Milbo Maggins

On this, the occasion of our 100th issue (just for the absence of doubt), our fourth favourite columnist considers the future of magazines. Well, when we say “considers”…

Illustration: Fat Roland

Me and all the other writer gerbils at Electronic Sound are proud to present our 1,000th issue. It’s a testament to our disgusting talent and/or automatic writing software that this mag is still pumping things out at issue number 100,000. Seems like only yesterday when ES was born in a glorious splatter of creativity, like a manatee giving birth to a stork. And now, here we are – issue number 10 million.

I didn’t apply to Electronic Sound like a normal job. I don’t even have a curriculum vitae because I am, technically, entirely illiterate. ES discovered me in a cave, where I looked after precious things in the shadow of the Misty Mountains. Their editor Bilbo – er, hold on, that might be copyrighted. Their editor Milbo Maggins invited me on a quest to defeat the evil, er, Mauron by producing a monthly magazine dedicated to electronic music.

Turns out, I was a bit of a trickster, and talking to two sides of myself in a puddle was, frankly, a bit melodramatic. And my voice was annoying. And the end of the third film went on forever – what was Peter Jackson thinking?! Sorry, lost my train of thought for a moment. The magazine invited me to erect a column every month, the results of which are pleasuring you this very moment.

Print magazines are useful for pop gossip, not like the internet, which famously contains no unfounded speculation at all. For example, do you know Bryan Ferry’s biggest allergy (ferries)? Do you know The Jam’s favourite jarred fruit preserve (marmalade)? And which member of Duran Duran is secretly a pretend robot made of toilet rolls and gaffer tape (note to self – google the names of Duran Duran, but it’s probably Susan or something)? Now it’s in print, that nonsense I just made up can become fact on Wikipedia.

Magazines are brilliant. I loved Smash Hits, which was made of instant mash. And Medley Maker, which was just a mix of all the other magazines. Then there was Q, which only contained the letter Q due to a typing error. A difficult read.

My tenure at Electronic Sound is the longest job I’ve ever had. My shortest job was as shelf stacker at a shelf-selling company. I lost track of which shelves were for selling and which shelves were shelves to shelve the shelves we were selling. So I sold all the shelves and they couldn’t shelve anything, so they shelved my employment. There was also that huge misunderstanding on my first day as a Beefeater. Turns out, at the Tower of London, there’s nowhere to plug in a George Foreman Grill. Complete waste of time. See what I did there? You can write anything in magazines.

It’s ridiculous.

Who knows where we will be in a billion issues’ time? I think electronic music will be history. All instruments will be made of twigs and disappointment. The only pop star will be a cryogenically pickled Sting. Spotify will have been replaced by a cheese grater to be applied directly to musicians’ faces.

And Electronic Sound will be compulsory by law. Each new mag will be stapled to your eyeballs, while a nitrogen-cracked Sting looms menacingly, testing you on every word you read. Who was Delia Derbyshire’s favourite member of BTS? Think! It was on page 27. No, not Jungkook, you idiot. It’s obviously J-Hope because he does mix tapes and Delia liked tapes. Stand still while we punish you. Cardboard Susan Le Bon (note to self – google it), fetch me the prongs. And so on, and so on, for 100 more issues. May God have mercy on our souls.

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