The Loneliest Jukebox

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Michael Jackson and the Half-Baked Prints

As a journalism tutor, I seldom want to see publications closing down. After all, they could well employ my graduates. Conversely, fewer newspapers and magazines might - and only might - deter vocationally minded applicants from signing up for a course.

I'm not unsympathetic to fears that magazines are becoming obselete: why be locked into a monthly production cycle when the internet helps you to keep up with changing events? Accordingly, I will forgive the August 2009 issue of Red for this: "If ever proof was needed that they don't make pop stars like they used to, then the frenzy over Michael Jackson's 50-show residency at London's O2 Arena is it ... If you're lucky enough to have tickets, get ready for a show that will go down in history" (p.109). Quite.

In all fairness to Red, it went to press before certain recent events. The same excuses for crappy content can't be used by wfm - note the trendy lower case - house rag of Waltham Forest council. Public funds are used to promote the local authority's interminable campaign against anti-social behaviour. The 6 July issue revels in an ASBO issued to Mr Minghua Wang, who will be prosecuted if found "having in his possession more than two DVDs or CDs in any public place in Greater London within the M25 perimeter" (p.4). No more boxed sets for you, sonny! Of course, the legal quibble that carrying three or more DVDs is NOT an offence can be overcome by attaching criminal penalties to same act. This is nothing to celebrate, and the council bringing The Men They Couldn't Hang - but presumably could still ASBO - to town does not excuse its ad-hoc lawmaking.

The good news is that this story appeared in the final issue of wfm. The bad news is that this miserable greentop tabloid will be replaced with "Waltham Forest News" from tomorrow - retro font, and probably more of the same authoritarian content.

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