Uncle Jam Wants You!
I was walking up the carriage of the London-Midland Lime Street to New Street looking for a spare Metro when a small magazine left on a table caught my beady eye. On the cover of ‘Jam’ was a photo of Liam Gallagher sporting his Mary Quant swede, so I grabbed it and flicked through what I assumed was yet another freebie listings mag. But no, on further inspection ‘Jam’ is infact the News of The World’s special issue ‘men’s magazine’ boasting cover headlines such as….
‘razor sharp style you can afford shock’
‘how to date famous chicks’
‘the world’s deadliest gangs’
‘behind the lines with the renegade doctors’
On the other side of the cover under a strapline that boasted ‘we’ve got a better line-up than Glasto…’ were further recommendations;
Marco Pierre White…on food
Johnny Vaughan….on gadgets
Bobby Gillespie….on music
Brian Cox…..on space
Amir Khan….on fitness
Jay Kay…..on cars
John Lydon…..on whatever he wants
Charlie Sheen….on crack? No, that would be irresponsible. It’s as if the train had gone through a time tunnel and we’d retruned to the mid-90s because evidently the people behind Jam, those turned on hipsters at the NOTW still believe Liam Gallagher is a sellable cover star and men’s magazines are still mired in the Loaded tradition. Not being a News of The World reader, perhaps Jam isn’t aimed at me anyway but somehow I doubt even the most retarded ‘new lad’ nugget is gonna get much from this pile of shite.
Johnny Vaughan telling you how the Monster Beats Pro headphones by Dr Dre are a five star alternative to the three star Sennheiser HD438 ? Jay Kay’s £5million worth of motors? I wanna be Jay Kay, he’s soooo cool and Johnny Vaughan is a lad’s lad, he wears a kagool to work and eats bacon butties just like a real lad. Tell me more about how to be a lad Jam magazine! Marco tell me how to make fillet steak provencale, T4 presenter Rick Edwards let me know how much you love kebabs, Eilza Doolittle explain why you’re a gooner, Brian Cox OBE just go over what happens to a star once it dies one more time, this science stuff blows my tiny mind.
OK, why get so worked up about a free men’s mag in a shite Murdoch rag? It’s not the dated format and content of Jam so much as the lack of decent alternatives these days. I still keep copies of the first issues of Arena in safe keeping…OK, in a box in the shed and still hanker for the days when even the flawed but enjoyable Loaded first kicked a hole intop the staid world of GQ, Esquire, L’Uomo Vogue and yes Arena too by the mid-90s. Look at any of these mags today or even the likes of Loaded and Front and all those other tedious tits n’ arse mags and it’s pitiful to see what the men’s magazine market has degenerated to.
The internet ofcourse has played its part in this decline so it’s interesting to see James Brown attempting a cyber-mag at Sabotage Times based on a syndication model that I doubt will offset any set-up or ongoing costs. Then there’s Anthony Teasdale’s more ambitious ‘Umbrella’ website (www.umbrellamagazine.co.uk) offering a middle ground between GQ/Esquire and the Monocle/ Idler/Chap and ridiculous fashion, food and furniture titles.
We began Swine almost six years ago and whilst realising that the world of men’s interest mags would never be the same as before, the internet has proved a rather poor substitute to good old ink stains on yer kecks. Perhaps in these days of free cover price mags used as glorified advertorials, Jam is the best we can expect.
The cover read