This is NOT the official weblog of Mark Thomas; this is a place to post his articles and news to bring them to a wider audience. This blog is in no way endorsed by the activist/comedian Mark Thomas. Most of the posts appeared on - hopefully they won't object to them being republished here.

Monday, February 09, 2004

My brief career among nipples

It was a brief and charmless flirtation and now after two editions my career as a columnist for the new lads magazine Zoo Weekly has come to an end. In case you hadn't noticed there has been a bunch of weekly lads mags launched this year (I think the collective noun is "a spray"). They boast titles like Zoo, Nuts, Thrust, Spurt or Cock. They feature a high celebrity nipple count, football stuff, endless Top 10 Lists and a good dollop of graphic injury/snuff photos. In between all of that is woven the odd article and column.

I am assuming that the level of cross over readership of Zoo Weekly and the New Statesman isn't that great. If it is the New Statesman is in trouble, and expect to see a new politicians wives section. Followed by a photo feature of Noreena Hertz and Naomi Klein wrestling in oil for the crown of "anti globalising queen" and John Kampfner takes Gordon Brown to Spearmint Rhino for a consumer report.

When Ben Knowles, a nice man and ex editor of the New Musical Express, asked if I would write for a new weekly lads mag. I wanted to know what did they expect me to write about? Going to one Wimbledon AFC game this season hardly qualifies me to write about football. And my stunning lack of interest in Angelina Jolie's topless cinematic past didn't seem to bode well either. Reassured that the normal mix of a couple of gags, an extended rant and a dash of utter hatred for the politicians would be fine, I wanted to know a bit more about the publication.

"It's a basic lads mag except weekly. Our market research shows that our target audience of men between 18-30 really like you." said Ben. What! "I know "Ben continued, " We were as surprised as you." And that was what made me agree to write for them; half arsed flattery.

Friends debated the merits of doing it. "Isn't it worth trying to reach people who aren't part of the activist scene?" said one. "But are you really going to have any kind of impact amidst the tits and arse?" asked a woman friend. "Maybe you could recruit some of the models to come and demonstrate at the next arms fair?" fantasized a crusty from behind the rim of a can of Tenants.

In the end none of us could have known how banal it would be. A prominent picture in the mag shows a woman masturbating with a cats head where her vagina should be, accompanied by a quip about the size of pubic lice these days. This is the kind of website trash that bored office workers e-mail to each other to break the monotony of the day.

A list of Top 10 terrorist organisations is merely an inaccurate excuse to show a photo of soldiers parading over body bags. Two items appear about a survey that shows women like sex with strangers. It is predictable, voyeuristic and dull. It's pseudo prole culture of the uber dog begs it to be read by the City boys, "Look at a picture of these wankers" it cries "everyone is a tosser but you! Everything is a commodity. Everything exists for your pleasure."

I read one edition and left. Obviously this was an error of my own making and I should have known better. So I have ordered an inquiry into my behaviour. Fortunately I have been completely exonerated.


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4:15 am


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