"It is both a sensuous, gorgeous magazine ... and a CD of previously unheard tracks which will excite the palate and nurture the soul. The CD will feature an eclectic mix of newly commissioned music, from Deborah Harry ... to new versions of Chopin's nocturnes. And the magazine will be everything that Good Housekeeping and Elle aren't. It will be for women from 30-50 who want inspiration rather than straightforward information."
Well, that's enough promotion for The Passion in print, of which the first quarterly issue is due out Real Soon Now. What about the website, which aims to prepare the ground or, as the publishers would have it, to form "the beginning of our relationship with you"?
The Passion's creators have clearly had fun putting it together, and it's quite amusing to explore at first. Maybe middle-aged women - sorry, "women from 30-50" - will find inspiration here, but I doubt it: underlying it all is a lack of substance. On my acid webzine test - is it a site you'll check out regularly? - it fails.
The New Work section, for which submissions from visitors are invited and sorely needed, is thin enough to be ignored at this stage. This leaves the Keywords department, where you choose between sensuality, inspiration, adventure, emotion, darkness and action. Powerfully named folders in the filing cabinet of life, eh?
What you get in most of these departments is various forms of pretentious nonsense. You know the kind of thing: snatches of prose and poetry that do not add up, possibly the product of one of those random-text-writing programs. I was left wondering whether the whole thing was an April Fool joke, but that didn't add up either.
The Action section turns out to be the culture reviews, and looks to offer some substance, at last. But no: Books turns out to be one Book, Shops one Shop; Films is genuinely plural, but could have been lifted from any of the women's magazines that The Passion hates so passionately - and lifted from the January edition, at that.
The site is enlivened by the occasional amusing bit of Shockwave (notably the Running Centaur in the Old City animation in the Darkness section). The downside is that the whole thing is dogged by excessively large files, which I presume are mostly the music loops that turn up here and there (the largest I spotted was 229K).
The Adventure section, for example, seems to take you through a series of slow-loading mega-file screens with bugger all real content, culminating (whenever I embarked upon it) in a crashed browser. Life is too short for this sort of thing, especially if you're middle-aged.
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