The sight of ill-prepared people with a sense of entitlement slapping together godawful magazines on this week' Apprentice made me wonder: whatever did happen to Disappear Here, Peaches Geldof's vanity mag project?
Back in 2008, when it launched, there were bold plans:
"Vice magazine started as a free giveaway and now it's an international brand," Geldof explains. "It's got tours, bars and TV shows. That would be easy for us to emulate. James [Brown] knows Vince Power and consults for AMC concerts, who organise the V festivals, and we're both always being asked to give our names and contacts to various ventures. Now we'll be able to do it for ourselves."Brown, who probably should have known better, was keen to keep it all youthful - he wanted it written by schoolkids:
"I think it would be great if our inbox filled up at 4pm when all our contributors got out of school," he says. "I knew more about what the NME should be doing when I was 16 than when I was actually working for it."And he wanted it all new, fresh, young, vibrant - like monkeyglands for the brain:
"Nothing in this magazine comes from the PR industry - it's basically Peaches and other young journalists raving about stuff they love," Brown adds. "My main criterion was - if I've heard of it, it probably shouldn't go in. I had doubts about interviewing Billy Childish because he's been around for such a long time, but Peaches said he was Kurt Cobain's big influence and we should feature him, so we did."I think this probably sums up the hopeless lack of direction that characterised the magazine. Setting a bar of 'if I've heard of it, it doesn't go in' is a lumpen idea, but at least it's an idea.
But then if Billy Childish gets in because he influenced Kurt Cobain, wasn't that relying on James Brown having heard of Kurt Cobain? So surely that feature would have failed on two counts, then. To say nothing of this being 2008, which was fourteen years after Cobain had shot himself; which would have been before the birth of most of the people Brown wanted to be writing for, never mind reading, the title.
The whole thing had somehow crawled out of an MTV reality show, where Peaches had shown real people what it was like to work in a magazine. This was, in itself, a strange concept, like calling in George Osborne to teach people to do cardiac massage. After the series had finished, Brown and Geldof just thought the idea of the magazine was too good to not pour money into launching.
Despite all the signs, it did make it to a second issue, although as the magazine's staff was quick to point out to the Guardian's Marina Hyde, Peaches somehow had become detached:
All of a sudden, my correspondent declines to be drawn any further, and a formal statement from Andy Varley, co-publisher of Disappear Here, arrives in my inbox.Varley, besides being one of the backers of Disappear Here, was also managing Peaches.
"Peaches is very much involved in the magazine," this reads, "and is a director and equal shareholder of Disappear Here Ltd along with myself and James Brown. Peaches, James and I made a joint decision that she should not be listed in the editorial credits for the Spring/Summer edition as she has not written anything and Peaches would never attribute her name to something which wasn't her own work. The editorial team at Disappear Here are incredibly talented and we are all exceptionally pleased with the current issue."
So, would she back on board for issue three?
Sadly, the world would never find out, for although the website is still there, it looks like everything, um, disappeared sometime around the Spring of 2009.
Wonderfully, you can still buy a subscription - there's a Paypal form waiting to take your money - but given the long hiatus between issues I thought I should first find out when the third edition would be coming, so emailed the subscriptions email address to find out.
After a few short hours, a reply:
This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.But there are signs of life, for there on the front page is a "latest comment" - and, why, it appears to date from this week:
A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of
its recipients. This is a permanent error. The following addresses
Still, the fact you can still send them money for the next three issues must mean there's still some life there, right? I mean, James Brown and Peaches Geldof wouldn't leave a website up with a cash register on take money if they didn't intend to make good on the deal, would they?
But for now, the website says Hello, but the whole escapade seems to have long since completed its goodbyes: