Wednesday, 25 March 2009

The Only Fun In Town

Cover of City Fun issue 20, originally uploaded by mithering.

City Fun was a fanzine published in Manchester in the late 70s and early 80s. At its height it was being published fortnightly. Having had to move from Salford to Grantham just as punk broke, and on the eve of Thatcher's rise to power, it was my talisman, my touchstone, my connection with the opportunities I'd left behind. Possibly. Stuck on a council estate on the edge of town in a family of non-drivers, in a place where the buses didn't run at night, and where there was literally zero entertainment for your archetypal bored teenagers, I had plenty of time to read. Initially the NME, from cover to cover, sometimes Sounds, and very occasionally The Melody Maker or Record Mirror.

It on one of my school holiday visits to my Gran's in Kipling Street that I happened upon City Fun, the magazine that opened my eyes fully to the possibility that you could, actually, Do It Yourself. I bought my first copy from England's Glory on Peter Street when I was in there to buy comics from their ever-bountiful, ripe with stale, damp, promise basement.

The earliest issue I now own is number five, but I may have bought that at a later date. The important thing is that they had an editorial policy to print all submissions. (I'm not convinced they printed 'everything', to be honest, as the content is, at worst, always readable, if sometimes dull). I longed for the day that I could contribute something meaningful and my chance came when I bought tickets for A Certain Ratio at The Derby Hall in Bury. I'd calculated that I'd be allowed to go on my own because it was in Bury not Manchester (therefore no chance that I would end up smoking the 'reefer' dreaded by my Gran) and that it was at the end of the 95 bus route, which ran late and along Great Clowes Street. And so it happened.

I took a pencil and made notes on the back of my ticket, planning to write the review I knew I had in me. Best of all, there were tickets on sale that night for the following Tuesday's appearance by hyped-to-the-Gods-by-the-music press Joy Division. It was a huge piece of luck as I was due to return to rural drudgery the day after the gig. Little did I know that the first piece of writing I had published anywhere (City Fun issue 21) chronicled a piece of bizarre rock and roll history that I would later see (badly) dramatised in 24 Hour Party People, and that would lead me into publishing and writing my own fanzines (over fifty at the last count), and to working as a music journalist for some years.

So, City Fun, thank you!

I've uploaded a complete scan of this issue in CBR format, which is a full-screen image reader usually used for reading comics and magazines on computer screens. CDisplay Comic Reader can be downloaded, for free, here: . This issue can be directly accessed at

1 comment:

  1. Not so long ago I worked in Cadishead Primary on a comic/magazine project. The deputy head sat in on one of the sessions, and it turns out he used to edit City Fun! Can't remember his name though - every one called him Sir.