

Troy Babylon said...

Thanks for the mention Kate. We're gutted but as the announcement says the magazine is still planning to launch. As soon as we have details of when that will be they'll be up on the blog. Now Then Manchester

Vaughan said...

And apropos of the cartoon, those of us writing for fanzines back in the 70s will know that there was no agreement over how the word was pronounced. SF and gaming ones seemed to be 'zines' and music ones 'zeens'...

Kate Feld said...

Really? Wow, I didn't know that. I've only heard zine (rhymes with clean)

burst faun said...


I quoted you in a found blog I'm doing

Hope that's ok


Mike said...

Another magazine, and another blog. New Belle Vue (#3) should be available this week as well.

Kate Feld said...

Great news, thanks Mike.

Kate Feld said...

Ben, that's fine. It sounds interesting - where can I see the post?

Sc0rpi02 said...

Chimp Magazine has been available at most news agents in Manchester since February 2009, covering news reviews and listings. There is also now a free Chimp what's on app for iPhone.