IF YOU share a passion for music, or perhaps a general interest in tomorrow’s up-and-coming chart-topping bands, then keep an eye out for a very special, limited run magazine called ‘The Last Word’. It is the work of 20-year-old journalism student, Tim Marklew, who intends to produce four separate issues of the magazine as part of his final year project.
A number of mediums could be exploited, including broadcast and online, but Marklew felt print would allow him to best present his work in a way the other two wouldn’t. With this decided, work on the first issue commenced shortly after Christmas having been encouraged to incorporate a subject of particular interest into his final year project.
Marklew said: “I chose to work on a magazine because I like using Adobe Indesign and would like to pursue a career in music print journalism. I felt a magazine would give me the chance to get more creative with my layouts and could be a centrepiece for my portfolio.”
Those who know Marklew quickly come to appreciate his depth of knowledge when the topic of discussion comes round to anything and everything music related, with the Smashing Pumpkins, Jimi Hendrix and Radiohead all stashed away in his extensive CD collection comprising of more than 20 inimitable artists.
Just as comprehensive is the number of music magazines he retains, primarily consisting of Kerrang! and NME, the former of which he has already spent time with on work placement in both Birmingham (radio) and London (magazine) in April of last and February of this year.
An avid reader of both titles, Marklew admits that their respective styles has influenced his approach to how each page should and could be designed, although he has remained true to his own personal style of writing, choosing not to coin with it too much.
The thing I have enjoyed most about this project is how down-to-earth and friendly the bands have been.
Not only has professional experience enhanced his understanding of and appreciation for music journalism, they have also put him in touch with numerous bands, established music reporters, and the editors of both Kerrang! and Q Magazine respectively.
“It was excellent to get approval from the top music journalists in the country,” smiles Marklew. “Just as I was finishing my first issue of ‘The Last Word’ in January, I interviewed Kerrang’s! editor, Paul Brannigan for my second issue and then sent him a copy of both. I also interviewed the editor of Q magazine, Paul Rees who also looked over an issue and both gave me good feedback.
“I have been lucky during this process to meet and interview some great people. I met a great band called ‘Lets Tea Party’, Dave McPherson who I first saw live in 2005, a band called The Hours, and Orlando weeks, lead singer of The Maccabees.
“The thing I have enjoyed most about this project is how down-to-earth and friendly the bands have been. They have taken every question I’ve asked seriously and treated me like a professional, and really helped ease any nerves I felt at first,” he revealed.
The magazine’s target audience is students who live and study in the Birmingham and Coventry area, so as you’d expect, many of the bands interviewed has an association of some sort with the Midland’s area. News, features, reviews, and opinions pages all figure as well.
It’s quite a unique situation to do exactly what you want, how you want it, so it should not be taken for granted.
Some examples giving an indication of how Marklew has given serious consideration to his student readership is mirrored in some of the topics he has covered, including PRS versus Youtube, and the legalities of downloading music using file-sharing software such as Limewire and Ares.
Marklew’s third issue has just been finished, with work having already commenced on his fourth and final issue. Having taken on such a hefty workload, what advice would he give to second year students already giving consideration to their final year project? “I don’t know of any other projects similar to mine, so I don’t know what I could advise other than for students to enjoy it,” he said.
“Hopefully, everyone can pick something they are passionate about and can be proud of. It’s quite a unique situation to do exactly what you want, how you want it, so it should not be taken for granted. I have learnt a lot from this project, and as long as I have the time, I will continue to create issues of the magazine.”
The quality of work produced and the levels of ingenuity displayed by Marklew indicates that he will indeed have the last word by fulfilling his aspiration of becoming an esteemed music journalist on one of the industry’s most respected music titles. Never mind the up-and-coming chart-topping bands, because going on this evidence, it is Marklew you should be keeping an eye out for in the near future.