Better Than Better Than Life

So, the fan club have ditched the Better Than Life brand, after several years of neglect left the magazine moribund and generally shit. Good. Now, they’re after a name for the new, re-branded, better-edited, hopefully-on-time replacement. Chairman Bull has posted a few suggestions on the fan club forums, such as sdrawkcaB, Back To Reality, Smeg, Goit and, ahem, Smegazine.

Obviously, these are rubbish, but they are considering any ideas that the fans come up with. Personally, I like Stasis Leak, as suggested by a few people on the boards, as it nicely summarises the intended effect the re-branding will have. A crueller suggestion would be The Red Dwarf Annual. Bay 47? Reality Control? Fascist Dictator Monthly? Big Boys In Boots? WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Tags: ,

64 Responses to Better Than Better Than Life

Jump to bottom

  1. As I said on the BTL boards – I think it should be something that new people will be able to understand. I like “Smegazine”. It’s punchy and simple enough.

  2. I like The Red Dwarf Annual :)

  3. G&T Admin

    I actually quite like Back To Reality. A tacit acknowledgement that the magazine had lost its way… and a promise for the future.

  4. No. :-)

    I like Back to Reality, too. It acronyms well, and similarly, and carries some decent connotations.

  5. I like Stasis Leak and Back to Reality.
    BtR magazine… scans nicely :o)

    Aside from the copyright issues I think naming it Smegazine would have been a bad idea. The whole point is that it’s a fresh start for the magazine, so why name it after an existing product?

  6. >I like Stasis Leak, as suggested by a few people on the boards

    A few people?! :-/

    I know im fat but im still technically one person!

  7. Archie and Friends

  8. I agree that using a previous publication name wouldn’t be right…

    ‘Total Immersion’ sprung to mind the other day as it seems to follow on from BTL but then again so does Back to Reality I guess…

    To be honest, I’m more interested in what format the new mag will take and what the team want to fill it. Fewer pictures of Paul would be a good start.

  9. Some ‘suggestions’ –

    ‘The Tank’

    ‘Polymorph’

    ‘Quarantine’ (would anyone dare open it?)

    ‘Mimas’

    ‘Nodnol’

    ‘Starbook’ (you know, like ‘Starbuck’ as played by the incredible Katee Sackhoff, and also like ‘Starbug’ from Red Dwarf)

    ‘Hard Light’ (crap, I know)

    ‘Blue Midget’

    ‘Nova 5’

    ‘Holly Hop’ (I don’t know why but it makes me laugh thinking of it called that)

    ‘Beyond A Joke’

    ‘The Log’

    ‘C.L.I.T.O.R.I.S.’

    ‘Let’s Get Out There And Twat It – A Red Dwarf Fan Club Publication’

  10. Well you know how it’s got big floppy pages floppin’ all around? How about…Father Jack Hackett.

  11. I’m just wondering how this type of publication can survive. In essence you’re waiting 3 months (or longer…) for several pages of news and reviews that aren’t particularly up to date and a few other features.

    This wasn’t a problem in the 90’s but when you have the interweb on hand, it’s a little lame. It’s perhaps a little naive to just assume that every Red Dwarf fan has internet access (but it’s not much of an assumption, right?).

    I had a lot of time for BTL back in the day and can’t judge what it was like as it reached Issue 52 (I think I lost interest around issue 25), it just seems that fandom has outgrown this type of format.

  12. Oh, and how about “Your Own Death, and How to Cope With It”?

  13. You could always use the title of this article.

  14. “I?m just wondering how this type of publication can survive. In essence you?re waiting 3 months (or longer?) for several pages of news and reviews that aren?t particularly up to date and a few other features.”

    Good point. I wouldn’t read the magazine for news, either. I don’t read *anything* for news anymore, except the internet.

    But I would read it for the articles – of course someone would have to write them. And I have to say, the Red Dwarf community seems to be quite, erhm, discerning (for lack of a better word right now) when it comes to humour.

