The STACK Blog
First of all, I’m really sorry if this video is spoiling this month’s Stack surprise. We sent The Plant out at the start of the month, so I think everyone should have received their copies by now. If that’s not the case please do let me know – I want these videos to spread the word, not spoil the service!
The Plant is one of my favourite Stack magazines, largely because it deals with a subject that isn’t particularly close to my heart, but does so in a way that’s always fascinating. I hope I get that across in the video. I also wanted to get across a sense of what a Stack delivery actually is – I’d love to know what you think to it, whether you’re a Stack subscriber who knows first hand, or an interested observer who hasn’t taken the plunge yet.
Here’s a nice way to round out the week – the new issue of Boat is out now, and they’ve made this lovely teaser trailer for it. I defy anyone to watch this and not want to read the magazine.
Tell it to no one.
I love it when a great new magazine lands on my desk and I’ve got absolutely no idea what it is or where it came from.
That happened this week with Jashanmal Quarterly, a magazine that, it transpires, is made out of Dubai by We Are Here editor, designer and publisher Conor Purcell. Printed on a lovely silky improved newsprint, this first issue is themed around comics and takes a genuinely global view that’s rare to find in any magazine, let alone an independent title paid for by a bookshop.
I gave Conor a call to find out more…
This week’s magazine is a bit of an experiment. The Long Good Read is a publishing project by Dan Catt, the Guardian and Newspaper Club – it sucks up the most popular Guardian stories, flows them into Newspaper Club templates, then prints them for people to pick up for free at the Guardian’s coffee shop in Shoreditch.
Almost all of it happens without humans getting their hands dirty (I might not have made that crystal clear in the video) and for the most part it works really well. It’s kind of strange reading the Guardian’s most-read bits gathered together in print – that sort of aggregation is something I expect a website to do as a matter of course, but in print it’s an unusual experience. I like it.
And it’s interesting that it’s the infographics that suffer the most from the automation process – they’re notoriously difficult to do well at the best of times, and while there’s plenty of data on show here, it’s the artistry that’s missing. Hooray for humans.
Have you got your ticket for Printout yet? Next week’s gathering of magazine fans will salute some of the best independent magazines to launch in 2013, so I’m very pleased to announce that music will be provided by Muff, the queer arts and culture magazine that launched this summer. I interviewed editor Kate and art director Elisabeth last week and I’m a big fan of their magazine, so it’ll be great to meet them in person.
And of course you could meet them too (along with our fine panel of publishers, editors and art directors, see details above). They’re the people responsible for some of this year’s best and boldest new magazines, and you can pretty much guarantee they’re going to be just as good in person (or on camera) as they are on paper. Tickets are £5.95 from our Eventbrite page – see you next week.
Lots of gay magazines cater for a very specific reader, choosing to focus on a niche within a niche. But Muff does things a bit differently; open and inclusive, it’s clear that Muff’s creators want to appeal to readers from all walks of life.
Women outnumber men on the magazine’s pages and there’s a strong lesbian influence, but throughout there’s a clear effort to show gay people as normal, rather than a strange and exotic ‘other’. I spoke to editor Kate Bond and creative director Elisabeth A Bukanova about their motivations for creating such a broad church, the difficulties they came across making the magazine, and just how exactly you take a tasteful photograph of a sex toy.
It’s that time of year again – the Christmas gift guides are coming out and we’ve picked up our first mention for Stack. I’m going to keep track of them this year by adding to this post, so if you see Stack being recommended please do let me know – we’ve got Stack mugs to give away for any coverage I hadn’t picked up on. Ho ho ho and all that.
Elle Decoration reckons Stack is “brilliantly topsy-turvy”. That’s a good thing, right? We’re certainly keeping good company, alongside other subscription services like Square Mile Coffee Roasters, Not Another Bill and Birchbox.
**Updated, 28 November**
The Guardian‘s annual gift guide has become something of an institution, so we’re honoured to have made it into their selection this year. And they’ve captured the appeal of Stack in a nutshell: “[the magazines] might be about art, gardens, music or lifestyle – the charm is in finding yourself immersed in a whole different world every month.”
Offscreen Magazine has assembled the web worker’s ultimate Christmas Wish List, and we’re very pleased to get a mention. In fact I also want pretty much everything on the list, despite the fact that I can’t write a single line of code.
More coming as I see them…
Making videos is hard. Some things to note about this one:
I say that the designers She Was Only are based in Manchester. They’re not – they’re based in London. And I say that editor Alec Dudson “has a lot of experience with interns,” which makes it sound like he’s some kind of louche intern predator. He’s not – I meant to say that he’s had a lot of experience with internships, because he’s done a few of them. I also say the words “great”, “lovely” and “brilliant” a lot.
But for all that I’m still really excited about making these videos. I love having something that communicates the pleasure of holding the magazine in my hands and turning the pages – especially when I can get that shine of the masthead in there. As you’ll see from the video, I really like Intern – Alec has done a great job with his first proper issue one, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where he takes it next.
Watch out for another video popping up here next Tuesday…