Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Independent's new look: Madame Arcati review


Certain darling Arcatistes have messaged me privately imploring me to cast my eyes on the redesigned Independent. It's not as if I haven't other things to do. I'm busy. But as I sit here drinking a lunchtime latte mocchiato from my Tassimo coffee machine - barcoding has never been put to better use - I succumb to blandishment and compromise by summoning up the front page. Only.

To quote the No 1 single of the moment: omg! I am utterly appalled. Return editor Simon Kelner simply has not a clue about visual seduction. The Mail grabs and molests and you yield against better judgement; the Telegraph emits a tractor beam with its high-low mix of hoity-totty. Even the ghastly Express catches your attention with a waggle of a varicose veined pin before you hurry past. But the Independent! I just don't want to look at it. It makes me feel all Hannah Montana and want to go ew!

Why can't Kelner simply steal some ideas from other papers if he can't master the idiom of sexy look?

Now, of all the papers, the Indy is my least unfavourite. Its mind is in the right place, it does not demand the return of the Coliseum, it doesn't hire tomb-toothed loony James Delingpole; atheistically, it's on the side of the angels. The case for the Indy is a good one. New owner Alexander Lebedev potentially has a great asset here. So why the hell (to use a Carole Malone-ism) can't it get its face right?

Where to start? First, why all that white space to the right of the headline? How many trees were felled for that art statement? A front page must demand our instant interest; there's no time for lolling. If a paper wants stylised it must commit not omit. The only case for white space on a front page is a signposted area for reader shopping lists or moustache doodling - a playpen for idlers. And is "Goldmans" literate? Is the plural accepted use for Goldman Sachs? It just doesn't read right.

And what's with the fancy font for the new Viewspaper? You expect to see those squiggles on wedding invites or Valentine's cards or in a movie starring Margaret Lockwood - for lickle sticky-out finger occasions when silly tarts dress like Jordan and the men breathe in for the cummerbund.

Logically and aesthetically, the front page makes no sense. The Indy primarily is a read paper. One way to signal this fact is to have plenty of words on the page and several stories. What we have instead is the one story body copy squashed down at the bottom in favour of a hideous great plane and a dumb monster screamer (with tabloid exclamation mark). The overall sell is basically tabloid though the product is broadsheet all but in size. What is Kelner thinking of?

The only thing going for this front page is the come-on for Gauguin's Girls in the bottom right hand corner, featuring a patch of female pubis: an advert for the editor's cock-cunting inclination no doubt because it would be hard to imagine, say, a naked Alex Reid here with his flaccid four-incher hanging down like a rotten corgette.

Oh no. Must do better. The overall impression is that of a local newspaper with airs. This may work if the paper does go freebie. But not if you're looking for cash.

22 comments:

Louis Barfe said...

Referring to Goldman Sachs as Goldmans is acceptable in old Fleet Street style, I think. When I was on Publishing News, the chairman and editor, both Daily Sketch veterans, often referred to Hodder & Stoughton in print as 'Hodders'. My inclination would be to use shorter or fewer words elsewhere so I could use the company's full name.

Madame Arcati said...

Hodders is accepted usage, but I have never heard of Goldmans. I don't hear little old ladies in Asda saying "Those fucking graspers at Goldmans, hang 'em!"

Witless Smythe said...

Ooh a Tassimo coffee machine, get her. Him.

mQ said...

But then wouldn't it be Sack Goldman Sachs? Oh. I get it now.

Madame Arcati said...

Ugh! Lame puns now, even worse.

Dame Katie said...

"a naked Alex Reid here with his flaccid four-incher hanging down like a rotten corgette."

How wd u know?

Ron Broxted said...

How very dare you Madame A!!You are not to old to go across Uncle Ron's knee for a spanking! The Indy is the best quality paper we have and any criticism (save that John Rent-boy is mad) will merely lead your soul to Hell!At least The Indy has the saving grace (unlike Der Strurmer/Daily Telegraph) that it does not bow doen before the Saxe-Coburg-von Sonderburg-von Augustenburgs.

Mrs Trefusis... said...

I so agree. It looks dreadful.

Anonymous said...

Darling MA. Love that you are hating on Delingpoo. It seems to be a spring seasonal thing...let's book a date in our diaries for next year too. Now if that is 4" poppet, I am a 38DD. Oh wait, I think I am. And didn't we solve this Liddle Independent Problem? Now that they are lovebirds surely Su and Rodders can sort out the look of said paper. Now, can I get on with my life please? I'm BUSY.

Anonymous said...

I saw the funniest Election David Cam poster, it says SUCK MY GOLDMAN SACHS. Think it was Hackney / Stoke Newington. Somewhere Communistic.

Anonymous said...

The font is well on its way to being Soviet Slavic Cyrillan style. Ugh. The Russians took over Harrods and Sloane Street now they want out free newspapers too? And everyone says Goldmans darling. Specially that secretary that took them for £7 million. Or was it £4 million. One forgets.

Anonymous said...

someone should rape Dellinpooh. Form an orderly queue gentlemen. I think you should recycle his sex-writing intermittently like Wiggy and that hot brown chick,pic in the Private Eye; Pamela Whassername, for shame factor and because I happen to know it REALLY annoys him.

Frustrated said...

Oh it's so unsexy. I despair of the Indy with its distrust of glamour, money, class, style, bravura. It's the Guardian's little brother in an anorak. It NEEDS some oligarch bling. It needs some cheek and some nerve and pizzazz.

Madame Arcati said...

I am duly chastised Ron. But I did say the Indy's my least unfavourite paper. High praise in Arcatiland.

Madame Arcati said...

Darling Anon, are you mirroring me?

Anonymous said...

Darling MA. Who needs mirrors? I am that, thou art me and all that...

Madame Arcati said...

Doppelgangbang?

NOT Jon Snow said...

Oh yes please

Anonym said...

I also have never heard of “Goldmans” with the final “s” even if it may appear to be a only a sorto of corruption of Goldman & Sach-**s, with the esss....

The fact of those people in Banking System is that they give what they never had... This is the basic mechanism of World Finance, a mechanism which allows them to cumulate enormous fortunes in a very short time. But the market always inevitably contracts, due to the fact that the amounts of money never existed and they demand [the amounts] to be replaced when the circle of debts on debts for some reason suddenly stops or even diminishes only...

The ones who once and ever knew and know the exact moment to leave and quit the game, well, they are the winners...

But it is a false game, a false deal from the very beginnings...

Josh Spero said...

Sorry, MA - Goldmans is completely standard. But I agree with you about the Indy - it's like two or three stories are fighting to the death for the splash, and no-one can decide, so all go on. Like public nudity and car crashes, you don't know where to look.

Madame Arcati said...

Thank you Josh, a lame pun on Goldmans nonetheless.

Madame Arcati said...

Thank you Josh, a lame pun on Goldmans nonetheless.