The North West has a new kid in town in the form of The Skinny. Manchester and Liverpool certainly aren’t lacking in culture – but they are lacking in cohesion when showing it off. Since the demise of City Life, Manchester hasn’t had a definitive what’s on guide despite Now Then’s best efforts whilst Liverpool’s Sevenstreets has been flying the flag for Merseyside. But, a new magazine uniting both cities with a view to showcasing the best of both worlds – seems unthinkable, surely?
Originally slated to launch back in 2010, The Skinny has now escaped to south of the border and is available to pick up in venues throughout town. But is The Skinny different enough not to be taken for granted?
Renowned for its arts and music coverage throughout Scotland, The Skinny’s mission statement is to find the best cutting-edge and forward-thinking items of interest and tell you all about them. Naturally, this launch issue of The Skinny draws on its Scottish heritage. Translating the publication’s distinctively Scottish voice to the North West may prove difficult, especially as you have two very different, and in some respects, rival cities. In order for The Skinny to flourish, it will have to adapt a Northern voice, and one relevant to our unique cultural climate.
The challenge going forward will be to capture the dichotomous nature of Liverpool and Manchester. But given that The Skinny has been covering Glasgow and Edinburgh, two further ‘rival’ cities, for the last 8 years to critical acclaim, it might not be as tricky as first thought. Who knows, it might even encourage some of us to expand our horizons beyond the edge of our respective cities. I confess to be being surprised that our Yorkshire cousins haven’t been included though.
The Skinny has high aims in promising all of this and more. For the most part, I think it’s got a good chance on delivering. The launch issue has a remarkable piece on Northern Voices (p10-11) which in the space of a few well-chosen speakers says more about our wonderful North than I could in a hundred blog posts. This said, the lack of arts, theatre and book coverage is disappointing compared to the bite of the cherry that music gets.
There’s a tremendous chance here for a print magazine to grow and engage with the community at large; and for us to engage with them. The Skinny are actively looking for contributors from a variety of backgrounds, so get involved!
We owe this to our cities to support this brave new venture – lest we lose it once more.