I saw the first issue of GQ India - and the cover is great for a second issue, the launch should have had someone bigger. Y'know a SRK or MSD. But I leafed through the magazine and I'll give you my honest opinion, much like Vogue, Conde Nast has decided to make GQ India a fashion brochure with adverts. The writing quality sucks, Suhel Seth is not not a good writer, I did like the sex column (written by a Vogue employee) but there was so little to read, one very Maxim-ish sort of feature with bar graphs that was not GQ-ish, a rock feature shot by Raghu Rai which was OK, but Rolling Stone did something on the same lines a few months ago and the rest of the magazine was not very memorable. Other than the shoots that were stunning, especially the cover shoot, I mean you can make out that Conde Nast blew a shitload of money on the shoot. Nothing tasteless like the idiotic 'slum' shoot by Vogue, but a great shoot nonetheless. But akll in all, the magazine just felt very Bombay and not GQ India. You know - it was really like GQ Bombay and not at all close to the brilliant writing standards that I have been used to in GQ UK or GQ US. The cocky editor claims that GQ will be the best magazine in India, if Karan Johar's limp interview of Aditya Mittal is any indication, GQ has a mountain and a half to climb. Or it could just decide to become India's leading men's fashion brochure. And while I don't want to draw stereotypes - that is very gay! Very, very gay!
I know Conde Nast wants to launch Wired in India next, and the best thing they can do is not to launch an Indian edition. The government has allowed for Indian-ad carrying facsimilie editions, and that is what Conde Nast should do if they don't want their local magazines just to be another magazine on a rack.
On other notes, last night following a call by a friend to watch CNBC, I enjoyed Maria Bartiromo's histrionics against politicians and the entire Wall Street Main Street thing. Must admit, at times it felt like the old girl was losing the plot. Given Udayan's new zen-like demeanour on the India market show, maybe Maria could pick something up from him. And by the way, I would invest in anyone who starts a company speacialising in crowd management systems. We have had 5,000 years of practice and we still can't manage crowds. Methinks I will take it easy during Durga Puja this year, because I have a bad feeling about Chitto Park. I just do and it really does feel very claustrophobic there.
In media news, three out of India's four large business magazines will have fresh editors. High levels of employee churn are impacting business publications, particularly thanks to business television and the lack of fresh blood entering this stream. Which is rather strange really, because it is a lot of fun, a lot more fun than running around with a camera and a mike for one bite!