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Mixed Messages

Youth Magazine Discourse and Sociocultural Shifts in «Salut les copains» (1962–1976)

Christopher Tinker

While popular music and the mass media in France are firmly established areas of enquiry, there have been relatively few academic studies of the youth and popular music press. This book focuses on Salut les copains (Hi Buddies/Mates) (1962-76), which achieved a circulation of a million copies within its first year, at its peak sold around twice as many magazines as its nearest competitors, and has now become synonymous with the development of youth culture in 1960s France. In the few existing accounts of Salut les copains cultural commentators have tended to view the magazine as a neutral, apolitical vehicle for French yé-yé pop stars. However, this full-length study reveals how written texts in Salut les copains (editorial, letters and advertising) both supported and challenged dominant ideologies concerning culture, the nation, youth and gender during the turbulent 1960s and 1970s.

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Chapter One

Extract

Culture and Popular Music As a mass circulation youth title, SLC clearly identifies itself with the pro- motion of mass culture and popular music. However, at the same time the magazine views the fields of cultural and musical production in problem- atic terms. Indeed, the prevailing distinction in France between high and popular culture along with the notion of clear generic divisions in popular music are brought into question. Furthermore, an ambivalent attitude is expressed towards commercialism and technological progress that con- tributed towards shaping the production and regulation of mass culture in 1960s and 1970s France. However, one certainty for the magazine from the late 1960s is its opposition to the state-controlled broadcast media. The High/Popular Distinction From the outset, Filipacchi advocates a wide-ranging magazine that will attract a mass youth readership, arguing in the second issue, ‘All topics deserve coverage in the magazine, as long as they concern us.’1 Indeed, the letters page, which appears for the first time in the same issue, con- firms the sheer diversity of readers’ interests, tastes and expectations.2 By the third issue of the magazine, Filipacchi aims more pragmatically for a publication that will reflect the ‘tastes’ (‘goûts’) and trends (‘tendances’) 1 SLC 2: 11: ‘Tous les sujets méritent d’être traités dans ce magazine, à condition qu’ils nous concernent.’ 2 ‘Cher Daniel …’, SLC 2: 69. 24 Chapter One followed by the majority, conceding that it is not possible to design a maga- zine to suit everyone.3 This is...

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