  15. It’s all about the content now, I guess. Decent articles, think pieces, images and illustrations (these last two still feel more satisfyng in print, to me). This how, for example, the Bond club’s magazines have kept on – news has become a minor aside to content.

    It’s fair to say that a majority of SF fans will have net access, but I think the comedy side is where we find more Dwarf fans without a regular online connection. Certainly that was the case in my day – there was a chunk of the membership who resenting the mag including email/web contacts for merchandise because they couldn’t go that route.

    I’d also say that the dip in DJ attendance is likely to be linked to the lack of BTLs over the last 12 months. Partly because it could be read as a sign of the team’s capabilities (“Can’t run a mag, presumably they can’t run a con”; but we, the minority, know that ain’t the case), but mostly because that’s 2 or 3 missed chances to sell DJ to the membership. The numbers suggest that that matters. That more, and better, BTLs would have helped attendance.

    Another good reason for the break, frankly. The new mag should do a lot of good over the next year to restore and increase faith, and build genuine enthusiasm for DJ 2009. Thus making it financially viable.

  16. From the BTL FAQ:

    “Q: How do I know if my membership has expired?
    A: If you haven’t received the latest issue of BTL (in a timely manner) that everyone is talking about and the codes to access the main BTLi site no longer work, your membership has probably expired.”

    The fan club needs *some* sort of publication.

    Maybe it would work if the focus was less on Red Dwarf as such and more on the community/members…

  17. G&T Admin

    What, like the page long articles detailing what the fan club team have seen at the cinema in the last year? No thanks.

  18. No, more like pictures from people who met at DJ and now get married, and things that the regular fan can be part of like everyone’s (not the fan club team’s) favourite cocktail recipes, or a call to invent a cocktail recipe that’s red dwarf themed in some way, and other random stuff like that. It works for other communities.

  19. Yeah, where’s the cocktail recipe page on G+T?

  20. G&T Admin

    THE PETER TYLER

    Ingredients:
    8 pints lager
    3 bottles red wine
    1/8 ounce marijuana

    Method:

    1. Consume all the ingredients.
    2. Talk about cunnilingus.

  21. Maybe it would work if the focus was less on Red Dwarf as such and more on the community/members?

    If anything, the main problem with BTL in recent years has been that people haven’t been bothered to write stuff about Red Dwarf, and so have to fill pages detailing what they’re up to. But if I want to read glorified blog entries, then I’ll read people’s blogs. I buy BTL to read about Red Dwarf, and one of my main gripes about the thing was that I was usually forced instead to read about the lives of people I don’t know.

  22. Well, I didn’t know that…

    I’m not sure I could write anything about Red Dwarf that hasn’t already been done before.

  23. I dunno, I think there’s a lot that’s still unexplored (not that I’ve read everything that’s ever been written on the subject, but still) – not just with the show itself, but with things linked to it. Look at the Wrinkles stuff Cappsy’s been digging up – nobody’s EVER said a WORD about Wrinkles within fandom. Yet it’s a sitcom written by Rob and Doug! The first thing they properly wrote together! Everyone gets excited about Son of Cliche, but not that – often it’s just a case of bringing things to people’s attention…

    But, you know, people can still write analysis and critique of something years after the event – there’s a lot to be said about Dwarf that either hasn’t been said at all, or hasn’t been said from a certain perspective. Nobody wants to read another “Series VII is shit!/No it isn’t!/Yes it is!” argument, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to be said about the content and context of the show.

  24. “Better Read than Smeg”.

    No sorry, my heart’s really not in this.

  25. G&T Admin

    The very existence of G&T shows that there’s still plenty to say, though…

  26. Well, maybe I’m the only one, but I see a problem there.

    You guys are pretty “advanced” Dwarfers. What to write for someone who’s read all BTLs and seen the DVD bonus material? It would be pretty in-depth, the “Red Dwarf Times” (as in Financial Times) so to speak.

