The demise of The Word Magazine (part 1)

(Part 2 of this entry is here.)

The Word Magazine has announced its closure after nine years.

The Word (magazine)
The Word (magazine) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I admit I came late to it, and only then because I had a few spare Tesco vouchers. A colleague at work occasionally brings in a Mojo, or more rarely a Q, and I’ve long been indifferent to the content of such titles. I’ve been reading (and not reading) it for around a year and I’m not surprised it folded.

Of course, it’s sad to see the demise of an intelligent print title and the loss of associated jobs, but as David Hepworth pointed out on his blog, these things are impossible to sustain in the modern media landscape. He exemplified this by talking about how the news broke (on Twitter) and how quickly the public reacted (on Twitter), long before the old media got their arses in gear.

When I was between the ages of 17 and 22 I was an avid reader of the NME, sometimes so obsessed with music that I would even buy the Melody Maker and even Sounds (but never Record Mirror). I stopped reading the NME when it became the plaything of Ian Penman and Paul Morley. Later, I read Q for a while, and later still I briefly flirted with, and abandoned, Mojo.

Here’s the thing. None of these magazines really wrote about any of the music that I love(d). Oh of course there was the odd edition with a Springsteen write-up, or a gnomic Dylan interview, or a Beatles cover story. But most of the time, from the NME onwards, I was reading because I was interested in music in general, and I liked the writing.

And this is what I felt about The Word. Nice people, with an occasionally amusing podcast, still writing in the same jokey way that I loved back in the 70s and 80s, when Danny Baker was writing fake letters to the NME asking Where is Beatles band?

I’ve tried picking up country music magazines, but they’re badly written, badly designed, and cheaply printed. I’ve read guitar magazines, but they feed an addiction I can’t afford.

And I used to read all of the Apple computer magazines. But I no longer do. Why? Because the monthly or fortnightly news pages are already out of date. Because the reviews are duplicated a million times online. And because they feed an addiction I can’t afford.

There was never anything in the Word about anybody I’d listen to, and I hated those Illustrator covers. And a copy would often lie around the house, part-read, for weeks on end. In fact, the last one of my Tesco subscription has been sitting on the table in the back room for a month. The one before that is by the bed. The one before that is on my desk at work.

I bought an iPad last weekend, and just downloaded the last ever issue onto it. Read about twenty percent of it. David Hepworth recommends a Kenny Chesney album. Now, that’s almost my thing, but Kenny Chesney is naff.

Read Part 2.


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