Like a Rolling Stone -- only smaller

Written by Scott Mervis on .

Rolling StoneDon't ask me why but I never throw away my copies of Rolling Stone.

That's a bit of an issue because it's been about 30 years now, so stashed away in various corners of my house are issues going back to the era when The Clash and The Police used to be on the cover. (I don't even think my wife knows about this hidden collection.)

The magazine has changed over the years from the folded newspaper tab it was in the '60s to a glossier publication, but issue 1064, now on the stands, is the most drastic.Clash cover

At long last, Rolling Stone looks like just another magazine now, the same size as GQ or Redbook, and I'm already nostalgic for the days, just one issue ago, when it stood taller and wider on the stands.

For a product that is more cost efficient and more environmental, Rolling Stone has sacrificed a lot of its visual pop. For instance, the illustration that runs with Matt Taibbi's political column (my favorite thing in RS) is about 5 inches deep where it used to be 7.5, lessening the impact dramatically. Hunter S. Thompson would scoff at this madness.

If there's a trade-off, it's that the publication is more portable and the cover is less likely to break free of the middle staples and fly loose, like so many of my copies.

Fortunately, the distinctive design hasn't change inside and the issue is loaded with content: interviews with Barack Obama, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello and Nick Jonas, and Lucinda Williams; a piece on voter suppression by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg Palast; a daring story behind enemy lines with the Taliban; an appreciation of David Foster Wallace; plus news and reviews.

One thing I can't understand is, if they're so into Obama, why did they use the most unflattering possible pic of him on the cover? Did they want him to look like he was gazing into his spoon while eating his cereal?

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