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16/04/2009 - par Mark Tungate (tungateinparis@hotmail.com)

It seems that British men have stopped reading magazines. This month, two magazines have closed down: Arena, the yuppie bible, and Maxim, which was part of a new wave of so-called «lad magazines» in the 1990s. («Lad» is a difficult word to translate. It implies a working class young man who drinks beer, is obsessed with football and regards women as sex objects. In other words, he is typically English.)

I was too much of a snob for Maxim. On the other hand, the death of Arena feels like the end of an era. Launched in 1986, it was the first men's style magazine I read, and coincided nicely with my 19th birthday. The magazine's founder was none other than Nick Logan, creator of The Face. The two magazines also shared a designer, Neville Brody.

Arena contained everything the young Mark required of a magazine: articles on cool places to hang out in London (Soho Brasserie, The Wag Club, The Atlantic), vaguely pretentious pieces on travel, art and architecture, and pictures of clothes I could not afford designed by Japanese people whose names I could not pronounce. Over the years, though, Arena became less stylish and more laddish. In the end, it looked just like every other men's title: a brash mixture of actresses, fast cars and sports stars. It did not, like some of us, age gracefully. And that was its downfall. Arena's readers grew older while the magazine went into reverse. Still, like London in the 80s, it was bloody good at the time.

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