Photography: Thomas Gill

Welcome to the new look Bido Lito!

Whether you’re reading this in our bigger, revamped magazine, or on our fancy new digital home at bidolito.co.uk, thank you. The very act of picking up a copy of Bido Lito!, or even clicking on a link, says that you value this platform of ours. This platform only exists because of the rich creative community we have on Merseyside that makes it one of the country’s cultural hotspots. By engaging with us you’re also engaging with this inventive, musical, funny, passionate and diverse group of individuals – and helping us to support them.

We felt that, after seven years, a facelift was much in need – and for our outlook as much as our aesthetic. We’ve always featured a broad range of content from across the spectrum of Liverpool’s independent culture, and we will continue to do so. But we’ve also been doing a bit of soul-searching of late, asking ourselves some fairly fundamental questions: why, in 2017, do we even bother doing a print magazine, especially one as niche as ours? And, what is the role of independent media today? With newspaper sales falling and so many established periodicals radically changing their business models (NME) or going out of print entirely (InStyle, FHM), it could be seen as folly to keep swimming against the tide.

It’s our belief that we, as Bido Lito!, and you, our readership, have a responsibility: we can’t just be passive observers of the passage of history; we have to find ways to reach out to others, engage with them, listen to other opinions, and strengthen our collective network. It’s a form of cultural activism that we’re particularly good at round here, and by sharing the messages we feel to be important and valuing the work of those who can transport us away from the mundane, we’re establishing a vitally important movement of our own.

2017 is a year of turmoil as we face up to our complicated relationship with the truth. Facts have become political footballs, with everyone from Wikipedia to Wikileaks engaged in a tug of war over what constitutes news and truth. For the information generation this is something of an existential crisis: what if everything we’ve been taking as truth is compromised? Who do we trust anymore? Our relationship with the news, especially on the internet, has become so much more complicated, and it’s becoming ever more important that we make informed decisions on where and how we get our news.

Art is a powerful vehicle with which to have this conversation – and The Pitchfork Review’s Music And Politics Issue, released in Autumn 2016, assesses this brilliantly across a series of thought-provoking articles. Marc Masters’ excellent profile of Nation Of Ulysses – the 80s/90s post-hardcore, politico-terrorist group fronted by Ian Svenonius – painted the picture of an outfit that were as much a movement as a band, aiming to develop a new culture of protest. “But rather than dole out political messages in overly earnest tones,” Masters says, “they preferred to baffle, to amuse and to disorient. They proselytised like a life-altering cult and obfuscated like an absurdist art collective; they pledged allegiance to both revolution and candy. It was art as politics, but even more so, politics as art – with a ton more going on between the two.” There are parallels here with ultimate art-punk hijackers the KLF, whose reappearance this year (under their Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu guise) is venerated like a second coming, 23 years since they disappeared into thin air after slashing open pop music’s thin skin and exposing its innards.

Celebrated music journalist and critic Simon Reynolds’ fascinating article in the same publication – A Personal Journey Through UK Politics And Pop – is an interesting take on the musical movements that are perceived to have shaped our country over the past few decades, debunking a few myths along the way. In his profile of Dexy’s Midnight Runners’ new soul revolt, Reynolds says that he sees “teenagers as the only really revolutionary class”; and though he believes the idea of changing things through music is “arguably a useful illusion”, Reynolds does note that it creates an “urgent sense of mission and high stakes that again and again results in inspirational sounds and statements.”

Accessible forms of culture like music, art, theatre, poetry and comedy are all forms of mass communication, ones that we’re all free to participate in – which brings us back to the statement on the front cover of this magazine: ‘We are the opposition’. Echoing the activist art of the Situationist International movement, we’re hoping that this statement acts as a catalyst to wake people up to the power we have in our collective voice: the voice that is expressed through Bido Lito!, Getintothis, Queen Of The Track, Between The Borders, The Double Negative, The Skinny, and so many more digital and physical platforms. The discourse on who and what needs opposing – and how we achieve that as part of a creative community of independent media – is something we’re hoping to continue beyond the articles in this month’s issue via a number of special events we’ve put together for our brand-new Membership programme. We want you all to be a part of that conversation.

The Pitchfork Review’s Music And Politics Issue opens with the assertion in its leader article that “music has always had something to say in times of trouble”, and frames the conversations around its subsequent articles – Nation Of Ulysses, Beyoncé, the Civil Rights movement, Simon Reynolds’ post-Thatcher UK politics, Black Lives Matter – by talking of music as being a “salve and a spark”. This is personified no more succinctly than by the artist who graces that issue’s front cover, M.I.A.. In her unflinching confrontation of the issues that have dogged her throughout her career, Maya Arulpragasam has made hay out of her struggles as both a migrant and a woman in the music industry, and provided millions of people with the courage to do the same with their own struggles. Whether you’re a poet from Yemen or a bunch of mates from Liverpool kicking about in a guitar band, the same freedom that M.I.A. operates with is open to you. Don’t you think it’s time to oppose?

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