Guest blogger – Tony Herrington

by Steve Watson in April 2011
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Over the years many underground/independent/small press magazines, fanzines and journals, and in more recent times blogs, have compelled or fascinated me – and continue to do so (among the current Stack crop I’d recommend Shook for one). But in terms of formative foundational encounters, these are the three publications that have had the most profound impact me.

New Musical Express circa late 70s/early 80s
This was where my consciousness was formed. It had a huge influence on me, not just in terms of what music I aligned myself with, but because it provided a portal to other experience beyond music – the cinematic, the literary, the theoretical. It connected all these things and influenced what I thought politically. I used to read certain writers as if their words were scripture and manifesto combined, Richard Cook in particular. I started reading The Wire specifically because Richard wrote for it. Later, when I started writing for The Wire, by which time Richard was its editor, he became my mentor, and had a hand in me becoming editor of the magazine in 1994. He continued to be a benign shadowy presence in my ‘professional’ life right up to his death in 2007 aged just 50.

The Face circa mid-late 80s
Not because it was the ‘hip style Bible’, but because David Toop was its music columnist and a regular feature writer. I used to devour everything he wrote and try and emulate his style, which was incredibly poetic and just flowed, as well as soak up his cultural politics. David would write about hiphop or House or World Music as well as avant garde or experimental music (which he would smuggle into the magazine under the cover of his column) with equal rigour and intensity. This is exactly the same thing The Wire tries to do today, and of course David has been a regular contributor to The Wire for many years now.

The Wire
Everything comes down to The Wire. I started reading it in 1984, started writing for it in 1986, joined the staff in 1992, led a management buy out of the title in 2000. The course of my entire adult life has been indexed to the fortunes of this magazine so completely that I can not imagine an existence without it.

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