Thursday, October 15, 2009


If you live outside of London, then you won't be remotely interested in today's Shortlist magazine. Even if you do live in London you probably won't be interested either. But hey.

So if you're not aware of it, Shortlist is a weekly free men's 'lifestyle' magazine given away at Tube and train stations, and therefore by definition exceptionally irritating. It's just a piece of throwaway rubbish that imagines it's setting Britain's style agenda. The arrogance is breathtaking.

But it's just got worse. They've turned 100. And don't we know it.

Never one to hide its light under a bushel, today, as well as congratulating themselves even more than usual, the magazine is trumpeting yesterday's man Jonathan Ross as its guest editor. It's a publicity stunt and usually one that works well, so hats off for that. I've been on mags where we've done it ourselves. It just means the celeb in question comes into the office for a morning and has their picture taken with various staff members, poring over proofs, looking earnestly at computer screens while and art bod points something out, mock-demanding someone brings them coffee; you know the sort of thing.

But really, who cares? Don't we already know about his comic collection, and haven't we drawn a line under the Sachsgate thing because we're bored to tears of it? We've also got Ross's fave ties, Ross's fave Japanese food, and - yawn - his favourite films and more. It's all very predictable, and it's sweet he's lauded like he's still relevant. He used to be almost impossible to get for interviews but in his new spirit of humbleness he now needs to remind people he's still here. It must be so galling for him.

But that's not the worst of it. Shortlist has now become like Heat, or like the Chris Evans Radio 1 breakfast show at its nadir, in that it endlessly celebrates itself. I think when you imagine it's you who readers are most interested in, then it's time to check yourself into a Tibetan monastery for a long, hard think.

So we've got staff makeovers, staff favourite moments and endless pictures of the bloody staff. The fashion is hilarious. Made over by - gosh - River Island - there are moody shots of the creative director, the sales director and the fashion assistant, etc., all very staged and embarrassing and all very unnecessary. I laughed out loud.

So they should listen up. Stop celebrating yourselves. You are a freesheet that is instantly tossed aside. No one keeps you or remembers you (except for the bad things) and - conceit upon conceit - no one wants a special 'collectors' edition.


A Kitten in a Brandy Glass said...

I notice that a women's version, StyList (can you see what they did there?), has recently sprung up. Fortunately I have a decent amount of books to read on the tube at the moment, so I won't be tempted to glance at it and accidentally end up throttling someone in rage, because that is what exposure to women's magazines usually does to me.

LF Barfe said...

The amusing thing about 'collectors' editions' pf magazines (not that I'm counting this, er, thing as a proper magazine) are that they usually print up more and that more people keep them. It's the workaday editions that nobody kept that become more valuable, if they have any value at all.

Mondo said...

I've seen it but always ignored it - I'm almost tempted with a peep now..

Anonymous said...

"Just because it's free doesn't mean it's crap"

Five-Centres said...

I didn't say it was crap! It's actually nicely designed and has some features of interest. It's the smugness that brings it down, whoever you are.

Anonymous said...

Apologies, I stand corrected.

You are right, you didn't say it was "crap". You said it was "a piece of throwaway rubbish".

Five-Centres said...

And it is, in that it gets left on the Tube and then, well, thrown away - as rubbish.