Media Profile: Extreme measures - Jerome Smail, Editor, Xtreme

There’s been a kind of evolution in the men’s magazine world. You start off with a bit of gentle, editorial humour like, say, Arena. Then you get Loaded bounding onto the scene with a loud, laddish attitude. Then FHM ups the ’boob ’n’ bloke’ count. Then comes Xtreme.

There’s been a kind of evolution in the men’s magazine

world. You start off with a bit of gentle, editorial humour like,

say, Arena. Then you get Loaded bounding onto the scene with a

loud, laddish attitude. Then FHM ups the ’boob ’n’ bloke’ count.

Then comes Xtreme.



The first issue carried features on base jumping - where people

jump off tall buildings and bridges with parachutes to save them;

street luging - where the lunacy of the luge is recreated on

solid concrete with adapted skateboards that achieve speeds of up

to 95 miles per hour; snow shovel skiing - yes, it’s where people

slide down hills on overturned snow shovels; and Extreme

Championship Wrestling.



Extreme Championship Wrestling knocks all the others into a

cocked hat.



It’s like the World Wrestling Federation with the slight

exception that chair legs, wooden sticks and razor blades are

allowed. Oh, and they fight for real. The editor, Jerome Smail,

loved his launch issue.



’The one thing that we didn’t manage to get in, because we’re

still looking for people who do it, is this white water rafting

that people are supposed to be doing in cardboard boxes,’ Smail

says. ’We’ve got a reporter on the case and we hope we’ll get

something for a later issue.’



The first outing for Xtreme sold a respectable 75,000 copies,

according to the editor. If that seems a lot for a magazine about

minority sports, Smail points out that it also embraces all

aspects of the lifestyle.



Thus, they review films, books, CDs, videos and games as well as

pulling off features where one of the magazine’s reporters had to

go to Las Vegas and gamble his last dollars 800 on a single

number on the roulette wheel. Needless to say, he lost.



’We’ve found that the Internet is a great source of stories,’

explains Smail. ’You’d also be quite surprised to find how many

of these nutty events have proper organisations that they have

thrown up. Street luging, for instance, has an official body in

the UK and US. There’s even an Olympics of the extreme sporting

world - the X Olympics. We covered the winter version in issue

one and we’ll do the others as they come up.’



When it comes to the kind of sheer nuttiness that he writes

about, 27-year-old Smail is no slouch himself. He hasn’t yet

street luged, but he’s bungee jumped, mountain biked and

generally thrown his body about in ways it was never meant to be

thrown.



’We have to draw a firm line between the things that we recommend

our readers do and the things we just report on,’ says Smail.



So what effect does he think this new job will have on his life?

’Well, I was keen on the outdoors life and extreme sports but I

wasn’t a huge mountain biker before I started working on Mountain

Biker International.



After working there for a bit, however, I took the sport up

through my time on the magazine and shortly afterwards. Of

course, the problem with this job is that I’ll probably end up

taking on base jumping or something and killing myself.’



HIGHLIGHTS

1991: Editor, Paintball Games International

1995: Sub-editor, Mountain Biker International

1996: Editor, Cycling Today

1997: Editor, Xtreme



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