Thursday, 10 January 2008

Glad Mags And The Sad Rags

I've been invited to contribute to Shades of Caruso by Admiral Neck and Canyon, and I thought I'd post a few brief words about what I'm going to be doing here. Apart from hanging around making the place look untidy etc and so on.

I used to read a lot of magazines. I had a subscription to Empire for ten years, I bought Melody Maker faithfully every week in my late teens and early twenties, and I would regularly read other titles such as FHM, Total Film, NME, Neon, GQ -- pretty much anything culture-related, really.

In the late 1990s I began working in the magazine industry and some time later I realised that, apart from the title I worked on, I didn't read a single mag any more. Some of my previous favourites had folded, some had just gone rubbish, but there were still plenty of mags on the shelves -- surely at least one of them should be of interest to me? After all, I still consumed a great deal of cultural material, and the magazines still covered that material. But I rarely found anything to induce me to buy.

There are all sorts of reasons for this, of course -- the main one being the rise and rise of this here interweb, which is increasingly the first port of call (for news, reviews and suchlike) for the sort of people who used to be magazine readers. Apart from that, working in magazines has inevitably made me more knowledgeable and, yes, cynical about the medium and the reasons for its existence. Also, while it would be facile to say, "Oh, I read a magazine all day at work, I don't want to read them in my spare time", I do find it hard to read them without scouring the pages for mistakes or imagining how I might have done something differently.

So I'm putting that hyper-critical eye to semi-productive use -- hence my appearance on this blog. I'll take an issue of a random carefully chosen magazine and "review" it, analysing what it's doing right and wrong, whether it's serving its desired audience or not, and what it's doing to stave off the apparently unavoidable obsolescence that awaits traditional paper-based magazines. Especially what it's doing wrong, naturally, because that'll be funnier.

Oh, I also hope to annoy Admiral Neck on occasion by posting things that have a vague and tenuous connection to something or someone that he hates, such as the title of this post.

1 comment:

Admiral Neck said...

Welcome, new poster man. Ah, Neon. Best magazine ever printed, and sorely missed. On the Wikipedia page you linked to it mentioned their What's your favourite Chevy Chase movie? feature. I loved that. Most people plumped for either Caddyshack or Fletch, but the best was when they asked John Carpenter, and he went on a rant, accusing them of being smartasses and defending Chase (who he had worked with on Memoirs of an Invisible Man). That was the month after they'd done a glowing feature about Carpenter. Nice.

Oh, and it's got to be Fletch, all the way.