I had a bit of bad news today. Although no one has died or been hurt, my life will not be the same again. It was announced that The Word magazine is to cease production after its next issue. I dare say that most of you have never heard of this magazine (and that is no doubt part of the problem) and will be wondering what all the fuss is about; but to me it was the perfect publication.
I still remember when I saw the first issue on the shelf. It had the singer and writer Nick Cave on the cover and, looking back, I remember it as having a sort of glow around it. Of course it didn’t, but it was such a significant find for me that that’s how I still see it in my mind’s eye. Upon picking it up I felt that it had been put together specifically for me with a great mixture of music, film and tv, current affairs, books, and technology. It was intelligently written and both complemented and challenged my cultural life.
In addition to the magazine there is a complementary podcast that has accompanied me on countless train journeys and bus commutes. It was fantastic, like having a group of like-minded friends having a chat and a laugh in my ears. Around the magazine the editors (Mark Ellen and David Hepworth) built an amazing online community that put me in touch with others who were interested in many of the same things that I am; and all the messages of support and sadness on the Word forum and on Facebook are testament to how much it was loved. All in all The Word has helped me keep in touch with the sort of things I wanted to be kept in touch with, and I feel rather sad that it will no longer be there.
I’ve always been a fan of things cultural, and music in particular; and this was something I was determined to try to keep going when I became a Father. In fact a song, Changingman (by one of my favourite singers, Paul Weller), inspired the title of this blog. Paul Weller originally sang in one of my all time top bands, The Jam, which he split up in 1981. As a teenager at the time this seemed like a huge tragedy, I wondered how I would ever cope with life without The Jam. Of course life went on, and other great music came along too.
As life goes on we learn how to cope better with change, perhaps as we experience more and more of it. What led to us feeling utter desolation when we were young now seems like a minor aberration in the grand scheme of things. So while it’s sad when things that we’ve really enjoyed come to an end other things soon replace them, and I dare say that it won’t be long before I’ve found something to replace The Word. In the meantime it has provided me with great memories, and I think I will be having those 200+ podcasts on syndication on my iPod for many years to come.