How the Internet Killed Magazines

Back in the 80’s, every second Saturday I would nag my Mum for my pocket-money, the grand sum of two dollars. I would get dressed and make my way up to the shops. I then would hightail it into the newsagency and put my paws on a freshly printed, brand spanking new copy of the best thing in the world.

Smash Hits was my world. I would devour it from cover to cover, reading articles over and over again, making sure I was completely up to date with my music, bands and singers. It is the ONLY reason I have retained my place on the Trivia Team in the past few years. My knowledge of 80’s music is extensive. I am kind of a female Glenn A Baker if you will. And if you do not know who Glenn A Baker is, please remove yourself from this blog immediately.

Smash Hits was first published in Australia in 1984 and was warmly received. It went on to become the biggest selling pop magazine and was in print for 23 years, when the internet came along and ruined everything. Well, not everything but it just meant that we didn’t need to wait for our “content” anymore and we didn’t need to pay for it either.

Growing up, magazines were very important for a young lass. You would start out with Smash Hits and then move onto Dolly.

Dolly was important because you got to learn about discharge, diets and David Hasselhoff. Models were models and not “celebrities” and they were all painstakingly beautiful. Then, as you got to about fifteen, and if your Mum was ok with it, you traded up to Cleo.

Cleo is where you really learnt about sex. And for a very long time there used to be a male centerfold so you could actually see a near nude celebrity fella covering up his Jolly Roger, with a COME HITHER look in his eyes, which can sometimes be quite confronting for a young lady’s eye. I am DYING to know whether it is my fate to be fat!

And then. there was the Bible which is still around today.

You were still learning about sex, while judging what other people were doing in the sack. You didn’t need to worry about dieting because you can now just have your fat sucked out and just what the fuck is a star book?

While all the other titles have gone to the great mulcher in the sky, Cosmo lives on, largely on its digital platform. In the editors’ words….

“Cosmopolitan inspires a new generation of young women, starting conversations and pressing the issues that matter to her. Curating her wardrobe, championing great sex and encouraging her to shop, laugh, think, love and dream, Cosmopolitan propels her into the future as the best version of herself.”

Now, I don’t mean to be pessimistic, but have you ever heard such horse-shit in your life? Do their target market (18-35 year olds) really believe this to be true? Do you really need a magazine to champion your sex life?

After 35 you are supposed to be sensible and start reading Women’s Weekly, and as you age further you start buying Take 5 and That’s Life, which interestingly enough are the two of the biggest selling magazine titles today. The editor of Take 5 describes the magazine…

“Take 5 is about real people telling each other their true stories of hope, tragedy, overcoming the odds and finding love. It also gives them the chance to dream about winning awesome puzzle prizes.”

That last sentence is in bold because I read it ten times then had to go and have a wee.

Now the reason that I chose to write about this today was because of something that I saw on Facebook. A Magazine called YOURS has folded. The editor describes the magazine as…

“How nice to finally reach that happy place – where just being you is pure, exhilarating joy.”

Which is all very nice until they closed the title which was not the saddest part, but this message left on their FB page just about did me in. (And yes, I am very weepy at the moment due to hormone fluctuations…)

I WARNED YOU! Pass the tissues please.

You cannot hold a computer in your hands and sniff the pages. You cannot rip out recipes and stick them on the fridge. Yes, content is content and most of it is bullshit, but the good old days of magazines, knowing who the writers were, farewelling and welcoming new editors and putting posters on your wall, well those days are well and truly gone. Do you miss them?

What was your favourite magazine when you were growing up?

Do you still buy magazines? Which ones?