Magazines are dead!
Have a peek inside magCulture, Clerkenwell’s one-stop magazine shop.
Such a strange time for magazines. On one hand, they’re a dying breed disappearing in droves. Acronyms like NME or FHM or J17 are confined to the shadows, echoes from the past, former totems that told the world which tribe you belonged to, now completely obsolete.
But then again, on the other hand, it might just be the most exciting time for magazines in years – they’ve got a clean slate, the freedom to thrive without the weight of expectation hamstringing every step. Online is king (or so they say), so their mere existence is already a raised finger to disposable, overpopulated, internet culture.
For a curious generation that’s often found flicking through rows of vinyl in search of a richer sound, or choosing dog-eared paperbacks over Kindle downloads, a new strand of modern magazines, crafted with passion and care, might just resemble an appealing, balanced, tangible life raft, a way to stay afloat in an ocean polluted
by incoherent echo chambers and relentlessly churned-out “content”.
“I love physical forms,” says Jeremy Leslie, the brains behind Clerkenwell’s utopian magazine shop magCulture. “And the tactile nature of magazines, the way they attack in a multi-sensory way is unobtainable online. If you look at something on a screen, it’s always the same texture and the same feel, the same light effect – it’s very flat. Whereas a magazine completely engages you in terms of smell and touch, even the sound of it as you flick through the pages.”
Now a fixture on St John’s Street (looking not dissimilar to the wonderful magazine shops you find in Europe) magCulture has evolved from an online blog, celebrating the best of independent magazines, into a paradise for pilgrims in search of quality publications, spanning well known titles like The Economist, to lesser known niche projects, like Oof, which looks at the combined worlds of art and football.
“Publishing isn’t the mighty cash cow it once was,” says Jeremy, “and because of that, it’s a hugely creative and innovative time in terms of people just trying things out – having a go. It reminds me of the indie music scene from the late 70s and early 80s, when thrilling sounds came from obscure labels. People were just doing it for the sake of doing it, and that’s often when the real magic happens.”
And who knows? If you look really closely next time you’re in the shop, you might even spot a copy of yours truly. Be sure to pick one up.
Find out more about magCulture at www.magculture.com