On my recent trip to Manchester where I saw Brother & Bones (see related post) perform at a venue whose name I cannot remember (which seriously annoys me - I swear I have a sieve instead of a brain) I found something rather special. No, it was not the t-shirt I picked up in the Urban Outfitter's sale or the jumper I bought in a vintage shop on one particularly rainy day. It was something completely unrelated to clothing...
It was a music magazine, handed to me by a tattooed fifty-something-year-old man at the bus station while my friends and I waited for our megabus to arrive. The journey back home took about seven hours - not exactly swift by any means.
Just as we were queuing to have our tickets checked, the man appeared out of nowhere clutching a handful of what I assumed were newspapers. He introduced himself as 'not a crack-head' or a 'crazy homeless guy' but someone who handed out music magazines to people waiting to catch buses so that their journeys were made slightly more bearable. The magazine was produced in order to help homeless people pay for a sheltered place to sleep at night, and all it required was a small donation of money.
The calm, friendly manner in which the man introduced himself and told us about the magazines he was carrying immediately had me scrabbling in my pocket for whatever spare change I had left. I think I handed him 30 or 40p (I honestly which I'd had more to give him) and in return he gave me a magazine.
The magazine was volume 3, issue 53 of Loud and Quiet, 'the alternative music tabloid' which, I'm happy to report, was surprisingly good. I enjoyed what I could manage to read on the megabus journey (without making myself too motion sick) and later finished the rest of the articles at home. I particularly enjoyed the piece on Conan Moccasin's new album, Caramel. The way Loud and Quiet's articles and reviews were written; intelligently whilst avoiding the pitfall many magazines get themselves into - pretentiousness, had me wishing the magazine could continue forever. I know that sounds like a slight exaggeration, but if you've read Loud and Quiet, you'll know where I'm coming from.
Besides making me hungry for more, Loud and Quiet threw a tonne of musicians in my direction, many of whom, I have never heard of before. Some might consider this a reason not to read such a magazine, but I saw it as a challenge, one that I wanted to accept. This challenge asked me to look into music that I am completely unfamiliar with and broaden my knowledge of the music world.
This leaves me with just one last thing to say...
Thank you tattooed, fifty-something-year-old, homeless man. Thank you very much!