Saturday, May 23, 2009


Quite unexpectedly shocked, and saddened, by the end of Plan B. My first boarding of the Everett True juggernaut was through the magazine's predecessor, Careless Talk Costs Lives, after Stephen Pastel suggested ET get me on board. My relationship with both magazines was always at a slight remove - sympathetic to their general approach, I often had a hard time reconciling my aesthetics with their choices for cover artists, features, etc. Nonetheless I admired their doggedness, their preparedness to take chances on groups or collectives whose art was still in process, which works as a keen analogy for Plan B's general editorial focus, its 'ideology'.

I also have some very fond memories of working with the CTCL/Plan B editorial team, whether unsuccessfully arguing the case for Roisin Murphy with Frances Morgan and Everett (which eventually came round full circle when Louis Pattison kindly invited me to interview my favourite pop star for The Revenge Of... column), writing columns on free jazz and improvised music (the lovely Stew Beard even dates his interest in Brotzmann to my writing, which is frankly a thought I can't really get my head around), and fulfilling one dream - to essay my take on the early history of Flying Nun in print form, something which is now 'mootedly' taking on the shape of a post-PhD book.

Towards the end of last year I bowed out of writing for Plan B as a slightly political unilateral disarmament with the English press, but I made sure to call Frances Morgan to talk to her - for the first time in the several years we'd been working together. I guess that says something about how bad I am at maintaining communication. But Frances was as warm and generous across phone lines as she was via e-mail, and reassured me I was welcome back at any time. It's sad to think there'll be no 'any time' anymore.

Truth be known, I'd been having a few ideological problems with the content of the magazine in the latter part of 2008, which also motivated me to take an extended break, but recently I've been enjoying Plan B again, feeling it was really getting 'somewhere', re-forming its character. Certainly, its warmth and generosity made for a nice change from some of its peers, and if some of the writing still felt a bit 'undergraduate', I appreciated that Plan B left some of its pages open for writing that was developing from word to word, exploring, searching - people finding and formulating their voices.

So, words of kindness to the people I worked with there - Everett True, Louis Pattison, kicking_k, Lauren Strain, Stevie Chick, and of course to Frances Morgan, who was the beating heart of the outfit. Thanks for offering me, and a lot of other writers (word to Ned Raggett, Doug Mosurock, and Daniel Barrow in particular), a platform from which to speak.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Good to see mates in the fray, particularly when it's David Keenan and his Hidden Reverse.