Pro-tection fanzine existed between 1998 and 2002 in Cheltenham, UK and reached seven issues before running out of steam. Written by Tom Brunsdon (with the occassional contribution from a couple of mates and an old punk guy from Tewkesbury called Steve), it took much of it's cut 'n' paste influence from Organ fanzine and championed punk, ska and hardcore bands from Cheltenham and further afield in the UK.
Named after a song by the Southend hardcore band Cynical Smile, Pro-tection interviewed numerous bands throughout it's four years of existence, notably 4ft Fingers, Skankt, Stampin' Ground, Medulla Nocte, Earthtone 9, Kenisia, The Cheapskates and numerous others. UK bands were always reviewed and rants were often written based around the topics of under-18 venues, mosh-pit etiquette and supporting your local scene. They seem tired and rehashed now, but to a sixteen year old armed with a pen, paper and a license to photocopy, they were as important like nothing else at the time.
Whilst the first four issues were hardly worth the paper they were written on they did have a few interesting moments. Early copies of issue one and two were printed on yellow paper until the supply eventually run out and issue three featured an interview with Will Haven.
As the Cheltenham punk and ska scene peaked between 2000 and 2002 as a result of promotors 'Sonic Dredd' at Bransons and bands like 4ft Fingers and Skankt, so did Pro-tection. So much so that by the final issue around July 2002, the fanzine could shift near to 200 copies around the country and was beginning to make a name for itself as a readable, free fanzine with a healthy dose of humour and a pinch of opinion.
When Tom went to University in September 2002, Pro-tection did not go with him. The 'scene' in Cheltenham died a few months previous as Bransons was made into a sports-theme bar offering 2-for-1 drinks offers on alcopops, and Pro-tection fanzine was consigned to a box in a bedroom.
Pro-tection was created before every band had a website or myspace. It had to be flyered. It had to be on merch tables at shows. Real people had to be spoken to face-to-face for it to work. And for the short time between 1998 and 2002, it did.