Straight No Chaser (magazine)

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Straight No Chaser
Straight no chaser.jpg
EditorPaul Bradshaw, Neil Spencer, Kathryn Willgress
Staff writersPaul Bradshaw, Kathryn Willgress, Amar Patel, Sue Steward, Jez Nelson, Max Reinhardt, Annie Peel, Damien Rafferty, Joanna Funk-Reid, Vivien Goldman, Pauline Melville, Gilles Peterson, Teju Adeleye, Jody Gillett, Menelik Mimano, Tina Edwards, James Lavelle, Livingstone Marquis, Ross Allen
PhotographerPeter Williams, Ian Wright, Andy Martin, Suki Dhanda, Frederik Voisin, Liz Johnson-Arthur, Alice Arnold, Pav Modelski, Steven Cropper, Antonio Mattesini, Goswin Schwendinger
CategoriesCultural magazine
Frequency1988–1991: quarterly
1992–2007: pentannual
2017–present: annually
CirculationVolumes 1 & 2: 10–20,000
Later volume: unknown (limited edition)
PublisherPaul Bradshaw
FounderPaul Bradshaw, Neil Spencer, Kathryn Willgress
FoundedJune 1988
First issueVolume 1: 1988
Volume 2: 1998
Later volume: 2017
Final issueVolume 1: 1998
Volume 2: 2007
Later volume: 2018
CountryUnited Kingdom
Based inLondon

Straight No Chaser is a British music magazine based in London. Originally published between 1988 and 2007, it restarted publishing in mid 2017 in a limited edition format, released once a year. The magazine covers various forms of black music and electronic music.

The magazine was founded by journalists Paul Bradshaw, Neil Spencer, and Kathryn Willgress to cover music of black origin including hip hop, dance, reggae, Latin and African styles that were largely ignored by mainstream media. It emerged in June 1988 coinciding with the Second Summer of Love.[1]


It was published in the UK and distributed for sale across Britain, much of Europe, metropolitan areas of the US and Japan. Claiming to be the first magazine to be designed and laid out exclusively on Apple Mac computers, the first few issues were designed by Ian "Swifty" Swift at Neville Brody's studio where he worked as assistant designer of influential culture magazine, The Face. Starting out as a quarterly, the team then moved to 43B Coronet Street, Shoreditch, London, N1 6HD. It moved to pent annually (5 times) a year from 1992, however the actual number of issues released would fluctuate year on year and it didn't have a regular release date, so regular purchasers of the magazine often had to keep an eye out for its release when it happened.[2] It also had a slightly differing version that was published and distributed for sale separately in Japan. Occasionally a covermount CD or tape was also included with the magazine, sometimes either only for a limited number of copies or for its initial print run for that issue, but other times only for sale on the Japanese edition.

Tenth year anniversary[edit]

In July 1998, to celebrate the magazine's tenth birthday, Paul Bradshaw gathered all of the current contributors for a photograph with photographer Peter Williams. In tribute to Art Kane's famous 1958 group portrait of New York jazz players, A Great Day in Harlem, the photo was named A Great Day in Hoxton.[3] Alongside prominent music business faces such as Gilles Peterson and James Lavelle were many talented designers, fashion professionals, writers, dancers, and fellow photographers.[3]


  • The Magazine Tuned to the Freedom Principle
  • The Magazine of World Jazz Jive
  • Interplanetary Sounds: Ancient To Future

Content and themes[edit]

SNC magazines' main slogan was Interplanetary Sounds: Ancient To Future, which basically meant it covered Jazz music at the centre, with other black music's from around the world—especially soulful electronic music—forming the core of its focus. While most of the magazine contained charts from eminent DJ's on the scene (including a regular chart from Bradshaw's DJ friends James Lavelle, Dave Hucker, Ross Allen, and Gilles Peterson)[4] or articles on underground music scenes around the world, it also had an eye on contemporary artwork, and underground fashionable trends in and outside various music communities usually not generally well-known about outside of the world's big urban centres (London, Paris, Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, et al.). Alongside cutting edge graphics, the magazine championed the works of emerging writers, photographers, and illustrators as well as providing an alternative context for world renowned writers including Commonwealth Writers' Prize winner Pauline Melville, and Booker Prize winner Michael Ondaatje.

The magazine was often compared with the US magazine publication Wax Poetics which came along later, and could be argued copied Straight No Chaser's style in some design and content ways.


The original magazine had 92 issues, released across two volumes of 46 issues in each: the first volume from 1988 to 1998, the second from 1998 to the last edition in 2007. In 2017, a new volume of the magazine was released, with three issues being released so far.

Volume 1: 1988 to 1998[edit]

Photo cover artists featured on the first volume issues:

Volume 2: 1998 to 2007[edit]

Photo cover artists featured on the second volume issues:

Later volume: 2017 to present[edit]

Photo cover artists featured on the later volume issues:

Original ending[edit]

For various reasons, not least the spread of the internet and declining magazine sales, plus the changing affects in the general music culture from vinyl and CD collecting to more digital downloading, Bradshaw decided to shut the original magazine down in 2007 with the last issue being number 46 from volume 2, the Summer edition released around August that year.[8][9]

No digital versions (pdf, ePub, or similar, format) of the magazine were ever released, and there have so far been no plans to reissue them as such.

Limited relaunch[edit]

In January 2017, a relaunch was announced[10] with sales of the first issue (strangely sold as "issue 98") going live online on 1 September 2017,[11] with a second issue (sold as "issue 99") released in September 2018.,[12] and third issue ("issue 100") released in September 2019[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Straight No Chaser – First issue, Issue 1 Vol 1, released in March 1988". March 1988.
  2. ^ "List of most Straight No Chaser issues, with month of release dates".
  3. ^ a b Rayner, Alex (14 March 2018). "Gentrification's ground zero: the rise and fall of Hoxton Square". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  4. ^ "Peterson / Bradshaw podcast feature". Straight No Chaser.
  5. ^ "Sidewinder vol.3: South Africa '95 – Collisions & Collusions" (PDF). Straight No Chaser. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  6. ^ "Various – "South Africa 95" – CD, Promo at Discogs". Discogs. 1995. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  7. ^ "Outernational Meltdown – "South Africa Outernational Meltdown" – 3 × Vinyl, LP, Album at Discogs". Discogs. 1995. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  8. ^ "Post subject: The end of Straight No Chaser Mag". Beyond Jazz music forums. 22 June 2007. Retrieved 30 June 2007.
  9. ^ "The Final Issue, Issue 46 Vol 2". Straight No Chaser. August 2007. Retrieved 5 October 2018.
  10. ^ "Cult music magazine Straight No Chaser set to relaunch as limited edition". Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  11. ^ "Straight No Chaser – #SNC98". Straight No Chaser. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  12. ^ "Straight No Chaser – #SNC99". Straight No Chaser. Retrieved 7 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Straight No Chaser – #SNC100". Straight No Chaser. Retrieved 24 September 2019.

External links[edit]