Wednesday 11 July 2012

Testing, testing ...

Looks like I'm not the first person to have a blog. It all seems to have been going on for some time. But for me, this is very new, because my words are suddenly homeless.

My favourite magazine, 'The Word', is closing this month. It had a very loyal fanbase (more of whom in a minute), who have written and blogged about the closure extensively, and though I belong to that fanbase, I don't feel especially well-equipped to write about the magazine's passing. Some people really lived and breathed it, while I occasionally inhaled.

I orbited the mag's universe, if you like; thanks to its terrific podcast, it had its fair share of in-jokes and references, and I was completely into all of that. More importantly, the forum/blog/what-you-will element of its website resulted in an online community that spilled out into the real world (when so often the internet provides a hiding place for people who want to escape it). Some of us have met up and made lasting, and what I hope will be lifelong, friendships. If you go to the website - - and have a root around, you'll see what I mean.

But I would like to thank the mag for making me write for fun again. I am a writer by trade, but financial, technical, business stuff. I still enjoy it very much (my nerd sensors are tweaked into life by 'plain Englishing' anything thorny and complex), but it's light on sex scenes and car chases.

The Word site had special areas for we ordinary punters not only to just blog about anything that took our fancy, but also post reviews of gigs, albums and books that we'd enjoyed. I started to get into this and reviewed most of the gigs I went to. The Word benefited from the process, because it would publish some of the contributions, and I made it into print a few times. It's difficult to describe the thrill of opening up a fresh copy of the magazine and seeing one of your reviews in there - or for that matter, seeing a post you'd really enjoyed on the site get the recognition it deserved.

Now the magazine has gone, my chances of re-living that thrill are diminished, but it was heartening to see just how many folk who post regularly to the site have always felt compelled to blog, write and record their cultural lives. The 'forum' or 'channel' may disappear, but the thinking and writing go on.

I would like to try and do the same. I am keen on music and photography, so that's what I'm most likely to blog about, although you may also encounter anguished descriptions of the occasional injury sustained during hoovering. Gig reviews are likely to feature heavily - and unless I get so drenched that my entire set of bodily faculties fail, I'll start with what I think of Anna Calvi at Somerset House tomorrow night.

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