    The Red Dwarf newbies (as I consider myself and my friends) and casual fans wouldn’t be overly interested in “Wrinkled” or analysis that’s so in-depth that it becomes incomprehensible for new people. Like… all the one-episode-guest-stars, I don’t even know half their names and I’m certainly not that interested in what they’re doing right now. They would want (or need) something closer to the “Red Dwarf on Sunday”. (And I may be selfish there but I think it is the casual and new people who’d be the ones going to future DJs at all, now that the “veterans” seem to be bored of it?)

    Could a fanzine be both at the same time, without everyone thinking that the other half of it sucks?

  27. >The very existence of G&T shows that there?s still plenty to say, though?

    True, but what makes G&T work so well is the irreverent tone and the interactivity.

  28. Good points all. The face of RD fandom is changing, and a significant percentage of the people going to DJ or lurking about on the web are people who weren’t even watching the show when it finished in 1999 (it was pointed out by someone, possibly Robert, that that kid at DJ won’t have been born when series VIII was on the air!). It’s therefore not true that the only things you can say about Dwarf are things that haven’t already been said – because so many people will be discovering those aspects for the first time. Like I intimated above, I don’t mind seeing the same ground trodden over if it’s being trodden over by new people (hell, I’m fairly new to the fandom world myself – I’ve been a fan since the mid ’90s, but never got involved in fandom itself until the DVDs started coming out – so I’m sure I’ve made points and “analysis” that people in the Ellard generation of fans were making ten or fifteen years previously!). And I recognise that we at G&T are in quite a minority in being so staggeringly obsessed with the minutiae – you’re right that a fan club magazine should cater for people like you as much as, if not more than (no, probably as much as ;-) ), it should for us.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that I’d rather see any kind of writing about Dwarf – even fanfic – than have the pages be filled with what movies Caz went to see six months ago.

  29. (I do take your point that focusing on building community is a Good Thing. It’s a fan club, after all. It’s just that the way the team seem to have done this in recent years is simply to write about themselves all the time. Which I think is what makes some of us apprehensive.)

  30. Well, as for me, they could just reissue old BTL aritcles, but that’d bore the hell out of you people. :)

    I really want to contribute (in whatever way), but if people’s reactions would include “That’s been done 32786 times, you’re not funny and your writing sucks”, I’d move to diesel decks and hide forever in shame.

  31. I know you guys are less keen on that stuff, but in my day (*Four Yorkshiremen mode*) it was part of the vibe of the mag, and the community. It wasn’t just the team – the letters pages had a balance of personal, funny and Dwarfish things going on.

    But we also had some occasionally-decent fan-fic, rare interviews, pics, articles and, frankly, stuff about recent series. And a regular delivery date. There’s nothing wrong with the personal stuff – it’s mostly the lack of much else that’s making it stick out.

    Some want a Wrinkles piece, some want Chris Barrie interviewed for the 111th time, and some want to feel like they belong to an extended family. I see no harm in trying to cater for all three.

  32. If my histo-chip serves me correctly, my favourite bits were Post Pod, Featured Episode and Reviews. Alas, there’s very little to review these days but I guess the first two are still valid. Fan fiction has always jarred with me, but it obviously has an audience.

    Last three attempts:

    “Hudzen 10” (aka ‘the replacement’)
    “Blue Fidget” (a more adult-orientated magazine)
    “Back to Readability”

  33. Well, as for me, they could just reissue old BTL aritcles, but that?d bore the hell out of you people. :)

    Not me, I’ve only been reading BTL for the last few issues! If I’d been able to afford it, I’d have bought some of the “compilation” mags that were on sale at DJ. I’d genuinely be interested to read what people were saying about the series between 1988 and, say, 2002. I’d be interested to read them online, come to that, should the fan club decide to put a “best of” selection on the new site. Hell, I’d volunteer to transcribe some of them! Having a proper overview of longer-standing critical appraisal would really provide some excellent balance to the stuff G&T are doing now – because, let’s face it, the generally-shared opinions and senses of humour of this site’s team mean that we tend to unwittingly toe a party line a lot of the time.

