You may never have known who Nick Mann was. Truth be told, I only met him once or twice, but we had conversed via email as we were brothers in zine-making. He, creator of the successful A Short Fanzine About Rocking; me, creator of the less successful Kill Your Own. Our emails were limited to discussing zines – usually trading copies of our own for our respective distros.
I’m not really here to talk about Nick per se, as – since his unfortunate and untimely passing earlier this year – enough people who actually knew him have written about what a great guy he was. What I am here to talk about, specifically, is ASFAR and its inclusion in the British Library.
If you’re unfamiliar with the British Library, it shouldn’t take a genius to work out that it’s a library. In Britain. Specifically, THE library. According to Wikipedia (hardly the most accurate of sources but let’s ignore that and run with this) it’s the largest library in the world by number of items catalogued. That’s sort of a big deal.
All 38 issues of ASFAR are now housed in the British Library. This is a huge deal. The most prominent library in Britain – perhaps the world – recognises that Nick’s little punk fanzine is something worthy of being preserved for generations to come. From the Library’s blog:
ASFAR covered hardcore and punk music, and from its modest beginning in 2001, it grew to have a major impact on the UK hardcore music scene and within the zine community. Nick Mann both supported hardcore and underground music, and inspired musicians, journalists and zinesters with his enthusiasm, energy and passion.
As a “zinester” myself (well, at least I used to be) I can definitely concur that Nick’s dedication to ASFAR was a massive influence on me. Kill Your Own only lasted seven issues, but probably would have lasted even less if I didn’t enjoy ASFAR as much as I did.
I guess all I’m trying to say is this: I’m glad to see something from our little punk world getting such high recognition. Want to write something? Do it. Go to shows. Start a zine. And if your parents/elders/etc. criticise you, tell them that punk zines are now endorsed by the freaking British Library.
– Ian Perry