Mags, mags, everywhere but which one to read?
We asked the big boss, (and publisher of The Simple Things and Oh mag) to share what he's reading from the Pics & Ink shelves.
We only got a handful of copies of this magazine into the office and I am afraid I nabbed one. There aren’t many independent magazines about motoring and the beautiful classic Porsche rally car on the front really caught my eye as it sped through the desert landscape of what (it turned out as I read on) was the Classic Dakar rally. Its strap line is “Magnificent Classic Adventures” and it lives up to the billing. I’ve never driven a classic car on an adventure and I probably never will, but after spending a couple of hours with Auto Addicts I reallywant to.
If Auto Addict is a guilty pleasure then Offscreen is a wholesome one. It’s practically like working, as it keeps me up to speed on the latest thinking in the digital sphere. The concept is a clever one - its a strictly offline print magazine that concerns itself with the human aspect of our digital age. It’s a bit of a grand dame of the independent scene now, having launched back in 2012, and it’s one that I have kept reading over the years. Its secret is that by examining the human aspect of some (at times) very cutting edge and esoteric technology it manages to steer clear of feeling dry and academic and keeps someone without specialist knowledge, like me, interested and engaged. It takes a balanced view of technology, discussing both the potential dangers of big tech and the very positive ways that technology can improve the world and our relationship with it.
Proper Cycling is now on issue 2, and I’ve enjoyed both tomes so far. They are huge magazines, you see, printed on lovely paper and my copies are kept on display at home. The team have great form, having already produced the “Proper Adventure Journal” which I also enjoyed and keep on the same shelf. Proper Cycling is a good mix of homegrown adventure - the magazine is made in Scotland and its home country gets good representation in the first two issues - far flung epics, history and personal stories. A bit of everything really, and above all it celebrates the joy of being on two wheels, whichever form of cycling that takes. The freedom of being on two wheels is the thing that connects all cyclists I think, often drawn from the new opportunities that come in childhood with your first proper bike. I’m halfway though volume two, so I hope the team are well on the way with the next one.
I’ve only read two issues of The Wire, the first had Warren Ellis (Nick Cave’s long time collaborator) on the cover and so I bought a copy to give it a try. I’m glad I did. I am by no means a music nerd, but I have a reasonable record collection and still most of the artists featured in The Wire are new to me and that’s a good thing. I like the fact that it takes me to new places and encourages me to listen outside of my comfort zone. The album reviews are a mix of new music of all genres/locations along with a smattering of reissues, a few of which are more familiar. These, along with my favourite streaming service, are a great way to explore the musical landscape for a few hours, and usually result in at least a couple of new vinyl purchases. Its not all music reviews though, the magazine also devotes a good few pages to new music books, films, exhibitions and events which is welcome. Don’t forget the features though, again often straying into new territory for me. The one I am currently reading (issue 449) has a great feature on radio stations and how essential they have become for musicians in a locked down world. The joys of internet radio mean there are a whole new set of stations are populating the presets on my home stereo now.
What are you reading at the moment? Sorry to be nosey, but we love to hear about your trusted favourites and new indie mag discoveries.