21 April 2007

All out of love

A few posts ago I wrote about my enduring love for the screen, big and small. I have had another great love throughout my life (besides my nearest and dearest of course) - magazines.

It's a love that some people just don't understand. My in-laws - all very nice, reasonable people - think that magazines are just a plain waste of money. And yes, they may be right, to a point. But the lure of a great magazine can be powerful, and provide much satisfaction. Magazines can also bring people together; I have had quite a few friendships blossom over a shared love for Delicious, Seventeen, or a Monday morning trash-mag.

For me, the love affair began back in the 1970s with well-known titles such as Dolly (Australia) and Jackie (UK), as well as the more obscure Australian Beaut, and British Pink. I adored Pink in particular, which was full of cool clothes, pictures of popstars, and often came with a free gift like a little heart necklace or sticky pink lipgloss. [Alas, I have tried to find an image of Pink on the 'net, but couldn't.]

As I got older, I graduated to the truly wonderful American Seventeen. I bought my first issue back in 1974. I remember it clearly, with a fresh-faced Patty Hansen on the cover, looking very pretty in a sky-blue t-shirt (she's now better known as the wife of Keith Richards). I'm sure I still have this issue somewhere, together with most of the large format mid-1970s issues I had. I well remember too this spread from the 30th birthday issue in 1974, which featured 1970s fashion echoing the styles of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s ... which just goes to show that teenage fashion has been revisionist for decades.

I was devoted to Seventeen for years; I started reading it when I was only 12, and I'm sure was about 22 when I finally outgrew it, moving onto its big sister publications, Glamour and Mademoiselle. My favourite issues of Seventeen were the 'back-to-school' fall issues, full of pretty girls in plaid going back to high school or off to college.

My next decade was spent with fashion magazines - Vogue, Cleo, Cosmo, 19, Glamour - many of which had a big dose of sex and relationships thrown in for good measure. It was the 1980s too, so lots of big hair, career advice and petulant music stars thrown in for good measure. Those were the days.

I ended with 1980s with a nine-month flirtation with bridal magazines in 1989 while I was planning my wedding (I think I've kept the best of those too, full of gowns with big puffy sleeves and lace inserts). After my wedding fixation, I moved onto to home-focused publications in a big way - Vogue Entertaining was a big favourite - as well as more cerebal reading such as HQ and Vanity Fair. Vanity Fair was a long standing relationship, and one I still occasionally revisit.

I fell in love with Marie Claire around the same time; the English version, before the Australian one was launched. It was wonderful; interesting articles, stunning fashion, and the marvellous Nigel Slater as the food writer. All in all, a great read.
However, I never really did take to the Australian version; it just felt like a poor imitation of the British version, but in truth I was outgrowing it too. I stopped buying it about six months after the Australian one was launched, although I do enjoy catching up with the odd issue at the hairdresser. It's been the same with InStyle.

Nowadays, I don't have a lot of titles on my list of must-have magazines; they are Delicious, Living etc, and Inside Out . The last one, however, has been letting me down a bit lately, although the latest issue (pictured here) is just gorgeous. It fits into my idea of gorgeous, because I can imagine living in some of houses featured.

Which is really the secret, I think, to a truly great love affair with a magazine. With the exception of something like Vanity Fair, I've been able to project something of my own life, whether actual or aspirational, onto the magazines I've loved over the years. So it's always interesting when the love affair comes to an end.

I can tell when it's coming. A copy is purchased purely out of habit. An issue is left largely unread. I don't feel the urge to keep every one of my back copies of that title (my husband loves this particular stage of the end of a magazine love affair).

I have just ended a decade long relationship with one weekly magazine. Yep, it's over for me and Who. I'm just not getting anything out of it anymore; Who has gone too far down the trash-mag route, and I'm losing rapid interest in the vapid lives of celebs. Any interest I have can be easily satisfied by the internet anyway, and I'd rather get my film reviews from the newspaper or Pajiba. The time has come and I'm all out of love for Who.

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