Clubbing is big business. In fact, with films such as Human Traffic currently pulling in the punters at your local multiplex, it is probably fair to say that clubbing has lost any claim to being at the cutting edge. It has become mainstream entertainment.
That could explain why clubbers now have their first weekly magazine, Seven. Designed by art director Sarah Foote and with a logo by Third Planet, the publication is the brainchild of staff previously responsible for producing Mixmag. Seen as something of a clubbers’ bible, Mixmag seemed to lose much of its trendsetting appeal to the free-living club fraternity when it was acquired by publishing giant Emap.
A lot of bottled water has been passed in clubs since then. In design terms, that must be seen as a problem for Seven. The magazine can’t help but look a little dated, now that club-inspired graphics and fashions are everywhere. It is certainly not helped by the paper it is printed on: a thin, low grade choice which feels like it will disintegrate if just a single drop of Red Bull is spilt on it. By the time you get it home the magazine looks like a relic.
There are occasional inconsistencies in the house style, leaving some sections, such as a column – the secret tapes of a girl with trainers – looking as if it has been dropped in from another magazine. Which it has, apparently. The introduction says the column used to be in Mixmag Update magazine and, in the absence of other ideas, will be continued “for as long as we can be arsed to do it”.
The editorial content can seem a little old hat. Like The News of The World, club magazines seem to thrive on tales of drug-taking and casual sex. The twist is that in club magazines it is the journalists who tell of their own illegal behaviour. Presumably, if the readers follow the same lifestyle, they will forget these admissions pretty soon, and happily read the same article again next week. Drug-taking could, at least, serve as an excuse for publishing comments likely to upset the lawyers of Eastenders actor Ross Kemp in the launch issue.
Seven also includes fawning reviews of new DJ products, including advice to potential DJs (“First of all, if you are using vinyl, you’re going to have to get yourself turntables”) which may just be ironic. The low quality of much of the writing is a shame, as the album reviews are better than average. Written by DJs, they give a solid impression of what the records may sound like. And unlike the product reviews, they don’t pull their punches.