MEDIA: VIVE: AN EXPERT'S VIEW - Laura James wonders whether Vive, a magazine for divorcees, is a publishing concept too far

Vive lands on my desk boldly claiming that 'there is life after marriage'. Judging by the scary front cover, I'm not so sure. A bi-monthly from New Era Publishing (whose PR company is appropriately based in Bleeding Heart Yard), which promises to provide all you need to know about divorce.

The cover girl is a grinning, relaunched Vanessa Feltz (now the role model for the recently dumped) almost wearing some fake fur.

Very early on, I am faced with a serious bunch of contributing experts and then on to the inevitable celebrity bust-up section with the usual Hello! fodder and copious pictures of frisky Vanessa (and more fun fur) offering helpful hints for those faced with playing the dating lottery again. And I also read with interest that it's now possible to join a Sex in the City workshop. And then the fun stops.

First, I get guidance on how to tell if the relationship is really over and a Cosmopolitan-type quiz. Whether I answer mostly As or Bs is fine to find out if my boyfriend is a love rat or a saint, but seems hugely inappropriate for ending a marriage.

This is followed by a feature on the damage that divorce does to children no matter what age.

If the reader has managed to get this far and still wants a divorce, then Vive goes on to offer masses of useful and practical advice on the whole awful process. Features cover off pension entitlement, mediation, how to tell the children, how to have a civilised divorce, surviving Christmas (by now I'm really depressed), finding a good solicitor and a very comprehensive step-by-step guide complete with glossary.

Not surprisingly, there is a very limited range of advertisers and in the classified section at the back, the lonely-hearts ads are outnumbered only by the number of solicitors' ads.

Initial perceptions based on the front cover led me to expect the predictable glossy fare - loads of tips on how to reinvent myself, new clothes, new haircut etc - but Vive is actually a comprehensive and sombre guide to divorce.

It will be interesting to see how the content evolves with time as the first issue felt more like a one-off and covered so many of the areas that little was left out.

The fact that Vive has launched is a depressing statement - but as Britain has the highest divorce rate in Western Europe, there might just be a market - although I can't help thinking that a lot of this information could be found online. The publisher should get it bound on to wedding magazines. That will make people think twice.



Publisher: New Era Publishing

Frequency: Bi-monthly

Cover price: pounds 2.95

Print run: 100,000

Full-page colour ad: pounds 3,770

Advertisers include: Kalms, Montagne Jeunesse face masks, Dateline, CLEO, Sally Hansen.





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