TAC 35 Index
It's been a while since TAC included an obituary, yet your Editor now feels moved to write one. Or a sort of obituary, more a mini-elegy, since these are valedictory words for another magazine, rather than for a person. TAC has long maintained reciprocal postings with a variety of other publications and organisations - it's a good way to keep in touch, to express support and solidarity with like-minded folk in other fields. Undoubtedly the most enjoyable of these swaps was with the Edinburgh-based fanzine The Absolute Game, the regular arrival of which (in an impenetrable plastic envelope) seemed likely to go on for ever. Yet December saw the arrival of what purports to be the fifty-fifth and final issue of TAG. Oh no.
Most TAC readers will not have heard of our near-initialsake, partly because TAG was never easy to get hold of, partly because it didn't deal with Scottish hills or indeed any hills, rather with Scottish football. Yet similarities between TAC and TAG ran deeper than the black-and-white A4 cheapskate format (oddly, whilst they switched from cartoon covers to bubblespeak photographs, we went the other way). Forget shopping, drinking, TV-watching: the two main Scottish Saturday afternoon pastimes are football (spectating and playing), and hillgoing.
Back when TAC first appeared, the "Yes, but what is it?" response from those pestered to part with 50p was met with a mumbled "Sort of a hillwalkers' Private Eye plus Viz plus football fanzines like When Saturday Comes or The Absolute Game." TAC subsequently developed its character and house-style and own-little-world-ness, such that comparisons are now harder to make: TAC can stand on its own 492 feet. But if forced to say which of those four 'zines TAC still resembles, it's easy: TAG. The subject doesn't matter: football, hills, music, treacle pudding: what does matter is giving a voice to grassroots enthusiasm and opinionation, making folk feel part of something which matters enormously to them. Plus plunging into controversies, shunning commercial intrusions, not being scared to say stuff and publish stuff and tell folk to get stuffed, nor to risk getting it wrong in the hope of getting it right. And to have a laugh.
The two magazines, over the years, wandered similar terrain, paths crossing, occasionally bumping into one another, ranting much the same rants. There's been far more football in TAC than bagging in TAG, but goodness knows how many times we've been spoken kindly of in TAG's "F is for Fanzine" review slot. And now, suddenly, it feels a bit lonely out here. And your Editor feels a bit guilty at never having written that football/hills/egalitarianism piece for TAG.
Pages could be written on how good TAG was, but much of its ethos was summed up by a sentence from Archie MacGregor's final editorial moan: "... shockingly low attendances in all four Divisions are swept under the carpet whilst buses from all corners of the country keep a-rollin' up at Ibrox and Parkhead." Different subject matter, but it doesn't need explaining why that's the same basic ethic as in TAC. It would be wrong to grieve over MacGregor having decided to chuck it: he sounds worn down and a bit worn out. It's the right, decisive move to make: one day (but not yet awhile), TAC will similarly say "Enough". But it's sad nonetheless.
TAC 35 Index