As The National Student closes its doors at the end of the week, current Music Editor Alasdair Flett tells us what the platform means to him.
The National Student will be shutting its doors and with that concludes 17 years of publishing history - of which I was a part for a mere two.
The National Student was a real lifeline for me, as I sat socially isolated in an attic room on the Hamburg-Niedersachsen border while on a language assistant placement in Germany. I was forced to leave my role on the Edinburgh university paper, which was a much more localised operation focused on weekly print editions. The National Student gave me the opportunity to keep my hand in university media and not feel completely cut off from that world.
Early on, I was able to interview one of my favourite bands for the publication – Honeyblood. The previous year I had caught Stina Tweeddale and Cat Myers at Electric Circus in Edinburgh but had been too timid to show my appreciation in person. Now I was on the phone to the voice that had accompanied me on almost every car journey since and talking about, amongst other things, her cat obsession. Following that I went on to chat with many up-and-coming artists including Elder Island, She Drew The Gun, Super Inuit, Brand New Friend, The Motion Poets and Magpie Blue.
The National Student also affords opportunities to review live music. If I had to pick one band, then the most memorable would be Henge. I took up Caitlin’s prompt solely on the band description. My flatmate and I got the album up on Spotify that afternoon and stared at each other in wide-eyed amazement. If the idea of interactive anti-war pro-space extra-terrestrial psych-jams interests you, then I would recommend checking them out.
Image: Stina Tweeddale of Honeyblood by Paul Hudson via Flickr
We’ve also had many an interesting feature including articles on prototypes to enhance deaf people’s experience of music, the economic and environmental impact of streaming and an analysis of the gender imbalance in pop.
I’ve not just written for music though, also penning the occasional piece under the broader “culture” umbrella. In November I discoursed on my namesake Alasdair Gray and in the following month, I paid tribute to the late poet, Tom Leonard – a champion of language as spoken in Glasgow and recent translator of Brecht into Scots.
But much more than simply racking up reads, The National Student have taught me a lot about the industry and encouraged me to professionalise what I produce. It has given me insight into how stories are developed and increased my confidence to chase leads. Lastly, although I was only able to attend a single conference, I feel part of a team of dedicated contributors and editors. While I encountered just a handful face to face, constant emailing back and forth has led to many cordial acquaintances. I will be sad to see the last days of The National Student, but I shall remain proud of what we achieved together.