I still remember the first time I laid eyes on issue one of the first ever mainstream scooter magazine. 32-years later I’ll still be excited to get my grubby hands on the first issue of a new publication, ScooterNova. We caught up with the creator and editor, Andy Gillard to see what this new magazine will have to offer scooter riders….
Firstly, for those who might not know who you are, tell us your background in scooters and publishing?
My name is Andy Gillard and I am a scooterholic…
I bought my first scooter, a Vespa 90, when aged 16 in that halcyon scooterboy decade, the 1980s. Since then I’ve always owned and ridden a geared scooter of one sort or another, Vespa and Lambretta, as well as a couple of other marques too.
I knew Sticky, and Stuart Lanning – the man behind British Scooterist Scene, Scooter Scene and the previous owner of Scootering, from doing scooter rallies and playing in a band, so when Stuart was looking for a new contributor in the 1990s, I began working with Sticky on a part time basis. That led to a full time job shortly afterwards, during which time between us we created and launched Twist & Go magazine for the emerging modern scooter market.
When I started at Scootering, Stuart and Sticky – along with others at the office in Weston-super-Mare – had the simple mindset of it being all about the scooters. With the same enthusiasm it was perfect for me; I simply enjoyed riding scooters and learning new things about them, from design to performance, model history and more. When Stuart sold Scootering in 2003 Sticky did a short stint as editor, then I took over and with a good team of freelance contributors we continued that ethos.
Sadly however, all good things come to an end and for a number of reasons I decided at the beginning of 2016 that working for ‘the man’ was no longer for me. It wasn’t a decision I took lightly – I had become the longest serving Editor of Scootering – but at the end of the day, family and health are the most important things, and for me if something gets in the way of either of them then a decision has to be made.
ScooterNova has been a blog for ages, but the postcards you handed out at Southport suggest you now plan to do more with it. What is the plan?
ScooterNova began as a place where my partner, Ann, could place titbits of scooter stuff online for her reference, keeping it all in the same location. The url was also handy to use as a permanent email address when switching from one service provider to another! It then slowly evolved into a blog of scooter-related articles that we were both interested in.
What have you been doing since you resigned?
Kind of unrelated, I’ve had an interesting 12 months since resigning from Scootering magazine. I’ve ridden as many miles as I usually have, if not more, but without the weight recently shed from my shoulders I’ve been able to enjoy scooters and rallies much more.
What prompted you to start a new magazine?
It seemed that since myself and most of the other established writers moved on, a lot of scooterists have too. Many of these have of course found SLUK, but some of our fellow scooterists have also been asking about another paper magazine, one with the credibility that we offered in the past.
The plan therefore is to launch a new scooter magazine that is once again by scooterists, for scooterists.
What sort of a publication should we expect
A good ol’ A4 sized magazine. It’s going to be printed on quality paper, the design will be fresh and uncluttered and the idea is that this is a magazine you’ll want to return to and be proud to have on your coffee table. ScooterNova will give more pages to each article, allowing for bigger and better images, so the reader can enjoy it more.
How many pages will it be?
The first issue will be 100 pages long and it will be published bi-monthly to begin with.
Will it be swamped with adverts?
The fact of the matter is that any magazine needs advertising to survive, if it is to sell for an affordable price. However, because ScooterNova isn’t a large corporate publishing house it doesn’t have a staff of hundreds to support, or dozens of other titles and bike shows to look after either, so it needs less advertising to survive.
Yes there will be adverts, but not so many. We’re starting slowly and have only approached companies that we know and have used ourselves because we want ScooterNova to be built on the integrity of both its editorial content and the advertisers within it. Despite only contacting a few businesses so far, the support has been overwhelming, from one-man operation scooter shops to big players in the world of powered-two-wheelers.
Give us 3 good reasons to buy ScooterNova
1: It’s a scooter magazine about scooters and their riders, by scooterists for scooterists.
2: We won’t have adverts for Lambretta branded cuckoo clocks in it!
3: I need petrol and 2-stroke to ride to more rallies again this year…
Is ScooterNova being backed by a big publishing house?
