This is, for now, the last Broken Arrow.
This issue contains a letter discussing the content of Broken Arrow. It’s a fair letter, raising a concern that I have had for some time – that the content and balance of the magazine isn’t right. The letter includes, ‘don’t become just a travel mag’, and although that sounds a tad harsh, there is a good point there. I believe that we have drifted from our original aim of trying to be a high quality music magazine and the content has sometimes included too high a proportion of fan-activity material. In my defence I can only print what I receive, but the magazine has long struggled for contributions and often I have little choice. We publish almost everything that comes in and I make up the balance by writing articles or using previously published material. I scramble a lot each quarter. Requests for more contributions from members have met with little success. Last year’s proposal to move to a downloadable magazine was driven both by cost and content. I thought a more flexible approach to issuing the magazine, at minimal cost, might encourage more contributors to come forward. That proposal didn’t find favour with the membership, and indeed I agreed with the majority that paper is the correct medium for BA. But in continuing with print the problem of too few articles remained. I then issued another ‘use it or lose it’ cry.
The letter, which arrived in April, ended with, ‘what would Neil do if he ran the magazine’? That excellent question has been on my mind since then. My enclosed editorial asks again for contributions, but I was half-hearted when I wrote that and it has actually helped clarify my thinking. What would Neil do? He believes in constant change; bands, musicians, cars, tours, whatever. No matter what, if it’s necessary he does it. Often it’s radical. In the magazine’s case several requests for contributions haven’t worked. Neil might have asked once, he wouldn’t keep asking.
Jo and I have now published Broken Arrow for 13 years. Of course from time to time we do get some help, but mainly it’s just us. Jo has been a huge support and does an immense amount of unpaid work for the NYAS. The magazine and the NYAS is a lot of work, but we haven’t minded that. In fact I still enjoy putting each magazine together and getting it out. But producing the content weighs very heavily on me and I lack the desire to continue down this road. And so this issue – at least for now – will be our last Broken Arrow. This might be permanent, or some form of the magazine may return in future. Jo and I are going to take a year off and have a re-think. I would like to spend more time researching and writing music articles without a deadline. Jo will definitely enjoy the break from all the NYAS administration and the time consuming desktop publishing job every three months. I know a lot of you will really miss the magazine and this decision will cause great anguish and I’m sorry for that. But we’ve had a long good run since issue 83 and that’s come to an end.
In terms of administration, this issue was to be the first where all the subscription renewals were brought into line, so many of your subs will have ended. Refunds will be made to anyone who has paid for future issues. There may not be quite enough money in the NYAS account to do that, but we will cover any shortfall. Once the dust has settled a period of reflection and discussion will follow. Future communications on what’s happening will be by email, but let me know if you would like traditional mail.
Jo and I have enjoyed what we’ve done over the past 13 years and are proud of the 52 magazines that we’ve produced. It’s been a privilege to run the NYAS. Our thanks go to everyone who has helped us in different ways over the years. We’ve met many fine people and made a lot of good friends through the NYAS. We may be back in future, but for now long may you all run.
Scott & Jo