(via Archive » Issue #1 | Only Magazine) Issue #1 was conceived, written, printed, and distributed in 72 hours. Created by the staff of Terminal City, who walked out in protest of the firing of TC’s founder…
Yeah, yeah. Well, guess what? I didn’t walk out of Terminal City when that one guy refused to take a buyout (but his brother, the main investor, did) and then cried to the world that he got “fired.” Let’s be clear about what really happened. “The Staff” did not walk out. I was there that day, and I was there the day before and the day after, I can count the number of people who left, and it is equally balanced by the number of us who stayed (or joined later). But hey, way to milk a bullshit story and keep polarizing Vancouver’s writing and music communities for half a decade! WORKED LIKE A CHARM, GUYS.
I spent 3 years at Terminal City, as writer, proofreader, copy chief, arts editor and finally acting Editor-in-Chief, and I gave it my blood, sweat and tears… and for zero dollars for the first year and a half (and scarcely more than that afterwards). And when the walkout happened, I needed a fucking job, I loved my column and my 30,000+ audience, so I stayed at the “Vichy” TC, produced some of my best work (the Music issue I put together is a true thing of beauty, if only for the all-stars I got to contribute), and got an education like I would never have got had the place stayed the same and the same people kept everything exactly the same as it ever was. It was the “Island of Broken Toys” as one of them called it… and that’s how the original team would have had it remain, forever. I never agreed with that descriptor, and I thought it was an insult to the talent and enthusiasm of all of us working to make the paper better.
So because I stayed behind (and produced our first issue under new management - with no production team - in a dizzyingly intense 48 hours, of which I too am INCREDIBLY proud), for the last six years I’ve been judged and sneered at by a small group of people, some of whom have never even met me because of a labour issue and subsequent personal choices they would never understand. (And seriously, this has got to be one of the most biased Wikipedia entries it has ever been my pleasure to flag.)
Those of us who stayed behind were human beings, just like all the precious hothouse orchids who went on to form the Only, although from the way some of us were treated (including but not limited to being berated and abused on public streets by former coworkers and friends), you’d think we had forfeited our humanity by not tossing our toys out of the pram when we heard there was a group tantrum going on. And when the wheel turned again and I finally got canned by that douchebag publisher with the cellphone clipped to his Dockers, did I expect the rest of my crew to quit in protest? Did I make sure my new magazine fuelled the haters and did I take pains to let even my unsuspecting interview subjects (Diamanda Galás, anyone?) know I had an axe to grind against my old publisher? NO, I BLOODY WELL DID NOT.
TL;DR: Some people can be real jerks when you don’t play by their hipster code. I’m really glad that’s all over.
Sad but true.
Soon after the “walk out” I was asked to partner with Jenn Wong in taking over Terminal City’s music section (which, before I started, had devolved to the point where the section consisted of talking about the same two or three local bands over and over again) and I accepted.
The whole experience was a blast. I had a hand in hiring some fantastic, knowledgeable writers (most notably this class act, who never let me down) and helped create possibly the best weekly music section Vancouver had ever seen. I made some great new friends and even though I was forced to reassess some other friendships (one long-time friend was upset with me for taking the position and even though he couldn’t explain exactly why, he decided to choose sides anyway…don’t worry, he still contacted me regularly to get me to mention his band in Terminal City) it was completely worth it.
It’s true, our publisher was a a dick and it’s also true that a few of the “walk outs” were ridiculously petty and needlessly vicious but I emerged from the whole debacle relatively unscathed. Perhaps because I was oblivious to their anger, but most probably because I really didn’t care what they thought anyway and they knew it. I did a good job while I was there and had a of a lot of fun doing it.
Hell, my band at the time even played a benefit for our The Only while I was music editor at TC (actually I think it was for Music Waste which The Only had taken over recently and needed funds to run). They asked, we played, and we were terrible, but the night was a whole lot of fun. I couldn’t drudge up a grudge to bear if I tried.
I noticed that Wikipedia entry awhile back. Hilarious!
Thanks, Jason. There are still a surprising number of people in Vancouver who were spoon-fed the Only’s bilious rewriting of events (hell, their name alone was probably a pretty good indicator of their solipsism) and taught to hate everyone involved with “Vichy” TC for no reason other than because Daddy Darren told them to. I lost a relationship and a bunch of friends and was subject to some rather frightening abuse and bullying, all because somebody couldn’t manage his exit strategy and wanted everybody to know it.
In addition to the sanguine support of bros like Grimmer who saw a practical opportunity to make some inky magic, those rare few people who were able to walk between the raindrops during that nasty period have proven themselves time and time again to be some of the best friends ANY artist/musician/writer will ever have.