Friday, 9 December 2011

A Deadbeat Christmas

December Deadbeats were a popular Christmas present, they must've been as I dont have many left, especially issue 6, from early December 1982.

We were so busy writing, printing, collating, stapling and then getting on buses around Scotland that there was no time to think what was going on and the next issue was out before I could dye my hair blue. I seem to remember being thrown out and heading back north, doubtless with a few issues to pay my way in that snowy winter of 82.

It was a cracking cover and although we only printed about 600 they sold well, so quickly we had issue 7 out by mid- December and had already started planning issue 8. You'll notice that the band suddenly dont get mentioned. Deadbeat was a much better gig than Life Support. We'd still only managed to get one interview with Roddy Frame but we were getting on more guestlists and that always helps when you need contributors. I'm still being reminded by Garry Joyce that his review of King Kurt from the playhouse is on the way.

Big Graeme Peters was a huge fan of The Durutti Column and after the gig in Dundee's Dance Factory took the well worn path back to the hotel across the street and while Fran took the pictures he asked the questions. Francis' pictures were superb but sadly we were unable to replicate them owing to our incompetence, or the printing limitations of 1982.

Its got to be the worst time of year to sell Deadbeats and after failing to sell one in the Dundee Art College to Billy Mackenzie, I realised that was about as close to an interview as I'd ever get with the great man so wrote down the dozen words and chucked it in for a laugh.

12 months would pass by and as I sat down for my 21st birthday we were writing issue 21 and our brass necks were gettingus in all sorts of bother. It was as Stu the Aztec Camera roadie had  suggested been a year of sex'n'drugs'n'sausage rolls. I got a half share in an Amstrad for my 21st which explains the changing type face although as many of you may know I dont have a twin, so why I only got a half share of an Amstrad often puzzled me, especially when the other half was my mum's and her half had residency as I would find out later, when the #Deadbeat typeface would change again!

Many issues in such a short space of time is not how it felt at the time. When issue 20 came out in November it had the first mention of Dancing Bears and Crucial Xylophones when their tapes arrived in the post. These bands worked for me but one that I'd screwed up on were the Cocteau Twins. I gave a bad review to Lullabies earlier in the year, something that was wrong and said more about my state of mind , it just shows what happens when you lose the plot. The point was however, that I listened to it later and I thought it was superb so dont quite know why I wrote such a scathingly bad review, you cant blame everything on the drugs, I think just the general meltdown of the moment. What upset me so much at the time was that we always found someone who liked a band to do the review and as a result rarely did you see a bad review in Deadbeat. It was almost an apology when we put the band on the cover of issue 21 having reviewed head over heels in issue 20.

You're short of cash when unemployed so when in doubt start selling ads! This was the start of a big push into geting some cash in and the number of ads we sold would grow over the coming months. We could've saved ourselves the bother and put the price up but it had somehow become sacrosanct. The ads would be the death of Deadbeat as we spent more time chasing them than writig content and along with the printing it would keep us busy. By the time Christmas arrived in 1984 we had only done another 7 issues and it would be February before issue 29 would come out.

We'd bought the print machine and I was printing it after work, with each sheet taking an hour to print 2500 and needing time to dry (or not as many issues would show), and my other hand being used to hold my glass it wasn't a recipe for putting an issue out every 2-3 weeks.

By Christmas 1985 issue 33 was being printed with the Alarm on the front cover, there was ALARM all over the Deadbeat depot but we were deaf to it. Issue 34 got started on numerous occassions and a freesheet produced in the summer but the game was a bogey, we'd had oor chups and they were braw!