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This editorial will sadly be my last as editor of Bido Lito!. After three years, various roles and 27 print issues, I’ve made the difficult decision that it’s time for something new. But, as the raison d’etre of Bido Lito! would forcibly state, new is good; new is challenging; new is where we learn the most about ourselves and everything around us – everything that has come before. New is far from a sad occasion. And yet, knowing this does little to lessen the blow of departing.
Arriving at the magazine as a contributor four years ago, I was somewhat of a late bloomer still trying to find my feet in journalism. In the years before then, writing had never been something that came natural to me. I was never into books or reading. My opinions were often kept to myself. I would tremble when punching the numbers in for a phone interview. On the basis of evidence, I was never particularly cut out to be a compelling writer or journalist (even at this stage, the jury is very much still out).
As the years went by, I kept at it. I found myself reading regularly. I pushed myself to write more. I started to be honest in what I was trying to say – no longer trying to imitate writers and the output of those behind successful Twitter handles. Perhaps, then, it was almost fate that I eventually plucked up the courage and inquired about writing for Bido Lito! – a magazine which carried much of the same DIY, self-taught credentials that I now did. And what this somewhat self-indulgent paragraph is trying to show, is that Bido Lito! remains and always will be an essential vehicle for allowing people to be who they want to be. For people to achieve things they didn’t think was possible. Giving the new their chance. Not just those on the cover, but those who’re reflected back in the inky scrawl of each issue. Those who capture the imagery that adorns the pink pages.
Bido Lito! has weathered some significant challenges in its 11-year history. A quick Google search of how many local print music and culture magazines are still in circulation will offer a clue as to the landscape it has been up against. Launching in the tight grip of austerity in 2010, seeing the social dynamic of a city rapidly change throughout the decade, a large portion of my editorship was equally not without its challenges.
I was downbeat when facing the reality of being editor at the beginning of the pandemic. In a cosmetic sense, lockdown would rob Bido Lito! of what’s set it apart all of these years – the dedication to remaining a print magazine. Knowing this, I questioned the value of what I, and the rest of the team, could achieve. But, as likely the case with many people during the early phases of the first lockdown, I was questioning a lot at this point in time.
What’s important? That’s the question that constantly stood out. It’s the question that everything I would write and commission would look to answer in its own specific way – irrespective of having a magazine to showcase it. Ironically, Bido Lito! became more important than it’s ever been at a time when it could not be printed and live music was at a complete standstill. That phase is testament to what the magazine stands for. When Liverpool, its artists, its communities needed it most, it didn’t shirk responsibility. It took on questions it has no right to answer. It campaigned. It platformed. It changed. I truly believe this. It did what everything that strives to carry the independent torch should: it showed us a new way of seeing, of being, of experiencing. It showed us what Liverpool is, was and can be. Issue 75 of Bido Lito! proclaimed how it still remained “the opposition” as it reached a new, slicker phase in its existence. I think this is still the case as I sign off on my last magazine as editor.
I’ve always hated endings for their helpless melancholy. I hate the closing montage of televised football tournaments. I hate the last day of a music festival. I hate the last episode of Friends. I don’t like things coming to an end. However, I think drawing a line under something allows what came before to shine under a new light. I hope that’s the case as I indulgently bow out, here. It’s been a wild ride. I wouldn’t change a second of it. Not even the last 16 months. Forza Bido.
Special thanks to Craig, Chris and Sam for the opportunity and continual belief.