On The Line: Ill Street News – Life Before The Line!!!

Every week, courtesy of R.A.W Media, I get to write about two things I’m very passionate about, Urban culture and Pro Wrestling, on Bout Dat Online. Information is provided daily via the internet which helps assist me with my writing but back in the 90’s, and early 00’s, before the internet, made it so easy, obtaining information on my favourite things was a lot different.

Newsagents were king! Every month I would visit agents such as King Street News or Machon’s Mr News (as pictured above) to grab the latest issues of magazines like Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Power Slam, The Source and Hip-Hop Connection in order to find out more about the things I loved.

Living in Jersey, Channel Islands, meant only a few places had these magazines. I had WWF on Sky, in the mid-90’s, but I didn’t discover the rest of the wrestling landscape until I purchased my first copy of PWI, from Mr News, in May 1995.

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Seeing photos from wrestlers, and promotions, I’d never heard of helped me get familiar with groups like ECW, NJPW, AJPW and, even WCW (though I had access, in 1995, to ‘Saturday Night’ thanks to, German sports channel, DSF every weekend). It opened a whole new world to me and it was all thanks to a tiny newsagents on a small island hardly anyone had ever heard of!!!

By the late 90’s WCW ‘Nitro’ was available, on TNT, on Friday nights but I still bought magazines to keep up with the other promotions that weren’t on UK television. By this time King Street News became the Mecca of pro wrestling mags, in Jersey, supplying me with PWI, Power Slam, Wrestling Superstars and others! If I didn’t know anything about the industry before I certainly did now!!!

Eventually, by around 1999, my interest in wrestling started to fade and my interest in Hip-Hop had started to grow.

I discovered Hip-Hop music on the radio, courtesy of Tim Westwood’s ‘Radio One Rap Show’, but besides the music he played I didn’t really know anything about the artists he was playing, or even the culture itself, and that’s where The Source comes in!!!

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I’d grab The Source, from King Street News (this place had EVERYTHING magazine wise!), every month to get info on all the latest albums, singles and artists and my knowledge, and interest, started to grow from these pages and not just in Hip-Hop but R&B and Reggae Dancehall as well. I was being opened up to yet another world further from what I heard on the radio every Friday and Saturday night.

Around 2002 my interest in wrestling was starting to grow again and I’d buy mass amounts of both wrestling and urban music magazines that not only kept me busy reading, for a good week or so, but burnt a hole in my pocket too!!!

Unfortunately Mr News closed it’s doors in 1999 and King Street News went through many ownership changes, becoming YESS and Superstore, before closing for good in 2015 and becoming a card shop.

I bought a copy of The Source just before the King Street newsagents closed it’s doors for good just so I could physically have something before it went.

The internet is an amazing place to obtain information, very quickly, on all your favourite things but, if I’m being honest, theres nothing like the feeling of grabbing the latest issue of The Source or PWI, every month, to get your fix until the next month because media outlets were so limited.

So to the newsagents, and magazines, who built my interest in Pro Wrestling and Urban culture, back in the day, I salute you!!!

LONG LIVE NEWSAGENTS!!!

– Bean Lebouc

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