Times should be a-changing

It’s a mystery to me why you included a mention of Gay Times in your article “Rude Awakening” (MW February 10) about the distribution, sales and advertising revenue of soft-porn magazines.

WH Smith tends to put our magazine on the top shelf, largely because of the ads we carry for telephone contact lines. However, many branches of WH Smith, as well as independent newsagents, choose to place Gay Times alongside style magazines such as The Face, or listings magazines like Time Out.

We think this is fair enough because, aside from the telephone contact ads, Gay Times is nothing like top-shelf titles.

We still want to run the contact ads, because we are a magazine which has sexuality at the core of our concerns, but the rest of the magazine is full of serious coverage of news and the arts.

We do run the odd sexy picture, but no more than many women’s magazines.

Now for a bit more political correctness, which you suspect has taken hold of the media-buying departments of advertising agencies. In the US, PC has come so far that gay magazines are full of ads for cigarettes, alcohol and consumer technology.

In the UK, alas, media buyers (with the notable exceptions of Smirnoff, Mercury, Benetton and the major record firms) still pass us over, and the shops still stick us on the top shelf, not because of what’s in the magazine, but simply because we are gay. Nevertheless, unlike other top-shelf titles, our sales are growing.

David Smith


Gay Times

London NW1

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