Before the panic sets in, I just want to confirm that we’re not actually going anywhere – Bido Lito! is still here, present, in the room. We’ve reached a century of issues and we feel ready for another hundred. Bring it on.
You’ll have noticed, hopefully, that this issue is a little different to your usual magazine. We wanted to mark the milestone of reaching 100 editions by doing something a little bit special: Bido, but extra. Your copy should have come wrapped in a band – keep hold of this, because it will come in handy as you read through the rest of the issue. At various points over the following pages, you’ll be able to use the band to reveal certain messages; messages that perhaps give a slightly different perspective to the initial message. Why did we do this? Because we believe that it’s important for both us and you to consider the implications of the words we’re using, and to read between the lines to find additional meaning that can help paint a fuller picture.
You may also notice that a lot of our regular magazine content is missing this month. For one month only, we decided to migrate all of our reviews, previews and news over to bidolito.co.uk. We hope that you will still find what you’re looking for across all of this content – and, rest assured, we’ll be back to normal next month. However, we felt that it was necessary to create that extra space in this issue so that we could fully delve inside the important issues around our collective future that this issue focuses on.
I distinctly remember being given a book as a kid that contained a task asking me to draw what I imagined the world to look like in the year 2000. The bare template on the page hinted at a sci-fi imagining of this mythical near future, daring me to scribble images of flying cars and hoverboards. This was despite the fact that the millennium was barely a decade ahead. I’m pretty sure I fell for the trap, and allowed my imagination to get the better of me – but I look back on that naivety now with more incredulity at the unashamed optimism of my eight-year-old imagination than anything else. Think of the future now and you can’t help but slide towards visions of dystopia and chaos; of a looming monstrosity just at the edge of your vision. Perhaps that’s due to the cynicism of age – but it still feels decidedly more pessimistic now than it did ‘back in my day’.
And yet, despite all of that negativity, we decided to base this milestone issue on the future. That decision wasn’t made because we’re nihilistic doom-mongers, but because we actually see lots of hope in our shared future; as a community, a scene, a collective – whatever you want to call it. Progress is about the only thing that is capable of keeping up with time’s bold arrow, and it is dragging us in to a future where technology will dominate our lives to ever greater degrees. Advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence will have great implications for society in virtually every sphere: from politics and activism, to art and creativity; from media and data, to a potentially fruitless search for truth. Far from running scared of these clashes, we believe that we should face them head on and apply ourselves properly so that we find solutions, not problems.
In speaking with a variety of artists, musicians and you, our Bido Lito! readers, about their beliefs for the future, we have uncovered a range of emotions. Fear dominates, especially when considering the creep of digitisation and the homogenisation of the online world; but we’ve also found plenty of green shoots of hope. Unsurprisingly, these optimistic outlooks are coupled with a desire to move away from the overarching global networks in favour of more localised operations. This chimes with our own impression of how things have progressed over the nine years we’ve been doing Bido Lito! – that there is a growing appetite for people to band together in communities and work things out between themselves. Time and time again, that do it together attitude crops up as one of the defining characteristics of this whole region. It’s a form of localism that comes from community activism – and it’s something that we’re particularly good at round these parts. We’re proud to play our part in any and all forms of this.
We’ve also been doing some self-reflection within this whole process, looking at the carbon footprint we leave in producing a monthly magazine and ways we can reduce our environmental impact. It’s part of a wider awareness of the platform we have developed, how it can be used for good and possibly for bad. By embracing the community journalism movement, we believe that makes us more responsive to the desires and wishes of the community we serve and are part of. It also makes us more accountable, which is massively important. One of the great strengths of our fierce independence is the fact that we can be so nimble around lots of issues, and we hope to develop that going forwards as a title.
It has been shown that, far from being a dying form of communication, people value print media now more than ever, as a beacon of reliability amid the streams of ones and zeroes. We’re still a fanzine at heart, built on enthusiasm and a desire to tell the world how great our region’s artists are. But there is a huge amount of distrust for established and print media across the world, for a variety of reasons. We’re aware of that – but we’re also aware that we need to act diligently and with common sense as consumers of news. We owe it to ourselves to not just take everything on face value. Information is a commodity, which can be packaged up and sold back to us in many different guises. In order to avoid being served poor quality news and comment, we need to shoulder some of the responsibility and ask some questions of our sources.
Our Community Membership Forum, which takes place at The Bluecoat on 9th June, is part of that process of accountability and feedback. We want to hear from our community, about what we do well, what we do badly, what we should be doing more of. And we want to gauge the mood, see where our most loyal supporters think there are potential areas for progress.
I can still remember the thrill when the first issue of Bido Lito! landed in 2010, and the feeling that we’d finally done it, achieved what we’d set out do. But that was just the first step, where the wheels started turning for us. And we’ve been carried along by this monthly cycle of issuing love letters to Liverpool ever since.
The monthly cycle has always kept us on our toes, continually looking forwards. That’s an ethos that I credit for helping us to keep things fresh and new, a prevailing wind that’s prevented us from getting stale. When a new issue lands, that’s always the start of a new chapter for us; the question isn’t ‘What have we done well this month?’, it’s ‘What can we do next?’
The weird journey has given us some amazing experiences, not least working with the Justified Ancients of Mumu on their return in 2017. But it’ll always be those artist discoveries that will stick in my memory longest: the first time I heard Death At Sea, Beija Flo and Beach Skulls; seeing XamoVolo performing with a metal band or the coming-of-age of Strange Collective; and getting to interview local community heavyweights like Bill Ryder-Jones, Forest Swords and Stealing Sheep, who helped throw the door open for so many other talented Merseyside artists to follow in their footsteps. The city’s music scene has been in a constant state of transformation over the past nine years, and that’s what has made our first 100 issue such an exciting journey. Long may that continue.
Thank you to everyone who has been involved in getting us here – we owe you immeasurably. Our commitment to you is to ensure that Bido Lito! remains front and centre to conversations around music, culture and place in this region, for as long as we all can manage it. Because if we’ve learnt one thing since 2010, it’s that this amazingly diverse, funny, challenging, bolshy, classy and proud city needs, it’s a voice at its heart to proclaim its greatness at every available opportunity. As long as we’re around, we’re happy to do as much shouting as we can.