Nov 30, 2017

MMM's Last Issue

Way back in 1999, I met a pair of "kids" at a party for a long-defunct music magazine that, lucky for me, employed my daughter, Holly, as a writer/editor. I was introduced to Dan and Erin Hartman as a "motorcyclist," by the music magazine's publisher and we eyed each other suspiciously during the introduction. I was wearing the remains of my work uniform, a dress shirt, a loosened tie, slacks, and cowboy boots and they probably thought I was the prototype for Peter Mayer's "Brand New Harley Davidson." They were wearing black leather and I figured they were yuppie Harley posers with a trust fund to burn. We were, I think, both wrong and after discussing what we rode we hit if off well enough that our conversation went into the late night. Their complaint was that MMM was dying because advertisers weren't convinced anyone read the free newspaper. Nobody bothered to write the editors to complain about or praise their articles, editorials, and, most of all, ads. I offered to write an article that would absolutely get a response if they'd promise to publish it. The article, "What Are We Riding For?," appeared in the October, 1999 issue and I've been a regular columnist in MMM since.

As of the 2018/2018 Winter Issue, Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly will cease publication. The magazine hopes to maintain a presence on the web, after this "final issue" of the print version, but don't hold your breath. My favorite Euro biker magazine, Rider's Digest, went from paper to PDF to web-only a few years back and died a slow, discouraging death in mid-2016. The last "issue" is still there, August 2016, but advertising revenue just didn't happen for the on-line magazine. The UK, like the US, isn't a world leader in internet coverage, speeds, or even reliability. Being big believers in the "magic of the market," a good bit of the UK (like the US) is stuck in the late-90's technology-wise. The UK is a more motorcycle-friendly transportation culture, though, but that didn't help RD. It's possible that advertisers and readers will move to the webpage "magazine" and I really hope they do, but "plan for the worst and hope for the best" has been my motto for about 50 years.

Whatever the future may bring for MMM, I clearly failed in my job over the last few years. Hardly any of you are pissed off enough at something I've written to let the publisher know. Trust me, Victor loves to publish letters from people who want to fry the Geezer. If there had been letters, you'd have seen them. I almost managed to get 20 years of my silly shit in print with MMM. A few years back, Victor sent the MMM writers a really neat note saying that the Minnesota History Center had begun archiving the magazine and that's a pretty cool thing to know about the work we did with the magazine. It has been a good, long ride with MMM. I wrote 158 essays/rants the magazine published over 18 years, plus a bunch of bike, gear, and equipment reviews and a few trip articles. Most of the things I've done over my 70 years on this planet have had highs and lows. That wasn't true for MMM. It was all highs and even highers. I haven't loved everything I've written for the magazine, being my own most severe and least tolerant critic, but I have loved the opportunity and the experiences. I'm going to keep submitting crazy shit for the on-line magazine and as long as they'll take my stuff I'll be there.

Thanks for . . . everything.


Anonymous said...

Well, I'll miss the paper edition. I wonder what MMM does with unused subscription money? I haven't heard a word from them yet and I just re-upped my subscription last month. Interesting that, after a week, no one on your blog seems to care, either. That must suck.

T.W. Day said...

Thanks for making that point.