The Magical Armchair is the name of this website and our Twitter feed, true, but the original Magical Armchair was an e-mail discussion list – a chatroom for the horse and buggy age, if you will. But in this day of Facebook groups and Snapchat, e-mail is still very much with us, and everybody has one, so it’s time to continue the tradition.
Originally, the Magical Armchair didn’t have a name – it was just titled The Ben Folds Five Digest, a compilation of e-mails from fans like you, sent to me to painstakingly handcraft and e-mail out to each subscriber. Fans chose the new name, we automated distribution and it migrated to two other hosts, the most recent of which (Topica) closed its listserver last year, leaving the Armchair without a home.
I’ve fixed that up now, and the Magical Armchair e-mail list is once again alive, right here on the magicalarmchair.com domain, and anyone can subscribe and participate! (more…)
Ben gave the Armchair a nice shout-out during his show at the Gilmore Piano Festival in Kalamazoo, Mich., Saturday night (April 26) and talked about how the Magical Armchair mailing list was instrumental in charting the course of Ben Folds Five in the early days. They first became aware of the existence of the mailing list at one of their earliest shows when I brought them stacks of printed-out copies of the list messages (since none of them had e-mail or were even on the Internet at the time). Soon thereafter, they did get online, as did their manager, and started subscribing and reading posts from fans. The band members didn’t post, though their road manager at the time did once in a while. Eventually, other methods of fan communication augmented and diminished the importance of the Armchair mailing list, though it is still in service today. Better yet, the archives of the mailing list still exist and can provide a lot of insight into the development and early success of Ben Folds Five.
You can access the first several years of the Magical Armchair at the archive page of the old Ben Folds Five site. These archives run from 1995 through 1999, when the list was migrated to Topica. Topica maintains its own archive, which is only accessible to list members. Note that many of the links and e-mail addresses contained in the archival material have changed or gone offline.