Friday, June 29, 2007

Forever breathes the lonely word

Alistair Fitchett has closed down Tangents after 10 years, and that makes me sad.

Tangents was an e-zine (how deliciously 90s that word feels on the tongue), above all a vehicle for the author's vision of all things 'Pop', which seemed to encompass detective fiction, cycling and Apple Macs, as well as the finest, tremulous, keening, fragile, life-affirming music-making from Stirling and Stockholm and Spokane. Alistair was also generous (foolhardy?) enough to accept outside submissions, and gave me a chance to flex my creative muscles at a point when I'd had a lot of confidence kicked out of me. If it weren't for him (and Everett True) saying nice things about my writing back in 2001/2002, I don't think I'd ever have had the nerve to write the OK Computer tome. Whether that turns out to be a good thing or not is another matter, of course.

Alistair's farewell is melancholy, but straightforward:

"I want to listen to music and not feel the need to explain it. I want to hear records and not have stories to tell other than those which stay inside and say simply that the records make me smile or cry. I don’t want to have to explain myself. Most of all I don’t want anyone to care what I think."

Which makes sense. If you lose the hunger to pontificate, you're better off out of the game. I'd rather have Tangents, but not a half-hearted Tangents. Fortunately, Alistair's still maintaining his blog, and Young and Foolish, his 1998 book about all that is quiversome in music, is still available.

Thanks, Alistair.


patroclus said...

It's a sad day all round for music then, as FOPP (music chain for geekier, more cerebral types) has gone bust too.

Glad to know Alistair is still keeping the blog going; I drop in occasionally and have had some great recommendations from there. Also it always reminds me of my days in Exeter, sigh.

Dick Headley said...

It raises the old question of why any of us bother I suppose. But Alistair certainly put a lot more work into it than I ever have. Good to see he hasn't totally pulled the plug.

Chris said...

I remember a piece you wrote for them, Tim, where you listed 41 things the 41-song Maher Shalal Hash Baz LP 'Blues de Jour' made you think of. Thought that was ace. It is a damn shame, I quite agree.

Hello, by the way. I've been lurking probably longer than I ought.

Anonymous said...

I wondered where that picture of me had gone.

Seems like it was only (Since) yesterday Tim...

Rog said...

Fopp has gone bust!!!

Tim F said...

Patroclus/Murph: Deeply depressing news (not least because they were attempting to sell some of my books). I remember buying the first Daintees album in Fopp in Edinburgh in about 1988. Perils of over-enthusiastic expansion, y'see.

Why bother indeed, dh. (Sits staring at the wall for three days.)

Hello, Chris, and thank you for your kind words. Agreed, a shame. But your blog looks as if it's in a mighty Tangential vein, which can only be good.

MOLLY WOLLY DOODLE!!! How ya doing, gorgeous? In fact, I seem to be spattering foxy goth chicks all over the shop. Including Evil Edna...