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When the Fanzine Comes Around
Written by Mullet on Saturday, 7th Oct 2023 21:32

A few years ago, I was one of several asked to contribute to some new fanzine by some friends who were unhappy at the state of the club under Evans. Imagine that.

Like so many things in life, I was not asked back and probably for good reason. That fanzine was Turnstile Blues, and it has ploughed an oft lone and sometimes lonely furrow amongst the rising treasure trove of ITFC fan-media, and DIY supporters’ ventures.

It is fitting that on the day it takes a hiatus and potentially sells its last issue, Blue Monday Live takes place again in the belly of the stadium. Looking back with Luke Chambers and forward with anticipation no doubt. All as things at the club look so different after the whitewashing that gave rise to TB’s moniker, and its run.

Sometimes ahead of the curve with takes on the female game, vignettes of nostalgia obscura and solidarity it became a voice worth listening to for the price of a pound, and an hour of your time. In the era that spans that back catalogue, the whole landscape has changed.

Phil Ham has long since swapped the trestle table for servers and the press box, as TWTD reflects the diversity of fandom. Integrating news, social media and community like so many others do now in their own way.

Let’s not overlook Phil’s hobnobbing in a purpose-built TV studio with the minor celebrities and major players from the club’s history to produce Life’s a Pitch TV. A product which has trod the well-worn path from radio to TV show with a strong audience and identity.

Alex Griffin is adored by my young nephew and fans of all ages it seems and he’s doing the kind of numbers to overshadow our attendances.

Blue Action bring noise, colour, terrace trends and the kind of displays that are Renaissance works of support. Fabric and feelings light years from forerunners making a divisive nod to that bit in the dining room in Trainspotting. All the while, local radio still hosts a rotation of guests on Naked Radio for those who still can’t get enough Town into their week, when games are not on.

Even then, across the Internet ex-pats and those at home on matchdays can discuss and dissect the action and share in the matchday in more and more ways. The days of nosing through a Dribble on the bus once the bigger boys had passed it round, or seeing what the Green’Un had to say when it was lukewarm from the press at best, are dim memories now.

Despite the EADT going behind a paywall, the Kings of Anglia pod sits alongside its peers too. Straddling the professional insight and fan culture through its different shows and staffing focuses to bring much to many.

Whatever you think of any and all of these things vying for your eyes and ears, it is still baffling to ponder how the lineage of those different enterprises spring from the same pursuit of following this club. How they entangle and diverge in their content, offering so much to so many.

I was sad to hear that Turnstile Blues were hanging up their metaphorical pens. Whether it is mission accomplished or simply one that is impossible in the face of such unbridled optimism, and the cost on time and effort it takes to produce something that in any other market would be seen as artisanal; who knows? Well apart from them obviously.

If like me, you subscribe to When Saturday Comes you’ll see Gavin Barber continues to put an Ipswich flavour into the national melting pot of fanzine culture. If you don’t, you’re missing out on a unique publication that offers a small oasis away from the usual gloss and cyclical churn of most generalist football fodder. But more importantly, you might not see the sharp contrast that the quality and quantity of niche ITFC content we can now gorge ourselves on, where others can’t.

The time, effort and passion it takes all of these people to put something out there, to put something of themselves out there cannot be underestimated. Whilst all clubs have their own troubles and varying channels with which their fans can communicate, complain and carouse; ours has swept away the godawful iFollow with their own product and welcomed in old faces and new looks behind the scenes that were anathema to the top brass at Portman Road when Turnstile Blues emerged from the shadows and tried to shine a light on the crumbling artifices and faith holding the club together.

When they look upon the pitch related stuff people might be starting to proclaim that “These Are the Days”. But off it, you might argue the same too. It is for my money, a shame that it comes with the cost of another paper fanzine. I hope they’re not offended if I wish them a long and well-earned rest and be consoled by the thought that we have enough to be getting on with for the time being.

Thank you to everyone who keeps the quality media coming, and a special thank you and goodnight TB.

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Steve_M added 10:57 - Oct 8
Thanks Mullet. It’s been good to produce Turnstile Blues over the years but been hard work to get some recent ones out. There’s lots of good ITFC content about still - and some less good - but all of it takes time to produce. Appreciate it please people.

slade1 added 11:13 - Oct 8
I was a reader of turnstile blues and before that, those were the days.
Just wondering, are there any fanzines available now? I dont' get to go to the corner of the ground where they are sold much nowadays

Mullet added 16:38 - Oct 8
I don't think anyone does a regular print fanzine any more slade1 but happy to be corrected.

Europablue added 16:30 - Oct 9
Sadly the days of fanzines are all but over. I think you have to appreciate what you had and move with the times a bit. The Blue Monday podcast and life's a pitch are a decent substitute. It's just sad that we have regressed from a point where we had quality time with a quality publication and now we have substituted that with unsatisfying instant news articles sprinkled over the month.
MA and co have been bold in their plans for Town TV. Unfortunately, they are competing in a similar area to KOA. There is still something special about an unofficial source that doesn't sugarcoat everything.
It's great that us overseas fans can watch the matches. The coverage is decent apart from the camera operators need to spend more time watching the match instead of Ed Sheeran and KM when the ball is in play and they need to work on that jerky camerawork and replaying chances while the game is being played. Anyway, we are eating well as town fans currently and I'm in the mood to devour content from multiple sources when in past seasons I would stick to one.

Theipswich added 17:42 - Oct 10
As an older Dribble! contributor in days gone by, it is a shame that there does not appear to be a place for fanzines but we move on I suppose. They were heart felt articles by fans who really cared and wanted to get their message across. I salute everyone of you and thank you for the pleasure and fun we all had.
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