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Attitude is a gay lifestyle magazine. It is published monthly by Trojan Publishing and is currently the best selling gay lifestyle magazine on the market.
Every month, the production team strive to put something a little intriguing on the cover - of course they do, it is a commercial magazine. Something has to attract the customers! The covers tend to lean toward the cliché side of gay culture and play very much into the hands of stereotypes. The primary focus of the magazine is (and always has been) the London gay scene so for those of us who choose not to live in London, the magazine can seem a little alien and irrelevant.
The regular features include a letters column, "uppers and downers" and "how gay are you". The letters section of Attitude has undergone some kind of renaissance over the last few months; gay men are writing into the magazine and actually becoming passionate about current affairs and their have been several examples of proto-debating among the readers. Hopefully, this will result in a move away from the narcissistic letters about celebrity abs and who did what to whom and where ... but I won't hold my breath just yet.
"Uppers and Downers" is the section of the magazine where the team put together a list of things currently in the public eye and decide whether it has made them seem more positive or more negative to the public. It is almost a barometer of public relations success and failure although, once again, this tends to be accompanied by the tiresome cliché of the gay man who loves a diva and hates ugly-ness.
The irrelevance of it all is typified in the "How Gay Are You" section where a "celebrity" is asked a series of bizarre (and borderline offensive) questions and then eventually given a score out of 100 which purports to be their "gay score". Once again, unfortunately, this section of the magazine tends to be more about the celebrity trying to convince us that they are "cool" and "down with the gays". It usually makes me think of the celebrity worse than I did before reading the article!
It is disheartening to see the magazine sticking to the stereotypes and enforcing the self-loathing that is rife in the gay community. The London-centric journalism also makes those of us outside the capital feel second-rate. However, some of the journalism in the magazine is to be commended. They were the first gay magazine to get an interview with a sitting Prime Minister (Tony Blair) and they regularly get the big interviews with whichever celebrities are visiting the UK around the deadline date.
The major draw of this magazine is the fact that it manages to get such big names to appear in it. There is also the regular debate between two journalists who write articles from either side of a common theme. All of these things make the magazine worth reading and there is a lot of content that could easily be skipped-over as being frivolous and a waste of time. The "other" gay lifestyle magazine out there at the moment is worse than Attitude in all of the above categories and the stereotypical view of the narcissistic and promiscuous homosexual man is forced into everyone's face.
I long for the day that a magazine comes along that savours the members of the gay community who focus more on the intellectual side of life rather than on which face-cream works best overnight. While I recognise that a magazine needs to have appeal across the market in order to gain enough readers to make it financially viable, I do wish Attitude included something a little more meaty sometimes in order to justify the almost £4 price tag. I will continue to read the magazine because I think, of all of the gay lifestyle magazines out there, Attitude is by far the best. If this is the kind of magazine you are looking for, you should head for Attitude over the others. Let's just all hope that the gay press has the courage sometimes soon to move away from the media's view of the gay community and that it focuses eventually on the reality of the gay scene.
Attitude magazine is an award winning, gay lifestyle magazine owned by Trojan Publishing. In recent years the magazine has changed hands numerous times, and had some distribution and publishing problems in 2007, stopping the January and July editions making it to the newsstands in that year, but since then the magazine has recovered under its new owners.
Attitude is aimed at the younger gay market; mainly image conscious 20 - 30 year old gay men. The monthly magazine is often themed, such as the sex issue, the youth issue, the naked issue, and the porn issue.
Recently the magazine has been moving in a new direction, taking on more political and intellectual issues, interspersed between the normal articles on music, fashion, relationships and TV/DVD/book reviews.
For example, before the election for the London mayor, Attitude interviewed the three candidates, Ken Livingstone, Brian Paddick and the legendary Boris Johnson, where Boris tried to defend himself previously saying that if Civil Parterships were allowed, there was no reason not to allow a union between three men and a dog.
A standing feature is Attitude is the 'How Gay Are You?' feature where they get celebrities, gay and straight, and ask a number of gay related questions, before giving them a gay score. I must admit that this is one of my favourite features in the magazine, and the first section that I read every month, but sometimes I do feel like it is just playing on gay stereotypes.
This is the main problem with Attitude. Despite trying to be edgy, fashionable, modern, it plays up to gay stereotypes. It can't have an article about fitness or going to the gym without inferring that gay men only go to the gym to meet other men. Recently a new article has started 'Patrick's Manhunt', a diary of how Patrick is trying to find love, mainly on the internet and in saunas. Get a life mate, and you might have a chance.
