Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Happiness in Magazines

When I was a teenager I often dreamed of creating my own magazine and sharing the things I loved most with the world. I think in a way writing a blog has helped fulfill some of that dream for me! I've read magazines ever since I was a child and before that I read comics. I looked forward to Thursdays, when my Dad would bring me home a copy of The Beano to pore through. I was even a proud member of their fan-club. As I got a bit older I started buying teen magazines which then turned into music magazines and today I sway towards the art and craft variety.

I can no longer stand buying most women's mags, obsessed as they are with body weight, diets and celebrity heartbreak (particularly Glamour - for some reason the last copy I read wound me up so much that I decided to never buy it again). Luckily some great alternatives have cropped up, as well as some good online magazines - though I do still prefer their paper predecessors. Looking back through the old magazines I've saved often brings back lots of memories from that time. So here is a history of my favourite magazines throughout the years. I'd love to know yours too.

1. Shout!
When I was at primary school me and my friends often used to buy Shout! It was the sort of magazine that focused on 'cute' boys, pets and had a free lipgloss on the cover.

2. Fast Forward
Fast Forward was a BBC-made magazine which I used to love. This was around the time that I was very into PJ and Duncan and I remember writing to the letters page, which published my question asking them just when will I be able to purchase the first single by the brilliant Byker Grove pop stars?!

3. J17
Just Seventeen changed to J17 around the time I started buying it. At the time the writers working on it seemed cool and quite sarcastic, and I remember it was through them I first heard about Kenickie (hurrah!) For a while they gave away free copies of the Diary of a Crush books by Sarra Manning which entertained me and quite a few friends at the time. I have saved some old copies of J17, and still find it fun to rifle through its pages, in the hope of stumbling upon that one exciting interview with the elusive & moody Jared Leto.

4. Melody Maker
In the late nineties Melody Maker and its rival the NME changed to a magazine format, and although the NME is still around today, poor Melody Maker didn't have the same fate.

5. Select
Select was another music magazine I enjoyed reading, a monthly format instead of weekly. Again, I enjoy looking back through old copies to read interviews with Justine Frischmann and Courtney Love and remember old bands I used to listen to.

6. Young Miss 
I remembered this one last week when I was in Berlin. When I was at college studying German, my friend Sarah used to bring me back copies of Young Miss magazine from Germany, and I used to try and read through them to practice my language skills. I'm not sure if they still make it, but the magazine was in fact really good, and better than most young women's magazines I'd read in this country.

6. The Face
When I was in my late teens I started buying The Face magazine. Sure it was pretentious, but to an aspiring graphic designer, the layout and typefaces were very appealing! And it often featured some cool personalities - and the occasional nudity! Shock. Not long after I started buying it, the magazine went bust but I still enjoy looking through my old copies when I go back home.

7. Bust
Bust is a great American magazine, which a feminist slant, that I used to subscibe to. However I noticed in recent years it was getting thinner so was reluctant to keep buying it.

8. Frankie
Frankie is a lovely Aussie mag, about crafts, music and other things, and I wish it was available here. Several kind penpals sent me a copy over the years but it's not often easy to get without paying extortionate prices.

9. Oh Comely
Unfortunately my subscription to Oh Comely has just come to an end, but I always enjoy reading through this magazine, which centres around art, photography, music, creativeness and is very inspiring, and refreshing not to read a magazine centred around relationships and celebrity.

10. The Guardian Weekend
Erm, does this hint at a descent into middle age? Anyway I do enjoy reading the Weekend magazine, and although it's just a supplement the articles are often very interesting (and I always like a nosy at the blind date page!)


  1. Eeeeeeh, do you have a copy of J17 with a reader's rant about armpit hair in it? It was the first thing I ever had published (approx 1998) and I've long since lost my copy!

    1. Ha i may well do! Will have to have a rifle next time I go back to my dad's house. x

  2. I used to read Shout!, Just Seventeen and Melody Maker, and buy the Top of the Pops magazine as well to enter all the competitions to win CD singles! :-)

    Then me and my friends moved onto Mizz magazine and (feeling very daring, like we were proper grown-up teenagers!) More magazine - with it's graphic representations of what to do with your boyfriend!

    Looking back at what we read, a lot of it was pretty hideous - I don't know how I'd feel if I ever had a teenage daughter who started reading magazines like that! :-) x

    1. I also used to like Mizz. I remember the pictures you mean in More too, i think they often involved using barbie dolls?! hehe x

  3. I loved this - you know I am a complete mag hag! I'm getting a bit bored with Oh Comely now, I don't think I will renew my subscription. I have just got a new subscription to both Bust and Bitch, so they will keep me going for the next year.

    1. I'm the same with Oh Comely actually! I do like it but I think I do crave a mag with a bit more vitriol! x

  4. I loved this! Weirdly I have had the formations of a similar blog post in scrappy note form for months and not gotten around to writing it up! But I totally agree that mainstream women's magazines do nothing other than make me feel dread and despair (at myself mostly) - I only ever flick through them at the hairdresser and even then it make me rageful. It will literally be "Why I love my curves", followed by "top 5 bikini diets" followed by "my fight against bulimia" followed by PAGES of size 0 skinny minnys... It's headache inducing!

    Ahh J17. I also loved Bliss, Shout, Mizz, 19 and B magazines; non of which exist these days! What do teens read?

    I LOVE Frankie and Oh Comely, oh and Lula too. x

    1. Oh i've always wanted a copy of Lula. I want to read your blog post too! But yes to all those other ones you mentioned too, shame they all went bust! x


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