Whatever: The Good Old Days

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By John Burns

Lead Photo by: Graphicsfairy.com

One cool thing about working at print magazines in the good old days was that there’d be new magazines every day, from all over the world: Australian Motorcycle News with Fred Gassit on the last page, Bike from the UK along with SuperBikes and Performance Bikes; Motorrad from Germany, PS from Belgium or someplace, Cycle Canada, a French magazine or two. Even if you didn’t speak the language, there was a little foreign culture lesson in each one, tied to the favorite thing we all had in common. Cycle News came every Wednesday, I think, or was it Tuesday? I never understood how Paul Carruthers could put that thing out every week and still par-, er, celebrate as hard as we did at various press events. With all those mags lying around, if you needed a fresh story, well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. They’re also where much of our information came from in those days. Bike magazine and Motorcycle News still seem to be doing pretty well, mainly because their websites only exist to tease you with what’s in the current print issue. Which you have to buy.

Fred Gassit.

I have a hard time remembering what we did all day when there was no internet atop everyone’s desk to google away at? Especially since we had no website to fill, and especially when even then the suits insisted the magazine could be no longer than 126 pages (or whatever it was that month), or you’d throw off the sacred advertising/editorial ratio (read: we ad guys would have to go out and sell more ads). Since that meant less work for us every month, I guess we never thought to complain or even question: Gee, Wally, wouldn’t people like a thicker magazine better, especially if …read more

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