[sic] Magazine

Let’s Have A [sic] Celebration

[sic] Magazine – Five Year Anniversary

[sic] Magazine reached its five year anniversary during January. To celebrate, we have had a makeover and we hope you like the new site graphics and functionality.

We launched at the beginning of 2009 with no manifesto, no targets and a writer team which can best be described as fluid. What we did have, hugely, was talent and passion, not to mention a very cool name. [sic] comes primarily from the Latin denotation ‘we’re aware of the error’, –most commonly, that a quotation is rendered exactly as per the original text but also that any archaic phrasing, thinking or opinion is itself deliberately left in.

We dare to mean the things we say.

Which may be why the artists and records favoured by [sic] writers often bear no resemblance to the mainstream magazines and web resources.

James Joyce once wrote “A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.” None of us at [sic] believes we are in any way ‘genius’. Actually I dislike that part of the quote but in true [sic] style, I left it in. The rest is pretty cool though, don’t you think? I love the idea of non-conformism. Not ‘anti-everything’ like some sneering sites but the idea of thinking differently, of not running with the pack, being out of sync, wrong even – but those actions leading to discoveries, I like this concept very much.

If I relied on other music magazines I might never have discovered the music of Sol Seppy, Jeniferever, Black Swan Lane, port-royal, Repeater….and hundreds of other less-well-known acts around the planet. I have been offered positions on ‘name’ music mags but declined them every time. My motivation isn’t to be part of the ‘existing’, but something else and hopefully something new as a result

A portal for discovery.

The other ‘pun’ aspect of the name [sic] is that it’s the end of music. Geddit?. (groan) I know, sorry. But ….we are, and it is, so there! Back in 2008 ‘sick’ was also slang for good or cool amongst kids of the day so that comes into it too, albeit in distinct third place.

I never asked for this.

One of the original ideas for [sic] was to be a centralised entry point for the best bloggers around. I envisaged a collective, rather than my own magazine.

Blogging had been an important movement in the years prior to [sic] Magazine. So much so that the professionals were running scared. You would often see an article decrying blogging from a professional writer in a professional publication. (for the purposes of this we’ll define professional as ‘primarily income generating’. The term has nothing to do with the quality of the writing. This needs to be understood very clearly. The difference between a mainstream magazine and a blog has nothing to do with the quality of writing)

The Boxer Rebellion - Union was an early favourite.

The Boxer Rebellion – Union was an early favourite.

The main difference is that the major magazines are in bed with the major record labels. How do you think these guys get the ‘exclusive’ interviews and features? It is simply because they are subservient to those bigger artists and publishers. Therefore when it comes to breaking new acts, which acts do you think the well known magazines will promote? Bingo! Yes, the ones they are told to promote.

Payola, my friends, payola.

We didn’t want to be that. [sic] Magazine exists outside of all of that. It means, of course, that we’re a small player right now because a lot of doors are closed to us. Yet we believe there’s an important role for us. The music is all that should matter. The size of the band is meaningless. If a record is beautiful, who cares if it was made by U2 or the unknown band in the next village?

Blogging has been undermining the mainstream, which is why the mainstream tries to attack bloggers. Regularly I used to see barbs such as ‘anarchic’, ‘own agenda’, ‘lack of editorial direction’, ‘lack of quality’ even. Bullshit. There is quality if you know where to look. Let me ask you this: If the music and the music writing are wonderful, who cares if any of the above are even true? Let it be directionless, let it be chaotic and anarchic. Everyone has an agenda. Better to have an agenda promoting the little guy than the big players. Better still to promote wonderful music wherever it is found.

[sic] itself is not a blog, it’s a magazine, but we saw added value in filtering out the worst excesses of blogging, skimming off the cream and presenting that, all in one place. It was never supposed to be ‘my’ magazine. It was to be a community of different, but brilliant writers, a one-stop hub and window into the world of the best independent music writers. We’re back to ‘portal of discovery’ again. Indeed we started life this way but bloggers can be a fickle lot. For every great writer we added, we seemed to lose someone off the back. ‘Different’ and ‘brilliant’ we have certainly had but growing the community has always been challenging.

A quick time-out. If you fancy the opportunity of expressing yourself on the subject of music, please drop us a line. We will be happy to hear from you.

Baby steps

Catherine Wheel - Adam And Eve - one of the albums of the nineties.

Catherine Wheel – Adam And Eve – one of the albums of the nineties.

