The Next Big Thing: 40th Anniversary
Lindsay Hutton started his seminal fanzine The Next Big Thing as a punk Xerox sheet in 1977. He went on to found the world’s first ever Cramps fan club The Legion of the Cramped along with a certain Stephen Patrick Morrissey…We invited Lindsay to guest blog for us to celebrate the 40th anniversary issue. Thanks again Lindsay!
In April 1977, I kicked off a (badly) photocopied fanzine called THE NEXT BIG THING. An entity that exists to this day mainly as a blog however, for the first time in nudging 20 years, there’s an actual print edition to mark four decades of activity.
What on earth possessed me to do this? I’m not sure there’s a straight answer to that but I’m certainly way old enough to know better. It all just kind of came together. From the consideration of preparing something symbolic to it evolving into an actual issue of the fanzine in the format it was last seen. “It happened again” to paraphrase the Twin Peaks giant, tempered with a smidge of an urge to recycle some polythene bags.
Another consideration at the back of my noggin was that printers don’t work with old style cameras anymore (as far as I’m aware). Artwork is provided as high res PDFs. The good old high contrast zine style is almost possible and using Photoshop, you can approximate it but it’s just not the same. In my opinion, all the image manipulation software in the world will never match the raggedy-ass cool of paste up. I was able to work with this to an extent but then had to come up with them pesky files. The end result looks OK though and the main and most surprising thing is that it actually happened.
In addition to a Brigadoon style return to fanzinedom, it was also time to put out another record because NBT morphed into a label too for a wee while. This is not just any record though, tis a brand new 45 by The Dahlmanns (from Moss Rock City, Norway) that features two brand new Andy Shernoff songs. He’s the guy who wrote the tune that kicked off The Dictators Go Girl Crazy that subsequently gave NBT its moniker. Things work so much different now. It’s a bit like being in suspended animation and waking up in a whole ‘nother world. The old infrastructure is gone but the bush telegraph – or social media as the young yins refer to it – is doing a reasonable job of getting the word out.