The STACK Blog
If you’ve ever browsed the shelves in Magma, there’s a good chance you’ll have come across Elephant.
Edited by Magma’s owner Marc Valli, Elephant is a magazine devoted to exploring the contemporary visual arts, and it’s a brilliantly eclectic read. It’s also the latest magazine to join the Stack ranks.
Marc is a true magazine lover, and that comes across in a magazine that balances serious arts coverage with a sly subversiveness, all presented with the most lavish production values.
As he says in his Stack interview, he works in magazines because, “I like to feel like a researcher in a lab where one can constantly test new ideas and try things out. And also because a magazine is like a party, where you meet lots of other people from different backgrounds – including a few gate crashers (often the most interesting encounters).”
It’s this mischievousness that makes Elephant so much fun, and ensures that it never reads like one of the more august arts journals. I’m really looking forward to seeing what people make of it when it drops through their door. This is definitely one to stick on Instagram – extra marks awarded to anyone who manages to show the lovely cloth spine…
I’m really looking forward to The Modern Magazine, Jeremy’s day-long magazine extravaganza on 16 October, which marks the launch of his new book. There are some pretty stellar names in the line-up, including Richard Turley from Bloomberg Businessweek, Tyler Brûlé of Monocle and Patrick Waterhouse from Colors.
But he hasn’t forgotten the little guys, and there will be a smattering of small independent publishers scattered throughout the schedule. Cathy Olmedillas (Anorak), Matt Lee (Delayed Gratification), Rosa Park (Cereal) and Davey Spens (Boat) will be speaking about why they make independent magazines, while David Jacobs (29th Street Publishing) will represent those publishers who are finding a digital-only route to readers. And at the end of the day we’ll all come together for an on-stage discussion about what we’ve seen during the day, and what’s coming next.
It should be a fantastic day – I’m thinking of it as basically the same as Printout, but not in a basement and with a much scarier audience. Tickets are on sale now and from what I hear they’re going fast, so get in there quick!
Sometimes a new magazine launches and it’s suddenly everywhere at once. I enjoyed reading Jeremy’s review of new drinks journal Alquimie on the magCulture blog on Friday and I heard its creative director Nicholas Cary on Monocle’s The Stack on Saturday, so now I’m joining the fray with an interview with Nic (as I call him) and his two co-founders, editor in chief Josh Elias and photographic director James Morgan.
Based in Melbourne, Alquimie is an exceptionally stylish and incredibly assured title (Nic also co-founded the very lovely Process Journal) and they’ve got big plans for their new baby. With distribution in select newsagents and “bottle shops” across Australia, the UK and Hong Kong, they’re targeting some of the world’s most important wine markets, taking the magazine direct to the sort of aficionados who will love their straight-talking, resolutely un-dumbed take on the world of drink (I admit I had to google ‘malolactic fermentation’ and a couple of other important terms while reading).
There’s no doubt about it – this is a serious magazine. But what exactly are their hopes for it? And how do they see it fitting into the current feast of independent food and drink magazines?
I posted a few weeks ago about Victory Journal, the brilliant sports magazine made in Brooklyn. It’s one of the best, most beautifully crafted magazines I’ve seen in ages, so I’m very pleased to announce that it has joined the Stack ranks.
I love it when independent magazines come along and fill a niche, and Victory does the job so well it makes you wonder why none of the big publishers have given it a go. There are plenty of mainstream magazines out there about specific sports (step forward golf, football, boating, etc) and the weekend papers do a decent job of covering sports news and features, but none of them can claim to cover the sporting world with half the style and class of Victory. There must surely be advertisers out there wanting to reach a smarter sporting readership.
But this isn’t a magazine driven by commercial imperatives. There’s a decidedly old-fashioned charm to its long, in-depth stories and gorgeous, large-scale photography, which makes sense given that co-founder and creative director Christopher Isenberg says he has always been inspired by the classic era of Esquire and Sports Illustrated, back when they were all about telling big stories with style and substance. If you haven’t already seen it, our interview with him and co-founder Aaron Amaro is well worth a read.
We’re going to give it a couple of months before we send out Victory, but if it looks like the sort of thing you might like, sign up now. We’ve got plenty of other good stuff lined up for the next few months.
We’ve unfortunately had to cancel this Printout event. The date had been moved forward by The Book Club, and both me and Jeremy feel we were too ambitious in trying to keep going with a September event. We’d rather cancel the date than put on a night we’re not totally happy with, so we’re drawing a line under it now.
Everyone who had bought tickets has now been refunded, and we’ll be back in November with a full strength Printout. Not sure what it will be about yet, but it will be BRILLIANT.
Apologies again for the change of plans.
Sorry for the short notice on this one, but if you’re free on Wednesday 11 September we’ve got a smashing line up for you at the next Printout.
