Or more specifically, the ones I miss. I was just looking over the newsstand at the local bookstore about a week back, and couldn't help thinking that none of the mainstream magazines on it (i.e. Vogue, Teen Vogue, Cosmo, Elle, CosmoGirl, you get my drift) looked like they contained things I was even vaguely interested in. In the process of flicking through the lot, I ended up thinking about what wasn't on the newsstand, and why I found it unfair that they weren't, given that they were perfectly well available ten years ago.
I'm not sure why I'm posting this, given that my blog seems to have a grand total of two readers these days, and I strongly doubt (given the fact that they're boys) that they'll get this. The trigger for this is
a) an increasing feeling of dissatisfaction with teen magazines (perhaps that's only to be expected, since I haven't been a teenager for a while now) and fashion magazines in general.
b) the discovery of a few torn-out pages from an old issue of YM (specifically, the one in the photograph above) in one of my bookshelves.
And frankly speaking, I miss them all. My mag spree started off with J17, and then ran the gamut of everything that made it to this country- from YM, Vogue, The Face and Seventeen, to CosmoGirl and ElleGirl (which I feel particularly bad about- it was such a friendly mag. The features were usually fun, the photography was pretty good, and the stories were decently written even if you didn't like whoever was on the cover- I'd never have been caught dead with a magazine cover featuring La Hilton otherwise. And it wasn't all about rich brats or celebrities either. Even though I was sixteen when it started up, and twenty-one when it closed, it was loads of fun, and I loved it. And CosmoGirl just degenerated into a trashy set of increasingly shock-valued real-life stories combined with trashy fake-tanned blonde covergirls, which sent it south as far as I was concerned).
So maybe what I'd like to know is as simple as this: why are mainstream magazines today so bad? Tooth-rottingly bad, in the case of teen magazines? Simply alienating, if the magazine happens to be Teen Vogue? Lacking in creativity of most kinds (and don't give me faff about lack of budget- ElleGirl seemed to do ok most issues, and it didn't use hugely pricey clothes or locations all the time). And even when The Face was on its way out, there were bits that still qualified for greatness. My readings of serialised fiction basically began with Diary of a Crush in J17, back when I was fourteen, and I'd had a soft corner for it even before that. A bit of me actually wishes it would (the magazine, I mean) come back to life or something- I really really liked it. I mean, The Face was cooler, but J17 (which, incidentally, came from the same publishers) was more mine, if you know what I mean. Probably cause I got hooked on it first.And the last great question that remains: from The Face, J17 and YM in 2004 to ElleGirl in 2006, why are the good ones being shut down? ElleGirl, unlike the others, didn't even suffer a reduction in quality before it folded. Is sycophantic trash all that's fit to survive in the twenty-first century print world? I don't mean to denigrate the surviving magazines, there are plenty of them that I love, but the things at the top of the mainstream tree are just getting more and more irritating by the month.
At least the music mags are still good. I know NME has its fans, but I don't get it here in paper form so Mojo and Q (especially the former) will always have my love, not least because they always came with a free CD that is well worth your while to listen to. I'd probably maul anyone who tried to take the June 2005 issue (Oasis on the cover, featured interview with the people behind Morning Glory) away from me- or, for that matter, any issue. Because those are cool in a way that defies description- their stories don't shy away from reporting anything (and to be honest, they know that they and their readers don't really care a hoot about just how badly behaved Liam Gallagher is)- no more Condé Nasty suckup jobs! yay!, they are, for the most part, really well written, and the photography is quite often really good- they don't shy away from handing entire pages (on lovely paper!) over to particularly striking archive photographs, and the reviewers don't shy away from stating clearly that an album is rubbish. And I love looking over the ads for band gigs (The Libertines! (when they existed, and I suppose when they made it to the show at all) Radiohead! CSS! The Long Blondes! Morrissey! squeeeeeee!!!! coolness is still alive and giving everyone the finger!).