Norwich at the forefront of paper revolution
- Credit: PA
We're often told that we're spending far too much time glued to our tablets, smartphones and laptops and so it is as refreshing as it is intriguing to hear that a thing called paper is making a comeback.
That's right, paper. Paper takes all of the news, information and fun from the internet and delivers it to you in a battery-free, totally mobile, free-from-glare medium. Of course, being a loyal reader of the Evening News you are well aware of the joy that paper can bring, but for many youngsters brought up on a diet of flashing screens and notification bells, paper could be the next big thing and the Fine City is at the forefront of this new revolution.
As you may or may not be aware, Archant, publisher of the Evening News, launched The New European pop-up this summer which has just received one of hopefully a number of awards for its ground-breaking coverage of post-Brexit Britain. However, The New European is not the only paper-stock title to emerge from Norwich in recent times.
Electronic Sound was started in 2014 by a group of journalists from London. Electronic Sound is a beautifully designed and excellently-written monthly homage to electronica, which has featured such technological luminaries as Gary Numan, Kraftwerk and David Bowie on its gorgeous front covers and it's a warehouse (Capitol House) on Heigham Street that plays host to this expanding publishing house. Capitol House is a trendily distressed workplace that wouldn't look out of place in Shoreditch, but without the crippling rent and commute.
'Electronic Sound is a magazine that covers electronic music in a similar way to how Mojo covers rock,' editor Christopher 'Push' Dawes explains. 'A big difference is that we also talk about the technology of electronic music and we include a lifestyle element to the content as magazines like Wired do.'
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So how did technology's cutting edge end up on little old Heigham Street? 'We moved into Capitol House a couple of years ago when we secured our first round of investment. A friend of ours suggested Capitol House and we loved it. The building is full of photographers and designers. It's a great place to be. There are five of us in the office, plus a network of very talented freelancers, many of whom we've known since our NME/Melody Maker days. We're distributed into WHSmith, Sainsbury's, McColl's and around 500 independent newsagents around the UK. We also export all over the world.
'Norwich is a very nice place to live and the rents are affordable, which isn't the case in London any more, and we can all walk or cycle to work. Being a Norwich-based business meant we could work with the Low Carbon Innovation Fund at the UEA and they have been very helpful.'
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'We were a digital-only publication for a couple of years, but paper is like vinyl; it's coming back,' Dawes claims. 'Music people love beautiful, physical products. I think we'd all slightly forgotten how lovely a printed magazine feels and smells.'
In December, ES is launching an equity crowdfunding bid so that readers will be able to invest in the business.
Glory is a Norwich-based football book centred around stunning photography, design and copy.
'Glory is a high-end football/travel publication, aiming to put the beautiful back into the beautiful game,' editor Lee Nash explains. 'At a time when so many fans are feeling disillusioned and disconnected with football, we travel the world to showcase and uncover some of the most passionate and inspiring stories. The writing and style of photography is aimed at the 'thinking fan'.'
The first issue of Glory had the team travelling to the Faeroe Islands, responsible for the biggest ever upset in international football (the lowly- placed team had just beaten Claudio Ranieri's Greece side). And they've just returned from Kosovo (FIFA's newest nation) for the focus of Issue 2.
So how did Glory come about? 'Ryan, a good friend for a few years (and an amazing photographer), had been sitting on this idea for a while,' says Nash. 'He pitched the idea to me and things quickly gathered momentum. Louis Rossi, our head of content, joined us a few months later. We're still pinching ourselves. We have Glory readers in 44 countries globally, from Australia to Guatemala. Norwich is awash with talented creatives, many of which we've used for Glory. It's an exciting, buzzy community, which is producing some amazing businesses from those that dare to dream.'
• Andrew Woods is a freelance journalist, copywriter and author who lives on Norwich's Earlham Road. The father-of-two and Norwich City season ticket holder can often be found in Heigham Park with Bunny, his Jack Russell/fox terrier www.andrewjwoods.co.uk