Friday, 17 February 2012

Why I miss Loaded magazine and the market for totty flakes


One day in 1994 I was travelling by train. The destination escapes me but I’m certain it was a pub. I was browsing the magazine racks but nothing seemed aimed at me. Then I noticed a new magazine, had a quick flick through and bought it.

I read the magazine solidly for at least an hour. Here at last was something that spoke to me and people like me.

When people think of lads’ mags like Loaded they tend to think of tits, arse and banter. It wasn’t quite like that at the beginning. The front covers featured men not women. There were sexy photos but they were more realistic without the excess re-touching of modern times. For example, a famous Liz Hurley shoot showed up the Loaded team’s lack of air-brushing skills by showing her bikini line stubble. Sounds crude when you read it here but it made Ms Hurley seem more real.

There was also much more to Loaded than the babes.It was written by a team who abandoned all the rules. Even better, they were having a fantastic time. They got away with it because they were very talented. Loaded won the prestigious PPA Magazine Of The Year Award two years in succession.

The content was aimed at breaking the rules and having a good time and they rode a clever line between making the mundane experiences of life funny and covering more exotic activities. These ranged from insane parties like the Mardi Gras in New Orleans and the tomato throwing festival in Bunol in Spain; to tales of vengeance from the staff writer whose girlfriend was eaten by a shark. They showed that if you worked hard and took a few risks you could achieve great things (and get drunk).

The problem is that naked women sell products. The lads’ mags ruined their own party by depending on the lure of flesh. Look at the Loaded web site now and it is swathed with adverts for Television X and one of the lead articles is ’10 ways to sod the detox with Lacey Banghard’.

This lure is in the male genes/jeans . My four year old son gazes at the Special K woman while he eats his cereal. When he was a toddler he showed impeccable taste by saying ‘Yum’ when he saw a photo of Kirsty Gallagher in a weekend magazine. He saw another photo of her when he was four and he nudged me and said, “Daddy, isn’t she pretty?”

We could put the foxy ladies on to cereal packets instead. They could contain ultra-healthy cereal and men and boys would eat it. Someone wholesome and healthy like Kirsty Gallagher would do the trick. My son would definitely it eat it and I might have the occasional bowl too.

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