Last week, I was asked by Campaign to write a review of Best
magazine. I had to confess that I had never heard of it.
After a bit of research, I established that it, along with Prima, was
acquired by the National Magazine Company in an audacious deal with the
German publisher Gruner & Jahr which sold its portfolio of UK titles for
an undisclosed sum last week.
My hunt for Best began in Soho and ended in West Hampstead. I spent
three days tracking it down. It was sold out absolutely everywhere. Good
news for the publisher, and with each newsagent my anticipation and
desire to experience the magazine that purports to be for ’women who
love life’ grew stronger.
When I did finally get my hands on it (for 62p), I was surprised to see
that the front cover was full of superdiets, health scandals, tales of
domestic horror involving a mother whose terror of her seven-year-old
son had reached biblical proportions, and tips on how to cover up one’s
Was this really the magazine for ’women who love life’?
As a great believer in living life to the full, I can honestly say that
diets have never featured strongly on my list of priorities. Nor the
antics of brat children or the woes of our ailing hospital system.
I’m also not sure how Best’s ’pro-life’ stance is supported by an
article that talks about mistakenly flushing a baby down the toilet!
Maybe the seven-year-old demon boy should be given to the
’baby-flusher’, then everyone could live life to the full.
Mind you, my interest was piqued when I saw a piece on entertaining the
children over the holidays.
Reading on, it transpired that this would entail dragging them around
National Trust properties, which, I have to say, has not worked well
when I have tried a similar strategy with the two children with whom I
spend much of my time. They would sooner nail their eyelids to a post
than watch a bunch of overweight yokels re-enacting the battle of
I arrive at a story about cosmetic surgery. Hannah wants bigger boobs.
Mum asks: ’Why does my daughter want to spend pounds 10,000 on looking
like a freak?’ All ends well with a picture of mum nuzzling Hannah’s
breasts. It’s a real tear-jerker.
Having gone through the various highlights of a strong food section and
an interesting travel section, I want to end on a high. Unfortunately,
the last thing I see as I exit the magazine is an ad for Aqua Ban, an
intriguing product that helps eliminate premenstrual bloat. Nice.
Publisher Gruner & Jahr
Full-page ad rate pounds 16,225
Advertisers include Wickes, Boots, Persil, Sainsbury’s, Whiskas, Pearl
Drops, Margaret Astor, Aqua Ban.