‘Of course it’s nothing new. That’s the whole point. Spot the connections if you want. Drop the plumb lines down through the ages and pluck up the coat-tails of the Mary Chain, early Primal Scream, Velvets, Shop Assistants (any other stand up drummer groups you want to drop in the mix), Ronettes / Teddy Bears / any other Spector spectre, The Loveless and The Outsiders, Elvis, Eddie Cochrane, the buzz burst rush of primal Rock’n’Roll, oh take your pick, take your pick. And yes, revel in all of that if you want to and if you need to, but if not, why not, and here’s to you: go out and delight in the surge, the sound, the glamour and the grit.’
Alistair has produced a new fanzine, the latest in a long and variously titled string which for me stretches back to Delight in the new wonderland in approximately 1988. But there hasn’t been one for a while, what with websites and blogs. So why would you want to go to the trouble of buying a hard copy fanzine in this day and age, when you can read thousands – possibly hundreds of thousands – of Alistair’s words for free, and see his design mind at work on screen?
Because you can still do things with ink and paper and tracing paper that cannot be done on screen. Because in the right hands a magazine can attain a state of graphic beauty that a web page cannot. The screen remains a veil, a membrane, albeit an increasingly thin one. In some small but important sense, it separates.
And because what he has chosen to write about on paper attains particular significance. The Kinks, George P. Pelecanos, drum and bass, graphic novels, cycling. That’s a healthy set of obsessions to have.
Oh, and Glasvegas, from a piece about whom the quote comes. I had lazily imagined they were cut from the same cloth as Death In Vegas, but one brief page in Don’t forget to dance corrects that misconception and made me want to investigate. So I did. It doesn’t matter what I think of them; what matters is that the source is a trusted one and the impetus was strong.