Look, everyone, there’s no point feeling sorry about BTL. It’s a kindness. Like a blind old incontinent sheepdog, it’s had its day. Take it out to the barn with a double-barreled shot-gun and blow the mother away. And I’m only saying that because I’m so fond of it.
That’s right; after 52 issues the official Fan Club magazine, Better Than Life, is to be put out of its considerable misery and replaced with something just that little bit different.
But before I wade in with my size twelves and start spouting those pesky ‘opinions’ of mine, here’s what James has to say about the decision and the plans for the future.
Once again BTL has been slow to arrive, this has been down to quite a few issues and problems, too many to mention, but not too many to resolve.
So when BTL 52 finally arrives, this will be the last…BUT! No fear, as this was the end for Red Dwarf episodes, this won’t be the last for the Fan Club magazine. It will be re-invented smaller, faster and more whoooshes! And no! this won’t be remastered! It will be a total and completely new magazine! within the pages of the last issue of BTL it will contain your chance to contribute to this new magazine: From naming the beast to actually designing a brand new logo that will be used on every issue! And not only this giving us your opinions on how you would like it to look and feel. This is YOUR magazine, now you have the chance to make it for real.
It’s no secret that the mag has been going rapidly downhill for a number of years now. It’s always late (and when I say late, I mean lllllllllate), the content is often shoddy and unreadable, the layout is mostly awful and fan submissions have been relied on far too much – with fans even being *blamed* for the lateness of the mag, at times. As Fan Club renewal payments are taken after every four issues of the mag, the magazine must have been a big dent in the Fan Club’s budget, so it’s clear something had to be done.
So, this has prompted this drastic move from James and his Team. It’s undeniably saddening that a magazine once associated with quality has got into such a state that it actually *needed* a re-branding, but hey-ho, like it or not that’s the situation we’re in. And it’s a positive move forward by the club, I think. I just hope the necessary changes have been made behind the scenes to ensure that the mag is put together with the love, care and attention that it once was. After all, wasn’t it St. Francis of Assisi himself who said “Change, my dear, and it seems not a moment too soon”?
There’s no word as yet as to when we can expect the last issue of BTL to hit our doormats, but I assume it’ll be soon, so I hope the team get the support and fresh outlook from the rest of the fan community that they need (and we’ll certainly be offering all we can) off the back of their appeal for help. However, I also hope that they fully realise that in order for fans to be truly invested in this mag The Team need to be the driving forces behind the content and not fall into the past trap of relying on the community to write interesting stuff for them.
But, as I say, this is undoubtedly a positive and encouraging move and one that should be welcomed. It remains to be seen what will come of it all, but hopefully this time next year we’ll enjoying a renewed and high quality magazine that any fan club would be proud of. Hopefully.