Thursday, April 19, 2007

the state of the press

No, I'm not referring to the Irish notion of a press, that thing the rest of the world call a cupboard, I'm talking about the journalistic type. There's a glut of magazines here in Dublin purporting to be some kind of press. I'm not talking about the business of broadsheet/tabloid press, I'm talking about the musical/social variety. When I say the social variety I use the term very loosely. Excuse me for a moment whilst I mount my high-horse. Unfortunately I strayed into the peculiar world of Irish social journalism recently. The story begins a couple of weeks ago...............................

Cue mysterious music and some dry ice

I chanced upon a copy of Image magazine on my kitchen table. My wife, being of the fairer sex, is wont to read such magazines. It purports to be some kind of fashion and style magazine for the discerning Irish woman. I wouldn't ususally dabble in these things but my eyes were drawn to an article entitled 'The boys are back in town'. Rather than the expected Thin Lizzy article this particular feature endeavoured to 'profile Ireland’s 60 brightest male sparks under 35.' I read on with interest and came across a number of chaps I've met over the years here that include, Arveene, Hugh Scully and the Bodytonic chaps. What a shower of blaggers I thought to myself! Ah well, it's Dublin, it's small. Maybe they were making up the numbers? Most surprising was the inclusion of the Mongrel pack. These guys manage to bring out a free stylised social/musical monthly, printed on high quality paper but stuffed full of low quality journalism. The fuckers must have money to burn. It does manage to do a decent feature every now and again but its probably some mistake on the part of one of their typesetters. In their defence, the magazine is free, but free does not always equal good. The former editor of The Slate said it was better but I'm convinced he was just trying to be nice.

The folks in Hot Press have the gall to charge people for what is usually a hybrid of the Big Issue and the now free In Dublin. If you want to pay €3.50 to read last months news next week then this is the one for you. In fairness, their typing and spelling is probably better than mine.

Always wanting to end on a positive note, there is one free social/music magazine doing the rounds of Dublin that I always like to pick up. Totally Dublin (can't find their website) features some simple honest writing and the odd quirky 'Top 5' feature. It appears that the thing is put together by some Swedes that are living here in Dublin but, as the Soundtracks Blog points out, they do seem to read Candy Culture for inspiration.

I mentioned Candy Culture in this post a few weeks back and I have not checked out if there's been a new edition since. As such I'll take my leave and head over there now. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu.


mp3hugger said...

Fair play to ya, agreed with every word, especially the sentiments on Hot Press. It is laughable. I enjoy John Meagher in the Night & Day section of the indo on Friday (pity the rest of the paper is near worthless). The Ticket can be good also.

Matt Vinyl said...

It's funny. As soon as I'd written the post criticising most of the stuff I felt a pang of guilt. At least they're trying. There's some young fella leaving his freezine into Road Records recently. it's handwritten and photocopied and has no content of interest but i still have to admire the kid for trying. It's reminiscent of many shit freezines around in the eighties except its worse. Apparently all his friends have told him its shit so it must be a labour of love on his part. Bless him.

antrophe said...

Agree with you one hundred percent about the state of the Dublin free press. I've recently moved over to Toronto for a wee bit and the sheer torrent of free papers with quality coverage is pretty amazing, I guess its to be expected given the size of the city. But it's certainly pleasurable to see something like Eye Weekly (see: ) scattered all over the bus seats as opposed to Metro and the occasional copy of Mongrel. Its incredibly tight circles of people involved in this sort of thing usually and eventually they run dry of ideas and circle jerking the people around them. Same as yourself, Totally Dublin seems to do the best job of it in Dublin at the moment alright. Mongrel Magazine really is just a second rate version of Vice magazine with the wit sucked out of it and about one interesting feature a year, I'm constantly disappointed by it - it could do so much better.

Matt Vinyl said...

I don't want to rain on any of their parades but i would agree that Mongrel has the most potential of them all. Maybe that's why I get so pissed off when its shit. They're underachieving.