And so we are five years old. Time flies. What has given me the most satisfaction? There are too many events to mention. The feedback from the artists themselves has been gratifying. Comments like “You are such an important resource” “Brilliant”. “The best review” “The only ones to ‘get’ the record” etc have come our way. (Thank you) Even “You are the new John Peel for true” . Well we don’t have a radio show (yet) but that is praise indeed. Humbling even.

And the myriad musical discoveries. Too many to mention here. [sic] launched with a review of the band Black Swan Lane and their debut album A Long Way From Home as its very first feature. Five years later, that bands fifth album is my album of the year. The circle is complete.
One of the first albums we reached out for, to review, was The Boxer RebellionUnion. That too, became a favourite.

I take satisfaction also in our growing section of Classic Albums Revisited. The idea here was to provide an alternative to those generic lists/books you see especially around Christmas time. ‘1001 albums you’ve already heard of 1001 times already’. Dark Side Of The Moon? Meh. Sgt Peppers? Not even The Beatles best record. No, we say: Trash Can Sinatras, Catherine Wheel, Afghan Whigs…go take a look.. Something ….different.

(note to self – I must write another one of these soon)

Interviews have been fun too. We tended to tie an interview in with a Classic Album piece whenever possible. Sadly, we missed Rob Dickinson and the Trashcans. (Maybe someday). Of particular gratification is the current re-emergence of many of those artists. We tend to ask about the possibility of a comeback in almost every interview. Of course they always say ‘no’, ‘never’ even, right up to the moment that they actually do reform. Kitchens Of Distinction delivered a fine comeback album last year. Even The Afghan Whigs are back, albeit without founder guitarist Rick McCollum. They all said ‘no’.

The Whigs listened to a higher power.

The Whigs listened to a higher power.

From 2012 interview in Time Out:

Time Out – You were quoted as saying The Afghan Whigs wouldn’t get back together.
Greg Dulli – I received a message from a higher power.

[sic] Magazine?
Or God?

You decide.

[sic] may be a small cog but we’re in there somewhere, making a difference. We played our part in seeing those bands back again. That alone kinda makes it all worthwhile.

Without You I’m Nothing (Award acceptance speech)

Now a shout out to those who’ve helped us. Helped us help you. A lot goes on behind the scenes on a magazine. Until you do it, you never really measure just what goes into making it all possible. I ought to really thank my wife, who hardly sees me on Sundays. I am grateful to my postman too (poor devil) There’s also a lot of administration on a webzine – formatting, uploading, e-mails, relaying CD’s etc. This isn’t only me. Two people deserve great praise here. Michael Heneghan, [sic] co-contributor and sub-editor during the early days. Also Rob Gannon, the current deputy Editor, author also to [sic] extensive end of year round ups. (Not to be missed) I am in debt to their efforts and in awe of their musical knowledge.

A word too to all my friends and acquaintances who keep me in the loop about new music. Part of me wants to name names. Credit where it’s due. But part of me is scared to forget somebody important. All of you have really helped make the last five years special for me. Keep those tips coming.

A website has to have a home too. Somewhere on this planet (I think it’s this planet) there is an enormous server with all of our collected ramblings stored there. We have an IT guy facilitating this and without him we’d be nothing. As I said, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes. Our server man has the patience of a saint. Luckily for us he believes in quality new music too. Wherever it may be found. By the way, anyone noticed the new layout and graphics? Good, isn’t it!

Stay with me. It could be worse. I could’ve sent Kate Moss.

To all the writers that have contributed something to [sic] in the past, I say ‘thank you’ again. Whether it be half a paragraph or a thousand articles we would be nowhere without your thoughts, your time and your words.

If this is the Brit Awards, why would Scottish separatists be watching anyway?

If this is the Brit Awards, why would Scottish separatists be watching anyway?

The most important platitudes are saved for last. And they are for you dear reader. Yes you. Without you we’d be howling into the wind. You validate us. A song is not a song until its listened to. I could say the same about a review or editorial opinion. Some of you have been with us right from the very beginning. Again, I’m humbled. Thank you, massively, from the heart, thank you. If you like us and you want to help us, tell someone about us. And tell that someone to tell someone. We could touch the world this way.

There are many different ways of enjoying music – to party, to dance, to pick yourself up or comfort you through difficult times. For me, the best music causes a chemical reaction, giving me goosebumps and freezing me in my tracks. That’s what I want for music writing. The best music writing should produce the same exhilaration. Your blood will freeze and you will need to hear the record. That’s what we want. Even if it means turning away from [sic] Magazine. Our work will be done and we hope you’ll be back for more.

This platform is not ours. It’s yours.