Number One: an occasional journalistic gem

Number One was a pop music magazine for teenagers.

Number One was a pop music magazine for teenagers.

The music chart fanzine, Chartwatch, once described Number One as being “embarrassing to buy”.

And those words were faintly true.

The defunct magazine was certainly less useful as a research tool than Music Week and Record Mirror, and it also lacked the wit of Smash Hits.

Essentially, it lacked substance AND flair.

It doesn’t look good, and you could understand why the editors of Chartwatch said “you can only buy that [Number One] if you have a kid sister”.

But an edition from 15 August 1987 showed that, on the odd occasion, it was a magazine worth buying.

Unlike the national newspapers, the magazine was not afraid to praise Tyne Tees Television’s ‘The Roxy’ after it started to defeat ‘Top Of The Pops’ in the ratings.

And a feature that looked at Aled Jones’ bedroom included an amusing anecdote about The Observer and a ‘My Little Pony’ duvet cover.

Best of all, though, it featured Phil Cornwell’s Gilbert The Alien – from CITV’s ‘Get Fresh’ and ‘Gilbert’s Fridge’ – reviewing the singles, which included a superb range of political and cultural references.

A review of John Farnham’s ‘Pressure Down’, for instance, mentioned Benjamin Disraeli and Richard Gough, while Morrissey was described as having “blatantly misguided optimism”.

The conclusion is that more demented retro puppets should be employed as music magazine contributors.

I mean, how can you go wrong with referencing Icelandic flu and a pneumatic drill, with regards to Dr. Robert, Jeffrey Archer and Paul Daniels?

Non-web sources

Cornwell, P. (1987) Singles. Number One, Saturday August 15 1987, p.42.

Hancock, John and Rawlings, Neil. (1991) Editorial. Chartwatch, June 1991, p.3.

Martin, A. (1987) Inside Aled Jones’ Bedroom!! Number One, Saturday August 15 1987, p.28-29.

Thomas, P. (1987) The Roxy Rocks On. Number One, Saturday August 15, 1987, p.14-15.

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