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Let Alan Connor guide you through the current glut of music mags.
16 April 2003
Really? Are you sure? Even to extent of doing Tom Swifties and sharing unverified tall tales?
Has anyone noticed the increasing resemblance between the big-selling music mags and the Golden Era Of Ironic Porn of the mid-'90s? You remember! Those charmed days when you didn't have to go through the ignominy and paper-bag kerfuffle of getting an actual Knave if you -- hungover, or horny or ditched or whatever -- needed to quickly cop an eyeful of some women demeaning themselves for your tumescent impulses?
Well, fear not! Even now that the Lad Mags no longer make you seem erudite and cutting-edge, you can buy publications - buy them in Waitrose and everything - which make you look like a music fan but which are in fact brimming with LESSIES SNOGGING and NIPS TEETERING OVER BARELY-THERE BRAS and, frankly, SLUTS. Spam has nothing on the current smut you can get in Q and the NME.
The NME is going for more of a paedobrand: asking us to imagine Avril Lavigne taking a spanking on her bare teenage arse before being photographed for their pull-out poster, say, or sneaky out-of-focus dirty-mac shots of the t.A.T.u. teens getting pissed and horny at Lena's birthday party. Everyone at TFT is looking forward to their "coverage" of t.A.T.u.'s 'mass naked teenage photo shoot' -- though surely the Dailies Mail and Express will be leading that particular full-colour outrage.
Q, as befits a classier journal of record, has lately let Courtney Love get drunk and photographed her vagina (for the record), as well as honing their craft of making Lotsa Funny Comments about the knockers of any female star they've got photographs of.
How-ev-ah, there are some, possibly those who buy music mags for the music, who find that the publishers' desperate pursual of priapic teen gets in the way of the music. And those may be the same who, distressed with Mojo's new out-of-5 system, or Wire's too-small-typefaces, or Jockey Slut's incessant bullshit, who may have been tempted to investigate the new slurry of music mags.
But how to choose? And how to afford it? Taking 'em from WHSmiths and leaving 20-odd-pence in the big tub is one solution, but not sustainable. And so, as another public service, TFT presents to you the Choose Your Own Best Non-Q Music Mag of 2003-O-Matic. Just follow through the questions and let TFT do the choosing.
- Your music taste. Are you into Parental Music? Radio 2 kinda thing?
- Yeah, I love Elvis Costello: go to 2
- Well, not exclusively: go to 7
- Do you actually enjoy listening to music, or do you prefer lists, jokes and nudging references?
- "Did you know that Mike Monkee Nesmith's mom invented Tipp-Ex?": go to 3
- It's more about the songwriting, man: go to 5
Congratulations! You have chosen The Rocking Vicar's newsletter. Go via the Vicar's site (even the name is a reference!) and subscribe to the print version. You will be sharing sneery comments about Busted's lyrics with a like-minded bunch of old-timers within weeks. Try and get them back onto the music and off the puns, willya?
Are you so out-of-the-loop that you don't mind if the magazine reviews product that is a few weeks old (ie, horrifyingly stale)?
- "Britney Spears is an anagram of Presbyterians": go to 4
- Actually, that does sound kind irksome: go to 5
Congratulations! You have chosen Word. You get well-chosen interviewees and longish features, with a healthy distance from fads and innovations like rap. Beware, though, their 21st Century Classics supplements, where they big-up friends of the editors like Neil Stevenson of Popbitch and contributors like Antony Beevor.
Do you like industry lapdogs, or do friends come to your home, look at your CDs and say "I haven't even heard of most of these people"?
- No, gimme a couple hundred reviews in each issue: stick with good ol' Mojo
- Look, I told you it was all about the music: go to 6
Okay, quick question. Do you tend more towards the O Brother Where Art Thou? rootsiness, or more of a rockist sound?
- Far from it - Girls Aloud are actually Classic Pop: go to 11
- Now you mention it, I prefer artists with parentheses in their names, and limited edition 10"s: go to 8
Congratulations! You have chosen Careless Talk Costs Lives. The ex-NMEer who 'invented' grunge has made a new magazine where the interviewers massage the hairy subjects. Scour your town for the next twelve months and, after bewildered looks, you might just find a newsagent with a copy. In the meantime, there's always the site.
Congratulations! You have chosen Comes With A Smile, the small-but-perfectly-formed guide to People With Guitars Singing Great Songs. You no fool, for you get a CD of super new sounds you know, and some you don't.
Okay, so are we talking about good honest lapdogs singing and dancing for the benefit of their producers and managers, or lapdogs who pretend that they're any different just 'cause they play a goddamned guitar?
- Indie taught me to broaden my ears: go to 9
- People think country music is reactionary, but have you heard Lambchop?: go to 10
Are you more of a Quality Rock afficianado, or the kinda guy who would react to the phrase 'Indie's Not Dead' with a quizzical eyebrow and puzzlement as to who whoever said it was?
- Guitars are proper music by proper blokes: go to 12
- I still keep up with Eurovision: go to 15
Congratulations! You have chosen X-Ray. You get free CDs, with special tracks of Flaming Lips covers and suchlike from sessions for the magazine's paymasters at Xfm, just down the dial from the astonishing ResonanceFM.
Congratulations! You have chosen Bang. Support these dudes beyond their one-pound-issue-one giveaway, for they will soon learn that their sub-Onion comedy feature The Poke is execrable, and that crossing out the band names is not a smart typographical coup. They will give us more of Uwen MacIntosh (Keith from The Office) and they will get better advertisers than Shocking Tee Shirts and themselves.
Do you keep up with the charts assiduously, even though you act like - and know in your heart of hearts - that you are better than that?
- I grew up with the Chili Peppers and I shall grow dull with them: go to 13
- "Quality" Rock? Have you not heard of the New Rock Revolution?: go to 14
Really? You really go for that Popbitchy approach of knowing too much about things you don't actually like?
- Did you see what she was wearing?: go to 16.
- I'm not shameless, if that's what you mean: good for you. Read No Rock & Roll Fun every day.
Congratulations! You have chosen Popjustice. It hasn't actually been published yet. But an outfit which - illegally - offers you the chance to swap duff CDs with strangers can be forgiven for banging on about One True Voice at such length. Get Issue One as an investment for your grandchildren.
You shouldn't be reading this one. You have cheated.
- I think you misunderstand; I have a genuine passion for this pap: there's always Smash Hits
- Well, duh: go to 17
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