Having run London in Stereo for three years now, I felt like it was a good point at which to impart some ridiculous things we’ve learnt over the years. There’s been highs and lows, exciting points and points where it felt like distribution would never end. But one thing’s for sure, we’ve really grown to care for this ridiculous project/magazine/free time destroyer. Having never even worked for a magazine before starting London in Stereo, we very much learnt on the job.

  • When the delivery driver drops off your magazines he looks at you like you’re a weak little girl and sighs, bemoaning the fact he’s going to have to do all the unloading. (Then is promptly incredibly surprised that years of lifting boxes means you’re pretty good at lifting boxes)
  • People tell you starting a print magazine is ridiculous and stupid. They’re probably right.
  • Your friends learn that for 5 days a month you’re totally out of the picture as you distribute the magazine in person. If they happen to see your house at this time they think you’ve started to build some kind of box-fort.
  • It’s easy to take it way too personally when someone won’t let you put the magazine in their shop/bar/venue – the rejection is real.
  • For the first year at least most people assume that your male deputy editor is the person who actually runs the show.
  • People being nice about the magazine is never not awkward, but only because it’s genuinely nice to hear.
  • Being invited to be part of festivals is always a huge deal.
  • Some stuff never gets done. No matter how good your intentions are, if it’s not absolutely necessary, then it’s not happening (great example: hand writing all the envelopes that get sent out each month instead of loading all the addresses into a label printer)
  • Having to do this alongside a full time job means you’re often distributing magazines at odd times. This means working alongside drunk people drinking – they will always think it’s fun to try and make a quippy comment about the way you look/what you’re doing. It’s never funny.
  • Weird in-jokes appear on a distro run. I will never understand why we constantly point out all the jerk chicken places. But we do.
  • The smell of everyone eating amazing roast dinners whilst you’re running about putting magazines in pubs is killer. Ditto everyone enjoying beer gardens when it’s sunny.
  • Sometimes it’s difficult to tell the difference between bands you like and bands everyone else likes when making magazines based decisions, we just constantly have to check in with ourselves and make sure.
  • Consistency is key.
  • You need a lot of understanding people around you, it helps that we work in pair because it makes it seem more real (and allows for slightly more flexibility) but when you can’t see your parents when they’re around, or you haven’t seen your friends for two weeks (even sometimes when it’s just because you’re too tired) – only the super brilliant will get it.
  • Your view of the magazine changes from month to month, every so often it seems like everything is terrible and it’s all a massive disaster.
  • You spend the first year wishing you hadn’t done it, slowly realising that this is your life now. Forever.
  • Nails will never survive distro.
  • You make friends with people there’s a good chance you wouldn’t have otherwise. Some of my closest friends I’ve met through doing this and that’s pretty amazing.
  • Paying people means you’re much more likely to keep your awesome writers. Even if it’s not much, they’ll appreciate it.

Check out our 3 years of magazines here.