The Demise of “The Word”

I’ve written several times before about my reading habits of magazines and comics, most notably here. I used to be a real mag junkie, subscribing to around twenty monthlies at the height of my addiction. These days, apart from a couple of literary quarterlies, the only one I still subscribe to is The Word.

I’ve read Word, as it was first called, from issue one (left), subscribed from issue 3, and looked forward each month to it plopping onto the doormat.

I was really shocked when the announcement came at the end of June, that the mag was folding, and that issue 114 (below) of The Word, as it became, would be the last.

Always more than just a music mag, Word also included all areas of popular culture – films, TV, and even gave pages of space to books each month.  Longer in depth articles combine with short ones, reviews, regular columns, and the always hilarious Worst … and Best pages each month.

The Word’s demographic was essentially anyone who grew up with Q magazine, graduated to Mojo, and then started looking for something else, away from the big corporate publications.  That something was The Word – an independent magazine developed by the team who started Q and Mojo - David Hepworth (who blogs here), and edited by Mark Ellen, whom many of you will know from The Old Grey Whistle Test.  The calibre of the writing has always been wonderful and Hepworth, Ellen and co with their long experience in the music industry have wonderful contacts.  Regular columns from Andrew Collins (who blogs here), Rob Fitzpatrick et al have always been a joy to read.  The free CD which was brought in several years ago has always delighted too – concentrating on less well-known artists.

The last issue arrived while I was on holiday, and I’ve devoured since. It is as wonderfully eclectic as usual – what other magazine would juxtapose an in-depth interview with Robert Smith of the Cure, with a shorter piece on book cover designing with David Pearson (who designed the Penguin Great Ideas series amongst others).

I shall miss The Word.  I loved its mix of subject matter; I don’t feel the need to read dedicated music and film mags any more these days - The Word fitted the bill perfectly for me.

If you’ve never read it – Get it while you still can! 

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6 thoughts on “The Demise of “The Word”

  1. It’s always sad when this happens particularly when it is one you have read for years, but regrettably now is not a good time for print media and I’m afraid that this won’t be the last. When the big boys are cutting back (and they are) then smaller independents don’t stand a chance.

    • I know – and the guys that ran The Word came from the big boys – they knew what they were getting into going independent. The Word was a labour of love and that shone through – in some ways it’s amazing that it has lasted that long – but I’m ever so glad it did.

  2. I was equally saddened and sorry to read that The Word was to close. My route to it is a bit different to yours – I never quite graduated on from Q and NME and my consumption of The Word tended to be influenced by content. But more often than not, I always found things I liked. But recently I’d bought it every time, mainly as I think Q has gone a bit downhill for me since Paul Rees finished as Editor. Now I guess I’ll stick with Q. But if Mark Ellen or David Hepworth resurface somewhere else I’d look forward to that.

    • I hope Hepworth & Ellen do something else too Col. I don’t listen to or buy much music these days, more of a R4 and telly addict, so the wider range of The Word was perfect for me.

  3. Finding it like a gift in your mailbox is very different from having to sit in front of a computer screen one more time in order to read a “magazine.”

  4. gutted ,I ve brought it since issue 6 or 7 ,I loved its list ,the what peoploe like bit all be greatly missed as it seemed slightly above mojo and uncut but now just got them to read ,all the best stu

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