Strapped to the back of your Christmas CRASH is the first ever issue of Newsfield’s newest magazine, LM. LLOYD MANGRAM has a look at his fellow conspirators and gives some inside info, PAUL STRANGE looks ahead to Issue One, and SIMON POULTER talks to the man behind it all, Roger Kean.
So there they were, gathered round the conference table at LM’s London HQ for the first-ever editorial chinwag. Issue Zero was in the inky hands of our printers in darkest Cumbria, and the LM team were desperately trying to think of things for Issue One.
But who are the members of the LM team? Some are familiar, many are new faces. At the top, in the hierarchical sense, are the three publishers. Franco Frey is the moneybags, has occasionally contributed to CRASH as technospert, knows how Apricots work and how to get them to talk to humans. Likes: Lauren Bacall, designing houses and fast, large American cars. Hates: dirt, unpunctuality and central heating installers. Being Swiss, he calls gravy ‘sauce’.
Oliver Frey is LM’s Art Editor, and is, of course, known for all those marvellous covers and illustrations that get people talking. Hobbies: old black and white Fred Astair movies, comics and champagne. Hates: airbrushes, cleaning brushes and tidy desks. He’s never heard of gravy.
Roger Kean is the man who’s done it all, so he’s just wonderful, and he signs my expenses sheets. He’s interviewed by Simon Poulter elsewhere on these pages, so no more on our Editor except to say that he makes fabulous gravy.
Then there’s myself, Lloyd Mangram, general dogsbody and person voted Most Sensible Man Of The Year by ex-Sinclair User staff. Hobbies: bicycling, gardening, taking photographs and writing letters. Hates: crowds, traffic and being photographed. What more can I say? Well I could always introduce the rest of the team — the ones who do the real work round here...
Strange by name, weird by nature. Paulie, Groucho or Slim, call him what you like, never tires of telling us where he’s coming from and what’s going down. It’s not just tummy that LM’s Dep Ed has tucked under his belt; he’s got bags and bags of experience. An unlikely outdoor type, Uncle Paul worked on The Field and Farmer’s Weekly before trading in his gumboats and shooting stick for a healthy dose of Sex and Flares and Rock’n’Roll on Melody Maker. Hobbies: collecting curries, flooding his kitchen, Soho cinemas, gravy, Her Downstairs, reversing into concrete pillars. Hates: mornings, small children, men who wear make-up, untidy flats.
Our man with an earring, a soft voice, a clapped-out Renault 5 and never more than a couple of quid in his pocket was on SHE before sliding off to join LM. A professional writer of some standing, The Rum DC delights in thinking up outrageous puns for headlines; his masterpiece was IF YOU KNEW SUSHI, for a piece on Japanese cuisine. David prides himself on having LM’s best-kept coiffure (not that there’s competition), and spends hours in the Advance Works bogs with his compact mirror, styling mousse, moisturiser, and a copy of New Socialist. This guy’s so cooool. Hobbies: quiche and salad with a glass of white wine, Dorothy’s cosmetics, chocolate brownies, a roll-up last thing at night. Hates: gravy, spending money.
Ludlow’s answer to Barry Bucknell! The One They Call Hutchinson was raised by wolves in the wilds of Emsworth, Hampshire, and had a serious feeler-gauge habit by age 25. LM discovered Curbs demurely gobbling a chip butty in the offices of Films & Filming, where he was Deputy Editor; we whisked him off to Ludlow in an unmarked Mini, and a star was born. Hobbies: gravy, TV-AM, monkey wrenches, getting married. Hates: chip butties, Top Gun haircuts, phone bills, waiting for the AA, Paul Strange in the morning.
Is this man pedantic or what? He’s the only person in Ludlow who knows the difference between an aardvark and an ant bear (technically there isn’t any, which may be how he knows). A refugee from the salt mines of Newsweek’s arts section, Barney likes a quiet night in, cuddling up with his Collins and learning a few thousand words. Hobbies: hyperbolising, gnocchi, gravy, surreptitious snouts, being clever-clever. Hates: bad language, bouillabaisse.
