On 8 Apr 2015 at 11:22pm Earl of Lewes wrote:
Many of us have slagged off Viva Lewes and I'm sure that some of the people who produce it have read these comments. Perhaps it's now time to make some constructive suggestions about what we'd like to see in Viva Lewes.
I'd like to see a magazine that was about life, not 'lifestyle'. I'd like to read about the local issues that affect us, whether it's parking, St Anne's, the effect of road closures, car vandalism in the Pells, opinions of local schools etc. What I don't want to read about is some smug article about someone's new artisan bakery.
I suppose we can't entirely blame Viva Lewes. Many of the things that irritate are merely a reflection of aspects of the town, eg. the 'alternative' women in Harem pants who affect a bohemian, charity shop look, but actually have a solid private income. Not all of us can afford the handmade jewellery/kitchenware or the £4,000 oil paintings of abstract scenes inspired by the Downs.
But it seems a shame that the overall impression of smugness overshadows the interesting articles that appear from time to time. I don't throw my copy straight in the bin, because there's always something that's worth reading, even if all the lifestyle stuff ends up making me feel depressed and aware of how skint I am.
So in the spirit of balance, can anyone suggest other things that would make them more likely to read Viva Lewes?
On 9 Apr 2015 at 8:35am in tune wrote:
'In the spirit of balance' I think Viva Lewes should 'come out' as an advertising circular cynically promoting a neverland life style that attracts advertising revenue by appealing to the aspirations of a demographic happy to make a commodity out of everything and anything - even bonfire! Slick, pretty upmarket junk mail.
If indeed its artists and interns - as suggested on this forum - are not paid, then the circle of irony and misrepresentation becomes complete.
if the 'interesting' articles include Norman Baker's then I am even more bemused. Are these a free contribution to both the magazine's advertising revenue and the Liberal democratic party? if not is the record of their payment in the public domain?
On 9 Apr 2015 at 8:57am Tipex wrote:
I agree a thread about what we WOULD like Viva to become is infinitely more constructive than endless cynical grumbling. Personally I'd suggest articles on unbiased local politics, businesses which sell stuff you'd actually want to buy, where to find a decent meal out, interviews with locals, a rotating editorial commenting on anything from infrastructure to dog walking, the history of the town etc. Actually Viva covers pretty much all of these already but they just need to widen their target demographic and take an interest in whatever will appeal to the majority, not the minority. Oh and commission more varied writers.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 9:00am Charlie wrote:
There's nothing wrong with the way it is. You obviously haven't a clue so leave it be.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 9:57am Earl of Lewes wrote:
Tipex has nailed it. The production values are great, they just need to make it feel more relevant to a wider range of people.
'In tune' - the interesting articles are usually about aspects of local history, but also enjoy the photos of people in different occupations. I didn't like the 'humorous' articles by Beth somebody, with the irritating device of calling her children Thing One and Thing Two - a joke that wasn't funny the first time, let alone the 100th. But she appears to have got a publishing deal, so it's clearly a matter of personal taste.
On the face of it, Viva Lewes is a well-produced magazine - far better than many local publications, so why does it annoy so many of us? I think the answer is what it stands for rather than what it is.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 10:14am Clifford wrote:
Why should Viva Lewes do anything? It's an advertising vehicle and has convinced those who advertise that they are reaching their target market. Viva Lewes are in it to make money and I assume they're doing that. I don't like it. I hate it's smug tweeness. But then it isn't produced for people like me and I wouldn't buy any of the crap it promotes. I did used to be amused by the therapy ads though.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 10:15am local wrote:
I don't care what it is like, as long as VL enable me to stop having it delivered to my house ( a waste of paper), and pay people ethically.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 10:37am Ted wrote:
Local = misery guts.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 10:58am Earl of Lewes wrote:
Clifford - If it's an advertising vehicle, then surely they want to broaden their appeal rather than say "Take it or leave it".
On 9 Apr 2015 at 11:19am in tune wrote:
Earl of Lewes there are two currencies effectively operating in Lewes - the normative one based on ordinary 'wages' that propels people for example to Aldi and to clothing outlets outside of Lewes, and the smaller but much much richer yielding one that Viva Lewes's ethos and revenue is dependent on. This second currency leaves a small but significant minority with a large disposable income and an encouraged taste in emblematic lifestyle purchases.
Basically Earl of Lewes, we haven't got the dosh - or I hope a taste for aspirational spending! Viva Lewes consequently isn't much interested in us or our 'life style'. Their 'magazine' is out to make money - nothing wrong with that. It's the way they do it that sticks in my crawl. It showcases Lewes as a 'lifestyle' option and the Lewes I know is much grittier and more interesting than the reflected image that appears in Viva Lewes.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 11:52am Earl of Lewes wrote:
In Tune - You've summed it up perfectly. I think it's also the implication that if you shop locally, you're a better person. I'd love to buy my clothes locally instead of at Primark (and sometimes I do - in charity shops), but my one visit to a certain local men's clothing shop (not Hugh Rae) made my jaw drop. £80 for a shirt! That's more than a weekly shop at Aldi. So Viva Lewes is a showcase for a life that many of us can't afford.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 12:14pm Local resident wrote:
"Viva Lewes is a showcase for a lif that many of us can't afford", well said EoL.
