Jumpin’ Jack:
The groundbreaking publisher of hit “booze, Becks and bonking” men’s magazine Loaded has stuck his finger in the air. No, not in a laddish ‘one-fingered salute’. In order to sense the shifts many of the nation’s males are undoubtedly making. And he’s come up with the outline of his new magazine formula. It’s to be called Jack, and will feature symphonies, walking, huntin’ & fishin’ (‘Our guide to buying shotguns’), wearable clothes, good wines and classic cars. Plus Hemingway-esque male adventure + wild wildlife. See, I told you back in 2001 that this “English gentleman” trend was slowly emerging above ground, didn’t I? Oh, and Jack will have strong readable football-fan writing, of course. And some sex, of course. And some topical Private Eye-like cartoon strips. The other big break will be the size; abandoning the aircraft-carrier overkill of other men’s mags, Jack will be matt and have a natty “back-pocket” A5 shape. Due out in June and then quarterly. He’s investing half a million quid in it. And you don’t do that unless your focus-groups and market-research show you which way the wind’s blowing. The bachelor is back.

Ring thing:
The lad-ette side of the Loaded generation may also be settling down. According to today’s The Sunday Times Style section, a new husband is now the latest fashion-accessory. My my, last week it was a ‘geeky boyfriend’; that editor works quickly! But she expects her readers to progress a little more slowly. Three years, to be exact. Here’s her starter “How to get a husband in three years” tips….

“1. Don’t drop everything for the man in your life”
She’s right, of course.

“2. Never call”
Excuse me? I’ve never understood this attitude. Just be normal.

3. “If he rings up out of the blue for a date, refuse.”
‘But I just got two paired tickets for the centre stalls at the opera…’ But no, this may be good advice for first dates; if a bloke is running through his old diary looking for a phone number who’ll say ‘yes’, then it’s probably not going to last as far as cutting the cake.

“4. Dress nice, shave, pluck, do something to pamper yourself every week.”
Hmm, yes; up to a point. But it could intimidate him, depending on how cute she is and where they’re going on a date; if every man in the bar is ogling her on the very first date, then he might wonder how he could ever hope to hang on to her for life.

“5. Get baking”
Baking? Using ‘My Little Junior Oven’ was probably the last time any baking got done; so he may not be very impressed by her rock-hard rock-coloured rock cakes. I suggest; go round to Aging Female Relative’s house, get AFR to bake a proper sponge cake, then tell him AFR made it as a special “date cake”. He will be much more impressed by what a nice AFR she has. Then; get the recipe off AFR, and you both bake a cake and cook a meal together, later on.

“6. Play hard to get – for the first month or two, don’t have sex with them.”
Them? Well, yes; if she’s going on a dozen or more dates to find ‘Mr Right’, then I suppose that’s very sensible. She doesn’t want to finally meet ‘Mr He’ll Do’ and then discover a little rash or worse šŸ™‚

Apparently the world is waiting for a whole book of this stuff. Again, I suggest someone’s done some in-depth market-research and spotted an emerging trend?

Into the Zone 2:
Tarkovsky’s Stalker is finally released tommorrow on DVD by Artificial Eye. The Russian Cinema Council have funded this special 2 x DVD edition packed with a huge amount of extra features.