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Happy New Year everyone, how’s your January panning out? I must say, mine has gotten off to a particularly great start - I hope yours has too?
I’m crazy busy, which is no bad thing; but, it does mean I find it hard to switch off. So, last night I was doing an after-work trolley-dash, through M&S, when I spotted the February edition of Tatler - Oh joy (magazines purchased at the grocery store are not magazines; they are groceries)! There is nothing that makes my pulse quicken like a new edition glossy (Jacquie Martin, I know you totally relate). This, to me, signals a night of relaxation, as I just can’t wait to browse once I’ve made the purchase.
To start, let me say that I'm a magazine enthusiast, a junkie who from my earliest school days has been obsessed with flipping though the pages of high-end glossy magazines. I buy them, I read the, I hoard them. Long before I could really afford to buy them (although I always managed at least one), I would stand in the newsagents and carefully flick through the stylish pages, in awe of the glamorous lifestyles between the covers. Inwardly, I hoped that, one-day, that would be my life; and, someday, I could afford to purchase the expensive items and hang, with my friends, at the same trendy bars and restaurants.
I knew the days new shipments would come in, memorised the "sell by" dates and re-read each magazine at least five times, before clipping out the best bits to save. They gave me a bigger picture of the world than I was able to access, back then, and showed me so many different ways a person could be. I was acutely aware that I was an outsider looking in, my face pressed to the glass of The Life I Didn’t Have. From the very beginning, these glimpses into other lives have been a large part of the allure, which these glossy pages hold for me, but they also fuelled my desire to be a writer.
Some of my friends just don’t get the whole magazine thing; they rarely pick them up and mostly never buy them. They don’t get the same thrill as I do, and find my love of glossies a waste of money (how are we even friends?). I’m an avid reader, I love books and literature, but there’s something particularly relaxing about reading short, informative, features. Some of the most powerful and insightful reporting I’ve ever read has come from the pages of Vogue and Red, which address international, health, and environmental issues with a regularity that puts many general-interest titles to shame.
I must say, I do panic slightly about the whole digital movement and the pull away from print, but for me, part of the attraction of print media is it portability. You can read it anywhere; in the bath, in bed, at the beach, on the train, and not have to worry about it getting stolen or dropping it in the bath. It’s this ease of reading which makes it such a joy to read and allows you the pleasure of self-indulgence. I find the perfect way to relax is flicking through a glossy magazine with a glass of wine or a coffee. For me, this is the ultimate 'me time', where I can relax in silence, away from a computer screen. It’s near on impossible to replicate the physical allure of a luxury magazine, on any other platform.
I read every page, and mostly have a pair of scissors to hand so I can clip out images and things, which I might like to purchase (they're also riddled with post-it notes, flagging to the pages I've marked for future reference). These cuttings are then pasted into a journal, which I write every day, and sometimes they spark a blog post. Years later, when I’m scanning through my journals (as you do), it’s fun to look back at the clippings and see what was trending.
I have a well rehearsed system for reading them. The first run-through is simply to peruse the visuals - no reading of particular articals at this stage (that's what the post-its are for). Later, during the second read though, I take my time and start with the Editor’s intro - a mini insight of news, features and images of what lies ahead. When I was young, I'd pretend I was the Editor (a mini Anna Wintour), and would often draft my own overview. Then, depending on the magazine ...
Back pages to check out the horoscopes (they always air on the positive), and then flick to Rosie Green’s column for a bit of a chuckle.
Back pages, Bystander – fabulously tongue-in-cheek coverage of high society parties and events. The privileged certainly know how to have fun.
Back pages party section. Swoon!
Bazaar Arabia (Yip, I have it specially shipped from Dubai!).
Back pages – Flash. There is nowhere does a launch like Dubai. Flash Bazaar gives an insider look at the UAE’s most style-conscious women at play. So vibrant, so luxurious, a voyeurs dream.
Dalia Dogmoch Soubra’s cookery column. Chief Baker & Co-Founder of Kitsch Cupcakes, Food Blogger, Harper’s Bazaar Arabia Food Editor, Culinary Expert, 'Celebrity Chef' and Author of Food, Love and Life from Dalia's Kitchen ... the list is endless, but she's a fabulous writer and reading her column, when I lived in Dubai, made me want to write.
Sophisticated, elegant and provocative. Every page.
Do you prefer reading websites/blogs or print magazine? Perhaps both? Let me know in the comments.