Fanzine from the era.
» Loaded Fanzine
Loaded. Good name for a magazine. At least, James Brown and IPG, the publishers of Britain's first 'lads mag' thought so. But their's wasn't the first monthly to bear that ambiguous title. I got there first at the dog end of 1976. When the slightly glossier Loaded appeared in 1994 I noted that they had resisted the strong temptation to scrawl the title in felt tip. They knew I was out there waiting to sue their ass.
My Loaded was named after the Velvet Underground album of that name because back in 76 the Velvets were one of those bands you had to revere, like the New York Dolls and the Stooges.
1976. Everything that has since been said about that self start year is true. Sniffin' Glue famously printed a page illustrating three guitar chords with the tagline 'That's all you need to know, now form a band.' Unfortunately, not all of us were that gifted. I mean three whole chords! And they were all different and it didn't say that the strings had to be facing away from your body or anything. No, the Sniffin Glue template for a successful launch into the burgeoning punk rock scene just assumed far too much.
I didn't have the musical chops, even for a time so musically tolerant it allowed bands like Sham 69 to charge people actual money to hear them play. But there were other options; the bands that were springing up needed managing, they needed clubs were they could play, they needed promoters to promote them and they needed someone with an old typewriter and a felt tip pen to write about them.
Sniffin' Glue and other rock n roll habits wasn't easy to find early on, certainly not outside of the capital. But those early punk visits to Rough Trade by day and the Roxy by night provided me with enough editions to realise that the fanzine format was a doddle to copy. I had an old typewriter that could double as a rat trap. If I missed a key its mates would close in around the inaccurate digit and keep it locked deep within the guts of the machine until someone came upon the scene and could help set me free. Luckily, only one of my fingers was ever at risk of entrapment by typewriter. I was not Pitman trained.
I produced seven editions of Loaded and kept only Loaded 7, a few copies of which are still stored in the attic. The rest I sold because that was the whole point (you have to sell a lot of copy at 15 pence a throw to be able to afford those London weekends, though the price did rise to 20 pence later on.)
The first editions were photocopied at night at the shipping agents in Avonmouth where Paul (Billy) Summers worked by day. Billy, who later played trumpet for Gardez Darkx, was a great help - he had a car for one thing and more importantly, a key for the office photocopier on which Loaded was born. He also had an idea for a page called Loaded Luger which would feature a different example of Germanic weaponry each month. Luckily, Colin from Forever People stepped in with a few quid to legitimise future print runs thereby reducing my debt to Billy and robbing my readers of an education in firearms. Without Billy I wouldn't have got is started and he is sorely missed to this day.
Other contributors were Roy Savage who tossed me a few cartoons under the name of Savage Pencil and David Housham who was the regional correspondent for the NME. Having bought into the whole 'hip young gunslinger' NME image, I was a little disappointed when I met him to find that he lived with his Gran in Patchway and wore an anorak. He reviewed some singles and wrote enthusiastically about obscure American labels before 'going up' to Oxford where he read English with his top button done up. Nice guy.
Steve Swan recorded the evolving Bristol scene on a decent enough camera and let me use the odd photo in the fanzine. The rest of the photos came from my Kodak Instamatic, hence the square pictures. Most of the words came from the old Remington Rat Trap, though a few are handwritten with my left while I waited for someone to come along and help me free my right.
Points West featured Loaded as part of it's early evening news bulletin in 1977 with the announcement 'attention young parents and self abusers everywhere', which I had written across the top of the most recent edition because I was, by then, a young parent and I was pretty sure that all of my readers were self abusers. Simon Edwards provided the soundtrack to the piece, a recording of Generation X lifted from the Peel Show. I championed Gen X as they wrote good songs and performed them with energy and I didn't realise at the time that Billy Idol would become such a prat. Oh well, should have stuck with the Bristol bands.
(Tim Williams May 2009)
The Cortinas, Gobbin', Pukin' and Swearin'
Generation X and The Cortinas
Mods and Rockers with the Jam, The Adverts and The Clash
The Media, The Pigs, The Colston Hall Gigs and usual crap
The Pigs plus The Good, The Bad and The Ugly plus Generation X and Skrewdriver
Thrill to the debut of The Pop Group
Break your heart over slagging off Art Attax
Iggy, Thunders and Elvis