I’m currently in the process of spring-cleaning my bedroom, and I’m also combining it with a small self-audit, ascertaining just what exactly can be counted as my possessions. I’ve immediately noticed that I have a forest’s worth of magazines almost literally spilling out of my cupboards! My shelves are almost groaning under the tremendous weight of everything from battered copies of Mean Machines Sega to PC Gamer, from Buster to Sonic the Comic. Whilst I was creeping amongst these towers of print, hoping that they wouldn’t all collapse on top of me like a book-trap in Raiders of the Lost Library, I began to sort out my regular purchases, and I also began to wonder whether other people’s houses are drowning under oceans of magazines as my bedroom is.
So, here are my regular purchases:
Being a Games Workshop enthusiast, their flagship magazine is very much a necessity for me (I wonder if I can claw back some tax back from the Exchequer’s Robbers-In-Chief?). Happily, though, it’s a decent read that provides substantial information for hobbyists of all persuasions, be they modellers, beards or fluffists, and isn’t merely a glorified catalogue. It’s an extremely glossy magazine replete with colour and extravagant imagery, but that can work against it - sometimes pretty pictures take precedence over actual content, and regaling all of those gorgeous and sumptuous 'Eavy Metal-painted minatures distressingly reminds me that my painting skill (or lack thereof) has absolutely no hope of even approaching their great talent… :-/
The Daily Telegraph
Period: Do I really have to tell you?
With its strong reportage, intelligent appraisals, high quality, a pair of consistently humourous cartoons in Matt and Alex, generous supplements (which are actually informative and enjoyable, unlike “Society Guardian” which is little more than a weekly disposable doorstop), and most importantly its faithfully conservative temperament, The Daily Telegraph has been, is, and will be my newspaper of choice. I devour the contents greedily each day, from local news to obituaries, from the editorials to the Court Circular, and everything in between. Another factor works to the Telegraph’s advantage; whilst other newspapers have been mesmerised by the fad of a tabloi-- erm, “compact” layout, the Telegraph has sensibly remained broadsheet. This is a tremendous asset, particularly because you can use the tall pages as a wall to enclose yourself off from the rest of the rabble squirming about in the sweltering 'bus/train/aeroplane and create a small nub of much-appreciated peace and contentment. It’s little things like that which can count the most.
After the appalling and unjusitifiably premature demise of both the Dreamcast and the Official Dreamcast Magazine (I’d followed the Official publications since January 1994, when I encountered “Eternal Champions - better than Street Fighter II!” emblazoned on the cover of the original Sega Magazine in the local Dawn 'Til Dusk. A love affair begun there and then, assisted by a truly glorious staff - their editorials make me laugh out loud even today, a dozen years later!), I very much withdrew from console gaming, pining and grieving for glorious Sega’s tragic and awful fall underneath the rampaging hordes of destestable Sony. This fallow period lasted for quite some time - I’ve only owned an X-Box for little more than a year - and I quite literally only bought gaming magazines on the basis of whether they were running a Sega cover feature. My love and adoration of Sega, the True Way of Gaming, remains undimished to this day, but after a few months with my X-Box it was becoming plain that I needed some point of reference to inform my gaming, and GamesTM reliably and consistently supplies that. It’s quite balanced in its outlook across the turmoiled and tumultuous gaming climate, keeps the reader broadly up to speed on the salient points of gaming news, and pleasingly is one of the more highbrow publications that provides analytical articles as well as reviews. An article that I wrote for the Panzer Dragoon fansite, The Will of the Ancients, was also mentioned in the magazine, a fact which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
The Spectator, which is known to most as the magazine that The Hon. Boris Johnson, M.P. (Cons) used to edit before his re-elevation to Cameron’s Shadow Cabinet obliged his resignation, is my favoured newsmagazine. I enjoy it because it offers insightful commentary on current affairs, and mercifully swims against the rushing tide of the preening self-conceited protestniks tearing their clothes over the latest Outrage Of The Week that populate other journals like the New Statesman. I do read The Economist occasionally, but am somewhat disaffected from it because it makes the error of confusing arch airs and chronic cynicism with objectivity. The Spectator is satisfyingly more straight-talking.
I first encountered this magazine completely by accident when Issue Five just happened to catch my eye, when me and my father were buying sandwiches at Tesco’s for our lunch during a day’s fishing in Rutland. It had a small picture of Sonic on its cover (which always helps to grab my attention!), and another cover feature included an investigation on how prospects of a Jet Set Willy III were quite literally drowned in drink. I impulsively bought it, and it has proved to be an invaluable and much-appreciated adddition to my ever-expanding magazine collection. There was some doubts over its future a few months ago when its publisher, Live, collapsed, but now under the helm of Imagine (also the firm that prints GamesTM ever since its previous owner, Highbury, also suffered financial problems) a revitalised, refreshed and redesigned Retro Gamer has gone from strength to strength. Retro Gamer is nothing less than an education of a magazine, positively resplendent in magnificent detail regarding all aspects of gaming history, be it Acorn’s BBC Micro, the Atari Jaguar, the Commodore 64 and everything else in between - and its also written by men who are motivated by a patent love of their subject. Now if they’d only respond to my letters about freelance contributions…! Other than that oversight, it’s definitely worth buying.
As its title implies, This England is a journal expressly dedicated to the celebration and adoration of all that beautifies this sceptred isle, this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, this other Eden, demi-paradise, this Fortress built by nature for herself against infection and the hand of war, this happy breed of men, this little world, this precious stone set in a silver sea. And it does so with gusto on an astonishingly broad range of subjects: from local heroes to actors who are pillars of the West End; from English flowers to historic towns; from some of the greatest rural photography that I’ve ever seen (without a sliver of hyperbole) to poetry; and from reminiscing about the war to diarising a literal cornucopia (it’s even the name of the section!) of cultural events across the length and breadth of the Green and Pleasant Land. This England is a truly wonderful tome that is veritably crafted with affection and devotion - whatever you may call it, you definitely cannot call it ‘hack’ work. It’s a bright, sunnily patriotic magazine whose pages ruffle with a breeze of fresh air that also counterblasts castrated Euroserfs and others who insensibly loathe the ground on which they tread. At four issues a year, a subscription isn’t going to set your wallet ablaze, either! Heartily reccomended
While I don’t particularly watch a great deal of television - and certainly can’t namecheck every last cast member on Quantam Leap - I still purchase SFX, Britain’s premier magazine for science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other similar members of “genre fiction”. However, it’s mostly out of curiosity and a desire to keep abreast with what other forumers seem to be chattering about constantly over. One particularly notorious aspect of SFX that appears to be deliberately egged-on by its editorial staff as a form of running joke is that the bottom of the “F” in its title tends to be obscured by the head of The Thing, Doctor Who, T’Pol etc. - leading many people to mistakenly identify it as the “SEX” magazine, which subsequently causes a great deal of embarrassment and looks of mild outrage cast my way on 'buses and the like.
I’ll also occasionally have a thumb through New Scientist if I see it on the shelf, and I’ve managed to have a few letters published in the Manchester Evening News.
What about yourselves? There seems to be magazines for anything - which ones catch your eye?