This well-dressed man-eater spent her formative years on Oh Boy! before moving to My Guy where she studied the male form and all its foibles in stomach-churning detail. Her conclusions weren’t all that favourable, so certain male members on the LM team look extremely dicky. We expect some provocative copy out of her investigations. Hobbies: vox pops, cricket, exotic earrings, getting blotto for as little dosh as possible. Hates: designer stubble, LM bureaucracy. Takes a minimalist approach to gravy.
Richard is what street cred is all about. Don’t be fooled by the bleached-blond hair, he really does walk, talk and look like Paul Weller. And beneath that hard streetwise exterior and Macc Lad bravado lies the heart of a big pussycat. Before joining LM, Mr Lowe was one of the hip young upstarts on The Hit. Rickyboy, as he is never known, is the only LM staffer who can seriously challenge Sally Newman in under-the-table drinking. Known to his colleagues as a ‘miserable Scouse git’. Hobbies: Beer and Sex and Chips and Gravy. Favourite phrase: ‘All right Pete y’bastard!’. Hates: wind-ups.
This guy’s the biz, makes a mean cup of coffee and pisses everyone off with his Adrian Edmondson impersonations. And our Man In A Suitcase also has an annoying habit of playing Genesis tapes in broad daylight, sad in one so young. LM discovered Simon while he was mopping up bubble bath in Boots; he claimed he had been bitten by the writing bug (just below the knee), we liked the cut of his jib and so we shanghaied him up to Ludlow. Hobbies: Garfield, gravy, Top Gun haircuts, designer stubble, gravy, Garfield, collecting Boots memorabilia, gravy, poncing freebies, Garfield. Hates: carrying his suitcase, being asked his age in the pub.
Once a mild, unassuming shorthand teacher, Sally is now known as The Dragon of Grovel Hill. A single cutting glance from Our Sal can be more frightening than a full-blown Paul Strange Monday moodie. Sally came to LM via Newsfield’s computer titles in faraway King Street and has quickly established herself as our hi-tech wizard. Telephones hold no terror for Sally; Apricots, Joyces, Frankies, facsimile machines, modems, anglepoise lights and four-gang sockets are our friends, she says. We couldn’t work without her. Sally is also an actress, widely acclaimed as the Bo Derek of south Shropshire. Hobbies: celery, rubber-band fights, rib-tickling, staring at pictures of William Shatner, eight pints of Hook Norton. Hates: tidy flats, untidy offices, TV repairmen, gravy, Paul Strange Monday moodies.
The larger-than-life hair is only the start of it; this is one enigmatic lady, ruled by her secret passions for fast Fifties cars and Mickey Rourke. Watch out for The Woman In Black if you happen to be sunning yourself in Greece next summer — Mary goes au naturel. Hobbies: veggie food, good clean living. Hates: being recognised on Greek beaches, and meat-based gravies.
Fran was a simple country girl, spending her days riding her horse, mailing binders, and preparing to settle down to marital bliss. Then she discovered LM... Hobbies: telephone repairmen, photocopy repairmen, central heating installers, breaking telephones. Hates: filing, mailing binders, making gravy, filing and filing.
Gordon has worked on the computer mags since — since a long time, wielding scalpel, ruler and rapidograph with equal dexterity. He’s almost as quiet as David Cheal, but spends less time over his hair (not much less). Hobbies: uncovering unlikely bands and playing their music to everyone in the art department, fast open-top British sports cars and gravy sandwiches. Hates: obvious groups.
Beezer comes from Bristol. He moved to London during the summer to seek his fortune and ended up living in a shoebox in Ladbroke Grove. He’s now found more spacious accommodation in Battersea, where he pays the Rachmanite rent of £1.25 per week (inc). Beezer is 21 and has taken photographs for Bristol’s listings magazine Venue, NME, and Echoes. Hobbies: meeting people, drinking scrumpy, submitting invoices written on scraps of toilet-paper in yellow wax crayon. Hates: meeting landladies, ladies’ gravy, the Institute Of Chartered Accountants.
That’s the LM Team.
ROGER KEAN stares suspiciously at the Walkman in front of him. It’s probably the first (and only) time he’s been interviewed by one of his own employees, but it doesn’t deter him for long; Newsfield’s editorial mastermind is seldom stumped for words.
