R.I.P. Micro Mart

Micro Mart is a weekly computing publication. Formerly known as Micro Computer Mart, it has been going for over thirty years. Sadly, it has just published its final issue.

When I saw the front cover my first thought that it was a spoof or a joke. It reminded me of a cover of Mad Magazine a few decades ago. Emblazoned on the cover was 'Last issue'. But when you went up close you saw the additional wording, in something like a size 8 font. What the cover actually said was 'If you thought our last issue was bad, wait till you read this one'.

However, the Micro Mart ending is for real. As Simon Brew, a previous editor said in his commentary in the latest issue, it's hard to keep a weekly publication going these days, especially when you can get so much on the web for free.

It was a very geeky magazine, full of articles about how to over-clock your pc, and stuff like that. But it also had regular contributors, and sections such as shareware reviews. There were also, as its name implies, plenty of classified adverts. 

The strapline at the footer of the old 'Micro Computer Mart'

The strapline at the footer of the old 'Micro Computer Mart'

I myself was a contributor many years ago. I found the editors very friendly, and very open to suggestions about articles. They also had a wry sense of humour too, as you can see from these article headers:

When I was writing for the magazine, it was owned by a company called the Trinity Mirror Group. In 1996 they arranged a writing training workshop for us that was full of good stuff. Not only was it free of charge, but we also were given a hefty manual to take home with us. Here's the cover:

The advice in its pages still holds true today. On opening it for the first time in ages, I noticed that one of the trainers on the day was someone called Tony Johnston. He was head of staff development at Trinity at the time. He later went on to become the head of training at the Press Association, where I met him in 2009. We clearly didn't recognise each other from 13 years previously. 

Well, as George Harrison said, all things must pass. However, we can allow ourselves a moment or two of sadness at the passing of a great magazine.