Fanzine alive and kicking again for cup final special

Graham Ewing is reviving Mass Hibsteria after a five-year absence
Graham Ewing is reviving Mass Hibsteria after a five-year absence
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IT was once the unofficial digest for all things Hibs – and boasted a very famous name among its contributors.

But after 20 years tickling the Easter Road faithful with its unique brand of irreverent humour and analysis, the presses stopped rolling for Mass Hibsteria as the internet filled the gap.

Now, to mark the first all-Edinburgh Scottish Cup final for 116 years, the popular fanzine is being resurrected with a limited edition, including a message of support from one-time contributor Irvine Welsh.

The fan-led publication, which achieved monthly circulation peaks of 1500, was laid to rest in 2007. Among the contributors to carve out a literary career were co-founder Colin Leslie, now sports editor at The Scotsman; Sandy Macnair, author of Carspotting: The Real Adventures of Irvine Welsh; and the Trainspotting creator himself, who wrote under the pen name Sinister Hibernian Octopus Leith Lounge Lizard.

Graham Ewing, who was co-editor when the fanzine was discontinued and is one of the key figures behind its revival, said the historic clash had been the spur for a one-off special. He said: “With the cup final coming up, I think there’s an appetite for the Mass Hibsteria again.

“After the semi-finals I was getting countless texts asking if we were going to do something for the final. One or two days later I realised there was going to be a real spirit to do it and I am very grateful for that.”

Mr Ewing, 45, is targeting a print run of 1000 copies and said the fanzine would feature nostalgia pieces reminiscing about past Hibs glories among its typical biting banter.

“Everyone has been so positive in drumming up interest and we have secured contributions from established writers from within the Scottish mainstream media,” he said.

On hearing of the fanzine’s rebirth, Welsh sent a special message to his former colleagues, saying: “Great to see that big green fun blast from the past back, and with all my old favourites. GGTTH [Glory, Glory to the Hibees].”

The 64-page Mass Hibsteria will be available at Football Nation in Lothian Road. Any profit from its sale will be donated to the Dnipro Appeal.

Hibs magazine was funded by a Jambo

Mass Hibsteria was “rather-boringly” named Hibs Monthly when it was first published in March 1987.

Founder Colin Leslie said the first edition featured goalkeeper Alan Rough on the front cover – and was financed by a Hearts fan. Colin said: “My mate Stevie Burns and I were both Hibs daft and found it was not only a good way to write about Hibs, but also gently wind up a few Jambos along the way – it worked.

“Ironically, it was a Jambo who supplied us with the finance to photocopy the first ever edition, so they have to take the blame.

“It was a very amateur effort in its early days – bashed together on a typewriter in A4 format with handwritten headlines.”