Posts Tagged ‘mark hughes’

What the Hell is a 27twelve?!

11 Mar

I was thinking about my post the other night; the one about the Newcastle music scene and how I got involved with music journalism back in the ’90s. And I realised that somehow I had completely left out the part relating to 27twelve.

Now, for most reading this, you’d be completely forgiven for wondering just what the hell a 27twelve is. Well, it was the name of my monthly metal ‘zine.

After writing for Mark Hughes at concretepress for a while, I was hankering for some greater creative outlet. The writing bug had bitten and I realised that I had a voice. I wanted that voice to spread further; to reach more people and discuss things that mattered to me.

I have to be honest and admit that I really had no prior knowledge of the then-burgeoning ‘zine scene. As it turned out, Newcastle and the surrounding areas were home to many examples of ‘zines on all kinds of topics. But what inspired me to create a little A5-sized publication was a late-night documentary on Hugh Hefner and the Playboy empire. Hugh started his publishing career with much the same concept: a magazine in a small, cheaply printed format.

That very same night I sat up in front of mum’s slow-as-a-wet-blanket PC and started work on the first issue of what would become 27twelve. Don’t bother asking where the name came from or what it meant. I didn’t know then and I don’t know now, suffice it to say that being in bands back then, I was always trying to think up names for bands and song titles. 27twelve was just one of many on the list and not wanting to create a publication with a name that would give people a preconception of what would be inside, I went for something that no-one could mistakenly judge.

In all the mag ran like clockwork for over two and a half years and boasted many of my favourite local and international acts on the cover. Even today I look back and am surprised at how much support the nation’s record companies gave me in terms of access to their acts for interviews and mountainous piles of CDs for review.

It was distributed throughout Newcastle, Maitland and the Manning Valley regions in many of the same places you’d find street presses like the Drum Media and 3D World. I relied on my unemployment benefit payments from the government to pay for the printing of each issue which was completed by simply photocopying each double-sided A4 page 1000 times. After printing was done, I had the support of friends and family to help me fold the pages and staple them in the middle, creating a 28-page A5 magazine.

Often some of those same friends and family members would feature within the pages, writing opinion columns and providing advice on subjects within their chosen field. For instance, my grand mother wrote a regular political column and my best mate wrote a regular piece on computer technology and game reviews. Those were fun times.

When 27twelve turned one, I even threw it a birthday party. I booked five of my favourite local bands to play at the Cambridge Hotel on Hunter Street in Newcastle West, designed up pole posters and invites for contributors, advertisers, local musos and the like. We ended up with a good couple hundred people at the event and I remember through my drunken haze later in the evening, the then-promoter of the pub putting his arm around my shoulders and thanking me for a good night.

So what killed 27twelve? Primarily it was me being sick of being unemployed, never having any money and feeling like the city was closing in around me. The scene there was big, but small at the same time. So, I moved to Sydney to find work.

Ben Hosking, Editor of 27twelve

For a time, the mag continued. I interviewed bands after hours (sometimes even AT work) and basically used all my remaining hours designing and writing – but it all got too hard. I ended the print version of the mag not long after it turned two and a half when my flatmate convinced me that the place to be was on-line. Thus began my introduction to web design, back in 1999. It didn’t last, though, and I closed it for good.

It was an awesome ride that together with my work at concretepress, allowed me to interview most of my favourite bands and see them live for nix, as well as collect the motherlode of review CDs that were regularly swapped at Rice’s second hand bookstore for non-fiction paperbacks and other CDs.

So, here I am now, endeavouring to re-enter the music journalism field in addition to my primary work writing for automotive publications. My love of music never left – I simply had so much on my plate working for Express Publications that there was little time or inclinatin to continue. However, over time I pulled the guitars back out of storage and started reading Metal Hammer, Kerrang and Guitar World again. When I left Express earlier this year, my desire to write about music was firmly reignited.

Thanks for listening.