The Periodical Publisher's Assocation has decided to celebrate the diversity of magazines - that's what they said - by organising a poll to find the nation's favourite all-time magazine cover.
They've drawn up a shortlist, which includes a Nova and an Oz cover; a Private Eye front page that seems to have been chosen more-or-at-less at random (although a random choice are removing the funny-but-controversial ones); two with Victoria Beckham on (a Heat and an OK) - because that shows the variety on the newstands, doesn't it.
The shortlist also includes a Radio Times - a Doctor Who cover, because all Radio Times front pages have to have Doctor Who on by law and two Vogues.
There are a couple of actually inventive covers - Empire's breathing Darth Vader and Take A Break's scratch-n-sniff bloke's armpit - and Loaded's scribbled on Keegan, which was quite a brave move at the time and exactly the sort of inspired wit which the magazine stopped doing after about issue three.
But what's this? Vanity Fair's "London Swings Again" shot of Gallagher in bed with Patsy Kensit. This has been chosen by Mother & Baby's Miranda Levy:
March 1997 was nearly two years after Blur versus Oasis and Damien Hirst's Away From The Flock was from 1993. And while the original Time "Swinging City" piece was important, as it was praise from elsewhere, Vanity Fair UK's lumbering jump on the bandwagon looked more like an attempt by a few London party-goers to convince themselves they were at the centre of things, and misjudging quite badly.
Even more surprisingly, the awkward Beth Ditto nude cover has made the cut, with a nomination from Decanter magazine's Guy Woodward:
Putting a naked woman on the front of a magazine isn't really much of an act of imagination, and persuading Beth Ditto to remove her clothes doesn't take much persuading. Indeed, that this was a tired, over-sold retread of the PJ Harvey cover from years back (and the snarky Silverfish one that followed it) suggests that it wasn't that far off-brand.
And what was the message? That the only way a female singer could hope to get a cover of the NME is by getting her tits out? That - goodness - larger women can remove their clothes too? But if it was humorous, is the joke meant to be that it's a fat woman on the front of the magazine? If it was a statement, why was the picture airbrushed? We don't think the NME really knew what it was doing when it ran the cover; perhaps we should vote for it to win in a bid to finally find out?