Youth defends Loft magazine

CONTRIBUTOR to youth magazine InZine and regular at The Loft Youth Venue Rhys Nicholson has spoken out about the recent negative reaction to the magazine, defending the publication and The Loft.

The latest issue of InZine, focusing on negativity, has been withdrawn from distribution after complaints by councillors over its content.

Mr Nicholson, who contributed the piece labelled "razor blade cut and play", said the magazine highlighted issues surrounding depression and said his piece looked at the flippant way many people treated the issue of self-harm.

"It's kind of a joke on joking about suicide and self-harm," he said.

"Cutting really isn't playing and it has obviously been misread."

The 18-year-old said he did not know why his artwork had been placed next to an advertisement for Beyond Blue, a depression counselling service, but said this proved they wanted to help people.

"It is not like we were just poking fun at depression, we wanted to inform people," he said.

Mr Nicholson said councillors who had called for the closure of the venue were posing and pontificating on the issue, for political points rather than concern for Newcastle's youth.

"Councillor Buman said all this funding [for The Loft] is for the same 30 kids," he said.

"Is this the same 30 kids that that booked out the massive holiday event project The Loft offered?

"Have these 30 kids developed cloning?"

Mr Nicholson said The Loft provided inspiration to youth in Newcastle, with the venue helping him to discover his dream to be a stand-up comic.

He also said if The Loft was closed there would be little entertainment for youth in Newcastle and almost no support for youth music acts.

"It's a place to showcase local bands," he said.

Mr Nicholson said InZine was a way for youth to connect with youth and, although council funded, should not be censored because of the councillors.

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