Analogue Snobbery

Would it come as a surprise if I told you that I am a magazine-addict! Just one more thing I should start a self-help group for :) It started when I was roughly 11 or 12, I discovered to my surprise that there were other things to spend my pocket money aside from sweets. What started with music magazines early in high-school, moved into mainstream fashion mags Elle and Vogue by the middle years. By the end of school, I was fixated on non-mainstream fashion/culture magazines like The Face, Dazed and Confused and i-D. During my undergrad, I spent four long years sampling every quality magazine Borders sold. Nowadays when I have the cash I usually pick up whatever indie/underground magazine I can get my hands on. My favourites are definitly WAD and Tank Magazine.

Now I must state that in my mind the word ‘magazine’ exclusively applies to monthly, quartly or even annual publications. The term does not in any way shape or form apply to those weekly celebrity-obsessed ones that are full of factually incorrect stories, uninspiring high-street looks, gender stereotypes,  sensationaliam or fear-mongering. Let’s call them mags instead.

So, yes I do indulge in a little analogue snobbery! I came across the phrase at a talk on Luxury in Fashion at Social Media Week. It is used to denote people who in response to the increasing digital age look for solace in analogue pursuits. Magazines are a big part of that. Although if we are going to be proper snobs we may as well as extend the phrase to encompass only high-quality high-brow analogue materials. I just don’t understand why someone would pay a couple quid for a flimsy badly-written and designed mag, which inevitably will be trashed after the two hour train journey. They are the junk food of magazine publishing. A false economy.

I would much rather save-up and buy one thick luscious brain-nourishing magazine a month. For about £5 I have something it not only takes me three weeks to digest, but I have a slice of culture I can dip into whenever I fancy. Magazines opposed to mags are heavily curated; their interviews break new ground, their outfits (while yes they maybe aspirational as opposed to affordable) are inspiring and their human-interest stories are insightful. They are something to cherish and keep. You can escape through when the boredom sets in. You can relive your past obsessions through them.  You discover cultural icons you may have previously ignored.

A couple days ago, I read Stylebizarre’s post about clearing out your magazines and I shook my head sadly. I have stacks of magazines dotted around my small bedroom, further piles can be found downstairs and I think there maybe more in the attic. In an ideal world, I would never throw my magazines away. The idea of ripping things out that interest me right now and keeping only them for prosperity seems strange.  As it is through old magazines, I’ve discover brilliant new designers, artists and bands things that in no way interested me previously. As my tastes change old magazines can take on a new resonance.

The only reason I have thrown magazines out is a) my parent’s forced me when I was younger as I was clearly living in a health-hazard and b) in a fit of madness (which I always regret after) when moving flat when at university. Moving house always induces fits of madness, no? There was a forced clean out about 10 years ago. This sad event (I lost many editions of The Face) may have happened after the great shelf disaster of the Noughties. At some point during my teen years, I was awoken from a deep sleep by a loud crashing noise. In my disoriented state, I though to myself ‘Oh, the front of the house must have fallen down’. Worryingly, I then promptly dove back under the covers and fell asleep. I was awoken again when my concerned Dad knocked on my door and asked about that strange noise. Turning on the light, I realised that the intense weight of my magazine’s had buckled the shelves (which were screwed into the wall btw) and it had fallen away. Yeah. My magazine addiction is so bad it breaks furniture. That’s when you know you have a real problem kids!

Interestingly, I was reading Disney Roller Girl‘s blog and came across this interview she did with The Sunday Times. It it she is asked  ‘do you think print media will eventually fade out and if so, why?’ I agree 100% with her response: “For those over 25, magazines are still important, we have a history with them so will want to carry on buying (and sometimes collecting) them, but the next generation won’t have that nostalgia. The beautifully-produced bi-annuals with luxurious imagery and long form articles will survive and the iconic titles like Vogue will continue. I think the also-rans and more commercial titles may struggle as their readers can easily get that content online.”

Though it does make me more a little sad that the next generation may not appreciate what a wonderful thing a magazine is and find joy from the printed page.

ps. I bet you’d baulk if I told you how much I paid for that copy of Lulu.

pps. Can’t believe this post is so long, no idea what came over me. Oh yeah I LOVE magazines and I will defend them to the death :)

Are you an Analogue Snob too?

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5 thoughts on “Analogue Snobbery

  1. “. As it is through old magazines, I’ve discover brilliant new designers, artists and bands things that in no way interested me previously. As my tastes change old magazines can take on a new resonance.”
    This is a great truth my darling, but how can we survive in all this mess? And I’m about to move, so that’s a big big issue for me! :(
    I’m also worried about the fact that everytime to do a research I usually went through my magazines, and of course it depends on the theme if something it’s of my interest or not! So that’s the problem, if I rip off things only because of my tastes, the risk of throwing out something that maybe would have been useful someday is big. But isnt’ this the story of all our lives? You have to leave something behind to go ahead! ;D

    • True true Vivian! I really feel for you, moving is such a nightmare especially for magazine hoarders like us! I detest throwing things away, two minutes later I always realise I needed it for something. If I were you I would save a selection of (intact) ones of your absolutely favourite title, and pass the rest on to grateful arty/fashion friends or young relatives. I always think if I absolutely have to give something away, it might as well go to a good home :)
      V!

      • Too bad no one wants my magazines :( I have either fashion addicts friends like me, or people who don’t give a damn about fashion! So ones have lots of magazines like me, and the other ones do not want them! I’m gonna try figure out what to keep and what to destroy haha! :(

  2. Absolutely! Good post. I too got hooked on magazines from an early age – that hackneyed old thing about dreaming of a more glamorous life, and living vicariously through the pages of Vogue is totally true for me, I’m afraid.

    I find it heart-breakingly sad that the next generation of yoof might not experience that thrill of running their hands over a much anticipated glossy, and smelling that new magazine smell. I’d often buy magazines from a local shop during the school day, and my friends thought I was utterly insane as they’d always ask if they could read them. Read them? With your grubby crisp covered hands? BEFORE I’VE READ THEM? It still makes me go a bit prickly.

    Anyway. OCD aside, they give us something more tangible than the digital world. Those high end artsy magazines were pretty much responsible for wallpapering my bedroom at one point, and the love affair will never die.

    Analogue solidarity!

    • I think we must be Analougue Snob Sista’s! Everything from the escapism, complete bafflement from friends/family and excessive wallpapering is my teen years down to a tee. Plus I too have a strict clean hand policy. There is also hell to pay if you tear the magazine. Grrrrr! V!

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