It is safe to say that one cannot simply sit in a café and feel fulfilled with the bright lights of a smartphone or laptop, regardless of whether you’re working hard or re-tweeting fitness tips. To feel truly fulfilled, or at least to lead a fantasy of fulfilment, even for a half-hour macchiato break, is to feel immersed in a world, like that of a Woody Allen film right? Within a European café scene, a thick, intellectually filled, artistically embellished magazine, perched upon the table and aside a coffee. Music is playing in the background, something also European, possibly folksy and maybe it’s being played live on the street, just outside the doors of which you are sitting by with your fancy focaccia.
“In a magazine, one can get – from cover to cover – 15 to 20 different ideas about life and how to live it.” -Maya Angelou
Sometimes it’s nice to sit alone and immerse oneself into something engaging, personally enticing and something that leads to a pure state of escapism. And a good-read of some sort, at this moment in time, is not hard to come by. Even our regular corner-street newsagent stock up on the latest artsy-reads from i-D to Mirage or The Forecast.
In store windows and on our newsagents shelves, there’s a plethora of both national and international publications. Shelves were once adorned with Vogue, W, Vanity Fair and Paper, magazines which have, for many years, survived times of change through adapting, as well as providing often provocative and modernistic views of the arts; Now, there has also been the introduction of many newer publications including: The White Review, Idol Magazine and GARAGE Magazine. Take Rookie, the online publication which now see’s its third ‘yearbook’ on sale. Articles, interviews, collages, photo editorials, and illustrations all feature in the yearbooks which have seen sales worldwide.
With such an eclectic array of publications, how does one go about choosing? What determines what will be read over coffee? Is it how it looks upon the table, or how it makes us look in a social setting? Perhaps it’s whether we can afford some of the more expensive issues against our rent or just that we favour the cover or content.
“Part of the pleasure of editing ‘Vogue,’ one that lies in a long tradition of this magazine, is being able to feature those who define the culture at any given moment, who stir things up, whose presence in the world shapes the way it looks and influences the way we see it.” – Anna Wintour
In the same way that what we eat and where we travel becomes a part of our makeup, how and what we read is also a part of our entire being. Magazines, as much as books, or other form of text and cinema, is something that is both personal as well as challenging and fulfilling or even perplexing and inspiring. It is a reason as to why now, more than ever, the choices of publications available to us is beyond what we can often expect.
I can stand in a store for over a half-hour flicking through magazines, staring at the covers, contemplating which publication will engage me, be of use to me and which will look better on my shelf of saved publications. I am a creature of lookbook and magazine-hoarding. Within my collection, i have a Gianfranco Ferré enveloped lookbook from a trip in Italy from when i were thirteen. I have stacks of Vogue, [British, French, Italian]. I have German copies of Elle magazine and a variety of lookbooks, magazines and theatre/arts brochures from New York, Switzerland and Paris. I have old books and brochures which had been picked out of book-sharing-boxes on streets in European cities. I remember where i collected my publications. I remember the days and what i were doing surrounding that time. I link these publications to where i sat and had the coffee whereby i were enticed into the words of editors and the images of visionaries and what works that led me onto drafting or creating.
I never believed as a chid, that one would eventually grown up and sit in coffee shops and become inspired by the words and images. I felt, even as a child who dreamt big and dreamt of filmmaking and writing and designing, that it may just be an unattainable, cinematic lifestyle. And then you grow up in a world where the arts are liberated and liberating and you are in the middle of this fantasy surrounding your days at art-school, spending every lunchtime at the Leather Lane market stall where you pick out all of the outdated copies of architecture, art and fashion publications to read on the train, to immerse into your sketchbook work and to fill weekends with all the inspiring things you could only one day, hope to achieve.
There is of course, something in print that will never fall in the shadows of a technology fuelled society. There’s a texture to the pages which you flick and place beneath your coffee cup. There are images you can quite literally touch, and cut and excerpts of text you can highlight and stick in your notebooks or walls. Unlike a book which often remains in it’s original state, minus, in my case, the occasional coffee ring or blue-biro written note, but a magazine, it can become a million-and-one things.