Jonathan Wilson's Editor's Note from Issue Six
As we don't mention nearly as often as we used to, The Blizzard was born in Sunderland in March 2010, at the table in the back corner of the Chart Room in Fitzy's, in the days before they spruced it up and it was still comfortingly grubby. So there was a sense both of pride and appropriateness when we held our first event outside London in the National Glass Centre in Sunderland. And there were, of course, in the spirit of pilgrimage, a couple of pints of White Amaryllis in Fitzy's afterwards.
I'm not entirely sure how these events came about. We had our launch event, when Issue One was released on the website, in the Princess Victoria pub in Shepherd's Bush. The aim of that was clear: we got along as many journalists as possible — and it was the night before the Champions League final at Wembley, so the cream of the world's football media was in London - plied them with booze and asked them to say nice things about us. That was partly about rewarding the writers who'd taken the gamble and written for us with no guarantee of getting anything in return, but mainly about generating publicity.
Then Rough Trade, who've stocked The Blizzard from the start, asked if we'd like to put on an event in their Brick Lane store. It was sort of a launch event for Issue Two but this time we got along readers and did a question and answer session with Tim Vickery and Iain Macintosh. That seemed to be well-received, so when Foyles on Charing Cross Road offered us space to put on a similar event we happily accepted for the launch of Issue Three. This time I was joined by Philippe Auclair and Gabriele Marcotti. By this stage it wasn't really feeling like a launch. I'm not sure what it did feel like but it seemed like fun.
For Issue Four, we went to Wembley. I moved sideways to join Philippe and Gab on the panel as the much more capable Dave Farrar took over the presenter's chair. That was an incredible night, and not just because Wembley laid on free pies. There were more than 200 people there and a real sense of occasion, of The Blizzard as… as what? As a journal, of course. But also as a community, perhaps even as a movement, readers and writers together fighting for a type of journalism that doesn't exist elsewhere. The video of that night's discussion can be viewed on our website.
London, with its vast population, almost guarantees an audience: a tiny minority there is a lot of people. We were determined, though, not to become Londoncentric. So after the success of Sunderland, when Philippe and I were joined by Iain again, with Marcus Speller presenting, we're off to Dublin for this issue. Keep checking the website for details of where we might turn up next.
We never envisaged doing these events but they seem already a central pillar of what The Blizzard is.