Even the themed issues, though generally far better, still fall far short of expectations. The porn and sex issues are obviously covered in pictures in men wearing very little but their smiles. The youth issue is similar although the models are younger. Yet the youth issue is very informative and helped me come out to my friends and family, giving real life stories of people who had recently been in similar circumstances. Yet serious stories and articles such as this are hidden between pages and pages of male flesh.
I've tried other gay magazines, but I have to say, Attitude is the best of a bad lot, by quite a way. Hopefully the new publishers will continue moving in the right direction, but I feel that the magazine also will have lashings of naked flesh, and perhaps rightly so, but the magazine should also remember that not all gay men are defined by their sexuality, and Attitude shouldn't fall into this trap. A magazine can never satisfy everyone, but it should appeal to as wide a variety as possible, rather than a narrow spectrum. After all, variety is the spice of life!
In its ever-relentless pursuit of the pink pound, the popular press has spent the last few years trying to publish a credible magazine for gay men. Gay Times has been in production for ever and a day, but has always lacked a trendy image, and has stuck to the basics of politics and classified adverts. Several contenders have come - and gone - but the only magazine that has continued to sell well is Attitude. Published by Northern and Shell plc, Attitude is a glossy monthly magazine that features a selection of articles on fashion, music, relationships and things to do. For all its much-vaunted position of superiority - and innovation - it is a magazine that I only buy occasionally.
Attitude magazine seems to labour under the misapprehension that it is innovative and groundbreaking and sets itself clearly aside from the rest of the "pink press". This really isn't true, and Attitude magazine conforms to most of the hackneyed ideas about gay men and their lifestyle that every other magazine uses - just dressed up with more gloss.
Attitude magazine's speciality is to attract celebrities and television personalities who aren't gay and try and make them seem more homo-friendly. The cover of each issue generally features one such celebrity and the whole concept reminds me of Playboy magazine, where the relentless pursuits of naked celebrities means that each issue is a leg-opening revelation. It's a cunning ploy. There's nothing that the gay populace like to do more than speculate on the sexuality of their favourite celebrities, and by plastering them all over the cover of Attitude magazine, the publishers are simply fuelling the Arthur or Martha debate. Recent cover stars have included Justin Timberlake and that Cristian Solimeno from Footballer's Wives. With a selection of gay-friendly questions, you can almost hear the queens chittering away like old wives. It would seem that it's cool to be queer - but it's even cooler to pretend you are.
So what does an average issue of Attitude comprise? More often than not an issue will have a theme - drugs, sex, clubbing etc. The latest issue at time of writing is a Youth special, and features articles on what it's like to be young and gay. It's a hopelessly contrived ploy to attract older audiences and is rather transparent in its aims. Between the twenty or so pages of cute young gay chaps, flaunting their favourite tops and talking about how liberated they are, there is a short article on the problem of child prostitution. The concept of young people's bodies being sold for the benefit of older men may be utterly abhorrent but it will still sell plenty of issues of Attitude. Oh, the irony of it all!
Attitude is heavily influenced by fashion, and if you wanted to pick up a virtual barometer of who's hot and who's not, an issue of this magazine will do you proud. There are plenty of features on the latest album, video and film releases, as well as pages of fashion and features on designers and shops. There are some good features on city guides, with ideas for places to eat and stay, but you have to bear in mind that 99% of the choices are selected based on image rather than quality, so expect to pay extortionate prices if you take up any of the recommendations. Most of the features and articles in the magazine are quite short. There seems to be an assumption that the readers have a very short attention span.
What was I saying?
There are usually four or five multi-page celebrity interviews, some of which are rather obvious (Erasure, Eddy Izzard) and some of which aren't quite so obvious (the aforementioned Justin Timberlake scoop). The conversation is normally quite facile, but you can expect the discussion to revolve around all matters pink or related to show business. I quite often read reviews with celebrities and can think of lots of questions that I'd ask - but they never seem to come up. To be fair the "Any Queries?" feature each month comprises only questions submitted by the readers, but I've yet to work out how you're supposed to know who's due to be featured. The nominee for most hated feature goes to "How Gay Are You?" in which heterosexual guests are asked a set of cliched questions to give them a gay rating. One of my few pleasures in life is satisfying myself that I obtain a suitably low score every month.
