OldStand: Q, June 1994

Take our ink-stained hands and join us at the OldStand, where Jon McMillan goes to remind everyone what an honest-to-goodness music magazine is supposed to look like.

Well, the headline pretty much says it all.

But here’s the thing about Q, or at least the June 1994 issue: Despite the shock & awe cover, it’s a weirdly wonky affair. The writing, while never quite approaching the depth of late-’70s Rolling Stone, or the bite of early-’90s SPIN, has a thick formality that’s completely at odds with the joyful prose vamping of British cousins NME and Melody Maker. It reads — gasp — like a corporate magazine, not a pre-incarnation of a blog.

Examples? They shall follow, as will the exceptions. An oddly shrill headline about how “The Yanks are Coming Again!” gives way to twin rote profiles about the Counting Crows (“You see, I don’t enjoy life very much.” — Adam Duritz) and Garth Brooks (“He makes proper eye contact with you!” — Anonymous Idiot Fan). There’s an extended interview of John Lydon, and profiles of Cheap Trick, Traffic and Mariah Carey. Plus a very cool feature called Q&A, where people write in with obscure music questions (“Who is the young boy on the cover of Therapy?’s CD single, ‘Trigger Inside’?”), and a completely overwhelming 100+ reviews of everything from new CDs to classical music to television shows to old Monty Python cassettes (yes, there’s an “Audio Cassettes” section). The reviews form a 60-page endurance test, and the net effect is of a magazine that’s far more serious (and less sensational) on the inside than it likes to pretend on the outside. Except, maybe, for the picture of Phil Collins in tiny, tiny white shorts.

But you wanted to know about Kurt.

Nothing new or insightful to report, beyond that shameful headline. Phil Sutcliffe, in the lead essay, clutches at pat psychological causality while managing to inspire neither empathy nor outrage (“Of course, it wasn’t inevitable that he would one day commit suicide, but nor was it beyond the scope of what was publicly known about his life.” Thanks for the insight, asshole), and the 30-day countdown feature is just stupid (“Thursday, April 14: Cobain is cremated. On the death certificate, his occupation is listed as ‘Poet/Musician'”). I’m no Cobain fetishist, but it’s a sad bit of exploitation by any standard, and we all (Kurt especially) deserved better.

More highlights: Parklife gets four stars, the Spin Doctors chill in the studio, and our CD traveling case issues are solved — finally!

Just wait another 14 years, when they’re laughing at your ipod case.

This just in: British music press loves Blur.

No pants required.

Call it: Ten magazine features I’ve learned not to read.

Apparently, Mark Ronson is not Mick Ronson’s son. And that’s too bad.

“Cleopatra’s Cat” is going to be massive!

They get points for being more helpful than SPIN.

From Pink Floyd to Ten Summoner’s Tales — that’s a murderer’s row!