Now, being in a gigging band myself (keep reading, I won't go on
about it - I promise), I have spent years reading the music press hoping
to get some sort of glimmer of how those who have made it, made it.
In short, I read them all, including the ones now long dead. But as the
years are advancing (on getting this assignment, my editor proclaimed:
"You've got this one Jezza. You're an old rocker, aren't you?"
Charming.) and as I scour Top of the Pops in the vain hope of seeing
anyone who looks older than me, I find that the only magazine I keep
going back to is the warm blanket that is Q.
This month sees Q's 15th birthday. Not a bad run, that - and it is still
very much the same as it always was. Some would argue that a redesign is
way overdue and, indeed, the next edition will launch the revamped Q.
You could also argue that if it ain't broke, don't fix it - but this
response normally only gets trotted out if the new design is generally
viewed as a catastrophic error.
I'll wait and see before passing judgment - but they promise a smaller
size, which worryingly smacks of the new craze sweeping the land of
women's magazines. Oh dear.
The birthday bonanza includes a huge feature listing the top 50 albums
released since Q started churning out the reviews. The nice thing about
this feature is that the staff have seen fit to hold their hands up and
show us what they wrote about the albums when they came out. Very
amusing when you see that Q gave Travis only two stars for The Man Who -
right before the world and his wife went out and bought it anyway. But
most of the time they were right on the money.
The list is punctuated with interviews with the likes of Paul Weller,
Chuck D and Moby and other entertaining little pieces such as a review
of infamous rock star shindigs.
There were shed-loads of advertisers, as you would expect for such a
landmark issue, but those who took the prime spots include EMI, Channel
4, Bose, Nokia and Radio 2 - yes, I said Radio 2.
My main gripe is that the front cover lauds this month's issue as being
a "collector's edition". If this is the case, then I would expect to see
something a little more different than the usual fare with a special
feature - we don't even get a covermount. Rather than celebrating this
milestone with a bang befitting the raucous music industry it covers,
the magazine hits 15 with the same measured reserve you would expect
from your mum's 50th.
I eagerly await seeing what the new editor, Danny Eccleston, has done to
my Q now he's got his grubby little paws on it - but for now, I'll take
one last wistful look at the "old" format. It doesn't look nearly as
tired as I do.
Publisher: Emap Performance
Full-page ad rate: £8,800
Advertisers in October issue include: Apple, EMI, Ford, Woolworths,
Marlboro, Peugeot, Jack Daniel's