The Word Magazine is dead, but… there’s over 10 GB of stuff on my computer that won’t be going anywhere

Screengrab of iTunes Playlist of tracks from Word Magazine CDsThe Word Magazine Feb 2009 - Kate BushI’m rather sad indeed that after nine years the Word is no more. The website (that I occasionally contributed to yet visited every day) will be erased from teh internets tomorrow.

I was ‘a much-valued subscriber’ for several years and I don’t believe I ever missed an issue from the outset.

Remember when it wouldn’t stop banging on about the iPod? I was totally on board with that.

Silly lists? Fine. people of some substance interviewing others of some substance? Yes, very much in tune with that.

(I very much disliked the illustrated covers but that’s an aside. I never attended a Massive Mingle either but introverts can’t be doing with that stuff – although I strongly suspect that if I had gone I would have had a wonderful time and tweeted enthusiastically about the cake.)

Stewart Lee described the magazine as the “culture primer for time-poor ageing hipsters, a midlife crisis in magazine form”. Perhaps I don’t quite qualify, but the magazine has been with me since I turned thirty and made the move from suburban Ireland to the heart of London. How else does one measure these grand scenes without examining the soundtrack?

Like many of the Word Massive, I’ve added the covermounted disc to iTunes every month. I didny keep everything from the outset, but I have 1322 tracks (or 3 days, 14 hours and 15 mins; 10.25 GB) of Word cover disc music to peruse.

Being a bit anal about iTunes metadata, I try not to duplicate tracks. So, if i subsequently acquire an album that featured a track from the Word comp, I would amend the track info so that it belonged to its parent album. I kept it in a Word playlist though.

I’ve bought a hell of a lot of albums based on Word recommendations. And some of those recommendations have become part of the My Life Soundtrack.

Have a look at the number of tracks that came from Word discs. Look at how many were subsequently converted.

(Of those that weren’t, frankly as an artist I’d die happy if I had made a track as individually wonderful as Angela McCluskey’s ‘It’s Been Done’, Kula Shaker’s ‘Fool That I Am’ or Cinematic Orchestra’s ‘To Build A Home’ – outstanding cherrypicked tracks from albums that – perhaps I’m wrong about this – couldn’t match.)

The paper has been recycled, the site will disappear but the music lives forever: thank you Word for M. Ward, Sleepy Jackson, Mew, Neko Case, Joan As Police Woman, John Grant, Cherry Ghost, She & Him, Midlake, Josh Rouse, Martha Wainwright…..


The Word Magazine: 2003-2012

It’s not all over! Join the Word Massive’s latest venture: The Afterword.



  1. Topjukes

    Very good point about the recommendations; cover discs from both The Word and Prog magazine have led me to buy albums which would otherwise have passed me by.

    Actually, both magazines have prompted me to contact artists for my vinyl-only record label and have helped me to compile a “wants” list of albums I’d like to get released on vinyl. The Word deserves a lot of thanks …

    Now that it has closed, I’m still open to suggestions for albums which people would like to see on vinyl for the first time! If I were only to stick with Prog magazine for my inspiration from now on, the label would become a bit one-dimensional …

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