It’s been a decade of considerable change. The thoroughly modern Mr
Blair and the Gallagher brothers aren’t representative of Harold
Wilson’s old guard but, instead, have become icons of the new, improved
Labour Party. We have also discovered food - from the ever so cool
couscous to the retro chic of prawn cocktail.
Baudrillard calls this ’the process of reversal’. A point at which
modernity has splintered into recurrence. The nearer the end we come,
the more we feel the need to perfect the past. I suppose it should come
as no surprise that the Modern Review has also undergone a
transmogrification and reappeared.
As we enter the ’post-Diana age’, the Modern Review promises it will
’address the nature of this modernity, its identity, its distinguishing
And all very worthy that sounds. Under the deluge of new titles,
pornography mascarading as new laddism and the proliferation of anal
lifestyle supplements, the Modern Review stands out as refreshing in an
old sort of way.
The model is similar to that of the New Yorker, featuring screen, book,
music, TV and media reviews, but the similarity ends there. The writing
is juicy and at times wonderfully savage. The launch issue offers a
controversial piece on Julie Burchill’s abortions. There’s ’Victoria’s
secret’ - not the latest US lingerie, but the suspect poshness of Posh
Spice. It looks at political difficulty and confusion over the
’muddle-nium’ dome. I speed read dozens of magazines every month for my
fix of pics and info, but the Modern Review’s restrained and uncluttered
art direction is calm and inviting. In fact it’s almost old fashioned.
How very modern.