Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen the phrase ‘social distancing’ used everywhere. While understanding and adhering to it, it’s been a bit demoralizing to us as the people behind a bar named The Social. For twenty-one years, The Social has relied on a few things – two of the most important being customers and conversation. The bar is somewhere to sit, skive and waste time talking about the important things in life, like records, books, food, art and films. The things that help keep the real world at a safe distance for a few hours a day. Previously, this has been reflected in The Heavenly Social Broadsheet (a weekly clubhouse newsletter), in the semi-regular Socialism magazine (a free magazine that featured writing by everyone from Vincent Gallo to Turbonegro) and in the Faber Social nights, where music and literature met on stage and hit it off.
With social distancing compromising all of our lives so dramatically, The Social has decided to start an online magazine for the duration of the lockdown with friends White Rabbit Books and Caught by the River.
The Social Gathering will be a place to continue the evangelising in the vacuum of isolation. It will be regularly updated with stories, features, reviews, book extracts, DJ sets and playlists from artists and friends. It will take the view out of the window from friends around the world. It will feature stuff to print out for the bare walls of your lovely new home office space and it will attempt an online book club where titles will be enthusiastically recommended by friends of The Social. There will be a Big Catch Up where we delve through all the stuff we’ve missed in the last few months whilst we panicked about the next few. It will also run a gnostic tourism section where each week we attempt transcendental travel via a piece of art – be it a mixtape, a passage in a book, a painting or a Cold War Steve picture. It will be a place of positivity, but we hope, not irritatingly so.
We have always believed in the power of communities that come together when you cross the streams of music, literature and art and Social Gathering will basically be one of the booths upstairs at The Social, only in your own home, wherever you are.
The first proper ‘issue’ will arrive next week. As a taster, we have an insanely brilliant playlist from the man behind XL Recordings, Richard Russell and an extract from his recently published memoir by White Rabbit Books, Liberation Through Hearing.
The Social Gathering. Because if we have to do this in isolation, we should at least have our mates with us, reading over our shoulders and getting the beers in.
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