24 March 2011

Time Out – a magazine about London?

I've been reading Time Out for decades and get it delivered every week. I use it mostly for its art, exhibitions and films listings, plus the TV guide.
I used to love Peter Watts' 'Big Smoke' section which was all about the quirkier and murkier and hidden things about London, but the bosses at TO decided to ditch all that and have since turned the it into a consumer magazine. It's all shops and food now. The only good thing I can think of that they have introduced in recent times are the section tabs at the edges of the pages.
But my main gripe is when the editorial pages are full of stuff that is not really about London.
A few years back they printed a short letter I wrote to them; as I recall it read something like this, "What are articles about Florida and face creams doing in a London listings magazine?".
Last week it was all about sex (again)... you can get that anywhere! This week it's all about Paris. And this is the letter I have sent them about it (sorry in advance for the swearing):
Again... you've done it again...
How would you feel if you were from Paris and you came London for the week and bought Time Out London only to find it full of (probably) ill-informed crap about your home city?
Ten pages about Paris, yes ten – count them – plus 2 whole page ads. Then, phew, back to normal... oh no, hold on, I spoke too soon... six pages on we're back in Paris again for the shopping section.
What the fucking fuck are you playing at?!

And here are some pictures where you will find Paris in London:
Top: Hammersmith (RIP), Leicester Sq (RIP), St Martin's Lane (RIP), Parsons Green
Middle: Highgate (RIP), Bloomsbury, Bibendum, Hampstead
Bottom: Lisson Grove, Borough, Bloomsbury, Holloway


  1. I have to agree with you here, it was a reason I stopped my subscription sometime back. I think Time Out has concentrated much of it's efforts on it's (excellent) travel guides for tourists and has forgotten it's listings roots. I guess that with the growth of the internet and social networks the need for printed event's listings has vanished. I guess the world has moved on and like classifieds and lonely hearts ads the world of printed media has changed.

  2. Think 'Odeon' is Greek, isn't it?

  3. It's also an area of Paris

  4. Agreed - Time Out has become less and less relevant - I think the arts section - which I could rely for great criticism has become dull. Bring back Sarah 'Killer' Kent I say!

    Nice blog btw

  5. Couldn't agree more. I actually went to buy a copy for the first time in about a year last week...just to see whether it had got better. When I saw it was a Paris special I didn't bother to buy it.

  6. Strongly-worded letter, but yes, I stopped subscribing to Time Out after five years when they dropped the Big Smoke.

  7. Did you read Ms Halliburton's response? (see post above) What a load of fluff. And a further waste of space. The letters page used to be a good read years ago, and just that; a full page. These dozy little yellow picture/speech bubbly things complete with pics of the writers are also niggling me.... I feel another letter coming on...!

  8. Another letter another dozy little yellow picture/speech bubbly thing. You need to infiltrate the magazine and apply for the editor's job. And sack the sub editor.


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