TwoBeatsOff – the origins story

Originally posted on the 23/12/09. To be honest, TBO’s focus has shifted once again, but at this moment in time, this is what it was.

Lately, I’ve found myself with a bit of a problem. Whilst advertising for new writers and receiving responses from potentials, I’ve been faced with a fairly ponderous question – what the hell is TwoBeatsOff? Fightclubsandwich has actually written a fairly comprehensive answer to this for a good old fashioned paper ‘best of’ zine, composed of our favourite articles so far and I am sure that her piece covers just about everything. But, being as vain as I am where my projects are concerned, I have decided to try and define it myself in honour of our first birthday occurring a couple of months ago.

TBO started as some kind of vague dream within a writing group that I used to be a part of with Nox, fightclubsandwich, ninthandash and A.Von Doll. With half of the members within that group, I knew it would never happen. I remember the Myspace threads trying to get people involved, and there were cries of “I’d love to, but I’m too busy,” “I’d keep forgetting, I’d suck at doing it regularly” and also, golden silence on the topic. Well, at least they were honest. So I turned to my three closest friends within the group who became the pain-in-the-arse writers I have today (A.Von Doll came along a bit later). Despite that, I would never trade them, no matter how long it takes to get an article from them. You gotta wait for diamonds to be found, right?

And so, the foundation was there. Nothing actually happened for about a year. We were too preoccupied with summer and stories and other such things. Then, the term ‘personal statement’ came into mine and ninthandash’s lives. For those of you who don’t know, a personal statement is the most evil piece of writing to exist. You have about three quarters of a page to tell a university everything that’s good about you. Mine was lacking, so I decided that I would make something good, due to having been turned down numerous times for work experience at local papers. With this new found motivation in hand, I bought the hosting and we were set. We finally stopped being fraudulent pricks and finally had some proof of journalistic experience. But we couldn’t do it on our own, so we recruited Nox and fightclubsandwich and we tried to write things we thought people would enjoy.

But that’s not where the story ends. I get a hell of a lot of questions about the name ‘TwoBeatsOff’. In fact, it came from meeting soufex at a Say Anything show. Originally, TBO was going to be called Paper Hearts. It sounded cool and edgy, but Hawthorne Heights or some other shitty band like that had a song called that, so that was totally out of the window. We needed something a little more punk rock, a little less whine. So, after meeing soufex, adding her on Myspace and asking her to join us, I discovered she was a Fugazi fan. This was right in the middle of discussing names with ninthandash. “Shit, wait! Fugazi songs, you got a list?” I typed and she came up with a link. It was weird – I think we actually typed Two Beats Off at the same time. It has everything; music, punk, slight sexual innuendo, and it’s also one of my favourite Fugazi songs. I guess nothing could stop us now, right?

Except the problem with TBO is that we don’t have a clear area of focus. At first, we were solely to be a music zine focused around the punk subculture, delivering scathing reviews and doing interviews with relatively famous bands. To some extent, that runs through the zine’s blood and music, particularly the punk and indie scenes are our main influence. However, it got hard just writing about music, so we broadened to movies, fashion, games, comics and even the more serious stuff – one of my favourite pieces is soufex’s inspirational ‘Fight With Tools’. So loosely, TBO is a pop-culture zine with other bits thrown in. We write about what we like. Even though we’re all girls, we’re not quite feminist, despite a number of us being feminist. The most true description I can give of this zine is that it’s independent, honest and that we love this zine like nothing else. And we hope you do too.

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