Daily Archives: November 2, 2009

Read It or Weep

Bucketfull of Brains cover

Join the Bucketfull of Brains 400

I’m not one to shy away from technology, and I think the accomplishments of the past few decades might someday be looked back upon with the same astonishment that one gets pondering The Industrial Revolution. It wasn’t that long ago that only mad scientists owned computers, phoning someone meant manipulating a rotary dial on a box tethered to a wall and the only music in your car came from an AM radio or the off-key harmonies from your drunk friends in the back seat. I am thrilled by the amazing toys and gadgets that drop in our lap every day and wonder if this isn’t the greatest time to be walking the Earth, ever? (At the very least, I just proved that the evolution of hyperbole is upon us.)

But no, technology gods, I don’t want to read or watch video on a handheld device. If it’s a movie or a television program, I want it in full Hi-Def glory on a wall screen with booming surround sound! Bigger is better! Don’t send me backwards. And while viewing programs on my laptop is not quite as bad, do I really have to spend any more time in front of a computer than I do now? Which brings me to…reading.

It’s bad enough that progress has robbed me of one of life’s greatest pleasures. When I’m browsing through new albums, no longer am I standing in a record store in a hallucinogenic daydream, fanning one twelve inch cardboard package after another in idyllic rapture. Most of the time, I’m probably clicking a button on a screen that says “more albums by this artist” or typing “sounds like The Faces” into a search box. But now when I want to read about music, the ability to pick up the magazine and hold it in my hands is becoming a lost art.

Sure, there’s Mojo and Uncut and a few others who are weathering the storm, but the smaller independent magazines that used to fill my mailbox are going the way of the dinosaur. That cover above is from the latest issue of Bucketfull of Brains, a fine UK print magazine I’ve been proud to be a small part of for over a decade, which is only one-third of their long and storied history. But like many small businesses, they are teetering at the brink and reaching out for help – in this case, a small subscription drive.

“The reality is that if you’ve ever thought of subscribing to Bucketfull Of Brains now is the time to do it… It’s our 30th anniversary year and we would like to see 31, and while we wouldn’t be quite ready to call ourselves an institution our continued existence does keep the editors out of one.”

The vinyl album is not dead, and while the numbers are not gargantuan, it is making a comeback. There’s a niche market for it, and thankfully there will be product to satisfy that small but loyal audience, because they were willing to step up and do something about it when the time came. Well, the crappy economy hurts everyone, and all those small labels and independent bands cutting budgets are cutting back on print advertising, the lifeblood of a magazine. Many have already fallen; many more are barely hanging on. Time to step up.

Don’t get me wrong – there are a lot of great blogs and podcasts on the web and I enjoy them immensely. But there’s a special pleasure that can only come from the printed page, especially one that is a labor lf love. For those who get that, know that the time to stand up and be counted is now. Please stop by Ugly Things and The Big Takeover and Bucketfull of Brains and sign up, won’t you? It’s a small price to pay to continue to enjoy such great rewards. (Let me rephrase that for those who can only respond to hyperbole: Subscribe and Keep Hope Alive!)

read paper on john

Life's simple pleasures are timeless

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