treehouse1

To mark Hallowe’en this year, I’ve decided to sit down and watch The Simpsons‘ annual “Treehouse of Horror” episodes, in order, at least up to the point where they stop being any good (probably about season 11 or 12). And I thought I might as well throw out a link to something I wrote three years ago – a list of what I think are the ten best individual segments.

Whether I still agree with that list after watching ten or eleven of the things in a row, meanwhile, remains to be seen…

I can never overstate how much of an honour it is to be asked to write for When Saturday Comes magazine. On the surface, it might not seem like much – one football magazine among hundreds, still very much a fanzine in spirit, and with sales that, while admirable for the scale of the operation (and I’ve been to their offices, having interviewed for a job there back in 2004, so I know how it’s run), don’t touch the likes of FourFourTwo. But to me, it’s a lot more than that, and has been for a very long time. My Dad’s been buying it for as long as I can remember, so I can actually remember ploughing through piles of old copies when I was in primary school (primarily, back then, I was interested in the cover gags and Dave Robinson’s cartoons rather than the writing itself, but still).

What it most represents to me is the perfect riposte to those (and plenty of my friends would be included in this) who claim that football is only for sub-literate morons. Just because there’s a large undesirable element within football support – and indeed within the football-covering media – doesn’t mean that we should all be tarred with the same brush, and there are plenty of us who take a deeper and more thoughtful interest in the game, its cultural and social elements, the ongoing struggle for smaller clubs to survive, the wider context of the global game, and so on. WSC, in its modest page count each month, caters for people like us. Its intelligent and considered editorial style is an antidote to most of the moronic nonsense that counts as football writing nowadays; although this shouldn’t be mistaken for pseudo-intellectual snobbery, as the mag never loses a sense of fun, of enjoyment of the more ridiculous aspects of the sport. And to this day, I still consider it to have published the greatest book review ever written.

Anyway. It’s a great magazine – my favourite magazine, easily – and so when I finally got around to pitching a feature on the vagaries of squad numbers (see? What other mag would publish an article about the fact that Australia once fielded three players with three-digit numbers on their backs?), it was one of my proudest achievements to have got it published. Recently, however, I’ve been asked back by the editor to write for them a couple of times, which is almost even better. I was asked to do a review of a book about Liverpool, which is in the issue now on stands; and today I’ve also had a piece – again about LFC, and specifically their manager – go up on the blog. So have a look, if you’re interested, and hopefully they won’t be the last things I do under the “Half-Decent Football Magazine”‘s banner.

In other news, James and I have relaunched our comics site Comics Daily, having finally acknowledged that we weren’t doing quite so good a job of being “daily” since we stopped doing single-issue reviews. So it’s now known as Alternate Cover – which the eagle-eyed among you may notice was the domain we were using for it anyway – and, ironically, as part of the launch James is kicking off by doing a one-post-a-day “30 Days of Comics” meme throughout October, which I’ll then be following up by doing it in November. Though I may also be contemplating doing NaNoWriMo for the first time this year, too. I haven’t decided yet.