Friday, December 05, 2008

Everything's Peachy: Geldof culture title launches

She’s been the marmite celebrity of 2008, ousting Lily Allen as queen of the online buzz. Whether it’s via her blogs, columns or media spots, or the increasing newspaper inches her lifestyle generates, Peaches Geldof is a name that’s rarely been out of the spotlight this year. But, in an effort to focus her media career – or perhaps give it some credibility – Peaches has embarked on the latest high profile venture in her short and privileged life so far: the launch of her own magazine, Disappear Here.

Peaches has already come in for enormous scrutiny for her column/blog for Nylon, the fashionable New York magazine, particularly recently when, while listing her views on forthcoming fashion trends, she proclaimed, “I don’t follow fashion.” Right. Admittedly, her Nylon contributions to date have done little to affirm Peaches’s free reign on this kind of indulgence. Back, then, to her own magazine.

Disappear Here has been funded, and is owned, by Peaches, her manager Andy Varley and men’s magazine guru James Brown, though the cost of this has not been revealed. Captaining the ship herself, with guidance from Brown, 19-year old Peaches declared in an interview with the Guardian: “This is basically my job. I want it to be a blank canvas for young talent – writers, photographers, graphic designers, artists and bands.”

Admirable sentiments, of course, but hold on: Peaches herself isn’t even out of her teens. That she and her new publication could single-handedly be this great springboard for undiscovered talent works on her own assumption that Disappear Here, merrily launched by the starlet while the country’s flagship newspapers are either cutting staff or shacking up together, stands a chance in the diminishing glossy publications market.

For it to do that, it needs more than the divisive Peaches image to drive success. The Guardian interview reveals that following the advertisement-free launch issue out last week, paid-for advertising will subsidise quarterly issues from March ’09. With MTV colleague Dan Jude the only other significant staff writer named so far – Brown’s contacts, including a friend’s school-aged daughter, make up the bulk of the remaining writers – Issue Zero, as it’s called, needs to do an awful lot to generate that advertiser interest. Granted, Peaches knows her onions on pop culture and what will appeal to the London clientele she moves with. Whether the combination can succeed enough to ride out the credit crunch, nevermind make a long-term assault on established culture mags, will be a test of the teenager’s will and patience.

For Peaches, this is a chance to change her reputation, convince the increasingly-disillusioned British public that she’s more than a rich ‘daddy’s girl’; that her new “job” as magazine editor is merited rather than simply a privileged whim. But whether Disappear Here dazzles or dives, the sad truth is that either result won’t really make much difference to Peaches Geldof at all.

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