Sportspages, Selectadisc and The Mag – I salute those who helped create this culture
Anyone who has read any of my articles, may recall that music, culture and politics are integral to my world.
I lived in Nottingham for three years studying (drinking / partying) in the mid/late eighties. There was a great record shop in Nottingham on Market Street. Think Listen Ear times ten, bigger / better and a cultural hub. Selectadisc born out of Punk Rock and Mansfield.
An independent record shop in Nottingham that not only pioneered new independent music but fanzines. Music fanzines. I would go there just to hang out and read fanzines listen to the music, talk, and buy that amazing vinyl that was newly released. Hardcore from the USA but punk to me and you. What else would you want to do aged twenty?
What’s this got to do with football and Newcastle United.
Well this was when I would travel to away games with lads from Nottingham who called themselves the East Mids Mags and this was their place. At Selectadisc the punk fanzines I was looking at, which were music and politically orientated, were suddenly invaded by a new fanzine. A football fanzine. The first one I picked up I think was Notts County’s The Pie. Then all of a sudden we had fanzines from all over the country coming in to Selectadisc. Football fanzines alongside punk fanzines. Brilliant! Two things I love merging together.
Suddenly football fans had a mouthpiece to counter all the negativity that the right wing mainstream media would churn out against the vast majority of football fans. There were real football supporters who could actually produce literature which had points to make. There had been a fanzine in the Seventies called Foul which I confess I had never seen. And then When Saturday Comes was published, I was hooked. But now individual clubs supporters had started to produce their own, based on the DIY punk spirit, with localised issues at the forefront. (The same spirit that saw the first Viz comics that I picked up in the Hippy shop in the Handyside arcade).
I bought my first copy of The Mag outside St James’ Park, the first Newcastle United fanzine I saw, purchased on Strawberry Place.
Pre-internet and social media days it is difficult to think how we coped.
Here I could pick up copies of The Mag at the same time perusing fanzines such as Bradford’s “City Gent” being a stand out amongst many. Sportspages closed in 2005, the man behind Sportspages died in 2016.
Sportspages, like Selectadisc, was a victim of the development of technology. With the birth of the internet and the new technological era, both businesses went to the wall.
However, both had served a massive purpose in the development and distribution of what football supporters now know to be the norm. Punk fanzines, football fanzines, and online versions.
This online version of The Mag allowing me to put out there my left wing “gubbins” just like the printed paper punk versions in the early eighties. The same gubbins that challenges people’s perceptions and creates societal development, in my humble opinion.
So I say thank you The Mag and all the other fanzines, you moved the media on, and gave / give fans the opportunity to express opinions outside the mainstream. Keep up the great work.
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