Cover story: Blah Blah Blah, #2, May 1996

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Cover image of Shaun Ryder by Peter Anderson.

British music and lifestyle monthly Blah Blah Blah appeared in a joint transatlantic venture between MTV Europe and American Ray Gun Publishing in 1996. It followed the design thinking of the groundbreaking Ray Gun which was first published in 1992 with David Carson as art director.

Chris Ashworth, Neil Fletcher and Amanda Sissons (collectively known as design team Substance) loved the thrill of deconstruction, the energy in decay. It was the opposite end of the spectrum to Q and Select which then dominated the UK music press.

The spreads above feature:
Oasis by Craig McLean and Joseph Cultice.
Jas Mann of Babylon Zoo in Poland by Max Bell and Pav Modelski.
Prince Naseem by Mike Fordham and photographers Drew Farrell and David McBride.
Louise Wener and Sleeper by Lisa Verrico and photographed by Kevin Westenberg.
‘A meeting of soul men’: Greg Dulli from Afghan Whigs and film director Ted Demme by Ann Giordano and Frank Broughton.
The cover story was by Verrico and Anderson again.
Electronic duo 4 Hero who helped pioneer drum and bass photographed by Veena Virdi and Davies & Davies.

Finally, a fashion opener photographed by Zoe McCarthy and styled by JJ.

Publisher & Editor-in-chief: Marvin Scott Jarrett
Associate publisher: Jaclynn B. Jarrett
Executive editor: Shaun Phillips
Managing editor: Craig McLean
Style editor: John Bland

Ian Birch is the former editorial director of Hearst magazines. Follow him on Instagram for more cover stories, and look out for his new book ‘Uncovered—Revolutionary Magazine Covers’ (ISBN-13: 9781844039043) which will be published on 4 October.

Ian will be joined by Penny Martin (The Gentlewoman), Paul McNamee (The Big Issue) and Robin Derrick (British Vogue) for a talk about front covers at The British Library on 16 October.

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