In 1981 The End was born in Liverpool and with it the first fanzine to capture the city's voice. Thirty years laters it's back.
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For those of you who’ve been calling for a re-issue of The End for decades, cool your boots it’s here at last. It’s been great fun gathering together the old issues, mementos and memories of those that created this unique publication. Equally inspiring has been the outpouring of affection for The End from those that kept it alive by religiously buying every issue. That’s you, the reader. There can’t be many magazines where readers can quote lines verbatim 25 years after they were published but that’s what happened when we invited fans to get their own names and messages on the inside back cover. With the help of adidas we’ve been able to finally bring this legendary fanzine back to life. I’m sure you’ll enjoy reading the fanzines themselves and the recollections of those involved. If you’re new to The End and are wondering what the hell this is all about you’ll be able to find out in full over the next 400 odd pages but first here’s some history:
Twenty five years ago in a deteriorating Britain split by the Conservative Government into the haves and the have-nots, in a time before modern technology allowed friendships to be made on message boards and social media sites, there was a thriving home-made underground press. These publications or fanzines with names like Kill Your Pet Puppy, Molotov Comix, Cool Notes and Knee Deep In Shit were produced primarily by the fans of the many youth cults and music scenes like anarcho, alternative, goth and US hardcore that had followed punk. To get these publications you had to buy them in record shops, clothes shops, at gigs and by post.
There were hundreds of these little magazines, all selling for about 20p, and held together by hand-stamped staples. Infused with anger, resentment and terrible spelling, most of them looked like the scrappy, DIY publications that had existed in the hippy and punk eras. Headlines were traced from single sheet letraset where the ‘E’s soon ran out and had to be replaced by backward ‘3’s. Photographs looked like silhouettes, masses of black ink with moonwhite splashes of face peering out of them. No-one was winning any awards for design back then. Although the fanzines had attitude and energy, this tended to go hand-in-hand with a degree of predictability. Some however did stand out, one was The End from Liverpool. The only thing The End seemed to have in common with the other fanzines of the time was the format of the publication, some of its interviewees and that it was clearly written with a passion. Unusually where other publications would have band logos and anarchy ‘@’s, The End had masses of white space. You could say it looked clean. Don’t mistake that for professional though. Alongside amateurish photos, articles were illustrated by drawings an art expert would struggle to call ‘childish’. The letters pages were filled with relentless chippiness, humour and even poetry. Some of it was good, most of it was terrible. What was great about The End were these points of difference.
For those of us who lived on the wrong side of the Pennines, we were portrayed as still dressing in Oxford bags, star jumpers and stack heels.
It gave a window into a world a million miles from Doc Martens, leather jackets and glue sniffing. It reported not only on the bigger bands its authors followed (Clash, Billy Bragg, Wah!) but also on a generation of bands whose self-belief often outweighed their talent.
But The End went way beyond just music and poetry. It commented on Liverpool itself, the nightlife, the pubs, the politics, the history, the trends, the football and particularly those that went to football. Here it took a massive step away from the music fanzines and pretty much created a template for the many football fanzines that would begin to crop up shortly afterwards as well as the London club fanzine Boy’s Own, which confessed to being hugely influenced by The End.
To those of us looking into Liverpool through The End, it seemed a world of fashion-obsessed lunatics with their own language, heroes and priorities. To read The End you would imagine a night out in Liverpool wouldn’t be complete if it hadn’t kicked off ‘post-match’ and ended with a slanging match with a hotdog seller about woollen bobble hats. And then someone writing a poem about it.
The magazine’s correspondents often had a fierce superiority complex about how behind the times anyone who didn’t live within a mile or two of Liverpool’s city centre was. Wearing the wrong trainers, shirts or haircuts could brand you a ‘wool’ and as for those of us who lived on the wrong side of the Pennines, we were portrayed as still dressing in Oxford bags, star jumpers and stack heels.
It was impossible to read The End without laughing. The humour and simple presentation meant you read every word of the mag. At the time it was a must-read but in the 20 odd years since it closed down the publication has taken on almost legendary status. Now we all have the chance to read it once again, or maybe for the first time, and assess exactly how good it was, or whether we were all just very, very drunk.
The latest batch of The End have just arrived and are being dispatched to all our mail order customers.
If you’re interested in selling the book through your shop get in touch with us:firstname.lastname@example.org
It is also currently stocked in these stores…
Waterstones: Liverpool Bold St, Liverpool 1, Ormskirk, Chester, Birkenhead, Southport.
HMV: Liverpool South Street, London Oxford Circus
News From Nowhere, Liverpool
Hat, Scarf or Badge, Liverpool
Ran, Bold St Liverpool
Hairy Records, Liverpool
Jumbo Records, Leeds
Oi Polloi, Manchester
Shed, Ashton Under Lyne
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