THROUGH the post – yes, old-fashioned snail mail still reaches The Herald Arts Garret on a regular basis – arrives a package that is a tell-tale square shape a little over seven inches in both directions. It does indeed contain a black vinyl 45rpm disc, performed by The Dahlmanns, the A-side of which is a duet between the duo's female singer Line Dahlmann and Andy Shernoff, bassist and principle songwriter of New York's Dictators, whose recording history dates back to 1975 and who therefore richly deserves the soubriquet The Christopher Columbus of Punk. The disc comes as part of a fulsomely explanatory package, alongside issue No 28 of a fanzine entitled The Next Big Thing, produced with singular dedication by one Lindsay Hutton of Grangemouth, Scotland's Forth-estuary industrial port.

Copies of The Next Big Thing are treasured objects, and this new one comes in a numbered edition of 300, 250 of which are already spoken for before any of them reach the few shops in which you might be likely to find one. Issue 28 did come as a bit of a surprise though, as it very nearly two decades since the appearance of number 27. For some reason, then, the 30th anniversary of the first edition of The Next Big Thing passed by unmarked, because this is the 40th anniversary issue of what can lay fair claim to being Scotland's premier, and longest surviving, music fanzine.

Hutton's first issue appeared in the spring of 1977 and did, appropriately, feature The Dictators, alongside Television, The Damned and Blue Oyster Cult. It was priced at 25p, for 11 sheets of paper stapled at the corner, and it could be found anywhere the editor had taken the trouble to deliver it for sale, even as far as Compendium Books and Rough Trade Records in London. No.2 – which was still a bargain, despite a mighty price hike to 30p – came out just a couple of months later, and included The Ramones, Blondie, The Stranglers and Johnny Thunders' Heartbreakers. It contained a little more typing, but was still mostly hand-written, then photocopied and Xeroxed. An article from our sister paper the Evening Times was reproduced inside, reporting the opposition of Glasgow Lord Provost David Hodge to an appearance by New York's Ramones at Strathclyde University Union, because of their apparent endorsement of glue-sniffing.

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One of the things that immediately distinguished Next Big Thing was Hutton's immaculate hand-scripted articles, and a few of those survive in No. 28, although they sit alongside incontrovertible evidence of word-processing and desk-top publishing. But if you are going to learn about a four-piece female group from the south-east coast of Norway called Reine Laken, it really should be in Hutton's own hand – and indeed it is, on page 18. The boyish enthusiasm he expresses there is in some contrast to his editorial pieces, which tend to take a wry grumpy old bloke stance to the state of the modern musical world, bemused that his beloved Dahlmanns are not chart-toppers.

If there is a still a punk sensibility about NBT 28, however, there is also wider musical range. Beyond the four pages on The Dahlmanns are four written by singer-songwriter Amy Rigby, now the partner of former Stiff Records artiste Wreckless Eric. These are some early reminiscences of 1970s NYC from her forthcoming memoir, which will be published next year. She also does "wry" with some style. Scurry on through NBT28 as far as page 23 and you will find, reproduced rather more sharply than the 1977 Evening Times cutting, one of a number of letters Hutton received from an avid reader, one Steven Morrissey, part of a correspondence which its recipient says he is neither disposed to sell or compile into a book on ethical grounds. It is worth quoting a part of nonetheless: "I now sing in a group called The Smiths and our first record Hand in Glove is No. 70 in de charts. So I'm virtually as famous as you now."

To read the rest, order a copy of The Next Big Thing No. 28 by visiting tnbt.co.uk. Or, in the spirit of 1977, you could try record shops Love Music or Monorail in Glasgow.