'I Feel Good': James Brown to launch magazine company

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The Independent Online
JAMES BROWN, the enfant terrible of the magazine world and pioneer of Loaded, is said to have secured backing for his own publishing company, writes Dan Gledhill.

IFG, named after I Feel Good, one of his soul-singing namesake's biggest hits, is expected to bring out four new titles - two of them by the spring. Media, venture capital and advertising companies are said to have promised him the pounds 2m necessary to set up the venture. Its first title is likely to be Leeds Leeds Leeds, launched by Mr Brown in appreciation of his beloved home football team.

IFG will complete Mr Brown's comeback after last February's sudden departure from the editor's chair of GQ following a controversial article praising the sartorial elegance of Erwin Rommel, the Nazi field marshal.

Since then, the lads' magazine market which Mr Brown helped to invent when he edited Loaded has deteriorated significantly. Figures published last month showed that circulation of IPC's Loaded had tumbled 15.8 per cent in the past year while Emap's FHM was down 9.6 per cent. However, GQ, owned by Conde Nast, enjoyed an 11 per cent jump in circulation over the same period.

In keeping with the decline of lads' magazines, Mr Brown has toned down the excesses of his youth. Loaded, a celebration of wine, women and song, was moulded in his own image. But, now married to his long-term girlfriend, Mr Brown has forsworn drink and drugs and has appeared in Savill Row suits, anathema to the Loaded generation.

However, Mr Brown's laddish legacy was still detectable during his time at GQ. Even before the Rommel fiasco, his maverick tendency had soured relations with Conde Nast's managing director, Nicholas Coleridge. Mr Brown's failure to improve GQ's disappointing sales figures did not help.

As his own boss, he will have the freedom he enjoyed at Loaded, where IPC let his imagination run riot.