MEDIA: VIZ - AN EXPERT'S VIEW. Viz may have a new look but its content is unchanged and still as good, Nick McElwee reports

If the upper classes have The Lady and Horse & Hound, why can't the

working classes have Viz, that pamphlet of unmodified smut? But just as

pornography is a middle-class invention (the upper classes don't

masturbate and the working classes don't think of anything when they

do), Viz feels like nothing but a well-branded middle-class advertising

medium that fills a gap on newsagents' shelves between Razzle and

Computer Weekly.

There's a market for this sort of stuff and don't the publishers know

it. You know exactly who it is that buys this rag too. They're people

who find wind-up calls funny - you know, where you get your mate to call

a supposedly innocent number but it turns out to be Mrs Davenport, the

stammering caller, or a "Madam's services unpaid" phone line.

They're the sort of people who are obsessed with mobile phone

screen-savers and ring tones, desperate to see a bouncing pair of

pixilated tits wobble in the window of their mobile phone (where

normally Vodafone or whatever goes) to the tune of Danger Mouse when

they get a call from their mum. How we laughed.

But then you're at the train station on your way somewhere and you pick

it up. You fancy a trip down University Lane. Doesn't it suck you


And not only funny, doesn't it make absolute sense to wonder why, if

heat rises, the top of Mount Everest is so f**king cold? Doesn't it make

absolute sense to suggest to the manufacturer of Dulux "Once" that the

word it should actually use is "Twice"? And before you know it you've

crashed through Eight Ace, Cockney Wanker, Nobby's Piles and Melinda

Text-Messenger and it's pure comic genius.

It doesn't seem to matter that it's now owned by a mainstream publisher

and is no longer being handed out in smokey Tyneside boozas by two

quick-witted, self-effacing brothers.

But the new glossy format does allow Viz to attract some more

illustrious advertisers than before - Nintendo has full-colour ads on

the inside front and back covers.

While there is a limit to how long and hard (is this Viz innuendo

getting to you too?) you can laugh at a three-line penis, it's a very

busy man or woman* who doesn't have room for a little bit of puerile

toilet humour in their life at least once every two months (*you see, I

noticed that 21 per cent of its readers were women in its informative

and organised website ratecard).

By the way, issue 110 of Viz marks its 20th year and sees the new,

glossy, different-sized format. Its relaunch has been much heralded, but

if you are in the media business you probably know this already.

Publisher: I Feel Good

Frequency: Bi-monthly

Price: £1.95

Circulation: 200,830

Full-page ad rate: £7,500

Advertisers include: Nintendo, Embassy, Crosse & Blackwell, Rizla,

United International Pictures


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