  34. >?Back to Readability?

    Pete wins.

  35. Personally, I think it’s time to cut the crap and get something sorted…
    Everyone (on-line) has bleated on for ages about where and when it started to go wrong, we’ve all had a whinge. We know that one major factor is the lack of stuff sent in, we know in the Past that some people have not had the recognition when they do send stuff in. We also know that there have been stumbling blocks behind the scenes along the way.
    As I see it, the magazine is probably drinking in the last chance saloon and the next 12 months are critical to the future of everything ‘Fan Club’ related.
    There has been much talk about not much going on in the world of Dwarf to report on yet DJ has just gone, there is a huge DVD release coming up and then there’s the BBC not wanting Red Dwarf anymore bomb shell. Surely there is ‘news’ material there.
    I whole heartedly agree that there is still mileage in Dwarf gone by for discussion and early Grant-Naylor stuff is there to be written about. Couple this lot with the Casts current bits and pieces and there is loads to work on.

    I also agree that there has been too much emphasis on the Fan Club team itself for some time, Photos especially seem to continually feature the team and this started long before James took over (count up the number of shots of Jane over the years). I too, do not really want to know who’s moving house or has a new state of the art DVD player although it’s nice to have a ‘little’ background info…

    I’ve thought for some time given the reported lack of input that maybe going direct to certain people or indeed groups may be the way forward. Instead of having to continually ask for general contributions, why not give G&T a regular 2 pages or individuals a page. It’s not for me to say who or what’s required but I think it’s an idea worth thinking about. You would still have pages for letters, fan fic, features and other contributions etc, but by having a regular set of writers, you would guarantee X ammount of decent filler each quarter. I’m sure by now the team have an idea who can do what and who to ask. Perhaps the team could consider the idea even if only for a trial period. I suspect I’m speaking out of turn here, but believe the team do need help by way of contributions so why not some official regular contributors. Of course the Mag has to appeal to a big age range and that would have to be taken on board (maybe a junior section)…
    I know Andrew’s a very busy man, but still very much a fan at heart, I’d like to see an ‘insider’ page and one A4 page every three months doesn’t seem a lot!

    I suppose we should really contact James with a any ideas in truth, but I feel it helps to discuss things and this is about the only place with anything like constant ‘on-topic’ debate…

  36. G&T Admin

    I know you guys are less keen on that stuff, but in my day (*Four Yorkshiremen mode*) it was part of the vibe of the mag, and the community. It wasn?t just the team – the letters pages had a balance of personal, funny and Dwarfish things going on.

    But we also had some occasionally-decent fan-fic, rare interviews, pics, articles and, frankly, stuff about recent series. And a regular delivery date. There?s nothing wrong with the personal stuff – it?s mostly the lack of much else that?s making it stick out.

    Yes, I think it’s the lack of much else that’s causing the problem. But it would also help if the personal stuff wasn’t so badly-written and deathly dull, too. Written with the merest shred of wit, and with more concentration of fanclub members and less on the fanclub, and it’d be fine – as long as it doesn’t dominate.

    Some want a Wrinkles piece, some want Chris Barrie interviewed for the 111th time, and some want to feel like they belong to an extended family. I see no harm in trying to cater for all three.

    Agreed. I think there’s room for everything.

    I’ve been loathe to contribute to BTL, because of various things – Ian Capps, anyone? But from what I heard at DJ, there is a real desire to get the new magazine RIGHT, and so I definitely want to contribute something.

