Pop Talk: TV Hits R.I.P.
While this iconic magazine didn't quite make it to its 23rd birthday, drowned out in a mosh pit of entertainment blogs, self-made YouTube stars, MySpace pages and reality TV show forums, it has left a lasting impression on a generation weaned on its pop-culture packed pages, cover mounted treats and JTT posters. Liz Burke takes us on a trip down a memory lane to the tune of Hanson.
Always the aspirational reader, I think I was begging my mother for my first issue of TV Hits before I got my pen license. Foregoing a cream bun and an icy pole at the tuckshop to invest in the mag and gain a glimpse into the programs I wasn't allowed to watch became a minor obsession.
Party of Five was at its peak of popularity and strictly off-limits at home, but I knew the answers to what older family friends and cousins were fussing over lay within pages behind the beautiful black and white Neve Campbell cover.
After a sneaky trip to the newsagent and a close study of every fact and tidbit in the special issue, the cover was quickly transferred with authority over to a Social Studies exercise book. A clueless kid had quickly become an aficionado of all things Salinger.
It wasn't just a thirst for knowledge that saw the iconic newsstand staple constantly creep its way into mum's shopping trolley on after school trips, causing many an argument at the Coles checkout. Peeling out perforated posters with an aim to plaster one's bedroom in pop royalty was most satisfying. The generously sized glossy posters were the best, my youthful exuberance directed at building up a bedroom wall JTT shrine in their honour.
Movie star and musical obsessions rotated as quickly as the magazine's fortnightly turnaround – how very Gen Y. Alicia Silverstone, Mariah Carey, Scott Wolf, Craig David, Usher, Nick Carter, and Joshuas Jackson and Hartnett each had their time in the spotlight and were meticulously profiled to the point where everyone in school knew their favourite foods, the names of their siblings and, of course, their star signs and who they shared their birthdays with.
I think it was also TV Hits that bore the shocking news to many red-faced Gen-Yers that brotherly trio Hanson were not the all-girl group we thought they were.
Products of a pre-Google upbringing remember waiting by the radio all night long with one finger on record for that one song to come on. Top 30 hits were then looped over and over in attempt to osmosise the lyrics, which often involved resorting to stopping the tape after every line to record tricky phrases – don't worry, it wasn't just you!
How else were we to know how S.O.A.P partied? Toward which direction Cleopatra was comin' (turns out it was "atcha", not "out there"), or Billie Piper's laissez faire philosophical reasoning (because we want to)?
The God-sent cut-out lyrics cards that highlighted four of the month's biggest hits were included in every issue, and saved a whole lot of pause, rewind and transcribe time for me and my dusty pink Sony Walkman. Anthems from All Saints, 5ive, Backstreet Boys and Mandy Moore are ingrained in all of our memories and we have Australia's only teen entertainment mag to thank.
Another memorable souvenir was the TV Hits yearly diary. While not an acceptable school planner, the colourful ring-bound organiser was to be carried at all times behind grid books and Kent sets. Although the diary was mainly used to chart crushes and study the celebrity trivia and quizzes that lay between the brightly covered covers, I can't imagine we had that many important dates to remember in those early teen years.
While the final issue will likely attract a few nostalgic readers to pick it up and revisit what they clung to so dearly before titles like Girlfriend and Cleo filled its space in their satchels, TV Hits will leave a hard to fill hole in national newsstands.
Liz @ Girl With a Satchel