Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Cheap(ish) thrills from bitchin publishing
Well was feeling a bit homesick for marmite, cheap instant coffee and my cats but was able to distract myself with the joy of remembering that one trip to Borders or Barnes & Noble can sate my need for a magazine fix. Now I'm a bit of a snob where this kind of thing is concerned, I used to buy Vogue and Dazed and I have one great issue of ID (Femininity Issue Spring 2005) but to be honest I lost interest as I didn't feel represented by these mags, I'm not edgy/rich/young/thin/innovative/London enough (delete as applicable - without bitterness) and definitely not by Glamour, More, Psychologies etc I don't feel the need to be very polished and stylish and I don't want to feel guilty for this abominable negligence, if I never looked in a mirror or saw a photo of myself again I could truly be happy! The Observer Woman looked like it could really inspire, but the clothes are stupidly expensive, with the exception of the one 'cheap' item every week and it's a bit woolly at times, much as I hate to say it as I've long been a Guardian/Observer reader, but just not feeling it these days . I have been known on occasion to skim through copy of Heat or Now in a waiting room, but I feel a bit grubby afterwards, not sure if it's because I feel like I've been the user or the used, either way it's not a fresh sensation. I also dabble with Computer Arts, Grafik & Creative Review, in fact I was lucky enough to have been given a subscription to Grafik as a gift last year and anticipated the hit of lovely litho ink when it thudded onto the doormat once a month, sadly this was only ever followed by the comedown of inadequacy that comes from wondering -why haven't they discovered me yet? Granted, I've never sent them anything, but but I send out great vibes, don't I?
Anyway...I have bought 4 magazines since I've been here and have not been disappointed. I mentioned 'I Love You' in an earlier post, it's big and beautiful and on matte paper, it's a bit fashionista-ry and over the top but was the only pretty thing akin to all the wonderful books that I could afford in Gagosian!
Next up, I went a-browsing in Borders (boohoo) and came across BUST mag, I'm friends with Bust Mag on Myspace and had forgotten all about it. There's beautiful intelligent celebrities (Charlotte Gainsbourg, Amercia Ferrera), lovely lingerie for ladies with actual thighs, witty features, crochet patterns and chilli recipes. It's a breath of Fresh air amongst all the 'How to drop 4 stone in 2 days' type things in other women's mags, my friend bought American Glamour which is full of exercises and Posh Spice photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth squirting whipped cream into her mouth blah blah blah, then at the back is a piece by Eve Ensler about just being yourself and not buckling to exterior pressure and being contented etc...minor contradiction-much? Aaaanyway interestingly Bust Mag is not situated with the 'normal' women's magazines it's in the arts & culture section, I suppose it' best not to let anyone get any bright ideas when they're supposed to be hating themselves and laughing at other women's VPL, that just wouldn't do. To paraphrase Sarah Haskins, who channels Naomi Wolf's 'Beauty Myth' message (amazing book, but it makes me want to break things) what would we do if we didn't feel bad and then buy stuff to make us better? Bust is a refreshing $4.99 roughly £3.18 there's a minor amount of advertising but for things like ETSY (marvellous homemade brilliance www.etsy.com - also a tip if the shipping costs spiral out of control there's a UK version www.FOLKSY.com where else can you get a replica jammy dodger badge for next to nothing?) bands, vegan stuff and right-on sexy things rather than cosmetic surgery!
Next up I indulged in Print the graphic design magazine, I considered Eye but it's $35 so couldn't justify that, not even a little bit. Anyway I happened upon Print's 70th anniversary issue which was full of stuff all about magazines! Well that's just dandy it's a double fix, a designy magazine going on about the luscious designs of other magazines. Very nice. The only criticism, so far (not read it all yet) are the varied sized ads on thick stock that make it physically difficult to flip through nicely.
Finally, is my favourite, Bitch magazine. Again it's sequestered in the 'Culture' section, I suppose it is more fitting as it's themed and this is the Art/See issue. It's full of smart, witty feminist goodness. A piece on photoshopping off bits of womens' bodies to sell magazines is entitled 'Would Our Lives Suck Without a Thinner Kelly Clarkson?', rhetorical irreverence rules. Since this is the Art issue they look at women's art practice, curating, film, books and female bloggers who have used the medium to free themselves from their physical beings, in order to narrate whatever they please, unfettered by bodily judgement. Bitch sounds confrontational and aggressive as a title but, it's really anything but, well, unless you're an awful misogynist or political hypocrite (and in that case you're left to fend for yourself). I felt weirdly valued reading it, as if the things that interest me and piss me off are valid. It's funny, intelligent without being elitist and also it's totally independent, it runs on donations and everyone that donates is thanked at the front. I'm smitten, I feel a mail order subscription will be necessary upon our return... either that or I need to be a bit more proactive in searching out stuff at home, or making my own?