Excuse me for looking perhaps a little startled, but I’ve just been told in the slightly murmuring voice of someone similarly shocked by the turn of events that on May 1, just after this issue goes on sale, it will be 15 years since we put out the first Uncut.
I’d suggest a drink if we had the time, which we don’t at the moment, deadlines snapping at our heels like angry dogs and all that and still quite a bit to do as I write before the final pages are finished and dispatched to the printer. We’ve had one or two unscheduled dramas that have made the last few days a little lively, but there’s been nothing truly comparable to the flat-out sense of breathless mayhem that attended the 1997 launch of Uncut, that galloping rush to meet a looming on sale date that with every passing day grew ominously closer, like some malignant asteroid heading our way.
We had been given the green light to go ahead with Uncut on the singular and somewhat sobering condition that we get that first issue out in a little over six weeks, our confident bravado that this would be easily accomplished quickly giving way to nervous apprehension. I mean, at the time there was no staff to speak of, just me and our original art editor. Since we didn’t actually have an office for the first week, either, it was probably just as well we hadn’t yet hired anyone to work with us as there would have been nowhere to put them – no desks, no chairs, no computers, nothing.
When we eventually moved into the empty space that would be our home for the next few years, there were a few more of us, a fax machine no-one could successfully figure out how to work, the random pressing of buttons producing from the thing only a tragic wheeze or two that made it sound like it was expiring in quiet anguish, a bit like those of us who were by now feeling more than a bit ragged as a succession of very long days now included regular night shifts, no-one getting out of what passed for the Uncut office until what are commonly known as the wee small hours, a hollow-eyed time.
We made our deadlines, of course, with no staff fatalities, and on the designated date nervously revealed ourselves to the world. Looking back at it now, the issue no doubt shows signs of its hasty assembly, but what for the foreseeable future Uncut would be is already there, with an editorial lineup that mixed features on Elvis Costello, Taxi Driver, Bob Dylan, Sam Peckinpah, The Who, Clint Eastwood, Counting Crows and Quentin Tarantino.
If you’ve been with Uncut from the start, or somewhere near it, thanks for sticking with us and I hope you enjoy the new issue and everything in it – the Dexys interview, by the way, is a cracker.
Enjoy the issue and any thoughts you have on it, let me know, as ever, at: firstname.lastname@example.org