Music Features

No Ripcord Turns 14

“Debut single from mysterious solo artist (we think), Rico. Combines several genres of music at once. Well worth getting hold of.” David Coleman, on Rico’s Attack Me, 26.4.1999

Believe it or not, that insightful nugget of music criticism was the lead review in the very first issue of No Ripcord, which was published fourteen years ago today. 

The ‘alternative music fanzine’, as it was initially branded, hoped to provide a fortnightly installment of news, reviews, and misguided teenage humour. Fortnightly soon became monthly, monthly progressed to irregular, and then, spurred on by a burgeoning team of writers, No Ripcord finally started to churn out regular content.

We currently publish ten album reviews each week, alongside features, film content, and a monthly podcast.  The site remains fiercely independent, runs at a significant loss, and by our reckoning has to be the longest standing non-commercial music and film review website currently operating.

At a recent family wedding, a relative asked me if No Ripcord was still going strong. This simple question, most likely made in the spirit of polite conversation, prompted me to reflect on the reason for its longevity.

No Ripcord exists because I am immensely proud of what we achieve here on a weekly basis. There are no hidden agendas; our writers are encouraged to write what they believe, free from the influence of secretive scoring panels and generous sponsors. As great as it would be to have a potential conflict of interest as exciting as a festival stage, a record label, or a club night, we simply don’t. If we rate something highly, you can rest assured it is because we believe in it. We are fans, after all, just like you. 

And that brings me to the overriding point of this article. No Ripcord continues to flourish in 2013 because it means a great deal to me and the rest of the team, who thanks to social media have grown into a wonderfully tight-knit little community. The joy I experienced on uploading Issue 1, with its succinct comment on Rico’s Attack Me (which, for the record, has held up about as well as that review), persists to this day. As long as that is the case, No Ripcord will continue to occupy its own little space on the Internet, quietly getting on with the job of reviewing, celebrating, and occasionally making fun of music, film, and television.