I started getting Hot Press back in 1995. Andrea Corr was on the cover and my 16-year-old wanted to discover the sex in her company.
So I bought it, making sticky the pages with her lovely self emblazoned, and therefrom grew my grá. Good writers, music and film reviews, Declan Lynch (and later Jonathan O'Brien) writing about football, Barry Glendenning, Olaf Tyaransen pre-becoming-a-cocaine-spouting-about-cunt, Niall Stokes pissing off politicians.
It was my publication of choice.
In my final year of college, I applied to be the Hot Press representative for Griffith. I was happy to be chosen and resolved to go about my task with vigour. We were asked to organise events to be sponsored by Hot Press, make sure the local shops stocked it, write about our experiences, build up a network of willing fanboys and girls.
Of course, I lost interest as soon as I got my free phone at the launch and did none of those things, but I still bore the title, the title that bored the shit out of my friends at its mentioning.
Then it broke. Q Bar broke it. Cocoon broke it. Cocaine broke it. Eddie Irvine broke it. Gavin Lambe Murphy broke it. The Dice Bar, Renards, cappuccinae, Brian O'Driscoll, Katy fucking French. Broke it. Broke it.
The Lillies Leopard of our economic boom broke it and turned it into the Hitler Youth of the Sunday Independent. The first Boyzone cover made me die a little inside.
And look at it now! Muck. There's some bird called Lady Gaga on the front. She's like a Blondie for the recession generation, kids, and aren't we the lucky ones to have been granted an audience? Bollocks.
The Mad Hatters Box. A TV presenter called Mark Noble (not the moderately talented West Ham footballer) takes on the questionnaire.
His favourite food? 'Anything from The Troc,' he writes. The fucking Troc? Trocadero? Yeah, that's it loike, but you know me and the goys call it The Troc and they do, loike, a SERIOUS halibut on the pre-theeter menu. Loike.
Then you have Anne Sexton telling us, her frigid little playthings of vicariousness, how to have sex.
'With a sinking feeling I looked in the mirror. My chin was sporting a lovely red patch about the size of a euro and as subtle as a traffic light. Hello, beard rash, my old friend.'
I need to gather myself a minute.
If I find the whole thing so distasteful I ought to spend my €3.50 elsewise, you may say. In my defence I've weaned myself down to about four issues a year and to paraphrase Armin Tamsarian, I'm only in here looking for a way out of here.