Hello and welcome to the December 2018 edition of the Pennyblackmusic Magazine.

2018 has been a year of both great highs and crashing lows at Pennyblackmusic.

In March we lost our writer Anthony Strutt to prostate cancer. Anthony, who was one of our most prolific writers, had been with Pennyblackmusic for seventeen years and had contributed over 1,500 articles to this site. It can not be over-estimated Anthony’s role in helping to create and develop Pennyblackmusic. An experienced fanzine writer by the time he joined us in late 2000, he encouraged us to raise our ambitions. He also had a vast knowledge of music, more than anyone else I have ever met, and I can honestly say that we would never have come as far as we would have done without Anthony. His death was not unexpected. He had been ill for some years, but so soon after the death of another of our writers Mary O’Meara from ovarian cancer just before Christmas last year it was nevertheless a hard blow from which we are still recovering. They were both, of course, absolutely irreplacable and are very much in our thoughts.

Things, however, move on and we celebrated our 20th Anniversary in September. We had given over our ‘Ten Songs That Made Me Love...’ over a four month period to several of our long-term writers’ memories of their years at Pennyblackmusic, and on September 15th after a long nearly two year sabbatical from London Bands’ Nights put on our 20th Anniversary gig at the Water Rats in Kings Cross.

We had, to be honest, bitten off slightly more than we could chew with four bands, none of whom were playing with just the traditional arrangement of two guitars, bass and drums. Once we got beyond a particularly lengthy and over-running sound check, it was, however, a great night with all four bands – the Bitter Springs, Idiot Son, Oldfield Youth Club and Raf and O – playing excellent sets. In what was my favourite moment of the year, our writers, co-ordinated by Mark Rowland and his filmmaker wife Sarah Rowland and much to my surprise as I really knew nothing about it, revealed both a Pennyblackmusic ‘best of’ magazine and also a ten minute film documentary( https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=bD3_hdBRbfE). We also made £610 for cancer charities in memory of Anthony, Mary and also Willard Grant Conspiracy’s Robert Fisher, who had played four previous Pennyblackmusic shows in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Pennyblackmusic has also seen new blood this year in photographers Amanda J. Window and Andrew Twambley and writers Adam Coxon and Shirley Procter, all of whom have brought something unique and original to the site. We have also seen the much welcomed return after a long absence of both Owen Peters and Helen Tipping.

Thank you to each of them. Thank you also to Keith Ainsworth, Darren Aston, Carl Bookstein, Kimberly Bright, Malcolm Carter, Daniel Cressey, Nicky Crewe, Dastardly, Nick Dent-Robinson, Anthony Dhanendran, Dixie Ernill, Gillian Fish, Cat Goodwin, Dave Goodwin, Marie Hazelwood, Keith How, Ben Howarth, Adrian Huggins, Fiona Hutchings, Gus Ironside, Adrian Janes, Steve Kinrade, Richard Lewis, L. Paul Mann, Erick Mertz, Dana Miller, Chris O’Toole, Jon Rogers, Jamie Rowland, Mark Rowland, Sarah Rowland, Maarten Schiethart, Harry Sherriff, Stephen Simkin, Dominic Simpson, Lisa Torem, Paul Waller, Cila Warncke, Denzil Watson and in his absence Anthony Strutt, all of whom have contributed to Pennyblackmusic this year. Special thanks to our webmaster Richard Banks for his work behind the scenes.

We will be back with an album and single reviews update in early January and a full edition later that month.

Please check out our regular Facebook and Twitter updates.

Thank you as always for reading Pennyblackmusic.

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year!

John Clarkson
Magazine Editor

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