if anyone's interested in a near complete set of Neon magazines, please contact me and I'll pass your details on to a correspondent who's looking to sell
The 1990s were a good decade for launching magazines in Britain, but for every Mojo (on its 100th issue at the time of writing), there was always going to be a Classic Rock CD struggling to make it into double figures. Here's a quartet of short-lived attempts:
First issue: July 1995.
Last known issue: Was there ever a second one?
Founding Editor: Paul Colbert
Subject: Mainstream rock.
Contents: Issue 1 had Jagger on the cover. The main album review was Elvis Costello's Kojak Variety, while PJ Harvey's To Bring You My Love was described as being 'a bit like being shut in a zinc dustbin while somebody bangs on the lid', and a page titled 'Six Essential New Acts' featured Republica, Drugstore, Thurman, Panic, Shania Twain and Delicatessen. The magazine has an endorsement from Virgin Radio on the cover, and a slogan of 'It's Only Rock & Roll'.
First issue: September 1995.
Last known issue: December 1995
Founding Editor: Chris Roberts
Subject: Music, movies, sport.
Contents: Absurdly eclectic, this gave every appearance of Chris Roberts taking a flyer on stuff that he thought was cool. Since his taste was seldom in question, it was fun but almost inevitable in its failure. The best bits were pages called Ikon Classic (dedicated to people they liked: Harold Wilson, Ginger Rogers, Marc Bolan) and Ikonoclast (to people they didn't: Tony Blair, Stanley Matthews, Jim Morrison). And those examples were just issue 1. Hugely opinionated, its principal failing was to believe the myth that the Beat writers, the Rat Pack and the Beach Boys were cool: they weren't. Nowadays Uncut offers a more mainstream, market-researched version of the same kind of attitude, and boasts Chris Roberts as a key writer.
First issue: April/May 1997.
Last known issue: August/September 1997
Founding Editor: Paul Simpson
Contents: Slogans like 'Don't watch just anything' and 'The television magazine with big words' suggested that someone believed there was a market for intelligent TV watching. Maybe there is, but it ain't very big and it doesn't necessarily correspond to the magazine-reading market. Anyway there's not really enough intelligent TV being made. So you got a lot of comedy coverage and a lot of nostalgia for the 1970s, and it was okay but not very inspired.
First issue: December 1996/January 1997
Last known issue: January 1998
Price: £2.20 (rising to £2.50 by the end)
Founding Editor: Adam Higginbotham
Contents: If Empire is the Q of film magazines (which it isn't quite, but bear with me here), then Neon attempted to be the Select - younger, hipper, and with a much higher proportion of its pages covered in photos. I liked it lots actually: it was intelligent without being pretentious, which is rarer in film criticism than it should be. Shame it's not still around.
(Note that the last known issue doesn't mean that there weren't any more - only that I haven't got them.)