It was a dull, overcast day in late February 2000 when the idea of Ink & Second Sight was first floated. I had set up a meeting in a pub in Peterborough with three other die-hard All About Eve fans that I had got to know through the band’s mailing list and conversations at gigs to discuss the logistics of making an old-school physical fanzine dedicated to the band. I had brought along a few scraps of ideas for content and a couple of pages of test layout that I had pieced together at home using Quark Xpress. Keen as I was to move ahead, I could not have been prepared for just how eagerly everyone seized upon the idea. By the time we left the pub a couple of hours later, the fanzine had a name, the initial funding had been agreed, we had an approach to the band in place and my head was buzzing with ideas. I don’t doubt that the others were similarly dazed by the rapidity with which things were coming together. But that’s the nature of fandom: when music truly touches you, there’s not much you won’t do to show your appreciation for it and its creators. We were off and running, really before there was even a track to run on.
Our approach to the band was made, and to our surprise and delight, they were on board from the beginning. Our various roles solidified quite quickly: I became de-facto Editor, charged with marshalling the written content; Derek became the art and layout guy – and our all-important ‘local’ link to both the band and the printer; Howard the patient fact-checker, regular contributor and sounding board for those ideas that might have been too wacky for anyone outside of the team; and our ally John our “man on the ground”, on good terms with the band and the fans at large, able to translate the passion we all felt for the subject matter to a mindset that the band’s wider audience could appreciate. He was, in short, our marketer and advocate.
The first issue of Ink & Second Sight – named after a lyric from a suitably obscure B-side track – went to print that summer, and was presented for sale for the first time on the day that the band played their first headlining electric gig since their reformation the previous year, closing the first night of the Cropredy festival. Only the few diehards who frequented the band’s mailing list knew that the magazine was available – guided and encouraged by John, we wandered around the festival site, accosting people and demanding that they bought our glossy 56-page magazine. To our astonishment, a lot of them did.
I&SS existed for a mere half-decade, give or take a few weeks, and quietly closed its doors after the band elected to call it a day once more. In a way it seemed that we were calling time on I&SS just as we’d really hit our stride and were gathering momentum, so it was bittersweet to put the chairs on the tables and turn out the lights. We all remain extremely pleased and proud of what we managed to achieve in that time, however – and speaking as a fan, I’m especially pleased that we were on hand to create a permanent record of the return of this much-loved band. It’s no less than they – and their music – deserved, and it was a privilege to be invited into their world for those few years. I know I will be forever grateful for their graciousness, open and candid communication and patience whilst we learnt how to do everything we approached ‘on the fly’.
If you were around at the time and were familiar with the magazine, enjoy this little stroll down memory lane; if you’re new to the magazine, or indeed the band, I hope you enjoy reading these magazines as much as we enjoyed creating them.
(I can’t claim any input into these final two files, except for looking at them after they were done and saying, “Ooh, pretty.” They are tour booklets, put together for shows in 2000 and 2001 by Derek with input from the band. I think you’ll agree that the 2001 tour booklet in particular is a thing of beauty – I love Derek’s juxtapositions of the lines of lyrics from different songs to essentially create new ones. And don’t they work well?)