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 :)