No, it’s back to grass roots for us, where modern-day scooter magazines began. The two main people behind it are myself and Stuart Lanning. A company has been set up to publish ScooterNova, but it is effectively just the two of us.
Who else is involved?
To quote the Blues Brothers,“We’re putting the band back together.”
Stuart Lanning (the man behind British Scooterist Scene, Scooter Scene and the previous owner/editor of Scootering) is mainly handling sales and distribution. Ann, who often contributed product reviews will continue to do so and look after social media and digital things.
Regarding content, Gareth Brown, another former Scootering editor has contributed to the first edition, as has another former editor Sticky, along with former freelancers Iggy and Ben Ford and photographer Paul Hart. For the future Geof Panic has his thinking cap back on amongst others, with Paolo Catani of RacingLambrettas.com working on articles too. And we have Si Barber of Colchester DVLC to thank for the cover design and logo.
How will people be able to get ScooterNova?
Primarily it will be sold via subscription. These are available now in the web-shop here at SLUK by clicking ScooterNova. Those who like to deal in cash or cheques will also be able do so in person at Scarborough and then subsequent events we are attending. Individual issues of ScooterNova will be available via mail order, SLUK’s website, Stuart’s Scooter Products business, and importantly scooter dealers too.
It is these shops that can sell you a clutch cable on a Friday morning so you can still get to a scooter rally, not a big supermarket chain, and we think it is important that they are supported.
Can it be bought on a rally?
It will be sold at scooter rallies and events of course. Crusader Promotions (who produce the rally patches) will have it at every BSRA event and elsewhere they attend, and you may also find it at other event stalls with both the LCGB and VCB offering support along with various scooter dealers.
There will also be a ‘street team’ at some events, selling it around the pubs, headed by Lobby from Company C SC, so keep an eye open for someone wearing one of our distinctive red bags.
What are you going to charge for it?
The regular price will be £4 per issue.
When will people first be able to get a taste of ScooterNova?
We are launching ScooterNova on Saturday 15 April at Scarborough scooter rally. We’ll have a stall inside the Trade & Custom Show alongside Crusader Promotions and there will be other stalls there selling the magazine too. VFM are also supporting ScooterNova and copies of the first edition will be given out to prize winners in the custom show as well. Scarborough is the first BSRA national event of the year and the Show there is always a great event anyway with plenty of quality scooters to see and stalls to browse.
How will the content differ from other printed scooter publications and why should someone buy it?
ScooterNova is about the scooters and their riders and the idea is to produce a magazine for people like ourselves, enthusiasts with a thirst to read about scooters, whatever they may be.
We have been scooterists all of our adult lives; attending rallies, shows and events, scooters are what we love.
Between us we also have an immense wealth of scooter-related knowledge too, built up over many years. With ScooterNova we want to find out why people modify and ride their scooters the way they have, not just who carried out the work. We want to make each article of interest to every reader, whether the scooter be a custom machine, rustoration, heavily engineered work of art, or a lesser-known marque from days gone by.
What else can we expect?
We want to explore models and marques, and go places on our scooters too, so touring stories (with good photos) will be welcomed. We will also be applying the knowledge gleaned from decades of interviews we’ve conducted with significant people involved with scooters – from importers to factory engineers – to be as accurate as possible with historical articles.
When it comes to scooter magazines, put simply ScooterNova is “The Rider’s Choice.”
The idea is that ScooterNova will be the magazine you place on your coffee table and read again.
Isn’t ScooterNova going to compete with SLUK?
Of course not, the idea is to complement each other. What it won’t be is a repeat of SLUK on paper, in the same way that SLUK won’t be a digital version of ScooterNova. However with such a wealth of scooter knowledge between the two – as well as friendships that go back many years – it makes sense to work with each other. For example, we might write about a product in ScooterNova, and then suggest readers visit SLUK to watch a video of it being tested. Similarly, SLUK can host video interviews related to scooters we’ve featured in ScooterNova, scooters that maybe look better on paper than a smartphone or iPad. It’s a great opportunity to offer readers more.
We’ll be in the queue at Scarborough, no doubt we’ll see a few of you there. If you can’t wait or won’t be attending, order ScooterNova here.
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