The primary person behind it was Paul English (a.k.a. nlgbbbblth), a native of New Ross, County Wexford whose previous foray into zine culture was the short-lived Why me? in 1996.
The zine title was naturally inspired by the Aphex Twin track of the same name.
nlgbbbblth is Analogue Bubblebath without vowels and a misplaced 'b'.
The first issue of Analogue Bubblebath was released on 16 May 1998 and was a collection of music reviews and articles on a variety of subjects written by Paul and four other writers based in a communal house at Ranelagh. The music reviews centred upon new releases of indie, electronica, hip hop and techno records. Around 200 copies of each issue were distributed in a number of independent record shops in Dublin's city centre. By the end of issue five the lease on the house expired and Paul took over the production process (writing / typing / folding / distributing) from his new flat in Rathmines while relying on regular contributions from a variety of individuals. Most notable was probably Sweden-based Pat Kelly who wrote illuminating articles on subjects as diverse as meat-eating, Chechnya, the WTO, Indonesia, Hawaii, Swedish gay pride, NATO's 50th birthday, Abba, toasters and football statistics.
Issue #3 saw a particularly memorable interview with Freebird Records' John Dee entitled Going Underground in which he spoke eloquently about the past, present and future of Dublin's seminal independent record shop.
Issue #11 was the first one of 1999 and saw the opening instalment of The 100 Best Tunes Ever!, a column which saw Paul write brief paragraphs on songs that had rocked his world over the years. The number one was finally revealed in issue #22, which was appropriately printed on blue paper. 1999 was the busiest period for the freesheet with 21 issues emerging culminating in a surreal interview with Famous Five actor, Gary Russell, in the Christmas instalment (issue #31).
There were no editorials for issues #32 to #43. Instead short stories frequently featured along with a number of contentious pro-smoking articles and an interview with the director of the Oregon Firearms Federation.
In total 44 issues were published. Issues #1 - #9, #20, #31 and #44 consisted of eight A5 pages. Issues #10 - #19, #21 - #30 and #32 - #43 had four A5 pages.
The final issue of Analogue Bubblebath, #44, hit the streets on 29 July 2000. The front page featured an identical sketch (man reading newspaper) to the one that appeared on the first issue. The back page consisted of the lyrics to PIL's Public Image. The closing editorial had the following comment on freesheet publication:
'It's not difficult to write a freesheet. What is hard is to continue writing one. To immerse oneself in the routine of deadlines, frequent late nights racking one's brain for new expressions to use when reviewing techno records and the trudge that is photocopying, folding and delivering the end product to the record shops. Sometimes you wonder why the hell you bother: does anybody care whether or not you'll get the issues out...'