Locked and Loaded

A magazine is a place where things are collected and stored for use. It used to apply mostly to weapons. The magazine of a ship was where the ammunition was stored. The clip of a semiautomatic is its magazine. But the most common understanding today is a book of articles/items printed in on a regular basis. Some of the best printed magazines deliver ammunition with which to make choices or act (Utne Reader, New Scientist,The Atlantic Monthly, Vogue…)while others are just fetishistic collections of cultural rubble curated for the edification of a tiny niche.

I've always liked magazines - in my childhood the local newsagent ordered my copy of Shoot - no, not a magazine dedicated to the NRA lifestyle, an English soccer magazine. I would pore over statistics and images of my favourite teams. In the day they still ran features on Pele and George "99% of my money I spent on women and booze, the rest I squandered" Best. Look and Learn was a semiregular favourite - I loved the pictures by Frank Hampson (who drew Dan Dare). Discovering GQ in the early eighties led to my first cologne purchase - thanks to an ad for Paco Robanne - the one David Ogilvy immortalised in his Ogilvy on advertising book and a drive to live in loft apartments (which lapsed when children appeared).

A couple of years back I launched Idealog with the chaps at HB Media and saw magazine publishing from the inside. Hard work. My enthusiasm for magazines in a undiminished - though I see their role changing dramatically in the near future - it consumes a lot of resources to make a magazine - one must wonder about the carbon footprint of buying a hefty edition of Italian Vogue in New Zealand - and how many are shredded unsold?

But, ethical considerations aside - if you enjoy magazine culture you'll probably also enjoy the blog Magazineer - thoughtful, insightful and well written.


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