Here's a great mag you've never heard of...

...so says James Brown of 'Socialism' - the last word in louche, eclectic, convention-busting journalism

Declaring a fondness for gambling, drinking and every subject under the sun isn't alien to most journalists. There are, however, very few who manage to turn these hobbies into something worth reading. To this end I'd like to introduce you to a magazine called Socialism. I doubt you will have heard of it, as it appears sporadically, looks like a fanzine, has no cover price, prints only about 25,000 copies, and appears to be paid for by a small but hip record company called Heavenly. It is, however, a very good read.

Inheriting the qualities that made must-reads of The Idler and the Beastie Boys' publication Grand Royal, Socialism manages to combine the passion of a fanzine with a standard of writing that could easily grace more established publications. It is edited by Robin Turner of Heavenly Records (the Magic Numbers and the Doves are their bigger acts) and NME writer Paul Moody, a personable throwback to the days when rock journalists lived in the back of a limo and delivered copy in crayon on opened-up fag packets. Like a lot of good ideas, and even more bad ones, the one for Socialism was cooked up in a pub.

"The first issue came out in spring 2004," explain Moody and Turner, "the day after some crap music awards ceremony that we'd gatecrashed. The two of us and Ted Kessler [currently at Q magazine] sat nursing Bloody Marys wondering why all other magazines/supplements said, to quote Morrissey, 'nothing to me about my life'. We wanted a magazine that talked about the lives of Colombian drug runners, that interviewed Arthur C Clarke in his Sri Lankan hideaway, and quizzed Vincent Gallo on Chloë Sevigny's blow-job technique in The Brown Bunny. We've since covered two of those. We're taking straws on who's going to Colombia. We wanted a magazine that wrote about the kinds of things people actually talk about. We decided it had to be free - post-internet, that seemed like the only way. It is completely baffling to us that people still equate free media with a lack of quality journalism."

Socialism has gone on to attract a variety of contributors including modern bohemian stalwarts Bill Drummond, Stuart Home, Jon Savage and Jeremy Dellar, plus anyone else who has wandered through the Heavenly office or bars. The record company has a string of branded bars called the Heavenly Social, from where the magazine takes its name. "It's all done from the back table of The Social, Little Portland Street, W1 off one laptop, right in front of the biggest office drinks cabinet you've ever seen," says Moody. "Initially I'd finish an NME interview and then ask whether the subject would mind answering a few non-music related questions for Socialism. Then the trouble would be getting them to stop talking. Since word has got around, everyone from Ian Brown to Nicky Wire to Bill Drummond and Paul Weller has got in touch with ideas for features."

Having few advertisers to offend (they're mostly music and drinks ads) and no corporate parent company gives the magazine as much editorial freedom as the law of libel allows. The current issue is entitled the Rural Issue and features an unlikely tribute to Otis Ferry, a top 10 of Yorkshiremen through the ages and various columns about the joy/hell of living in the country.

In addition to this they have had interviews with musicians Graham Coxon and Mani from Primal Scream, artist Stella Vine and comedians Mitchell and Webb and The Mighty Boosh. It is, however, when they really venture off-road that the magazine is at its best. Their Rough Pub Guide is classic inner-city reporting; their best TV bars list is impeccable (No 7 The Winchester in Minder), and Robin Gibson's gambling column moves Jeffrey Bernard's old territory into the modern age.

"Jeffrey Bernard is a definite influence," says Turner. "I used to watch him get wheeled down from his flat to the Coach and Horses every day; this was after he'd had his leg off. You couldn't help marvel at someone who was quite so single-minded in the pursuit of happiness, revelling in the poetry of afternoon drinking. Other inspirations - Oz, Rolling Stone, The Believer, Cigar Aficionado, Boy's Own, Private Eye, Jack - anything that seemed to come about without a focus group. All the great magazines have a built-in philosophy. It's staggering how few great ones there actually are."

It would be wrong to suggest that Moody is no longer in love with his day job. "I imagined music journalism to be flying around the world drinking champagne and talking to rock stars and that's exactly how it's turned out. Highlights? Probably going to three continents in one day with Def Leppard, visiting Bob Marley's house in Jamaica with Ian Brown and having Pete Doherty tell me I was the best-dressed journalist he'd ever met." That, however, says more about Doherty's frame of mind than Moody's wardrobe.

When Socialism's founders are asked to name their favourite feature, one that is cited is "when our food correspondent [Neil Thomson] invented 'The Petrol Station Diet'. Breakfast was a packet of Skittles in chocolate milk!" Socialism's only downfall, if it has one, is that it isn't produced more frequently. They are not without ambition, though.

"We're constantly aiming to make Vanity Fair on a Sniffin' Glue-sized budget," says Turner. "We are looking to go bi-monthly and a spin-off magazine called The Socialite begins this summer." That means there will be 50,000 copies distributed outside gigs and in the 200 best drinking establishments across London.

If Socialism sounds like your thing then the places to hunt it down are the Social bars (in London, Nottingham, Bristol), the Rough Trade music shops and art colleges such as St Martins and Goldsmiths in London. You can also get it in a few selected pubs across the capital (The Boogaloo in Highgate, The Foundry, Old Blue Last and The Griffin in Old Street to name but three). And if you're really keen you can get it by mail order, through the boys' website (www. socialismmagazine.com). That will cost you a couple of quid, mind, to cover postage.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
News
Robert De Niro has walked off the set of Edge of Darkness
news The Godfather Part II actor has an estimated wealth of over $200m
Arts and Entertainment
Fearne Cotton is leaving Radio 1 after a decade
radio The popular DJ is leaving for 'family and new adventures'
Sport
Robbie Savage will not face a driving ban
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Voices
voices
Life and Style
Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries were putting themselves at risk of tinnitus and, in extreme cases, irreversible hearing loss
health Nearly half of all young people in middle and high income countries are at risk of tinnitus
News
It was only when he left his post Tony Blair's director of communications that Alastair Campbell has published books
people The most notorious spin doctor in UK politics has reinvented himself
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Life and Style
fashion
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in ‘I Am Michael’
filmJustin Kelly's latest film tells the story of a man who 'healed' his homosexuality and turned to God
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Public Service Broadcasting are going it alone
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst - High Wycombe - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior Business Systems Analyst role...

Guru Careers: Talent Manager

£30-35k (P/T - Pro Rata) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienc...

Sauce Recruitment: New Media Marketing Manager - EMEA - Digital Distribution

£35000 - £45000 per annum + up to £45,000: Sauce Recruitment: The Internation...

Recruitment Genius: Marketing / PR / Social Media Executive

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A thriving online media busines...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower