Thursday, 31 March 2011

why local news isn't just for local people

My local newspaper has often featured campaigns of local, and sometimes national interest.

Still raging on is the fight to save Chase Farm Hospital from closure by NHS bosses, as are controversial court cases against Enfield residents Andrew Symeou, accused of murder and held awaiting trial in Greece, and autistic computer hacker Gary McKinnon, who infiltrated the FBI and upset an awful lot of high powered Americans and is now facing extradition.

But one campaign that has been fought more recently has been within The Enfield Advertiser itself, as its own arts and entertainment section has seen its prescence within the paper drastically cut over the past couple of months.

Now, of course I have a vested interest in this, as well as writing for glasswerk and my own music blogs, I have also been a regular music contributor to The Enfield Advertiser since 2009.

I have always strived to be active within my local music scene, since back when me and a few friends put on our own club nights with ourselves DJing, as we wanted something to go to on our own doorsteps without venturing to Camden or beyond.

Since then, me and my close friends continued to DJ when a new promoter (and former Enfield Advertiser music columnist) breathed new life into the scene by putting on regular live music nights, becoming friends and fans of many local bands that graced the stage during these halcyon days of our local scene.

I have continued to follow those bands and how they have grown and splintered over the years, and when I began volunteering at a local council funded youth music project I was exposed to a whole new wave of exciting bands and artists, and met many more people, some of whom have remained good friends, along the way.

Being given the chance to write for my local paper and cover the bands I know and love was an ideal opportunity, not just for me to have my work published in a physical form but also to show support and spread awareness of a local scene, getting news of our plight, our hard work and our achievements into the homes of around 90,000 households across the borough of Enfield.

But now, just as is the case with music venues across the country, the entire entertainment section of The Enfield Advertiser is under threat, which may seem a stretch of an analogy, but I honestly believe that both have an impact on local music scenes and in turn the UK's future of music.

Sure, in this digital age we still have blogs, webzines and countless social networks, but as a medium it can become somewhat diluted and ultimately hit and miss in the grand scheme of things. And for those that still respond to a physical product, those that still read the liner notes of an album or cherish their collection of 7" singles, a printed article in a widely distributed periodical is something to be proud of, to clip out and keep, for their parents and grandparents, and even for when they themselves become parents or grandparents.

So it is a fight, not for myself, my role is purely voluntary (although jobs would be lost and strike action has been discussed), but for a local voice and for a local scene that I am extremely fond of and overwhelmingly proud of.

Mine may only be a small voice, from a small North London suburb, but I'm sure it is a voice that may be applicable and representative of small towns across the country, each with scenes that are just itching to be noticed by peers and a wider audience alike.

I was writing about music long before I become active within the Enfield Advertiser, and will continue to do so no matter what the outcome, but coming from a town that still has no real music venue despite it's ever-evolving vibrant scene and various campaigns and movements, to not lose an important aspect of our community seems to be something worth fighting for.

for more info, see previous article 'living for The Weekender' and the facebook event

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