Others of us probably can afford (in part, if not in full) the lifestyle it portrays, but choose to spend our hard-earned cash a little more wisely as we are not drawn in by hype and 'smoke and mirrors' like others.
Unfortunately, in it's current form VL panders to the whim of the "new money" that is, unfortunately turning Lewes from a hard-working County Town, into a dormitory town for wealthy commuters.
It is not a "magazine" as such, it is purely an advertising vehicle, which tries to legitimise itself by running (ever fewer)articles it thinks are of interest to locals. Again, they probably are of interest to those that may use the goods and servcies advertised in VL, but they are probably rarely of interest/use to the many residents who will not (or cannot afford to) buy the goo sor services it promotes.
I don't think VL will ever be a news magazine relevant to all residents, 'twas never intended to be thus, and an increased content of news-based articles are unlikely to bring in as much advertising revenue as a self opinionated review of one of the many pretentous and overpriced eateries, or of the oft over-priced tat touted by one or more of the equally pretentious and overpriced "boutique" retail outlest that have proliferated in the town.
Maybe there is room for a second, even-handed (i.e. no obvious left- or right-wing editorial bias) news-based, publication covering Lewes and surrounding villages. Trouble is, how will that fund itself? The one informative local edition of Sussex Express seems to be failing to fill that niche, it is more adverts and less news these days, and long since became unworthy of the (semingly ever-increasing) cover price...
Maybe an online town news-centred website might be a better/cheaper bet, just so long as it does not host, or turn into, a left vs right (or DFL vs Locals) slanging match forum like many threads on here...
On 9 Apr 2015 at 12:39pm Local wrote:
Ted (and others)
1) I don't want someone else's stuff shoved into my home. Is that so strange? I feel the same about all junk mail. It is just soft-focussed propaganda created to promote advertising.
2) How would you feel about not getting paid for your work? How do you think people without financial support can manage to get a job, if they have to spend months or even years never getting paid as an illustrator or intern. Lewes is a town full of people telling me about their ethical standards. Organic this, alternative therapy that, living wages, affordable homes, transition status, and Lewes pounds. I might even agree with some of them. Yet the same people are falling over themselves to be photographed, and promoted in a magazine that apparently won't even pay for it's cover illustration.
Make sense of that.
The Sussex Express should be embarrassed that it hasn't copied some of the aspects of VL that people like, and add some actual journalism. It is hilarious to me that with all the fascinating things to read in the world, (including the good, bad and ugly on this web-site) people waste their time reading VL simply because they are fed it. It would be interesting to see how it would fare if people had to pay for it . (revenue that other magazines would be using as wages)
On 9 Apr 2015 at 1:17pm Earl of Lewes wrote:
It's a real shame about the Sussex Express. John Eccles was great, but in fairness most local papers have declined in the face of free content on the internet. As Local Resident suggests, it would be good to have a publication that features the local issues covered here, without the constant slanging matches between left and right.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 1:41pm Jane S wrote:
Well said, Earl of Lewes, and Tipex - if VL is 'ours', let's be constructive and ask VL for what we'd like to read in it. It can't, and wouldn't suitably, replace the Sussex Express (though Merlin in the previous thread makes the point that SE's decline may be a factor); but In Tune hits the nail on the head with "the Lewes I know is much grittier and more interesting than the reflected image that appears in Viva Lewes". I'd just plead for no factional or party-political sniping! Issues reported neutrally, if that's possible :-). NB One way of getting unpaid writers is to reinstate the letters column - what do people think about that?
On 9 Apr 2015 at 2:14pm Fairmeadow wrote:
What an interesting and positive thread!
On 9 Apr 2015 at 2:18pm craw blimey guv wrote:
I found another typo while crawl ing through the thread. I Hope this annoys you lot intensely.And sticks in your collective craws
On 9 Apr 2015 at 2:21pm Lewes wrote:
If you advertise in VL you would expect the your advert is delivered to all homes and businesses in the Lewes area. This is suggested on their website for information on Advertising. If you are a business in Lewes what better way to advertise and reach all with in the Lewes Area. How do you know that all copies are delivered, you don't. If you are paying £180.00 for a half page advert and you do not even receive a copy of VL yourself, would you use it again. Advertising is essential to keep VL going and businesses, would we as a town want to lose it, I think not. VL could perhaps do free listing for events and activities for non profit making organisations, charities, and could attend some of these and do a write up on them, the food bank would be good article, it would remind us of the good work some organisation do to help people of Lewes. More articles on local people of interest who actually lived in Lewes for more than 40 years. Perhaps a day in the live of local politicians would be interesting, a day in the live of your local GP, a day in the live of a Taxi Driver. This would be reflective of people living and working in Lewes. Short stories by local authors, readers letters to VL. There a many things that could be added to VL to be more reflective of Lewes. Frankly these could easily be added.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 3:17pm Ted wrote:
Local. If you go to Bunces you will find they sell little signs that say "No junk mail". You stick these by your letter box and they work reasonably well. I would imagine it would repel that beastly VL too. You miserable git.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 3:32pm Localbod wrote:
Like much PR, flannel, and advertising, VL's claims about its 'reach' are rather suspect. I may have missed it, but I can see no evidence for the claims ("we estimate") that each of the 11,000 copies reaches 2.5 people resulting in 35,000 people reading it (can anyone better than me at maths work out that calculation?)
My copy reaches 0 people. If it was just a good listings magazine with an article or two, I would have more time for it, and less contempt The question of VL not paying for work that is being done to make money for others concerns me greatly. As does Norman Baker's monthly PR opportunity, denied to others.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 4:19pm Lispings wrote:
I would add that VL's listings are famously inaccurate and shouldn't be relied on.
It's interesting that VL closed their What's On website about a year ago, opting for a printed version only. This is the complete opposite to general trends and very odd. Surely if they went web based only they'd save a fortune on printing and distributing and and wouldn't annoy those who don't want a copy through their letterbox?
On 9 Apr 2015 at 4:30pm Earl of Lewes wrote:
Yes, do they account for the number of copies that are binned before being read?
Lewes - I really like the idea of a day in the life of a GP or taxi driver, but I'd give short stories or poetry a wide birth (I've had some bad experiences in this area). I also agree that Norman Baker's article should alternative with other candidates.
I've just found a gem from an old issue of Viva Lewes. It sums up, I think, what irritates many of us about it. It's from one of those interviews towards the front. I don't have the name of the interviewee:
Q - What did you have for breakfast?
A - "I had baked millet and quinoa with steamed chicory and seaweed. And a cup of sage tea. My daughter had blueberries, yoghurt and nuts."
I should have sent it to Private Eye.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 5:52pm Localbod wrote:
Surely, it isn't too late? Hilarious. Ironically, if it was all like that, but intentionally, I would pay good money for it.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 6:00pm Annette Curtin-Twitcher wrote:
Perhaps there's scope for an online alternative to VL - a sort of Lewes Lowlife. It could list all the jumble sales where the less loaded could upcycle stylish vintage clothes and reviews of the kebab shops.
And it could have interviews:
Q: What did you have for breakfast?
A: A few swigs of White Lightning and a roll-up
On 9 Apr 2015 at 6:15pm Local wrote:
Vauxhall Viva Lewes. For Lewes families on a working wage.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 7:57pm Local wrote:
Ted. No. I am not the problem, simply sitting in my own home , minding my own business. The problem is that people think they have a right to dump their un-invited crap on complete strangers, whether it be junk mail, cold calling or being rude on Internet Forums. There should be a sign saying 'Junk Mail Welcomed' and what a nicer world it would be.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 8:09pm Ed Can Do wrote:
You lot do know that if you ring/email/write to Viva and ask them not to deliver to your house they won't, right?
I've advertised for staff in Viva Lewes and more recently Viva Brighton and had a huge response as a result so people do read it. Also advertising in Viva is hilariously cheap, under £200 for half a page compared to £400 for a plain-text, inch-long ad in the back of the Argus for a week. Given the relative circulations of both, even taking into account the people who bin it straight away, Viva is an absolute steal when it comes to local advertising.
I absolutely agree that a lot of the content is a bit naff but I do always find something in it I want to read. I see where people are coming from with wanting local news rather than lifestyle stuff but then the Sussex Depress covers that kind of thing and nobody buys that so clearly the demand is limited.
I don't really see that not being able to afford the things in there is a reason to not like the thing. I can't afford any of the cars on Top Gear but I still watched it.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 9:09pm Local wrote:
Thanks. I didn't know that. How about an e-mail where I could request it, instead? It would be better for the planet too, wouldn't it.......?
On 9 Apr 2015 at 10:30pm Eco Viva wrote:
Perish the thought that a magazine which constantly writes about eco this and that, should actually be eco. I love that anyone (including VL), would think that being eco is about placing the responsibility of waste on the unwitting recipient of it.
On 9 Apr 2015 at 10:51pm Earl of Lewes wrote:
Vauxhall Viva Lewes? Great idea!
We could also have Diva Lewes, for women with a large disposable income. Oh wait...
