Friday, November 24, 2006

Ten thoughts on... magazines

I work in the world of magazines and have always absorbed the look and feel of the glossy printed word. More enduring than a newspaper and more lovingly produced, they reflect such a vibrant world and aim squarely at a reader's prime passion.

At various stages of my life there has been a magazine that has defined and shaped my world. Times move on, I change, the title changes, the world changes. My passion for magazines never does. This list even has some terrible ommissions. But as with so many other things, this is my truth, tell me yours...

Shoot - Mid to late 1970s - There was NEVER anything about Blackburn Rovers, but I was utterly absorbed by Shoot, pre-match meals, Kevin Keegan's column, Focus On... is still a great device in a profile.

Just Seventeen - My younger sister used to get this, but I read it cover to cover. Great celeb interviews, problem pages, crosswords and a busy layout on the early pages. My excuse is I went to an all boys school so this helped me to understand women. Yeah, right.

NME - For me it had two genuinely golden eras, 1984 and 1989. The first was all about music after the arse had fallen out of my world when The Jam split up: Smiths, U2 and Billy Bragg. The second was how pop met dance music. Electric stuff. Stuart Maconie, we salute you (still).

Off the Ball - I believed in this pioneering football fanzine so much I used to sell it around the campus at Manchester University. It was funny, punchy and more than anything else it was about football when the game was at its lowest ebb. I think it had the edge over When Saturday Comes at the time, but the guys behind it had other fish to fry. Always brings a smile to my face when I hear Adrian Goldberg on the radio. Top chap.

Arena - When Arena launched in 1986 we were students who dressed like Italian football hooligans, but we were growing up as well and realising that the big wide world was waiting. Cover stars were blokes too. It's launch formed the basis for my final year dissertation which missed getting a first because my approach was "journalistic". Thanks for the career tip. It's absolute rubbish now. Never buy it.

Mondo 2000 - An obscure American technology magazine that was way ahead of its time. In 1989 it contained some awesome writing about media, technology and popular culture. Wired, which followed, was tired in comparison. A mention of it in a job interview got me a job and kept me excited about writing on technology for ten years.

90 Minutes - The post-fanzine football magazine written by cheery music journalists in their 20s. Brilliant and irreverant, but good with the news too. From 1993 to 1995 Rovers featured rather a lot. Since folded.

Loaded - Never has a magazine captured the zeitgeist like the first two years of Loaded under James Brown, Tim Southwell and Martin Deeson. You felt like you were part of the gang that were having the best time of their lives. It's absolute rubbish now. Never buy it.

Brill's Content - Another obscure American title that rekindled my faith in journalism and debates about accuracy and fairness. Terrific design, great paper stock, non-standard size, powerful interviews. Since folded.

Private Eye - I have never missed an issue in 17 years. Absolutely love it and look forward to it every fortnight. Schoolboy humour, dense investigative journalism, vicious satire. Superb.

1 comment:

Truc on Rovers said...

Got my cup of tea and cheese sandwich to sit and read this but was horrified that there is no mention of the lovingly produced Rovers fanzine, Many Miles From Home. Not groundbreaking perhaps but have you ever had to apply lipstick in order to get the final print run out of the door?