Founder of Racket Racket, Andy McColgan details the origins of his website.

Racket Racket

I decided to set up Racket Racket in the early part of the summer of 2011 after a bit of an epiphany moment on a long car drive from London to Glasgow, when the whole concept for it became very succinct in my mind. It was at that point that it all fell into place, I suppose. The fact that I didn’t have ‘a blog’ had been niggling away at me for the best part of the last ten years and I had always, maybe somewhat ambitiously, hoped that when the time did come it would be something more thought out, considered and expansive than your average music blog, something less ephemeral and throwaway than much of what exists out there already and something distinctly different from your average contemporary online music magazine.

I took inspiration and education from my time as station manager at Radio Magnetic (a truly invaluable three years of experience) and also from a handful of websites and blogs I had been frequenting regularly for years, London based Test Pressing being one particularly strong influence. The concept I defined in my head during that long journey home was to establish an online magazine which would act as an outlet for me to share and explore my own, fairly niche, interests and obsessions in terms of music (and to a lesser extent art, design and film) as well as the interests and obsessions of certain key people who have specific and idiosyncratic tastes which I trust implicitly – many based in Glasgow but many from further afield. The name I chose essentially means ‘an illegitimate organisation making an extremely loud noise’ – the Racket Racket.

On the site, since launching in Dec 2011, there have been articles and features from some notable and respected cultural voices including JD Twitch, DJ Dribbler, Douglas MacIntyre, Bruce Morton, Stuart Cosgrove, Neil Macdonald, David Barbrossa, James Pole, Brian Sweeney, Paul Benedict Henderson, Jennifer McColgan and Alan Bissett. As I mentioned earlier, all of these people have tastes, opinions and viewpoints that I respect and value hugely. The aim or manifesto, if you like, is to explore ‘alternative pop culture’ from through the decades and around the world. Most of the content on Racket Racket is music-focussed simply because that’s my first love and has been my major personal preoccupation since I was about 7 or 8 years old. And especially, although not exclusively, it’s music from the past and from the peripheries. Mixes, documentary videos, interviews and features make up the majority of the posts so far and there will be lots more of all of those things in 2013. Because that’s what floats my boat.

Some of the most popular articles of the past year have included JD Twitch‘s conversation with legendary UK dub producer Adrian Sherwood, Douglas MacIntyre’s Run Run Run series, DJ Dribbler’s account of a rave at The Tramway in 1989, Brian Sweeney’s Happy Mondays Texts, Stuart Cosgrove’s two part social history of the Zoot Suit in the USA; and interviews with Stuart Leath, Peaking Lights, Ken McCluskey, Albion Venables and Django Django have all gone down rather well too.

One particular area I’m going to be focusing on in the new year is the ‘mix‘ side of things. In doing so, showcasing and promoting DJs and vinyl collectors and enthusiasts around the world who I admire deeply and who, perhaps, go a little unnoticed on the larger and more mainstream online music platforms. I think it’s really important to give these people the exposure they deserve as well as providing a place, in Racket Racket, for local DJs I’m a fan of to show off corners of their record collections that they don’t often get the opportunity to. The music they listen to at home rather than what they would be expected to play in a nightclub on a Saturday night. The weirder and more experimental the better, really. And also we’ll be starting a regular feature ‘spotlight’ (for want of a better term) on independent record shops, again, around the world: Monorail, Rubadub, Underground Solush’n, Redlight Records, Growing Bin, Piccadilly, Sounds of the Universe and so on and so forth. So, there is basically lots of exciting stuff to look forward to next year!

Racket Racket Christmas Party

Before that though, Racket Racket has just reached the ripe old age of one and I’ve organised a free party on Friday 28 December at The Brunswick Hotel, Glasgow to celebrate. This will be the third free party we’ve hosted since launching, with each one showcasing three of our favourite local DJs in the intimate and sweaty basement environs of the Brunswick; and they’ve all been really successful nights. David Barbarossa, James Pole, Brian D’Souza, DJ Dribbler, Pro Vinylist Karim and Dirty Larry all deserve a special mention for their huge efforts with the first two parties. For this one – our Christmas-come-first birthday party – we are totally thrilled and excited to have Optimo’s JD Twitch, Hot Mess’s Simonotron and Racket Racket site designer and my girlfriend, Denise (AKA Din Daa Daa) playing the dance records from 9pm till 2am. If you’re free and in Glasgow on the 28 it should be a fantastic night.

Looking forward to the year ahead you can expect to see, as I have touched upon already, regular exclusive mixes and features, articles, interviews and short videos as well as (all going well) a slightly more adventurous event or two consolidating and encapsulating the ethos of the site’s content in ‘the real world’. A site redesign is scheduled for the early part of the new year which will make more of the archive of content on the site already and how that’s presented to the user. All of that as well as Issue 2 of our side project, the So & So fanzine – a physical zine dedicated to the creative musical endeavours and projects happening in the city of Glasgow – which was featured on Central Station back in July, 2012.

I am sincerely grateful to everyone who has been encouraging and supportive over the last year as well as to everyone who has contributed. And hope you continue to approve of the racket we, the racket, are trying to make.

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