R.I.P. Lads Mags

With FHM and Zoo announcing they’re shutting their metaphorical doors at the end of the year, it comes with a saddening/joyful/surprising (delete as appropriate) confirmation that, as we feared/expected (again, delete as appropriate) for the past few years now, the death of the lads magazine has finally arrived.

Lads’ favourites FHM and Zoo must now shuffle towards the dole queue (or attempt to gain a new lease of life online – good luck with that), joining their fallen comrades, their once-bitter rivals, by the wayside as the world shuns the newsagent’s heavy door for an all-access, all-free digital world.
First came Nuts, once the firm favourite for school busses, playgrounds and barber shops alike, peaking at 260,000 sales when launched, yet suffering a torturous fate which saw them get buried, modesty bag and all (thanks, Co-op), in a fresh grave last year after circulation dipped below 25,000. Message now sent out – lad’s mags are all but over. But did that stop competitors? Nope. Did they suffer equally painful fates? You betcha.

Think of a lads mag, we’ll tell you it’s died. Front, gone. Loaded, gone (then relaunched, then gone, relaunched, gone, and now relaunched as digital-only). Zip, gone before it began (but don’t ask James about this, or Loaded actually). Zoo, going. FHM, going.

The thing is, why buy a magazine when the information is online, or in the case of the thriving 300,000+ circulation magazine ShortList, free? Exactly. Why buy what The Lad Bible offer for nothing? Why venture to your local lads-mags-agents when your Facebook feed does pretty much the same thing? Girls, available online. Games, available online. Quality features – you guessed it – available online. Where mags are suffering a decline, online titles are becoming as famous as Kim Kardashian’s derriere and a champagne glass in almost as much time.

And, for those living under a rock or unlucky enough to never have the experience of buying, or reading, a lads’ mag, here’re some of our personal highlights. We’ll leave it up to you to guess who’s memories are who’s. And yes, some of the girls chipped in too:

– Having to study Zoo Magazine for GCSE English (Hint: Northern education)
– Zoo’s injury pages. Why?
– Scoring a model’s phone number at Butlins, then buying £60 of Burger King together
– Fast Car. Quote: “That was filth. Actually dirty. Mud between the pages.”
– Gillian Anderson on the front cover of FHM. The start of a blossoming collection which saw one of us collect issues 1-35 of the mag.
– Buying Loaded and FHM only to cover an entire bedroom wall with bikini-clad girls (with another of us stumbling upon a dad’s collection, too. Hidden under the stairs. Weird)
– Pulling a High Street Honey in uni, and “dining off it for a year and a half”
– Looking at Cheryl Cole (who’d topped a Top 100 list one year), and thinking “that’s what I have to look like for boys to fancy me”
– Getting ID’d, and refused sale, for not being old enough
– Having a copy of Nuts confiscated on a school trip
– Pamela Anderson in general. And Katie Price, pre-Peter Andre.