miss_s_b: Vince Cable's happy face (Politics: Vince - happy face)
[personal profile] miss_s_b
My free copy of Ad Lib arrived today. It was mostly unsurprising, but there were a couple of unexpected things about it. The first surprise was the size; having had it consistently described as a magazine I was expecting something... well... magazine sized. Perhaps this is due to me having worked in a couple of newsagents', I dunno. Anyway, it's not magazine sized. It's not even American comic sized. It's just slightly bigger than my daughter's Kindle Touch. I guess this could be sold as a positive, making the thing more portable.

The second surprise was the number of loose adverts it came packaged with. Now, this is the free first copy, and I understand that needs funding somehow, but I'd be pretty annoyed if I was a subscriber and had paid to be sent four separate advertising leaflets as well as the pamphlet magazine.

The content, on the other hand, was mostly unsurprising. There were some adverts, but all Lib Dem related. The articles were mostly the sort of thing you'd find on LDV, aside from Desert Island Tessa Munt (which I suspect the beeb and/or the estate of Roy Plomley might have something to say about, copyright-wise) and, for some reason, a recipe page. When I joked about there being a recipe page discussing the mag on twitter, ribbing the editor about the stereotypical women's interest lifestyle magazine sector and its vapid and patronising content, I had no idea about there actually being a recipe page...

There was no substantive comment in Ad Lib that was news to me, but some of the feature content was vaguely interesting. Predictably, of the articles with names on, the Serious Politics was nearly all by men (apart from the webinar report, by the awesome Helen Duffett) and the Women's Issues articles (including the blasted recipe) were all by women. The gender balance overall wasn't bad, but the fact that women are trusted to talk about page 3 and the conditions in women's prisons, while the men get sent to interview the party heavyweights and talk about how to succeed in elections is a bit disappointing.

The typesetting and formatting is of the "endearingly amateurish" type we are all used to seeing in Focus leaflets, but ramped up a bit for glossy paper and full colour. The title is... Well, my views on the title are pretty well known. I don't think it's big or clever for our members' magazine to basically tell everyone we make it up as we go along, but apparently I am reading too much into it. Just like I suspect I'll be told I'm reading too much into the gender stuff...

Anyway, I suspect this is the sort of thing that would be very useful for an armchair member, or for members who aren't plugged in to the constant other sources of Lib Dem news and analysis. I further suspect that if it were added to membership subs as an option this would be a useful thing, and most people wouldn't complain. I'm definitely not saying it has no value to anybody. But it's not a thing that's aimed at me (or if it was it missed) and I won't be spending scarce money on it.

If you're less of a grumpy old bag than me, and want to spend money on it, you can go here. It's fifty quid for normal people, or thirty-five if you, like me, are daft enough to still be a party member.

Date: Thursday, December 6th, 2012 02:11 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] magister
"...apparently I am reading too much into it. Just like I suspect I'll be told I'm reading too much into the gender stuff..."

One might argue that if it weren't there, it wouldn't be possible to read too much into it.

There is of course the point that "You're reading too much into it" could be read as "We didn't think of that, so it can't be a valid point of view. Now run along and don't bother us."

Date: Thursday, December 6th, 2012 02:21 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] magister
Yeah... Other than that, I can't say I was impressed. If I were feeling nasty, I'd say that this has been put together by someone who has spent a lot of time in a doctor's surgery with noithing to read but old copies of Readers' Digest and who was once grievously mistreated by a proof reader.

Since I'm not feeling nasty and I can't think of anything complimentary to say, I'll leave it at that.

Date: Thursday, December 6th, 2012 02:22 pm (UTC)
ext_390810: (Default)
From: [identity profile] http://www.nickbarlow.com/blog/
Was about to do my own post on this (and still might) but you've captured a lot of my thoughts - and I really can't work out who it might be aimed at. To me, it feels really cheap - the size, the layout - and it doesn't feel like something worth paying £35 a year for.

Date: Thursday, December 6th, 2012 02:50 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] magister
Honestly, though, You'd think they'd have more sense than to call it "Something we made up on the spur of the moment because it seemed like a good idea at the time." And yes, okay, it's got "lib" in it, but so, Google informs me, does the name of the Jaredite king in the book of Mormon and no-one's suggested that as a good title for a magazine.

Date: Thursday, December 6th, 2012 02:54 pm (UTC)
ext_390810: (Default)
From: [identity profile] http://www.nickbarlow.com/blog/
We should be grateful for small mercies, though - I'm sure some bright spark suggested calling it 'Coalicious'.

Date: Thursday, December 6th, 2012 02:57 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] magister
Okay, so that woud have been worse.

Date: Thursday, December 6th, 2012 02:25 pm (UTC)
sir_guinglain: (Palace_fire)
From: [personal profile] sir_guinglain
The hierarchy are determined to demonstrate how distant they are from the activists, aren't they?

Date: Thursday, December 6th, 2012 02:30 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] gwenhwyfaer
Sounds to me like it's clear they no longer have any idea where they're supposed to be reaching to.

Date: Thursday, December 6th, 2012 02:29 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] gwenhwyfaer
You'd think the two larger parties hadn't already fully explored how quickly that course of action leaves you with no activists...

Date: Thursday, December 6th, 2012 03:18 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Re: the name, it didn't have the same implication for me -- but then, the phrase brings to mind for me a musical, rather than theatrical, context, and there it just means that the performer has some freedom for interpretation within the bounds set by the composer, rather than necessarily meaning something that has been improvised.

If the people choosing the name meant it *that* way, it could even work as a metaphor for liberalism -- freedom within the rule of law, or something. It's only when you brought it up that I realised the potential for interpreting it badly.

Date: Thursday, December 6th, 2012 03:48 pm (UTC)
ext_51145: (Default)
From: [identity profile] andrewhickey.info
That Anon was me, BTW. No idea why I didn't show up as me on that comment.
And definitely wasn't saying it was just you -- just that it would never have occurred to me to interpret the name that way. Makes perfect sense once it's pointed out (sort of a FedEx arrow thing).

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