Презентация журнала "О!"

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С.Чернов, "Проспект"

The man behind the new Russian rock magazine O! is BBC Russian Service rock music presenter Vsevolod Novgorodtsev.

New Russian rock magazine

An unusual new Russian-language music magazine devoted to rock will soon hit the streets after a lavish local christening in St Petersburg's Irish pub Mollies last week.

The unusual thing is the fact that the publication, which is called O! Magazine, is written, edited and printed in London, but intended for the Russian market.

The first issue has only just been completed and is expected to become commercially available within the next few days.

The magazine, which is published by Moscow-based publishing company Skit International, will be distributed through the distribution service of the major Russian newspaper Argumenty I Fakty (Arguments and Facts).

Now the circulation is limited to 10,000 copies, but the publishers hope to increase this to 50,000 copies.

But many consider the decision to publish the magazine on a monthly basis overambitious and unrealistic.

The pilot issue -- largely devoted to John Lennon's 55th anniversary -- is already late and is likely to reach news stands after a three-week delay.

O! Magazine founder and editor-in-chief Vsevolod Novgorodtsev, 55, has been known since the late 1970s as the presenter of his own rock broadcast on the BBC Russian Service.

As time passed he launched one more program on BBC radio -- the talkshow Sevaoborot, and now also presents a program on St Petersburg's Radio One which he makes in London before sending the tapes to Russia.

Earlier this year he published a book based on his BBC rock programs.

According to Mr Novgorotsev, the initial inspiration for starting the magazine was an earlier magazine (which although he did not name it, can only have been New Generation), which was also published in London by Russian emigres and will be sold in Russia this summer. It was done quickly and therefore poorly, it was obviously a one-shot project but it did however manage to sell 30 pages of advertisements.

"I just wondered why we couldn't do the same thing too, but better. If we don't do it professionally, the market will be flooded by all kinds of cowboys," he said.

The result is a 104-page, well-printed, glossy, color magazine -- a specialized rock magazine of this quality yet to be experienced in Russia. Still there is a certain lack of perspective.

It is devoted mostly to Western rock performers from the past. The editor thinks that Russian audiences are more interested in Ritchie Blackmore and John Lennon and simply do not know about the current music scene. This very concept made some of Mr Novgorodtsev's radio shows lackluster, when in the late 1970s he ignored the Jam in favor of Pink Floyd.

But some current music is reflected in the substantial "record reviews" section.

On the magazine in general Mr Novgorodtsev said, "Our philosophy was that the borders in music were vanishing... that's why apart from general rock material we have 10 pages of jazz and 10 pages of heavy metal."

The jazz section is made by Mr Novgorodtsev's BBC colleague, Leo Feigin, who has a show devoted to jazz and improvised music and the record label, Leo Records.

But O! Magazine will not cover Russian rock music. "Geographically we are in London, which is in the West, so we publish a magazine on Western rock," said Mr Novgorodtsev.

By Sergey Chernov, © 1995 St Petersburg Press

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