Friday, 1 March 2013

Van Morrison Fanzines - Part 2

Every artist of any prominence has been the subject of a fanzine.  There have been four Van Morrison fanzines over the years, that I know of, though none are being produced at the moment.  Where is the intense Van fan willing to sacrifice his life, marriage and thousands of dollars?  There's gotta be someone out there whose devotion for The Man exceeds his rationality?  
  1.  The main Van Morrison fanzine was Wavelength which began in 1994.  It was published three times a year and served the Van community well for about 15 years and grew from a few pages to regular issues of 44 pages or more.  Simon Gee was the hard-working editor who had a good team of contributors.  As the reputation and circulation built Wavelength was able to get Van news and snippets from all over the world.  Van couldn't sneeze without Wavelength knowing about it.  Every concert was analysed and described by fans and set lists were provided. There were also quite scholarly articles on Van's influences, his musicians, and the effect of his music. It ceased publication in 2008. 

  2.  Before Wavelength was Stephen McGinn's fine effort called the Van Morrison Newsletter.  I've recently written to Stephen McGinn and he was kind enough to reply.  It was great to receive some emails from someone so famous in the Van fan community.  
He explained the origins of The Van Morrison Newsletter by saying,  "I was off work ill for quite a long period at the end of the 80's and was looking for something to occupy my time. I felt there was no forum for Van Morrison fans to make contact and share tapes and knowledge (remember this was way pre- internet). I placed an ad in Q magazine and got about 40 replies. This persuaded me that there was a market, so I put out number 1 in early 1990".

In all McGinn produced 10 issues. "I was helped by a small group who have remained friends, one of whom was Simon Gee".  Over the next four years Stephen managed a few scoops from some interesting contacts who were close to Van.   I'll leave out the specific details so as not to increase Van's paranoia. 

But all good things have to come to an end.  "I stopped publication in 1993 but this ran into 1994 as I tried to settle subscriptions. I had restarted full time work in 1993 and when I learnt my wife was expecting twins - we already had two boys - then it was time to get this thing off my hands. To my amazement Simon was interested so I passed all my back issues over to him and he started Wavelength".

  3.  Around the same time as The Van Morrison Newsletter was kicking around there was also a fanzine coming out of Belfast. Into the Music was produced by Donal Caine.  Quite coincidentally it was contemporaneous with The Van Morrison Newsletter and lasted for 10 editions as well. It began in 1990 and ceased publication in 1993.  All efforts to track Mr Caine have proved fruitless.      

4.  Stephen let me know about another fanzine called No Guru Newsletter produced by a couple of Americans who were pretty taken by that album and its allusions to Krishnamurti. It focuses on the mystical and isn't the usual broad-based fanzine. 

This isn't the last word on this topic.  I'd really like corrections or more information about Van Morrison fanzines.  Please email me through my profile page if you have further information.  

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