MEDIA TALK: AN EXPERT’S VIEW - The hype is deafening but the execution lets it down, Paul Woolmington argues

That familiar British export is at it again. From her go-go days at Tatler to her now infamous turn at the helm of The New Yorker, Tina Brown has finally produced a magazine she can call her own.

That familiar British export is at it again. From her go-go days at

Tatler to her now infamous turn at the helm of The New Yorker, Tina

Brown has finally produced a magazine she can call her own.



Over the past few months in New York, the buzz surrounding Talk has been

deafening, with the editor as famous as the people she profiles. The

rumour that Hillary Clinton would be on the cover of the first issue and

that she would announce her candidacy for the Senate merely fuelled the

hype.



So, of course, the launch issue would be a sell-out and a smash. And, of

course, advertisers were smart to buy space in the issue, despite the

fact that Talk’s salesforce demanded four extra buys over the next

year.



Even if Talk turned out to be a dud, these white-hot coat-tails would be

worth riding for the foreseeable future.



This reader, however, doesn’t like a lot of things in Talk. Too many

fonts, too many text boxes on one page and too many words.



For example, ’The conversation’ at the front of the book is a rip-off of

The New Yorker’s ’The talk of the town’. Except that the latter offers a

clean and neat three-story amuse-gueule, whereas Talk has five unruly

article-ettes written by juvenile nom-de-Tina’s such as Vox Talkuli.



This verbosity wouldn’t be a problem if the stories were more

punchy.



Instead, reading them was a bit like trudging through the fourth chapter

of Ulysses. But, as the features begin, some humour slips in -

especially the hysterical spread on Rupert Everett as a bisexual 007.

And the faux letters-to-the-editor that Chris Buckley squeezes in on the

penultimate editorial page had this reader in stitches.



So, perhaps, the hype wasn’t delivered on - that would have been near

impossible (although the Peter Beard photos came pretty damn close). But

the vital signs are there. If Talk finds its legs by the sixth issue and

really does collide the world of low-brow wrestle-mania with high-brow

Martin Amis-style ’I don’t like dad’ articles, Brown could fill a niche

that we media junkies didn’t know existed. Fingers crossed.



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