WOOFAH R.I.P.

Illustration by 2ndfade -commissioned for issue 5 of Woofah

Every Dog Has Its Day

So farewell, Woofah. You were the best independently produced magazine about reggae, grime and dubstep.

At the beginning of 2007 I ruminated about doing a little zine covering the music I was passionate about. Paul Meme was up for it and we both knew a whole bunch of talented people who we proceeded to rope in.

I’d pictured it as being my usual scrappy photocopied effort, but a load of people offered to help with illustrations and design – so it ended up looking amazing.

Droid was fundamental in the presentation of the mag from the outset and doing all the hard work liaising with printers.

The first issue came out in Autumn 2007 and sold out absurdly quickly.

We built the magazine up from there, with everyone contributing in their spare time, for the love of it. I think that showed – the professionalism and the incredibly high quality content could only have happened because it was such a labour of love.

Exploding Designers: Droid Fights Capitalism

The magazine looked so good that it placed a fair bit of pressure on its designers, who put hours and hours of work in. They never stayed long, either their huge contribution took its toll, or they simply found more lucrative things to do with their time – and fair play to them. I used to joke about Woofah’s designers being like the exploding drummers in Spinal Tap.

I had to step down from being the editor in 2010 because of other commitments and Droid took up the reigns. Issue 4 was very much his baby – it was our biggest and arguably best issue. (And there are still a few copies of it left!)

Around this point the goodwill of the designers started to dry up. All of the main contributors to the mag found themselves having to work harder to keep a roof over their families heads as the recession started to bite.

Issue 5 got written at the end of 2010 but despite various calls for help we weren’t able to get the it produced in the way that it should be. Having written 15,000 words for it I am as disappointed by this as anyone.

Parallel with this, my attitude to the project has changed. The thrill of seeing my name in the Dub Vendor catalogue and being sent new music has diminished to the point where I can’t face listening to yet another half-arsed promo. I personally feel less of a need to be evangelical about “bass culture” now – partly because I think most of what needed to be said now has been, and partly because the music itself has changed in the 5 years since I sat on my balcony chatting about doing a zine with Paul. Dubstep especially has no need of my assistance, and grime has now split into pop music or an insular scene for an ever reducing number of die-hards.

So the end of Woofah is sad, but it is also an opportunity to start new projects. Paul is still producing as Grievous Angel and Droid has a slew of projects including the Ruff Revival label. I have more modest ambitions, which may or may not come to fruition soon.

Woofah was a great magazine and the best thing about it was the people. It was amazing working with so many talented characters and the response we got from readers was incredible. Everyone involved with the project can be very proud.

Thank you.

 

 

10 Comments

  1. PLEKZ says:

    indeed it was a fine publication. respect to all who sailed on the good ship woofah. but now i’m looking forward to that ‘scrappy photocopied zine’ that i know you’re itching to publish, john ;-)

  2. DUCK says:

    much appreciated while it lasted – good job sir!

  3. JOHN says:

    Thanks guys :-) and yes Mr Plekz, the zine thing is an itch I can’t seem to scratch ;-)

  4. JAKE says:

    sad to hear. how about making a pdf download of what you had available. wouldn’t want to see those 15000 words go to waste…

  5. JOHN says:

    Hi Jake

    Those refugee words will emerge in a variety of arenas that I am currently figuring out! (some of my big reviews will be in the next issue of Datacide, for starters).

    Probably not pdf downloads though, that would be too easy ;-)

  6. OAK says:

    it was great while it lasted, thanks for doing it :)

  7. JOHN says:

    Thanks for reading it, Oak!

  8. JACK says:

    Sad news but understandable, I’ll always cherish (?) my issue #1!! ;) Thanks, John, and everyone else who made it happen.

  9. STEPH says:

    Shame to read that its over for Woofah, especially as you know John I’m a (very) latecomer to reading the mag and incredibly impressed. If only this sort of magazine could be found on the shelves of my local newsagent instead of all the ‘Superstar DJ’ guff that currently occupies it ;)

  10. FRANK says:

    Sorry to hear about this, I loved 1 – 4, but assumed that there was a spanner in works when 5 never appeared. It was a high-quality piece of work (and a nice counter-point to the acres of crap, bashed-out-quick, online music criticism that proliferated back when you started) so don’t doubt the efforts that were needed to get it out there. I loved some of the interviews – where else would a Moody Boy get that much space to share his thoughts! Good luck with whatever comes next…