Monday, 16 September 2013



How many of  you have read the first two blogs? Or was I a lone soul, talking in an empty hall with just the echoes of the past bouncing back at me?

No matter. I’ll plod on. Why change the habit of a lifetime?

Flexipop was a life changer - for me anyway. I was a journalist, it was what I did. But, as usual, shit got in the way and for the next fifteen years after the magazine closed down, I stopped being a journalist and became a publisher of pop magazines, something even my wildest dreams would get wild dreams about.

It paid the rent and I had the odd fandango – like actually flogging a magazine called Pop Shop that I’d started to Robert Maxwell back in 1989. Pop Shop had it all before anyone else: free classified ads (Loot Magazine, EBay), messages and pen pals (Facebook), a boy band plucked out of auditions a la Spice Girls appearing in their own photo story soap opera every month with the readers deciding on their fate (Big Brother). And then turning them into stars (X Factor).

Too much, too soon maybe. But Maxwell ran too fast and turned it from a more grown-up monthly into a fortnightly, ersatz Smash Hits. It didn’t work out. Shame. Shame for him. Shame for me.

So that was the only other bona fide pop mag I published after Flexipop. The rest were mainly unofficial glossy mags on one particular artist that invariably opened up into posters. Got sued a few times by the likes of Human League, Duran Duran and the Spice Girls but they usually dwindled out before reaching court. Did a few official ones too – Michael Jackson, Right Said Fred, The Chippendales, even Pepsi Cola.

I can’t say it was fun while it lasted. It wasn’t. In the main it was dull, something I’d never experienced in the workplace before. But it was kinda easy and I had a family to support. I dealt with printers and repro houses and typesetters and photo agencies and distributors and designers and writers and photographers. Okay, I did all that on Flexipop, but I did it with shiny, happy people. Now here I was, alone, talking on the phone in an empty office with just the echoes of the past bouncing back at me.

Thank God pop music died, otherwise I’d still be there, embedded by echoes.

A few years back I wrote a book called ’77 Sulphate Strip that chronicled a year in my life. A year when I became a music journalist, when punk tripped the light fantastic and when I proposed to my future wife.

It did okay. The sequel, Tell Me When, was completed a while ago but, as usual, shit got in the way and I ended up pushing the manuscript to the back of the drawer. Now we’re in Flexi retro mode, I thought I’d dig it out and run it by you in a series of blogs.

What’s that? Please don’t?

Tough! This is my site and I can do whatever I want. Besides, there’s nobody reading this crap anyway…

Tell Me When begins tomorrow.

Barry Cain

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London, United Kingdom
I'm your Flexifriend blogger for all your Flexipop! needs.....