(And no, the Portsmouth and Southsea magazine does not count)
I love this Bank Holiday. Last night I had dinner with Bean, washed down with a couple of bottles of wine that left my head humming a little this morning. I have spent the whole of Good Friday in a bit of R&R - Reading and Recovery, that is - and am only now, at 6pm getting round to writing anything. As Bertie W. would say, 'Delish.'
(The Chief asked me what I was reading the other day and I turned my book to show him the cover of one of Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster novels that I had finally decided to try.
"Fascist," was his only reply. I think he was talking about Wodehouse, rather than me.)
So I've spent today working my way through the Neil Gaiman Sandman series, which I don't think I ever want to end. Central Library, and Portsmouth's very own Youth Librarian, Dave have a lot to be thanked for, as so far I haven't had to wait for even one volume of it. I've currently got a screensaver of Morpheus, the eponymous Sandman, and I'm loving my new status as a graphic novel geek.
In the same week that the Chief tells me about a unique independent alternative to the local newspaper in Salford, I read on Clarky's Pinkworld about an online pdf magazine called Amour.
An idea begins to hatch within my mind....can you guess what it is yet?
The Salford Star is an independent local paper, which has achieved a hell of a lot in just the one year it has been running and reads as a fantastic role model for bigging up your home town. The Star has proved itself a real challenge to the local council in its loud and comprehensive opposition to the local authority's development plans and its funding (or lack of) of local cultural events like the Salford Film Festival, but the Star doesn't restrict itself to worthy criticism on behalf of the average Joe or Joanne, either.
With articles that champion local sons and daughters like Christopher Ecclestone, or big up the unique Working Class Library, or follow some 'yoots' while they attempt to access the highbrow and still exclusive world of the Lowry, the Star has succeeded in creating an independent voice that acts as a champion to the entire local community. You'll never look at the Portsmouth News in the same way again......
Since I emailed Steven and Stephen, the two faces behind the Star, to ask if the Star is still running (their website had not been updated since January) and if I could interview them for a piece on the blog, I discover from another blog, the Mancubist (an inspiration for local journalism in itself, check it out...) that the Star is indeed still going strong with a new edition just out. As the Mancubist notes:
A subscription of six issues costs £20 - and you get a free Salford Star tshirt too.
The magazine is now sponsored by Private Eye and the Guardian, has recently been longlisted for the Paul Foot Award for campaigning journalism. Not bad for a magazine that started less than a year ago.You're not wrong. I'm off to spend my £20 right now (the Star is free to local residents, which makes me inclined to pay for it all the more), and if I can persuade some of my mates to help, a Portsmouth Star may not be too far behind...