Howard Popeck admits to being guilty, guilty and … guilty!

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I am a magazine addict. Yes, I've said it. It’s relief – and I'm unashamed. Will you read on after this revelation? I very much hope so. Details; well not just hifi mags but ones on both analogue and digital photography, rock music, cars, blues music, classical music and, err, that’s about it. So what’s my point?

Magazine reviewers work hard at writing a review; sometimes thousands of words. They try to make sure you understand a product. Their objective being to help the reader really get what they feel about that product. Some do it better than others. That’s to be expected. The common denominator is that usually they’ve put considerable effort in and yet, and yet despite knowing this I only read the first few paragraphs of a review and then flip through to the conclusion. There's a paradox at work here and I'll get to it shortly. Anyway ...

Some of you no doubt devour every word from beginning to end – but I suspect many of you are more like me. If a maker calls me and starts raving about a particular piece of equipment he just invented, I want the meat of the product – what does it do and how does it do it and why it does it better; despite recognising that the caller is hardly impartial. In contrast though I expect the impossible in that the reviewer is utterly impartial! Perhaps ‘utterly impartial’ is a text-book example of an oxymoron?

Anyway, I want to know what the reviewer thinks about it. How does he emotionally react to it? Has he really played with it? That’s  all I care about, be it the new Fuji X-T1, A vintage Ferrari Boxer, Beko fridge/freezer and of course audio equipment or the latest Buddy Guy release.

What must be tough for a reviewer is knowing that despite writing all those words people like me (and you too perhaps?) only read the opening and concluding paragraphs.

Now here’s the paradox; if a magazine decided to conserve space and give us only the first and last – I’d be disappointed and turned off – and I suspect others would as well. Why? Because the lengthy substance of the review lends credibility to the review and verifies the reviewer spent enough time to form an educated view. Once I am convinced of this, then I can accept his conclusion.

Odd then that I need the lengthy review to accept it but rarely ever read it.

Thank you for your attention

If you have any comments re this post then I'll be happy to take a look and I'll respond if I can.

I'll return tomorrow – hopefully.

Howard Popeck

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