.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sunday, May 21, 2006


Happy And Sad At The Same Time

Yesterday in the mail I got two periodicals: the new issue of The Big Takeover and the latest redesign of Spin. While both are ostensibly about music, the two magazines couldn't be more different. The Big Takeover, a biannual put out by veteran rock and roller Jack Rabid, is 232 pages of wall-to-wall copy. The front of the book is loaded with editorials, reviews of live shows and short takes on various artists. The middle of the magazine features in-depth interviews with Franz Ferdinand, the Decemberists, Ivy, New York Dolls, Bob Geldof and others. Many interviews run so long Rabid splits them across issues. The back 85 pages are perhaps the best part of the magazine, filled with hundreds of record reviews by Rabid and a small group of contributing writers. They are obsessed with music, they love it, they know its history and they clearly assume you do too. This magazine makes me very happy.

Spin, on the other hand, is more hideous than ever--I'm not exaggerating at all when I say Spin has enthusiastically transformed itself into People magazine. The redesign is so throughly stupid I almost thought it was an ironic joke. But no, I think the new "Hot/Not" Barometer section is exactly what it looks like. Few articles are longer than a single paragraph, and most of those serve as captions for celebrity photography--Pete Doherty visits son! Meet our new sex columnist! Worst of all are all the "Spin Out" pages throughout the magazine devoted to partying. We're treated to a full spread of Parker Posey's party pictures. A spread of 19-year-old loser club-goers (typical photo: white geek in horn rims and hoodie flashing gang signs) answering the question "What kind of musical instrument would you be?" Six pages of blurbs about heavy metal karaoke bars in Atlanta, dance clubs in San Diego--loaded with pictures of stupid people getting trashed and mugging for the camera. I suppose I'm just not part of Spin's target demographic, which, evidently, is fucking idiots. To say that this would make Bob Guccionne Jr. spin in his grave (were he dead) is an indication of just how awful this is. While it is true that there are now twice as many reviews, the deeper truth is that all but one of the reviews are 2 to 3 sentences in length. The editor-in-chief, Andy Pemberton, says in his Editor's Letter up front, "In preparation for summer, Spin has thrown off the cloak of conformity and donned the leopard-print Speedos of adventure...the all-new Spin is tan, lithe and sinewy...the new Spin is now buff, bold and ready to throw open the doors and go wherever the future leads. I do hope you'll slap on some SPF 45 and come join in the fun".

No, really, he actually wrote that shit and got it published in a national magazine. As for myself, based on this first issue, I hope Pemberton is someday tried for war crimes in the Hague. Spin magazine makes me very sad.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?