Slacker Sounds: Liverpool, literature and the dying art of the fanzine
Ah, the good ol' music fanzine. Years ago a brief trip to Probe, Hairys and Quiggins would provide you with a plethora of new wave literature eager to rant down your lughole. These days diddly squat. Blame blogs, like this one...
And also the inherent apathy that exists among many. So what a grand surprise it was to find Slacker Sounds - a black and white DIY mini Merseyside music/culture Bible, tucked away on a battered dressing table in the neo-gothic surrounds of Grand Central.
From musings on the dearth of activity once the students had fled the City in the summer, to interviews with Metro Manila Aide, ramblings on the audiences at Sound City and a cut 'n paste WTF on China's Terracotta Army, Slacker Sounds was the ideal accompaniment to my warm buffalo gorgonzola panini and latte in Bold Street's Microzine.
The brains behind the fanzine and sometime event promoter is Spoonboy, aka Tom George and here he is to tell us more...
Getintothis: Who and what is Slacker Sounds?
Tom George: It's gig promotions thingy and fanzine - we organise events in Liverpool (and soon Manchester) and distribute 1000 copies of the zine across those cities every month.
Getintothis: Why did you start up SS?
TG: The event was started originally as a way to promote the band Heads of State.
A fanzine seemed the perfect way to spread the word. Also flypostering had just been banned in Liverpool at the time, so other methods were needed.
Getintothis: There seems to be an almost desolate landscape for the treasured fanzine now that the all-engrossing blogosphere has come into play. Do you get much feedback on SS? Do you care about feedback? Are you saddened by the demise of the fanzine?
TG: Yeah we get feedback, from bands that want a gig, and from writers offering content for the 'zine. We had our first angry letter a few weeks back as well, which was nice.
With respect to intelligent blogsites like yours, I feel that a lot of web feedback is just waffle. As Keith Richards said 'Talk is cheap'. If you like or disagree with something in Slacker Sounds, think about it before you respond, don't just go 'OMG! You are sooo wrong, my pet rat Scooby talks more sense, geta grip lad...' etc etc.
Getintothis: What Fanzines/magazines inspire(d) you?
TG: A combination of 'alternative' magazines of the sixties (Oz, Creem, etc.) and the instant, cut-and-paste aesthetic of punk zines. I also love all kinds of journalism that I find everywhere from Loaded to the Observer, from blogs to the things that come out of peoples mouths.
Getintothis: Much of, if not all, SS is Liverpool-centric, do you like what you see and hear in Liverpool 08?
TG: Yeah, as a city it is the ideal size to create a feeling of community, across the music and art scenes - there's a real subculture, and the bands are just getting better - but we do want to connect with other cities, and get people who know them to write about them.
Getintothis: What's you take on the Capital of Culture Year thus far? What's caught your eye?
TG: One of the best things has been the use of the 'bombed-out church' in L1 as a gig and art space. It's right in the heart of the city - such an original and accesssible venue, run by sound people.
Getintothis: Who and what excites SS in 2008 and beyond?
(check out those links; superb shouts from Tom - Getintothis)
Getintothis: We recently enjoyed the very many disperate talents of Liverpool's finest new bands at Latitude where the likes of Wave Machines, a.P.A.t.T and The Maybes? all went down a storm - do you think the state of Liverpool's music scene is in a healthy state?
TG: Yeah, it seems to be. There's always several gigs worth going to every week. A lot of people are saying we need some better venues, though.
Getintothis: If you were introducing a friend to Liverpool where would you take them?
TG: The Egg Cafe, FACT cafe, Green fish cafe, Sefton Park cafe and the steps of the 'bombed-out church'.
Getintothis: What's been getting heavy rotation on your jukebox this year?
The Mak of All Trades: Argyle Sox
Broken Social Scene: Backyards
Iggy Pop:I'm Bored
Metro Manila Aide:Queen Bee
Ron Sexsmith: Retriever
Dizzee Rascal: Stand up tall
Kings of Leon: Red morning Light
Ladytron: Destroy Everything you touch
Bikini Kill : Rebel Girl
The Fall: No Bulbs
Les Savy Fav: Let's stay friends
Jailhouse Fuck: Lick your stick
Getintothis: If you could enlist the help of five special writers for Slacker Sounds, who would they be?
TG: Alive: Paul Morley, Sean O'Hagan, Kathryn Flett, Euan Ferguson, Alexi Sayle.
Dead: Lester Bangs, Hunter S. Thompson, Jack Kerouac, Oscar Wilde, Douglas Adams.
Getintothis: Anything else to declare?
TG: Anyone that wants to contribute to the zine, help out at gigs, or assist in any way, get in touch - slackersounds@hotmaI.co.uk - we await your ideas and enthusiasm!