Ever since I bought the book Bohemians, Bootleggers, Flappers & Swells, a collection of essays written by an incomparable slate of literary names during the 1910s-1930s in Vanity Fair (a literary and visual treasure of the Jazz Age in those times), I have been thinking about the present status of the print magazines. First of all, is print dead? Of course it isn’t. The real question is, which are the best indie magazines you can find at the newsstand? Because therein lies the revival of the print magazine.
The indie magazine – the alternative to the mainstream, mass-produced, ad-based, product-oriented magazines, choosing instead a more personal approach addressed to a deeper, cultured readership, rich in writing and visual storytelling, quality journalism and elegant design. Magazines that surprise, question our ideas and assumptions, offer us a new experience, different from the homogenized content of the traditional magazines and of the online. So here are my first choices of indie magazines you can find at the newsstand – I myself can have access to some of them only by subscription, but one of my greatest pocket joys is finding a new issue of my favourite publication at the newsstand. There are other worthy titles, I am sure, but these are magazines I myself have browsed, read, savoured or collected. Additionally, I have chosen to steer away from other magazines from this spectrum which are more frequently talked about, like Kinfolk, Cereal and The Gentlewoman.
The journey is more beautiful and more important than the destination. Sidetracked is for travellers, not tourists. Travellers immerse themselves in the experience, choose the offbeat track, are eager for discovery and discovering themselves. It takes curiosity, passion, free spirit, and a little bit of craziness to do that. Sidetracked encourages you to take the plunge and enjoy the ride.
I remember how enthusiastic I was when Racquet launched two years ago. I still am every new issue. “A journal that celebrates the art, ideas, style and culture that surround tennis”, they say. That’s exactly what I love about tennis, the whole picture, not just the game. And Racquet understands and celebrates that. Beautifully.
You can never underestimate the importance of good coffee. Are you with me? I am sure you have had more than just a few interesting conversations over a good cup of coffee. Standart is about people and coffee. In today’s world, when the virtual is taking more and more hold of our lives, Standart celebrates individuals and the beauty of the coffee culture from around the world that brings them together.
Naturally, I had to include one solely about cinema. I go with Beneficial Shock!. THE indie film magazine out there. Pushing boundaries, triggering the eye and intellect, taking the whole cinematic experience a step further. It is a bi-annual publication with a very conceptual approach, as each issue revolves around one theme. So far, it’s been Food, Mind, and Sex.
I spotted this one in a bookshop and two articles read later, I was subscribing to the magazine. The Idler was launched in 1993 and it had the sub-title “literature for loafers”. It’s about how to live the good life, well-cultured. “How to live, that was the question. How to be free in a world of jobs and debt? And curse this alarm clock.” – that’s how the idea of the magazine came to co-founder Tom Hodgkinson. I couldn’t find a better reason for taking a leap of faith.
This one is available only by subscription, but I had to include it here. Polly Leonard, the founder and visionary mind behind the magazine, and whom I had the pleasure to interview a little while ago, has a passion for fabric, for storytelling and for the way textiles can weave our own lives. Selvedge is a textiles magazine that sets the standard in the design field and which inspires and encourages us to take the road less travelled and to look at the world differently, and appreciate culture, beauty, fashion, tradition and folklore in a wider context.