Place of Origin:
Shooters Hill, London, U.K.
Alan Hayes (All), Paul Hewson (#1 only)
Audio Cassette / Portastudio
#1-5 + Media Magazine: C90;
#6: 2 x C90
Issues Produced: 7
Paul Hewson and I were school friends who
were brought together through our shared interest in Doctor Who.
Paul was a couple of years younger than I was, and the idea for what
ultimately became Sonic Waves came to us as we both
prepared to leave school - Paul from the Fifth Year and myself from the
Upper Sixth, both at Woolwich Polytechnic Boys' School. We had seen a
small number of tapezines advertised in Celestial Toyroom, and
that fired the idea, really. Over the next few months, we picked up a
few, including Zero Room, Unit Tapezine and The Logopolitan,
to get an idea of what producing a tapezine might entail, and how we
might go about planning our first issue.
The first thing that occurred to us when
listening to these other tapezines was that, at that stage, only a
handful of producers had
really cracked the sound quality issue, and so one target we set
ourselves was to ensure that the recordings we issued would be as good
as we could possibly make them. By time we came to record, I had been on
a audio visual training course for a year and so I probably had
a bit of an advantage in this area. However, the professional equipment I was using at work and
on the course was not available to me, so Paul and I had to improvise
with what we had and buy what we didn't as affordably as possible.
Unfortunately, this commitment to sound
quality proved to be a double-edged sword, in that after we had recorded
well over half an hour's worth of material for the first issue (called
Sonic Force at that time), I chanced upon a better recording
method and together we decided to re-record everything from scratch.
During this re-evaluation Sonic Force became Sonic Waves
and Paul gradually became a little disenchanted, as while it was fun,
producing a tapezine was a long-winded, time-consuming and demanding
endeavour. For this reason, Paul ducked out about halfway through the
recording of Issue 1, and I ended up as sole editor from then on.
The reaction to the first issue was
positive, but I thought there was much that could be done to improve
Sonic Waves. Much of the first issue had been given over to
soundtracks recorded at the Longleat Doctor Who Celebration of
1983 (and while researching this site, I discovered that Zero Room
also featured material from Longleat in its first edition!). This was, I
still believe, a valid inclusion, but it seemed too easy a way to fill
up the tape, so in the future, I made an effort to produce and
commission as much original material as possible. Of course, in the
fifth issue, I reneged on this decision, as I had been lucky enough to
have Sonic Waves designated the official magazine of the
Leisure Hive II convention in Swindon. This meant more or less the
whole of that issue was given over to recordings and interviews made
specially at the event, which typically I was unable to attend!
Fortunately, Jean Riddler volunteered to be Sonic Waves' roving
reporter in Swindon, and did a tremendous job, her natural effervescence
bringing everything recorded wonderfully to life.
The Leisure Hive edition was one of
two Sonic Waves specials, the other being a Season 22 review
special which took a thorough look at the then most recently broadcast
Doctor Who series. A wide variety of contributors considered the
stories making up the season and focused also on particular themes, such
as violence and the change to forty-five minute episodes.
One of the absolute scoops for Sonic
Waves was our regular feature, A Letter from the Doctor.
These were recorded especially for us by Colin Baker, and featured in
most editions, including the first. Colin would discuss what he was
currently working on, his thoughts on the stories that had been
broadcast, and his plans for the future. I still feel immensely indebted
to Colin for his exceptionally generous and enthusiastic help with
Sonic Waves. Such a lovely chap.
Midway through the tapezine's run, Daniel
Cohen offered me the chance to include original comedy sketches in
Sonic Waves. Right from the start, I had been keen to keep listeners
on their toes and never able to predict what the magazine would deliver,
so this was ideal. The sketches, which began with Doctors in Distress
(a spoof on Ian Levine's charity single designed to 'save Doctor Who'),
proved very popular with most listeners, although some inevitably
thought it not to their tastes - comedy is a great divider, after all.
The comedy team comprised Daniel, Adam Vanger and Steve Watts.
Sonic Waves drew to an end with a
double issue lasting three hours, which saw the audiozine destroyed by
Vogons (of Hitch-Hiker's Guide fame). This was trailed by an
advert in Celestial Toyroom in the form of a fake news report. In
its time, Sonic Waves achieved 22nd spot in a DWAS Fanzine Poll
(something of which I was very proud), had a team of highly talented
contributors, including Matthew Sweet, who is now a professional
journalist, Jim Mortimore, who went on to write for Virgin and BBC Books
and Nicholas Briggs, who now provides the voices for the Daleks and most
other monsters in Russell T. Davies' Doctor Who revival, among
many other things.
Sales figures for Sonic Waves
averaged about one hundred an issue - which caused duplication issues -
and slowed down production of new issues, since the same equipment was
used to dub copies and make new Sonic Waves issues. In that
respect, the audiozine was something of a victim of its own success.
Purchasers could order copies by sending the requisite blank tapes, a
nominal fee (normally 25p in coins) to cover administration costs and
the printing of the covers and a stamped addressed envelope for the
return of the cassettes.
Looking back on Sonic Waves, there
were good bits, bad bits, some completely embarrassing bits - but
overall, I'm still proud to this day with what was achieved with basic
equipment in a poky bedroom at the parental seat on Shooters Hill.
Alan Hayes, Editor, Sonic Waves
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