The quality of journalism is limited. I can't help thinking that some of the writers are rather restricted by the subject matter, and there is never anything substantial to be found between the covers. It's a bit like a gay-centred Heat magazine, with slightly naughtier questioning, but it is still dentist surgery journalism. I can happily pick up a copy but I'll be putting it down again pretty quick after a few minutes' worth of page turning. The letters pages can sometimes be quite amusing, but only in the Just Seventeen "I can't believe you said that!" kind of way.
Attitude does its best to appeal to the physical desires of the gay man, and so you'll often find plenty of semi-nude photography and kinky model shoots. Some of it's tasteful and arty - Attitude's continued appearance on the shelves of WHSmith relies on its non-pornographic nature. Some of it's just naff - naked celebrities? Nonetheless, there is no escape from the inevitable classified adverts and chat line telephone numbers and it really is rather disappointing to see yet another magazine about gay men and their lifestyles that seems to be so completely dominated by sex. On the one hand, the magazine tries to steer the discussion away from sex with its talk of clubbing, pubbing and high living - but it still won't decline the revenue generated by those little adverts for Pool Men Orgy, Wide Receivers and Hot Blond Bottoms. It's all very amusing. Think of it as a clash of the credible versus the completely crass and you'll be somewhere there. Mind you, if it flops open on the train, you get some fantastic looks from your fellow travellers.
Attitude's content and value simply isn't justified by its £3.00 price tag. If I want serious fashion or style information, I'd probably go elsewhere, and if I want the usual gay nonsense then Gay Times is pretty reliable. Attitude has always tried to tread the path of making gay people straight friendly, but if you scratch beneath the surface, this magazine is a seething pool of hypocrisy and double standards. I'd rather spend the money on toilet tissue.
In a world packd full of pornography, pandering and intellectualism Attitude manages to strike the right balance. Perhaps the only problem with this is the fact that in doing so it can hae a confused point of view. In one edition it my sound and look like the most superficial magazine on the market and elsewhere it will have an article discussing the gay economy for example or a serious interview. Some may find this ecclectic style annoying but I think it is refreshing. If you take the "Uppers/downers" coluumn for instance (a regular) You see the superficial side normally right next to an interview. I choose to take this column as good natured humour. Not too serious - even satirical of the gay stereotype... it's important to learn to lugh at yourself whilst remaining proud of who you are. Attitude is what I would call the magazine for the next century - keep it going (Oh and a few more 'sex' and 'naked' issues wouldnt go amiss!! - Just accepting my faults).
Attitude is what a gay magazine should be, funny, lighthearted and easy on the eye. Even though I'm a lesbian I often steal my best friends copy of Attitude rather than fork over for a copy of 'Diva', the girls mag. Attitude has exactly the right mix of features, facts and fun with a sprinkling of fashion and frolics. It's not political or stuffy like other gay mags, doesn't stereotype people, and it's not something you'd be embarrassed to leave in your living room. My mother likes a good read of it occasionally!
If I buy any magazine on a consistent basis, it would have to be 'Attitude'. It's an attractive mag full of interesting articles, current affairs, glossy pics, what's happening out and about and plenty of fashion must buys and trends. The mag is an easy read and a must for those wanting to be up on the gay community. I find it a more digestible and interesting read than 'Gay Times' and other such titles (which tend to be a little more political and dry for my tastes). Check it out today!
After sceptically reading this magazine, I really was suitably impressed. I thought any magazine geared towards a gay audience may either be really seedy or patronising, This is neither. Rather than shouting 'this magazine is for gay people, lets all do this' its a lot more intelligent. Whereas 'Sky' or 'Loaded' might review straight clubs, this reviews gay ones. Rather than havinga woman in a bikini, it might have a man in trunks. Granted it wont be everyone's cup of tea (what the hell is though?) but its got cheesey photo's, interviews, intelligent articles on current issues, fashion, beauty and loads of gossip/music etc. Basically a bit of everything. Not one to read if you're a homphobe but for everyone else, i'd imagine worse ways to spend a few hours. I'm not saying nakedness is a bad thing...but how come FHM etc gets put in a shelf with Hi-fi etc interest when its far more pornographic (relatively) than this magazine which gets put on the top shelf with porn and stuff like 'Gay Times'....oh actually, they wouldn't want a straight man to pick it up and be outraged by an article on how to tone up your stomach!!!!'