Le magazine est mort. Vive le magazine:
Since 2004, I’ve been the editor (and sometimes publisher) of some of the biggest independent pop culture magazines around (Skin Deep/Burn Magazine/Zero). When the last of these died in its sleep, it didn’t take me long to figure out magazines have a very uncertain future and I knew it was time to figure out a better way.
I’ve also blogged since 2007 about the folly of the human condition dressed up in pop culture references and written a fair few books (enough that you wouldn’t want to carry them in one hand back to the car) that you can find here.
I’m still going to write books but otherwise, I’m throwing all my hats into the Substack ring where my day job will now consist of writing Scenes From The Coffee House. I hope you’ll come along with me for the ride.
What are you going to get?
I’ve always been an admirer of writers who have the ability to talk passionately about one thing while their hearts can’t help but pull in anything else on the periphery that interests them at the time.
Writers like Nick Hornby, Lester Bangs, Chuck Klosterman. Humourists like Clive James and David Sedaris. You can maybe throw in Hunter S. Thompson too - some things are too deep rooted to avoid.
I try to mash these writers together in the best way I can to create something as entertaining for you as they always have been to me. So that’s the main thing you’re going to get. I think that’s all it needs to do but as a subscriber here, there will also be big discounts on my books and occasional exclusive content from them along the way.
Here’s some book review comments from happy people:
For fans of rock, comics and good old fashioned music journalism (think Sounds, Creem, Rolling Stone). The interviews contained in Black Dye White Noise are brought together by chapters setting the scene, time and place and what they meant to the author. Although not all the names within are known to the mainstream, every page has something to say about what makes rock 'n roll culture go far beyond the music and matter so much to so many.
I’ve never read any Jack Kerouac but if I did, I imagine it might be a bit like Sion Smith’s Cities of the Dead. Beat Poetry, to me, sounds like a sort of noir-ish slam on regular poetry and that’s kind of what’s going on in this book. It’s like hard-boiled travel writing. Sion Smith, has captured the true feelings of the various cities he visits - their hopes and fears and dirty secrets – and he’s telling us about it in a language we can all understand.
It's like that bloke, Jonathan Pie, who does the satire news reader thing, you know the one. He's on Youtube and he'll deliver the news like it's usually delivered and then it cuts to his 'off camera' rant where he tells you what he really thinks. Cities is like that, in a way: the bits of the travel guide that Smith put together after hours in his dimly lit hotel room - banged out on an old typewriter, cigarette dangling from his lips.
It's primarily historical figures Smith’s interested in with the cities he visits - dead people - but always from a completely fresh angle, again digging deeper than what’s in your average guide. And then there's the living characters he meets along the way – damaged people who seem, at least to me, somewhat dead themselves, ghostly and ethereal in their interactions.
Cities of the Dead is the elegant, accessible and emotionally engaging story of a man on a different type of journey. And it’s one which the reader can feel part of, too. So, grab your hat climb on board – it’s going to be a rocky ride but, trust me, well worth it in the end.
Well have to admit that Black Dye White Noise is amazing as the interviews contained within seem to cover most of my heroes and Sion’s love and affection for them includes a brief background on the circumstances surrounding them.. whether it is Dee Snider from Twisted Sister, Paul Stanley from Kiss, photographer Fin Costello, comic book/majik master Grant Morrison, Slash and loads more....Funny, sad and amazingly personal, these compiled stories are the real thing!
Black Dye White Noise is how rock n roll insights should be written. If you've ever been to a gig or a rock festival, bought a rock magazine, played in a band or played your vinyl loud, you will enjoy this book. If you're a photographer like me, buy this book if only for the chapter with Photographer, Fin Costello, insightful, brutally honest and a bloody good read.
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