…life and death of a fanzine.
A checklist of the loneliest jobs in the world. Long-distance runner (never been that convinced, but for argument’s sake – check), traffic warden, caretakers of big rural retreats and fanzine editor. Between 1993 and 2005, I was part of the modest success that was Black Scrolls as we pumped out a solid blend of humour and solid fact over 8 rollercoaster issues.
For a long time, Black Scrolls was almost like a secret obsession. All those emails, phonecalls, stapled fingers, punches of the air when a deal was done and disbelieving gasps when the credit card statement arrives. This was my secret shame. So after issue 8 hit the stands to critical acclaim, it seemed a given we’d move on to issue 9. So in preparation, I kept shoving my battered old tape recorder under people’s noses building up a formidable arsenal for a call to arms that would never come.
I had the pleasure of lunch and a few beers with the dry, witty and brilliantly observant Paul Magrs the other week at the Lass O’Gowrie (otherwise known as Prof Peach’s Tavern to the Stars – my new obsession if you like, is my little pub). Oh we put the world to rights over a pie and a few pints of Betty’s Best, and some wicked tales to boot you’d be amazed to hear. However, in amongst our gossipy discourse about Who, Paul made a stunning statement that stopped me dead in my tracks. Doctor Who, you see is a sickness. We wrap our lives around it, but there is a cure. Write a book.
Well, in one he’d diagnosed what had killed Black Scrolls stone dead. You see, I still had the bug. Problem is, the mammoth effort of designing and editing Scrolls 1-8 (and, I suspect a growing apathy towards NuWho) had cured my fellow sufferer and long-time collaborator. Oh the parting was amicable, and I remain a dedicated single fanzine parent (albeit completely lacking any design skills) and continue to nudge towards the launch of a new zine which we’ll call ‘Delgado‘ #1 for argument’s sake, and plug ahoy is a special on the Doctor Who comic strip packed with – oh just wait and see….
However, as I hate to see good material go to waste I am delighted to offer Kasterborous the ‘lost scrolls of Rassilon‘. Over the next few months, you’ll be able to savour a philosophical and warm discussion of the life and times of Matthew Graham, a searingly honest chat with Anneke Wills (in which we discover amongst other things what life was like blindfolded on a cushion for 2 weeks), Sophie Aldred in tears over a tree and Paul Cornell manfully fielding in-depth queries about Human Nature and RTD’s atheism. And that’s just for starters! I haven’t even got to half the tapes mouldering in the archives!
So sit back, relax and enjoy. Where possible, I’ve also included a PDF download of the designed pages from the brilliant Iain Robertson (VendettaUK to most of you in the know) so you can get an actual taste of how they might have looked had they made it into print.
aged 36 and a half
still not cured