Timed to coincide with the launch later this month of Jeremy’s new book, The Modern Magazine, we’re giving the floor to some of the magazine publishers who are rethinking old genres and bringing something fresh and exciting to the newsstand.
When you think of gardening magazines you probably think of something like Gardener’s World, but The Plant Journal will make you think again with its fantastically odd mix of art, sex and potting tips. Its co-founder Carol Montpart will be on hand to explain what it’s all about.
Design magazines can be a bit serious, but Gratuitous Type is having none of that. Describing itself as “a pamphlet of typographic smut,” it’s a lovely zine-y look at letterforms in all their forms. The team are based in New York, but publisher Elana Schlenker will be beaming into The Book Club to give us a video update on the magazine.
I posted about Boon on the Stack Facebook page recently because it’s a local magazine that’s actually worth reading. I know. Seriously. Based in Brighton, the magazine focuses on the bands, artists, models and photographers who call that city home, making for a pretty lovely magazine in the process. Creative director Tim Hampson will be jumping on the train to give it a London debut.
And if you’re at all into cricket you’re probably got a copy of Wisden knocking around somewhere at home. It’s been pretty much the only cricket publication for ever, but now they’ve brought out The Nightwatchman, a sort magazine that is to cricket what The Blizzard is to football – think long, thoughtful articles packaged up in a lovely quarterly format. Editor Matt Thacker will tell us more.
Tickets are £5 and they’re on sale now. See you there…
Last month we released the first in a series of Stack videos. I was really pleased with it – we interviewed Simon Esterson and John L Walters from Eye magazine, who spoke really interestingly about their work and the modern publishing landscape, and we framed it all around the concept of ‘A cup of tea with Stack’.
I loved that concept.
Around four weeks later, it has been viewed exactly 342 times. The feedback from Twitter and Facebook and people I actually spoke to face to face was that it’s too confusing. What is Eye magazine? What is Stack? And why would I want to have a cup of tea with it?
It’s too long. It doesn’t tell me what I’m going to get. It doesn’t focus on telling a single clear story.
In short, it’s been an absolutely fascinating process. I’m used to writing and editing stories using words on a screen or a page, but I’ve been amazed by how different the experience is when you throw in sound and vision. We’ve tried to learn from all that feedback for this month’s video, an interview with We Are Here founder, writer, editor, photographer and designer Conor Purcell.
We Are Here was the July delivery on Stack and I’m a massive fan. Conor was only in London for a few days so we caught up with him and got him to speak about how he manages to put together such a great magazine almost entirely on his own (Instagram plays a significant part).
I think we (I say we – all the real work was done by long-time Stack collaborator Tom Eagar) have done a great job with it, and as always I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’m about 10 times happier with this video than last month’s, but I know there’s still plenty of room for improvement, so if you do have any thoughts please share them in the comments below, or via Twitter or Facebook.
There aren’t many independent sports magazines around. A select few sports have a disproportionate number of magazines devoted to them – cycling and football both do pretty well – but you don’t see many independent magazines that are just generally interested in sport.
So I was very happy to have several copies of Victory Journal land on my desk recently. Published in New York by media and design agency Doubleday & Cartwright, Victory is a large-format magazine printed on improved newsprint and distributing 10,000 copies per issue in major cities across the US and beyond. And it’s absolutely fanatical about sport. Each issue is themed (the Water issue and the Greatest issue are particular favourites) and while it’s an American magazine, it seems careful to look beyond the big American sports.
Instead it immerses itself in the sporting world, championing unsung heroes, marvelling at the remarkable achievements of sportsmen and women, and giving a fresh perspective on the stars you thought you knew (anyone with even a passing interest in Muhammad Ali has got to lay their hands on a copy of the Greatest issue). And it does all this while looking brilliantly and effortlessly cool.
I wanted to find out more so I spoke to creative directors Christopher Isenberg and Aaron Amaro about making a magazine for love, and what that means for figuring out the business model.
The first time I saw The Plant I was fascinated.
It’s a weird magazine – beautifully made with some absolutely gorgeous photography, it takes an elliptical, sometimes almost spiritual approach to its subject matter. It immerses itself in the moist fecundity of plant life, losing itself amongst the leaves and going in so close you can almost smell the compost. It’s an artistic response to the plants, flowers and trees we see around us in our homes and gardens, mixing beautiful illustrations with that great photography.
And yet it’s also a hands-on plant-lover’s resource, going into detail on the best way to care for particular plants, how to press flowers and generally bring a bit more greenery into your life.
It’s utterly unlike any other magazine I’ve ever seen, which means it’s exactly the sort of thing I like to send out on Stack. I’m really pleased we’ve managed to bring it on board, and I can’t wait to send it out – Stack subscribers won’t have to wait too long now until it lands in their home / work / wherever else we send it. And of course if you’re not already a subscriber there’s still time to get in there and secure your copy – just go to the subscription page and choose the Stack package that’s right for you.