Tuesday, June 02, 2009

We hate it when our friends become successful, particularly in magazines

To the Museum of London at the Barbican last night for a party to mark Time Out's donation of forty years of its archive to the Museum. The public will eventually be able to search every back issue over that period. As Tony Elliott, the founder of the magazine, pointed out, there are whole areas – pub-rock, fringe theatre, alternative education – that have waxed and waned over those forty years and would have no historical record at all were it not for their coverage in the pages of the magazine.

To celebrate this occasion Tony Elliott had invited many of the people who had contributed to the magazine's glory days and played a part in shaping the city's view of itself. I spotted Miles, Jeff Dexter, Alan Parker, Pearce Marchbank and there were many more I wouldn't recognize. On one level it was AbFab come to life. Maybe I've just got an acute nose for this but I also caught the whiff of mild resentment that always seems to hover over any reunion of media people; no matter how graciously the boss behaves, somebody still thinks their contribution was never properly recognized, their byline hijacked, another stood in their precious ration of the light and they were condemned to a life of obscure jobbing while somebody else got his place in the sun.

If the enterprise didn't work they all seem satisfied that it didn't beat the odds. To bend a line from Alan Bennett, they are united in the magnificent equality of failure. But if it succeeds they never ever forgive.


  1. Pearce Marchbank has a great selection of his Time Out work on his web site. The covers still look fantastic, miles better than the stuff they put out now. Mostly just one idea brilliantly executed, you'd never get away with those those now.

  2. Anonymous11:28 pm

    I've been living in London for over 20 years, so I've seen a lot of Time Outs. One thing which has always struck me is how poorly designed their covers are. You very rarely see a memorable or striking one. They're all a bit messy and cluttered.

    I feel better for getting that off my chest!


  3. It was just like an old school reunion. A lot of them were completely unrecognisable (after a gap of thirty years).