The original new-lad mag, Loaded, has its 50th edition this month
and uses it as an excuse for celebration. As the editor’s letter says,
Loaded has become a ’great British institution’ and it has been
flattered by a host of imitators in the burgeoning men’s magazine
sector. But why the need to celebrate?
Could it be because FHM has (excuse the pun) outstripped Loaded’s
When I last picked up a copy of Loaded, my unease at buying a title that
looked almost top-shelf was confirmed when my girlfriend took the piss.
When James Brown quit as editor last year, his replacement, Derek
Harbinger, gave Loaded a more intelligent profile in an attempt to shed
its tits-and-arse image.
The result, if this issue is anything to go by, seems to be more oddball
than sleazy, with a less than hysterical pop history of the Roman
Empire, a hilarious interview with Status Quo, profiles of the
Sunderland manager, Peter Reid, (’he is writhing in agony, as though
someone had stuffed a cactus up his arse’ ... mmm) and the criminal,
Ronnie Knight, and a feature on alien abduction (yawn).
Loaded’s love affair with men behaving badly is more nerdy than laddish.
The contrast with its arch-rival, FHM, is stark: despite a lack of
personality, FHM is more wholesome and aspirational than Loaded. While
Loaded says, ’fuck it, let’s party’, FHM shows you how to write a novel
in between surfing, pot-holing and being an expert lover. But if FHM is
aimed at a marketing man’s idea of a nine-to-five meathead and Loaded at
train-spotting student types, where does that leave us sport and