  37. I think there’s at least a half-dozen pages in people responding, in article form, to the recent news…

    And no Bodysnatcher review can be less than 1,000 words, surely? :-)

  38. It seems to me that all new-BTL needs is a decent editor to head it up.

  39. I’ve compiled a new list after looking for random terms in the database section of the Programme Guide last night.
    I’ve posted the list on the BTLi forums, but if anybody’d interested, I’ll fill your pages up with the list as well:

    The A to Z of Red Dwarf
    Abort Sequence X1X
    Awooga
    Better Dead Than Smeg
    Better Than Life (yawn…)
    The Big Crunch
    Colostomy Explosion
    Corridor 159
    Double Polaroid
    Escape Pod 1736
    Fascist Dictator Monthly
    The Fifth Dimension
    Floor 13
    Future Echoes
    Groovy Channel 27
    The Hole
    The Junior Colour Encyclopedia of Space
    Leisure World International
    Lunar City Seven
    Morris Dancer Monthly
    Now Irradiate Your Hands
    Om
    Post Pod
    Skive Hard, Play Hard
    Stasis Leak
    The Tank
    yadretseY
    Z Shift

    Anyone else for ‘Now Irradiate Your hands’?

  40. I kinda like that both the magazine and the convention are named for episodes.

    Future Echoes? Stasis Leak? Parallel Universe? Meltdown? Out of Time? Ouroboros?

    I’m assuming nobody wants to change the name of Dimension Jump?!

  41. Ya mum?

  42. G&T Admin

    Back To Reality seems to be the best suggestion, I think.

  43. Its fucking awful, the whole point is to distance the new magazine from the old one and its problems.

    Changing from BTL to BTR is totally and completely pointless, we may as well just leave it as BTL!

  44. G&T Admin

    Its fucking awful, the whole point is to distance the new magazine from the old one and its problems.

    I think it does that, though. The connotations are that the old magazine had got crap, and this was going back to greater things again. Yes, there *are* similarities with the old title – but maybe they’re worth keeping. After all, BTL hasn’t been crap for all its life.

    On the minus side, the magazine title does become somewhat irrelevant once the first few issues have been published, and it’s done its job. Maybe at that point, you don’t *want* reminding that BTL used to be crap…

    I’m not keen on Stasis Leak, really. I can see the idea behind it – information leaking into our world, in a sense – but it just sounds a bit awkward and forced to me as a magazine title.

  45. G&T Admin

    BTR is my favourite, to be honest. None of the others work that well for me, and it does have that symbolic nature that John referred to.

  46. How about Starbug?

  47. How about ‘The Dwarfer’?

  48. > Changing from BTL to BTR is totally and completely pointless, we may as well just leave it as BTL!

    Only if you’re Japanese, no? [NB: When transliterating Japanese, L and R are the same thing…]

  49. G&T Admin

    Mick isn’t Japanese. Not yet, anyway, I’d say he was only turning Japanese at the moment.

  50. G&T Admin

    Do you really think so?

  51. G&T Admin

    I really think so think so think so.

  52. The Daily Dwarf

    Although i dont really think the name matters. It could be kept as BTL if the conntent changes.

  53. True, smeg4brains.

  54. >The Daily Dwarf

    *laughs till he vomits*

  55. Andrew / Thu, 2007-10-04 16:49 / new / #
    >I know you guys are less keen on that stuff, but in my day (*Four Yorkshiremen mode*)

    That reminds me of last weekend when offered a cup of tea…I sort of went of on one and did the bit at the start about tea. Confused the hell out of everyone.

    *Cough*
    (Yes, I’m late in the discussion)
    Anyway, I think Back to Reality is a great title and I also think Marleen’s idea about making it about the fans too is a good one because the magazine is for fans and so why isn’t there more about them?

    That’s what I think.

  56. Oh! I just remembered an idea I had a while back about the magazine…why don’t they do it in a 90’s style? Because Red Dwarf was shown mostly then and quite a few think of it as a 90’s programme.
    Just an idea, of course.

Jump to top / Jump to 'Recent Comments'

Leave a Reply