The People's Ska Annual
I only know of two free publications that are worth the paper they're printed on. One, obviously, is Ink 19, the other is The People's Ska Annual. That may sound like hype, but TPSA is worthy. Edited (and almost entirely written) by Noah Wildman, TPSA contains some of the most intelligent and entertaining articles I've read since, well, since last year's issue.
For me, one of the most interesting articles was the thoroughly researched "Where's Me Money, Mon?," an exposé on the way record companies are ripping off the Skatalites. Wildman explains how the Skatalites as a band are only making money on one album out of the avalanche of their material that's been released in the last year, and breaks down the situation album by album with Skatalites manager Shay Vishawadia. It's both fascinating and sickening. Elsewhere in the issue, I really enjoyed the intensely personal "Madnifique!," recounting Wildman's love for Madness and the thrill of consummating that love, so to speak, by finally seeing the band live on their brief West Coast tour last year (lucky bastard).
TPSA #5 also includes intelligent interviews with the legendary Prince Buster and ex-Fishbone founding member Chris Dowd, a tasty feature on the Ska Brewing Company, and critical essays on the "next big thing" phenomenon, the state of the ska nation, and ska pop (and who else but Wildman would have the audacity to caption a photo of No Doubt's Gwen Stefani as "Queen of the Cooter Dance"?). Plus reviews (including the coveted "Ska Turd of the Year" award), an obituary for the legendary Judge Dread, a recipe for a third wave of ska mix tape, and my favorite new feature, "World O'Wildman," the history of ska in comics form, with art from Rude Tales publisher W. Ralph Watters, Jr.
And I still haven't covered all that's here. The only thing you won't see much of here is coverage on Moon Records artists, due to the fact that Wildman is a Moon employee. You won't miss it. TPSA #5 is a 68-page juggernaut, and every last page is worth reading. Be a pal and send a couple of bucks for postage when you write for your copy of this excellent magazine. The People's Ska Annual, PO Box 1418, New York, NY 10276; firstname.lastname@example.org