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The Waiting Room #100 - Special Edition

30 Years in The Waiting Room

Here it is, the 100th edition of The Waiting Room to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the English Genesis fanclub. Those are two nice big round numbers – all the more reason to be curious just what Alan Hewitt, who has been the big head of the fanclub, would come up with. The steep price of £20 (or roughly 23 Euros) for the special edition indicated it would be something very special indeed ...

The first impression is good: Printed in A4, with an almost too robust binding, nice layout and four-colour printing throughout. This is a whole different league from previous numbers of the magazine. If The Waiting Room produced a magazine like this every couple of months it would be a good thing. Unfortunately, they don't. “The Genesis Web Fanzine”, as they call themselves, is a very simple internet site with rather outdated technology and visuals. Which makes the anniversary number all the more of a surprise.

A hundred copies were printed of this magazine which seems very little considering the English fanclub has been active for 30 years. Then again, both marketing and the ordering process (via Facebook and private messages to Alan) appeared rather slow and not too professional. When, for comparison, the German Genesis fanclub produced a special edition magazine for their 20th anniversary they offered it on the website, and it sold out quite fast.

TitelbildThere is not much to say about the contents: An editor's note from Alan Hewitt that is, unfortunately, riddled with typos, is followed by brief news from spring 2017 (the magazine was printed in September and shipped in October/November 2017). A number of articles make up the bulk of the magazine: two concert reports about the current shows of Phil Collins and Mike & The Mechanics, a review of John Hackett's 2016 solo album Another Life, a feature about a young Italian Genesis fan, an article that is difficult to describe … some American Genesis fan has written a few paragraphs on what he thinks about Peter Gabriel's first two solo albums (do the Waiting Room archives have nothing more relevant?), then part 2 (?!) of an interview Media America Radio conducted with Phil, Tony and Mike in 1988 (why this was selected from the archive remains an enigma) and a number of articles about Steve Hackett. The magazine really massively focuses on Hackett: four pages about the making of Hackett video clips, a ten-page interview with Steve, a four-page interview with Hackett's drummer Gary O'Toole, four pages on some of Steve's concerts in the UK in 2017 and two pages about Steve's show in Drammen, Norway, on April 7, 2017 – 24 pages out of 40, which is nothing negative, but then ...

If you bring out a magazine to celebrate your 30th anniversary and if it's the first special edition ever and the first special jubilee activity of a fanclub – shouldn't you come up with something better than to simply publish some current staple articles and reviews with some superfluous stop-gaps in printed form instead of online? There could have been so much more … a report about 30 years of fanclub work in The Waiting Room, a list of everybody who was interviewed, photos from 30 years, testimonials from readers, greetings from band members, messages from various managements and other things like that. Why create one attractive magazine with current material instead of addressing the anniversary and giving the fans a product that documents the strengths of the fanclub and shows what its work is about? Is there nothing worth mentioning in this direction? These days there are modern Genesis-related websites with the whole shebang, with databases and forums, the Italian and German fanclubs have more or less regular conventions and special events, some fanclubs publish three or four printed magazines that are at least on a par with the TWR special edition – it certainly ought to be possible for TWR to bring out something similar?

Demanding £ 20 in advance for The Waiting Room #100 and delivering such a nice but utterly unspectacular product does not do justice to the occasion. Other fanclubs work quietly and celebrate their anniversaries in style – not much comes from England in this way. I did not expect too much, and I was pleasantly surprised by the design of TWR #100, but there could have been more in the way of attractive and relevant content. The original signatures by Anthony Phillips and Steve Hackett do not justify this price either. It is a pity, after 30 years in the waiting room.

By Martin Antes, English by Martin Klinkhardt