On 10 Apr 2015 at 8:43am in tune wrote:
Ed Can Do - it actually does do harm. Young people are groomed in our world to become consumers and then nowadays often find that they are cut off financially from the very consumer heaven they were enticed into wanting. Young men especially that I know, have got themselves deep into debt on credit cards in order to satisfy their car fetish - no doubt encouraged by Top Gear.
Creating 'mythical' lifestyles in order to sell expensive consumer goods is a canker. Viva Lewes in effect is no different from multinational companies and their advertising offensives in the practice of these dark arts. Really, most of us are potential victims, but some are more vulnerable than others. If you are rich one of Sam Cam's handbags may be a signal that you are part of an unappetizing club but it will not do you any financial harm.
In Lewes, Viva Lewes's aspirational neverland could be seen as a divisive contribution to life in lewes. In fact it could be seen as rather patronising to most of us that don't have the money to join in its frolics.
On 10 Apr 2015 at 12:38pm My Review of Viva Lewes wrote:
My two pennies' worth.
I can see why the last issue could have cheesed some people off with its feature on different religions and faiths. A definite sticky wicket there.
The art section continues to feature frankly awful landscapes of the sea and sky by local 'artists'. Viva Lewes aren't to blame for these efforts, but they still insist on featuring them. Viva's very own Brian Sewell, David Jarman, always makes me wide-eyed with his often impenetrably dense but informative sentences.
Restaurant reviews often deserve a second read between the lines for clues to the reviewer's real opinions.
Many of the features come and go, which is a shame. I used to enjoy the village visits, Lewes street names, etc. I always turn to the old photos on the inside back page first.
Overall it is very well written. Many of the articles are actually about local, less well-off people. The magazine seems to walk a fine editorial line when it comes to local issues while maintaining a neutral standpoint.
The sports pages are very well done. The staff are obviously keen supporters of local clubs.
Kids are catered for well on their own pages. The gigs and concert pages are great.
Sadly it seems to have a closed door policy for new writers. The variety of journalist should improve - from an outsider's point of view the same names appear at the end of article after article.
Overall though, Viva Lewes seems to have something for everyone in most issues. It is free. I have lived in other towns where nothing of the sort exists, which is a shame. It has become part and parcel of the social fabric of the town. I think it should be congratulated. Us Lewesians can be such a difficult bunch to please...
On 10 Apr 2015 at 12:43pm ar10642 wrote:
So because some people might not be able to afford something, there should be no advertising for those products or services whatsoever? Should the people who run those businesses shut up shop, or not advertise and hope for the best so as not to offend the working class heroes? Or is any business that doesn't sell cut price junk at the kind of price only a national chain store can achieve just not acceptable at all?
VL is responding to a market that's clearly there, whether the "true Lewesians" like it or not. Personally I find it a bit twee and irritating, but I find the constant moaning about Londoners even more annoying. It's a free country. If you don't like VL recycle it, put a sign up on your letterbox, or start your own publication full of the sort of things you deem newsworthy.
On 10 Apr 2015 at 1:24pm Jennifer Sobey wrote:
We'd be classed as newcomers to Lewes, having bought our house here a year and three months ago, but we really like Viva Lewes. Its presentation and design are up to standard for all types of people, and its articles are pleasant and varied. Where I'm from we used to read about food banks and evictions in the local papers and, while they're very unfortunate, it's always nice to read about something better to give me a flavour of what really goes on in this lovely town. Whoever thinks magazines should cover depressing stories has forgotten that it's a free world and we should look for higher things really. It's upsetting to see something so positive and beneficial being criticised.
On 10 Apr 2015 at 1:43pm Localbod wrote:
Why get upset? You sound like the perfect customer, and are getting exactly the magazine you want and deserve.
No one wants a magazine full of misery, whether it is in the editorial, or created by avoiding paying artists or interns the going rate for the content.
an issue that VL has neither denied or justified.
On 10 Apr 2015 at 6:11pm Occasional Reader wrote:
Really don't see what all the fuss is about. I find some of the content interesting, and other not. I don't read the stuff that isn't. That is quite easy. As for cover artists not being paid, it can't be such a bad thing as the same artists keep doing covers time after time. If people don't want to work there for free, then don't work there - they are not prisoners and nobody is making them do it.
I also don't accept the fact that there are no articles for 'normal people', when there clearly are...
It is a free magazine, funded by advertising, as are most free publications.
If you don't like it, try making a decision for yourself and just recycle it, it's really not difficult, rather than expecting the magazine writers and editors to only write content approved by you.
On 11 Apr 2015 at 11:39am Viva Zapata wrote:
I don't think being shocked by the suggestion that people are not being paid is 'a fuss'. And as others have said, a magazine that promotes a range of trendy eco values but dumps itself on you, uninvited, is a little bit ridiculous. Maybe these 'fussy' people are just supporters of fairness and employment law and don't like having to recycle other people's waste.