A zine for Manchester – out now

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans.
John Lennon

So here it is. Twenty plus pages of giggy goodness.

We asked people to tell us about “the gig of your life”. And that’s a difficult question, some have too many to count, some it’s a night so special it defies actual words, and for some music is so important, so vital, the answer can only be ‘the next one’.

We collected the responses (from a host of ace people) and like to think that we have made one hell of a zine.

We were all moved by that horrible night in May. More than moved: offended, affronted. Not least because gigs are holy ground, they’re sacred spaces made from sweat on love. Circles danced in the sand where evil lives outside.

We needed to redress the balance, celebrate the art that has given us so much over the years.

So now this zine exists. It has many wonderful stories: of gigs that changed people’s lives, for good or bad.

It’s available to buy now as a PDF.

The lion’s share (three quarters) of the proceeds will be going to the National Foundation for Youth Music, a charity designed to change young people’s lives with music. The rest to the Red Cross We Love Manchester fund.

So grab your copy today, and please tweet, FB, share, and generally get the word out there.

Order now

Digital (PDF) £2.50

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Hold on, I’m coming

It’s been so long I bet you thought you’d not hear from us again. And to be honest, I didn’t think you would either. Let me explain. As you all know the night I came up with this I was watching the rolling news on all the social media streams of this event happening. Shocking, and brutal news that made me, want, need to do something to offset the horror. So the ball got rolling.

But then another terror attack happened, then another, then the Grenfell tower happened, fresh horror after fresh horror and I just stopped. Numbness isn’t a surprising reaction to a barrage of tragedy and violence. Especially with a news media and social sphere obsessed with being first and the hottest takes. I never consciously gave up on this little project, it just got buried under an avalanche of news and dissociation. The only thing I felt when I thought about that night was shame that I didn’t finish. So I stopped thinking about it.

But my two co-editors and best friends in the world pushed it back into my mind again. And I’m ashamed that I let it happen, that I was so easily distracted and beaten. So it’s happening. The MEN is reopened in early September so we’re planning to use the boost in visibility to launch the zine then.

We plan to have two versions available for sale, a PDF and a print version. So, watch this space.

An idea

As I write this it’s 4 am on a tuesday morning, tonight I’ve spent at least three hours tirelessly refreshing twitter as the news of the incident at Manchester Arena pushes past the torrent of bullshit, speculation, and “thoughts and prayers”. And I, like most of you I imagine, an feeling increasingly helpless. I mean what can a nocturnal writer do on the other side of the country?

On top of this is the increasing horror of imagining the event and what that event means to those attending. I love gigs, live music can, and should change your life. Unfortunately tonight this happened in the worst way possible.

Heres what I propose – we collect people’s reactions to the brief “gig of my life” 50 – 200 words. A mixture of famous people, writers, and other contributions. We make a zine and flog them online giving the money to whichever fund or charity seems the most appropriate.

I think the ideal turnaround is about a fortnight. Remember this is a zine so not super polished.

So I’m looking for help.


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