Delivered by STACK September, 2013: Oh Comely
A magazine made with women in mind, but open and inclusive enough to appeal to men too, Oh Comely targets a reader who wants more than celebrity gossip and orgasm tips (or at least an alternative to them). Devoting itself to the artists, bands and outsiders that it thinks are worth talking about, the result is peaceful and disarming, a magazine that wants you to take your time with it.
The Stack interview
What is Oh Comely?
Oh Comely is honest and subtle and pretty and sung by the band Neutral Milk Hotel. Oh Comely is also a magazine about people.
What makes it different to the rest?
It makes people feel better about themselves. It inspires people to be creative, talk to their neighbours and explore new things, rather than gossip, buy stuff or lose weight.
Who makes Oh Comely?
Oh Comely is the work of Liz, Dani, Rosanna, Gemma and Beth, who love words, illustration, art, fashion and craft (I wouldn’t say respectively, but it is in the right order).
Who reads it?
All of our parents (except mine) and all of our little cousins. The distributors seem to think our readers are in their 20s or 30s, mainly female and quite creative. That’s true, on the whole, but I think it’s turned out a lot more varied than that, which was a pleasant surprise.
Why do you work in magazines?
There are a few things that I’m passionate and intensely curious about, and independent publishing allows me to link them together. It also allows me to work with people I trust, and who trust me. At the risk of sounding ridiculous, there’s an easily Google-able quote by Chris McCandless on happiness that I believe quite deeply.
Most women’s magazines make me angry. I feel they’re damaging society with their obsession with weight, appearance and “are you good enough?” quizzes. They inspire me to make something that will change people’s lives.
Aside from the magazine, what else are you involved in?
I like to eat, take photos and climb things, usually in reverse order. I also love cities and people.
What would you change about Oh Comely if you could?
I wouldn’t change much about the magazine, although there are many aspects of the publishing that I would change. I wish I could reward the people involved with substantially more than creative freedom, chocolate and hugs.
Can you pick a favourite issue of Oh Comely?
It’s early days obviously but, as an optimist, I like to think that things are getting better, so I’d pick our most recent issue.
Where do you see Oh Comely in five years?
I don’t have a clear idea. In a way, I don’t feel that it’s up to me to determine its future, and I hope that its contributors and readers try to be happy in their own way.