Prelude to a Lick – The Editor’s Rant – Column

Prelude to a Lick

by Scott Hefflon
Illustration by David C. Dawson

The rumors you may’ve heard are true (except for the part about the goldfish, the fur-lined gloves, the bowling shoes, and a device known as “The Helmet”): Lollipop is going quarterly. It’ll be bigger. It’ll be better (that’s our story, baby, and you know where you can stuff your constructive criticism), and it’ll probably cost more. Not that I’d know ’cause my distributors are avoiding my phone calls ’cause most of ’em owe me money. I love this business. That’s a joke. The fact that I love it, not the fact that this became a business. That, unfortunately, is/was the truth (or at least as close to it as I know how to get after five years of being an Editor/ Publisher). Everything comes with a clarification, with an aside, with some sort of explanation as to why said said is said (there is a point in here somewhere, just gimme a second, will ya?).

In all actuality, I can sum up our decision to go quarterly in one over-simplified sentence: I began Lollipop prior to my 24th birthday with a spring in my step, a song in my heart, and a cabinet fulla booze; but just prior to my 29th birthday I realize I barely made $13K this year and, hell, it ain’t gettin’ any better, and damn if I ain’t sick of hounding advertisers for money, avoiding creditors, and stalling on paying some of the most talented people I’ve ever had the privilege to know (and some not even in the Biblical sense). To say I’m making this change for money is to understand the obvious, but no more. Hey, anyone who can live on $13,000 a year and still be an optimist after five years, is a better person than I. I’m burnt, and rather than strand writers, artists, photographers, designers, copy editors, and, well, Editor/Publishers who’d never find another magazine to work for that’d do for them (and to them) what Lollipop has, the decision to go quarterly was necessary. (And before y’all complain about your responsibility to me vs. my responsibility to you, try missing a deadline in “the real world” and see if you’ve got a job on the morrow. Hey, I actually look forward to having a job I can quit or get fired from, so count your fuckin’ blessings!) And that doesn’t even take into consideration the reader(s) of this here rag. While I’ve only talked to a dozen or so subscribers in my life (man, is there a world of difference ‘tween us), I don’t think it really matters why I do what I do, as long as people enjoy the magazine. All my accounts of the trials and tribulations are far secondary to the quality of the magazine. Is it good, do you like it, do you trust it, are you entertained by it, does it help you get through yet another day? That’s what matters. No one gives an over-stuffed bag of trash or overflowing ashtray how I feel about it, they care how they feel about it. Right on. Fuck me and my mealy-mouthed pain.

By the time you read this, the office will be vacated, the phone will switch straight to voice mail (to be sorted/ignored at my leisure), but the PO Box will remain active. So yeah, to all the publicity nags that make more per hour than I do (as if that’s hard), we got yer fuckin’ CD (don’t you trust the postal service? They’re part of the government and they’re here to help), and we’ll review it if we think it’s of any value whatsoever aside from a coaster. (I may drink a lot, but I have more “two thumbs up” CDs-turned-coasters than I’ll ever need even if I, for some reason, live another decade.) Not, of course, to be rude or dismissive, ’cause there’s still so much I/we want to do with this magazine. People often get the wrong impression when they call or finally meet me/us. This is a trip, just like being in a band, or being the host of some kick-ass party. Of course it’s an ego-rush and you’re all high on your bad self, but it’s also your shit that’s gettin’ busted the more you let things get “out of control.” “Control is an illusion, you infantile egomaniac.” (I can’t believe I’m quoting Days of Thunder. I also can’t believe I misquoted Depeche Mode on the Jeff Katz Show last summer and didn’t realize it ’til In Flames covered “Everything Counts” on their latest Nuclear Blast release,Whoracle. Can I plug anyone else in this sentence?) Things are bright on the horizon for Lollipop. If you’re reading this, you must’ve either bought the magazine or you get it for free ’cause you send us free stuff; either way, your energy, feedback, and support is greatly appreciated. While I don’t often say thanks, neither do y’all. I do this for my own reasons, and I try to do it damn well. I’m very glad you get something out of it in return, even though I don’t really know specifically what. To sum up (with as few potshots as possible), I/we’re looking forward to taking Lollipop to the next level, and that, it seems, can only be achieved by making it a hobby as opposed to a living. Too many corners have been cut due to a pathetic budget. If the choices are selling the fucker or finally realizing it’s a hobby, and damn boy, you’ve got to get yerself a freakin’ job!, I guess I’ll take the latter. So I did. If I were short-sighted, I’d quote a fellow Bostonian zinester whose ‘zine died (does that make him just a “ster”?) and say something about this alternative youth market not being able to support itself, but I have a larger picture in mind. This whole sub-culture is designed to either compromise or die. It’s inherent in the blueprint, so you can fight it all you want, it’s only a matter of time. And time is one mean bitch. The worst she can do to you is corrupt you without your even knowing it. Like slow-acting poison, she can turn your dream into a business – the very thing you were rebelling against in the first place. In other words, she can make you into what you hate. Those who don’t know what I’m talking about, you’ve never been there, so just nod your heads and look thoughtful (no one’ll ever be the wiser, and you can always quote some variation of “Absolute power corrupts. Absolutely.” if ever put on the spot.) Truth is (for what it’s worth, which ain’t much as yet another rent check bounces),Lollipop has never been for the money, despite what all the hacks and wish-they-weres blather in typo-ridden shit rags and on barstools. Those who thought that never got it. It being the joke. And the reason they didn’t get the joke is because they are the joke. Anyone who calls us “a shill for the record industry” (despite the fact that I’m impressed the fucker knew the word “shill”), doesn’t understand a critical review unless it has the phrase “it sucks” in it. But “it sucks” isn’t exactly very helpful or informative, is it? Why not go on and on for a few hundred words about the hows and whys of it sucking, yet never stoop to saying it sucks? Ah, now there’s a challenge.

Alright, enough already. I’ve written over 10,000 words in various essays I hope never see the light of day about why Lollipop is going quarterly. In some ways, it’s the next logical step. In some ways, it’s a failure. In some ways, it’s a purification, a returning to roots. Basically, there are a lot of ways, and this is the way it’s going to be. I feel both good and bad about the change, and most of the bad is wrapped in nostalgia instead of progress. So there it is. Write us mournful letters if you feel so inclined, or tell us we suck if you have a few issues you feel the need to get off your chest. Really, we care.