The man who created CRASH, ZZAP! and AMTIX! decided to launch a new youth title after observing the masses of mail flooding in at CRASH Towers.
‘The letters seemed to be fighting to get away from computers and to talk about other things,’ he says. ‘We thought it would be interesting to have a Newsfield magazine similar in style but dealing with a much wider range of subjects. The concept was simple — CRASH, but not about computers. Obviously it’s grown a bit since then.
‘We felt there was a hole in the market for something with a wider base than pop music or soap operas. It’s a bit of a challenge — few magazines have succeeded in this area. The gamble is that the style and fanaticism that has been generated with Newsfield’s titles will carry on.
‘At first the name was a joke. Lloyd Mangram had been answering the letters on CRASH and ZZAP!, so LM became a working title — Lloyd Mangram’s Leisure Monthly. It stuck — much to Lloyd’s horror.’
What age group is LM aimed at?
‘Principally 17 upwards, but we are still aiming to write the magazine in the same style as the computer magazines. I’m hoping that will appeal to younger readers as well as older. And if we write for young adults too, some of the more tendentious issues will become easier to cope with.’
Where will LM be placed on the newsstands?
‘Away from the music papers, otherwise it’s labelled as a music paper. It has to sit with the lifestyle magazines like The Face or i-D, though it’s nothing like them either in look, flavour or content I think it’s the only place it can go.’
Is it a young man’s version of Woman or SHE?
‘A horrible thought! It probably is in a way, but LM will be of much more general interest than the women’s magazines.’
No plans for knitting patterns, then? ‘No, but we might do a gardening column!’
What about reader involvement?
‘It’s very important and one of the biggest selling aspects of any magazine. Readers have good ideas and I hope that LM readers will respond as they’ve done on the computer magazines. I hope that LM will have even more letters, and aggressive ones at that.’
Write on, Rog.
The first LM editorial meeting has already passed into the history books as an earthshattering event ranking with The Battle of Britain, The Charge Of The Light Brigade and Pearl Harbour.
It was a truly shocking and debauched affair, and among other things it gave us a chance to discuss where we’re at, where we’re going, what’s going down, what’s going up and where we’re coming from (man).
Naturally, we couldn’t all be present at LM’s palatial offices in Islington — Lloyd and Oli missed the train (feeble excuse no. 546), while Sally and Fran were nailed to The Bull bar in Ludlow the night before (disgraceful).
But for those of us who could make it, the first editorial meeting was unforgettable. And being the decent chaps that we are, we thought we’d let you in on some highly secret projects that we discussed on the day.
Like, what’s going to be in LM’s first on-sale issue out on 15 January?
Well, to start with we’re going to open up our regular extended feature slot called Man In A Suitcase. Each month LM’s intrepid reporter Simon Poulter will don his porkpie hat, slip on his shades and head for a national hotbed of sin (he hopes). Simon will be staying in a city for a week and bringing back an in-depth report of what he’s been up to, who he’s met, what bands are emerging, what haircuts are in, what are the best shops, what are the best nightclubs, what sports facilities there are, what the local radio station is up to and what’s happening on the street.
For Issue One Simon hits Birmingham, and for future LMs he’s off to Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich and all points north. Well crucial.
Other things we’ve got lined up are a round-up of the blossoming cheapie video labels, a Richard Lowe rant about stupid sports, a picture feature on an inspired 21-year-old Croydonian photographer called Martin Eidemak, a run-down of the fashions that are going to hit the high-street stores in the spring, a guide to jumble-sale bargain-spotting, interviews with Paul McGann (star of TV’s The Monocled Mutineer) and Pierce Brosnan (star of the soon-to-be-released Fourth Protocol movie), reviews of what’s new on the turntable, the screen, the video and the bookshelf, AND all our regular columns (Lloyd’s Word Up, Minson’s Mondo Bizarro, Hassles, Prize Crossword, Station To Station and the Consumer Guide).
All this and pop interviews too? Yeah, we’ve got ’em a-gogo: Icicle Works in Liverpool, The Human League in Norwich and a few others that we’ve had to swear to keep secret.
So now you know. LM Issue One hits the bookstands on 15 January and it’s going to be an imperative purchase.