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A Magazine for Sheffield
Sad Facts

Birthday Facts for Ageing Friends


Now Then Magazine is ten years old this month. In human years, that is also ten years old. Old enough to use a toaster, but not old enough to be duplicated thousands of times and left scattered across independent shops in Sheffield.

I don’t want to rush to make an accusation of double standards, but I can’t even leave my self-published novel in The Wick At Both Ends without the staff chasing me down the street to ensure it doesn’t remain in their premises, and yet places like these pile the Now Thens up high, a tower of Babel tempting the wrath of God.

Each week, I see the same rigid font over some independent artwork - a bear jumping into a cube, spiders digitally edited to look like the Politburo - and it reminds me of my own failing as an author. Admittedly, my novel is an illustrated tale of an endoscopist who has to shrink down and enter his own lower intestine to discover information that could lead to a new inquiry into the death of Princess Diana, and is therefore a bit different. Described by The Sheffield Telegraph as “please don’t send emails to this address,” it’s a piece of literature in vital need of recognition which the so-called creative community of South Yorkshire do not seem inclined to give.

So be it. If it must be a fight to the death, I shall spare no quarter. I’ll not rest until these publications are nothing but distant memories, a plume of ash dissipating into a vast, indifferent sky. Happy Birthday, Now Then Magazine.


Log on to the internet nowadays and you’d be forgiven for thinking we live in Hell. Comment sections beneath Guardian articles, where me and my friends used to enjoy stimulating debates about Rachel Riley, have become the domain of pronoun fascists.

There are now, according to my own internal logic, over 157 pronouns in use. That is ridiculous. The English language is being debased by sickos insisting we all now have to use a made-up and frankly ludicrous assortment of identifiers when addressing our fellow human beings. What is a ‘they’? Who has ever heard of a ‘their’? Why should I modify my language, which I learnt in school off my own back, for someone who clearly learnt ‘xyr’ language from a meme.gif.

Language is a British institution, not a malleable and constantly evolving reflection of societal concepts. We literally wrote a book about it in 1755. It’s called The Dictionary, and all the words that have ever been, and will ever be, are contained within its yellowed pages.

Millennial noobs would do well to take heed: these pronouns are not for turning. Shakespeare, if thou could hear what people have done to thine ample language, thou’st would be turning in thy grave. )

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