Former Wire Editor Mark Sinker documents last year’s rock writing conference: UNDERGROUND | OVERGROUND: The Changing Politics Of UK Music-Writing: 1968–85, with excerpts and more
Former Wire Editor Mark Sinker has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of a companion book to the rock writing conference he chaired at Birkbeck College in 2015. Called A HIDDEN LANDSCAPE ONCE A WEEK: how UK music-writing became a space for unruly curiosity, in the words of those who made it happen, it will include selected extracts from the conference’s panel debates, alongside essays from participating writers whose back pages cover the wide spread of newsprint weeklies, monthly magazines and journals in circulation during the period under focus at Birkbeck: Val Wilmer, David Toop, Tony Stewart, Bob Stanley, Cynthia Rose, Edwin Pouncey, Penny Reel, Liz Naylor, Mark Pringle, Tony Palmer, Paul Morley, Beverly Glick (aka Betty Page), Simon Frith, and others.
“Once upon a time – for a surprisingly long time – the UK music press was a lot more than just the place to catch up with singles or album release news, with interviews with chart-topping figures and the antics of gobby rockstars,” declares Sinker. “Week on week in its heyday – the mid 60s to the early 80s – a young reader could also go to it to find out about everything from comics to cult films to radical politics, as well as an extremely wide range of non-chart musics from all over the world. This anthology is a companion volume to the conference, of memories and commentary, conversation and critique, combining extracts from the 2015 panels with informed and acute writing from those present when the counterculture crashed into the entertainment trade press in the late 60s, and from some of their successors.”
Money raised by the campaign will help fund the book’s publication, complete with cover and illustrations by Savage Pencil, in collaboration with Strange Attractor Press. At the time of writing, the campaign has 23 days to go, with rewards including the book itself, transcripts, a place on Mark Sinker’s workshop for writers, audio recordings of the conference, and more.