I knew the day was coming a couple of weeks ago when I read on the magazines web site that the next edition of The Word would be the last and so when I handed over my money at WH Smith’s this morning, it was with some sadness. The variety of large chocolate bars on offer for one pound a piece in the shop did nothing to cushion the blow and besides, I never have much of a sweet tooth that early in the morning.
As Mark Ellen details in his last editorial, the current economic climate, competition with free media and the erosion of traditional advertising have made it impossible to sustain the publication. To quote Captain Darling from the final episode of Blackadder Goes Fourth when he too finds out that he’ll be going over the top, – “Buggar”.
A couple of years ago I wrote a piece about why I thought Word was the best magazine around and nothing has changed my opinion since. The article can be found here and in fact led me to appearing on the highly regarded Word Podcast with Mark Ellen and David Hepworth. A most enjoyable hour it was too where amongst other things I argued the merits of Belle&Sebastian whom I had recently been working with, discussed various Scottish World Cup songs and even got in a mention of one of my favourite songwriters who has never got the attention he deserved, Bob Lind. The conversation we had that day in a room with no windows was the kind I could happily have any day of the week albeit with the hope that some of them might be in a room with a view. The podcast can be heard here. I also have Mark and David to thank for helping the promotion of my short film Timber! by way of including it in the Links We Like section of the weekly Word Newsletter and for giving me shelter at last years rain soaked Latitude Festival in the little Word Tent. I would later go back there for some free alcoholic punch which helped me no end in getting through the weekend in a windcheater not equipped to handle the conditions. Thank you gents, it made all the difference.
I always saw, along with many others in “The Word Massive” that the magazine was in tune with my musical and cultural tastes and this is again the case with the final edition. There is mention of one of my favourite albums, Nick Garrie‘s 1969 masterpiece The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas, an article by Eamonn Forde on the art and science of the setlist and some great archive photos of my favourite band of them all, The Rolling Stones. I’ll enjoy those and more while perhaps even reading a little slower this time in the knowledge that this is indeed it. As Kurt Vonnegut would say, “so it goes… ” but as I would add, all too soon.