John

Esquire Rocks My World

In magazines, Personal on December 2, 2007 at 5:49 pm

Well, after much dilly dallying and general procrastination, I’ve decided to start blogging again. Not sure if I’ll ever update it regularly, but hell, I’ll give it a shot and this time, I promise myself not to watch the number of hits I get like a obsessive compulsive sufferer (then again, it could be just me, but why is it that everytime I’m downloading something, I’m compelled to watch the percentage rising?!).

But I gotta say, getting on Twitter has aroused the blog bug in me again, and my new life as a PR man has certainly created this little vacuum in me that needs to write stuff other than contact reports, filling in RSVPs, speeches and news releases. Not that they’re boring in itself–cranking out a speech from thin air within the space of a few hours will give anyone a kick of the adrenaline. People keep asking me what’s it like to be on the “dark side” of journalism (more on that statement later on) and I’ll just say that PR certainly needs a person to be organised and have their priorities right, and get shit done before the sun sets.

Magazine life revolves around the same monthly deadlines, and I’ve kinda grown accustomed to the monthly cycle–the mad rush, 4am closing mornings, the 3pm sauntering in the following morning, the deadness of the week after closing. It’s different to have daily deadlines, send out invites and make loads of follow-up calls–kinda reminds me of the early days of KLue, when we used to work on fortnightly deadlines. It’s strange, I’ve often thought to myself, that at 28 I’m working in an environment where I feel like I’m 24 and working on my first job. And yes, the past week has been the absolute shitters–silly mistakes that I’ll chalk it down to inexperience, but I’ve survived my first month in PR with my pride relatively intact.

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Back to magazine news: last Friday, I stumbled onto a little shop in Centrepoint 1-Utama, and finally laid my eyes on the new Esquire UK, edited by Jeremy Langmead, who was poached from Wallpaper*. And what a work of genius it is–if you want further evidence of what a talented editor can do if he’s given free reign to salvage an ailing magazine, go no further than the new Esquire. They’ve taken a radical change, their covers harking back to the day when Playboy was at its peak in the 60s and 70s; clean stark covers, simple fonts, a sexy girl, and understated style. No shouting out “100 ways to please your woman!” or “12 Summer Sex Tips That Really Work!”.

It was enough for me to shell out RM32 to get the December issue, and the contents, I’m glad to say, reflects the image overhaul in getting back to the early Playboy era, and closer to what GQ is; roping in good writers, emphasizing on the journalism by laying it out in an almost newspaper-like format. Not unlike GQ, they’ve bunched inside their columnists in a section bordering the features, and the cool thing about it is that Mr. Langmead printed it on a rough grade of paper rather than the usual gloss paper–it’s certainly lends the magazine a gritty, tabloid feel. It’s magazines like these that make me ache to get back into the magazine world, and I’m rooting for Esquire UK to get back on track.

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Music to tune into: “Girls Who Play Guitars” by Maximo Park. Makes me think back to the days when all I wanted to do was open a pub and play the music the gang likes.

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