diamond geezer

 Friday, March 26, 2004

At your (London) newsagent today

Two new-ish capital-based periodicals hit the streets of London this morning. The first of these is edition number 3 of my favourite London magazine - Smoke. It's a sort of local fanzine, or 'a london peculiar' as the strapline has it. This quirky labour of love is published quarterly, featuring 'words, photos, cartoons and graphic art inspired by the city'. Look, there's even a tube station on the cover. In Smoke 3 we're promised London's busiest phone box, IKEA, Temple Bar, the BT Tower, flying into Gatwick, Burgess Park, Tyburn Kickit, New Cross Gate, another bus of the month, Squeeze, skyscrapers, the Grand Union Canal, Battersea Power Station and even a very local chunk about Bromley-by-Bow. Full tasters here. It's testimony to the success of the magazine that edition three is going to be available from an extensive list of stockists, rather than the three or so bookshops that sold the first one. Also available via mail order, for those of you outside the M25. I shall be spending two quid on my hot-off-the-press green 'un later today, and adoring it soon afterwards. Do join me.

The second capital-based periodical to hit the shops today is rather different. It's edition number 2 of the London News Review, a weekly newspaper-type-product brought to you by the same people who produce The Friday Thing, London by London, and the long-established LNR website. The print version was first launched at the party that me and Dave Gorman attended back in February, remember? It costs a quid for 12 pages and is also available by mail order. I finally tracked down a real copy of edition 1 earlier this week, lurking in a plastic wrapper at the foot of the escalator in Borders in Oxford Street. Was it worth the money? Here's my London News Review review:

London? Ah, now there's a slight trades description problem here. The London News Review isn't actually very 'London'. Only two pages out of 12 are specifically about the capital, one of which is an interview with Mayoral-hopeful Simon Hughes. Then there's a London Diary cadged from the weekly London by London e-mailout, and a witty column by the marvellous Richard Herring about travelcards, but lifted direct from Richard's (excellent) blog. Not London enough, overall, for my tastes.
News? Ah, and there's also a slight news problem here. This is not a newspaper in any traditional sense of the word, so the news content is more like political commentary on national and international affairs. This means articles about Blair and terrorism, Blair and Bush, more terrorism, more Bush, Iraq, more Bush, more Iraq, and a cartoon about the American presidential elections. I'm sure this is some people's idea of news (I mean, there are plenty of one-track yawn-inducing politics-obsessed blogs out there) but it's not mine.
Review? Ah, a bit more successful here, with an eclectic two-page spread of music, TV, film, art and book reviews. This is more like it, but sorry editors, it's not enough to get me subscribing. Looks like I'll just have to carry on being a heavy Smoker instead.

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