This is not television (TINT) is an indie zine with a slight twist in that it is written by the Cook family and friends. Unfortunately like most family enterprises that do not revolve around money the zine ends up as an anodyne look at its subject and is full of whimsy. Quaint but hardly the stuff of adventurous music journalism. The issue we have is rather out of date but at the time the bands covered were a pretty good selection of what was "out there" on the indie scene.
To deal with a few facts, this zine is made up of the usual fannish collection of photos, anecdotes, "reviews" and interviews. Why the inverted quotes? Well despite a number of things in its favour, like an interesting layout and the ability to spell, the writers seem incapable of doing anything other than lavishing praise on the objects of their adulation. It's fair enough if you are only going to write about bands you like and consequently are only going to write that they are great and the unwashed should go and buy the CD now. You just have to say that its not really a review, it is pure adoration.
Bands covered in this first issue include Embrace, Cecil, Strangelove (has it really taken so long to review this?) and Mansun. There are also a variety of one pagers and mentions of bands and singles seen and heard. It really does run the gamut of guitar based indie music from A to B.
There is a lot to commend TINT's editor's for. They are nothing if not thorough, providing interviews, pictures, discographies and so on and so forth. The quality of the writing is generally quite high and the style to substance ratio is about right. At the end of the day though the gushing style ends up cloying in the reader's throat and poisoning the remainder of the zine for them.
Very much "what he said". While I'm not a big fan of the music in question I did appreciate being able to read something that not only made sense but did so with good grammer and spelling. I thought the enthusiasm was refreshing initially but soon after the endlessly gushing prose left me feeling annoyed and with the feeling that I could not trust a word I was reading. Full marks for execution but the content really has to improve before the zine becomes readable. As a final note the zine is extremely twee but I do not think it is because there is a family involved in it. I think the writers would be parochial regardless of what they wrote or who they involved.
This is not television £2 Wendy Cook, 5 Helmshore Road, Haslingden, BB4 4BG