Coaster Magazine

“It’s What’s Happening In Bournemouth” 

The publication of Coaster Magazine pretty much coincided with the time I lived in Bournemouth in the early 1980’s. Launched as a reaction to the town’s staunchly conservative traditional press (and run by a brave band of determined volunteers on a very tight budget), this monthly periodical covered all aspects of alternative life in the local area. Being produced by those of a socialist bent, earlier issues often focused on then-contemporary and burning “right-on” issues such as vegetarianism, women's rights, legalisation of "recreational" drugs and ban the bomb. It later broadened its spectrum (perhaps to attract more readers and/or sponsorship) to report on items such as fashion events and gigs by touring big-name bands. However, throughout its life the magazine had reportage on the local music scene - that was the reason I always bought it, and I looked forward to reading this section in much the same way as I would the sports pages in national newspapers. Of course I was particularly pleased on the odd occasion that a band I was playing in was reviewed. 

Due to the consequent transient nature of my living circumstances, I presumed my copies of the magazine that I had dutifully collected had been lost in the mists of time. However, I had left a load of my belongings in the care of a kindly acquaintance for close to a decade, and when I finally picked them up again in more recent times I was surprised but most gratified to discover that the Coaster magazines were there amongst the things I'd stashed away.

Leafing through them again recently, I noted in retrospect there could have been perhaps a bit more in the way of gig coverage and interviews with local bands, some of whom were mentioned only in passing (despite both doing several local gigs, the first two bands I played in weren't mentioned at all!), and some views weren’t entirely objective as the unpaid writers were often active on the scene themselves - perhaps a reason why there was a mysterious gig review of another band I was in, that to my knowledge never took place! Still, at least the effort was made, and I would say in general that the magazine accurately portrayed and reflected the times in question (and now serves as a useful historical reference for anyone with an interest in that era*). It also provided a valuable opportunity for would-be journalists to cut their teeth, a notable example being Mark Paytress, who went from reporting on punk bands in the magazine to becoming a respected and published music writer.

Alas, the magazine was not to last, although it had a good run of over three years. After that the editorial staff made the decision to revamp the format as a rather skimpy fortnightly news-sheet, that I for one saw as a backward step. However, I’d like to thank Harriet, Trevann, and all those who put in such time and effort into the magazine while it lasted, and give you a gallery (below) of front covers of every issue published, for old time’s sake.

Ps: whilst browsing through the magazines again, I came across an unused car sticker that had been given away with one issue. I stuck it in the back window of my car, and so (even though in the main it’s displayed for the benefit of bemused Mancunians) Coaster lives on! 

Issue 1 (Apr 81)

Issue 2 (May 81)

Issue 3 (Jun 81)

Issue 4 (Jul 81)

Issue 5 (Aug 81)

Issue 6 (Sep 81)

Issue 7 (Oct 81)

Issue 8 (Nov 81)

Issue 9 (Dec 81)

Issue 10 (Jan 82)

Issue 11 (Feb 82)

Issue 12 (Mar 82)

Issue 13 (Apr 82)

Issue 14 (May 82)

Issue 15 (Jun 82)

Issue 16 (Jul 82)

Issue 17 (Aug 82)

Issue 18 (Sep 82)

Issue 19 (Oct 82)

Issue 20 (Nov 82)

Issue 21 (Dec 82)

Issue 22 (Jan 83)

Issue 23 (Feb 83)

Issue 24 (Mar 83)

Issue 25 (Apr 83)

Issue 26 (May 83)

Issue 27 (Jun 83)

Issue 28 (Jul 83)

Issue 29 (Aug 83)

Issue 30 (Sep 83)

Issue 31 (Oct 83)

Issue 32 (Nov 83)

Issue 33 (Dec 83)

Issue 34 (Jan 84)

Issue 35 (Feb 84)

Issue 36 (Mar 84)

Issue 37 (Apr 84)

Issue 38 (May 84)

Issue 39 (Jun 84)

Issue 40 (Jul 84)

Issue 41 (Aug 84)

Issue 42 (Sep 84)

Issue 43 (Oct 84)

What's On First Issue

Coaster Lives On!**

* at some point in the near(ish) future I intend to offer my collection of "Coaster" magazines as a donation to the Bournemouth library...

** as at 2013, the word is now being spread somewhere in deepest France ha ha!


As part of an audio-visual project relating to the 80's Bournemouth music scene that I am currently working on, I have been poring through the old Coaster magazines once again for suitable material. In doing so it was interesting to note how the later editions differed from the earlier ones when it came to advertising...

First of all, there were a lot of more adverts appearing as time went on (which indicates the growing success of the magazine and prompts the question why they didn't continue in its original format). And secondly, whereas the majority of ads in the early ones were for the likes of Earth Foods shops, Mother Earth's Books (notice a theme developing here?) and The Hermetic Society (whatever that was), by the end it was pretty much all trendy nightclubs, hair & beauty salons and fashion emporia... and even The Body Shop had placed an ad! Maybe I've answered my own question posed above - maybe they packed it in as they thought they were getting too mainstream and selling out, perhaps becoming a Bournemouth publishing equivalent of Animal Farm with the nasty old Bournemouth Echo being the farmer and Coaster being the pigs?

That's just playful idle speculation on my part, but with regard to the more directly musically-related sponsors, this fact is undisputed: whilst most local musical instrument vendors regularly advertised their wares in the magazine, two of the most well-known remained stubbornly and glaringly absent: Don Strike and Eddie Moors Music. Why was that? Maybe they thought they wouldn't get a good enough return on any money invested? Or perhaps they viewed themselves in the same elitist manner as Marks & Spencer who at the time also deigned not to lower themselves by advertising!


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