Blowing Bubbles Fanzine reaches 100 issues.
Author: ExWHUEmployee. Published: 18 February 2020 at 8:22pm
For many West Ham fans, the West Ham Way’s pre-match events have become an essential part of the match-day experience, with former players taking part in on-stage interviews and question and answer sessions, keeping the club in touch with its Upton Park past as it stumbles uncertainly into the London Stadium future.
And part of that experience has been the distribution of copies of West Ham’s biggest and best fanzine, Blowing Bubbles, which this month celebrates its 100th edition. Not bad going for something which, when it was launched, was precited by one rival fanzine editor to last no more than seven issues.
But as editor David Blackmore explains, that longevity is down in equal parts to hard work and good fortune.
“Arguably the biggest piece of luck has been finding the best West Ham-supporting writers – and keeping them,” he said. “I have been very lucky to have some writers who have been with us since issue one, like Lucy Woolford, Brian Williams and Geoff Hillyer, who I found on Twitter, and along the way I’ve recruited others who all submit fantastic, well-thought out pieces every month.”
Blowing Bubbles’ monthly publication, in print and digital format, is a significant part of its success. “Producing different issues for every home game was absolutely draining me,” he said. “There were some spells where we’d have three home games in the space of 10 days and it just was getting a bit too much. By going to a monthly format, we’re able to make better assessments of how we are doing.”
Being a monthly publication means pieces do not have as limited a shelf life as they would if it were done game by game, although the recent sacking of Manuel Pellegrini caused a frantic rewrite of the magazine just before the publication deadline.
It allows writers to contribute longer, in-depth features, covering all aspects of life at the club, with regular lengthy interviews with some of the biggest names from West Ham’s past, helping Blowing Bubbles to build up an archive of club history.
It also means the website is a clickbait-free zone, as such pieces would not work in a monthly format. Blowing Bubbles has had enough of an impact on the club for David Gold to grant Blackmore regular one-on-one interviews, and former players George Parris and Phil Parkes are monthly columnists, but Blackmore is always keen to make the magazine bigger and better.
“I’d love to be able to have more sit-down chats with the current squad, not to talk about matches, but to hear their stories of growing up and their journeys into the game and joining West Ham – I think Blowing Bubbles is perfectly placed for that,” he said.
And in the absence of a telegram from the Queen for turning 100, Blackmore knows exactly what he would like as a birthday present. “Billy Bonds,” he said. “We’ve been incredibly lucky in that we’ve managed to speak to so many of the biggest names in West Ham history over the last eight years, but Mr West Ham himself is the one who’s got away. So far….”