Monday, 19 October 2009


My entire adult life has been accessoried by glossy magazines...a month simply wasn't complete without a knee high pile of shiny smooth spined magazines to entice me. Over the years I have been a voracious reader of Minx, Elle, Marie Claire, Nylon, Grazia and Vogue to name my essentials. I used to look forward to the release date of certain international copies like a small child awaiting Christmas Day and be at the newsagent when it opened. The International Collections issues warranted a Saturday night in to make sure they were scoured from cover to cover. A trip to RD Franks depleted my student loan cheque more than all the boozing I could manage in a term...

Yet I haven't bought a woman's magazine in months, much less flicked through one on a shelf. So what happened to sever this most heady of relationships? A multitude of tiny things; less like a boyfriend cheating on you, more like realising those seemingly cute little habits are in fact as annoying as fuck.

The first to break my heart was Vogue. In about 2005 it went from high fashion to high Heat and started featuring horrors like Erin O'Connor doing a Little Britain fashion shoot. Colleen Rooney began to appear and the more art and trend based articles started to move to smaller slots toward the back of the magazine. Yet the cover price leapt. A piece about Kate Moss's Topshop collection lifted straight from the press release saw me miss my first issue in 10 years. Apart from one dalliance since, we remain estranged.

Then my mum moved house and at risk of seeming like a crazy hoarder I had to get rid of all the magazines from the late 90s that still cluttered my old room. I couldn't ask her to take all my paper memories to her new life. So with a heavy heart and a craft knife for articles and adverts I couldn't jettison, I started to clear them out. And discovered that it wasn't the end of the world to part with them. I didn't become any less knowledgable or trendy, just less dusty.

I began to realise shortly after this that on my benefits-only budget, I really couldn't justify the same haul of magazines a month. No longer working as a make up artist I didn't need to be up with the trends and techniques so intimately. I began to be more discerning in my choices and buy only selected magazines each month. We were growing apart a little more with each issue.

And then came the straw that broke the spine, I discovered Mag Hag on and the scales were lifted from my eyes in a whole new light toward lady mags. Not only were they shilling products only Victoria Beckham could afford, with expectations of perfection few can achieve, they tended to be badly written, repetitive and boring. The exuberant articles of the 90s and early Naughties were gone only to be replaced by articles that read like a How-to guide to be a Wag or a Sex and the City clone but with a different It Bag each issue.

The glamour evaporated before my eyes and I felt scolded instead. The glossies suddenly seemed like textbooks for materialism rather the interesting lifestyle guides they had once been. Individualism seemed a dirty word in every area. The models seemed incredibly generic with no hope of a face like Alex Wek standing out, the articles were aimed at long haired white girls who wanted a tan and a pair of shoes for every day of the year and only the most photogenic singers, writers or designers got a mention. They had gone from glossy to beige. I had changed, but the magazines hadn't changed with me...

I realised that I wasn't learning anything anymore and for me that meant I couldn't justify the time or price anymore so I stopped my magazine habit cold. These days I only dabble in interiors magazines. I look at the rows of monthlies on the shelves and feel let down. Why isn't there an interesting, intelligent magazine for a variety of women available in this day and age? Why isn't the print media bringing its A-game against the many great blogs out there? It seems like one more arena where women are told what they want, rather than listened to and appreciated. Maybe this explains the size of the recent September issues as much the recession does?

In the meantime, I am glad I stockpiled copies of Vogue from the 1990s to revisit on sleepy Sunday afternoons as it doesn't look like there will be a glossy worth my money for quite some time and some of us just miss the feel of a magazine in our hands....

1 comment:

  1. I hear you, girl. and speaking of Alex Wek (whom I love), I just saw her this morning: