October 2, 2013
UK, Spring 2004
Zembla is one of the first independent magazines I really fell in love with. In the early 2000s I was working in a pretty dull editorial job on Gray’s Inn Road and most weeks I’d find myself around the corner in Magma. It was the first time I’d really seen a proper selection of independent magazines and I’d spend ages flicking through them.
I didn’t actually buy many of them (I somehow had less money than when I’d been a student) but Zembla was one of the rare ones I actually took home with me. A literary magazine with an amazingly anarchic sense of fun, it was edited by Dan Crowe, who now edits Port, and Matt Willey (also of Port) was one of the designers. I loved the idea of a literary magazine that played fast and loose with words – headlines often ran off the edge of pages, sometimes to the point of illegibility, and that big ‘Z’ on the cover still looks great today.
This issue has Bruce Robinson, author and director of Withnail and I on the cover, interviewed by his daughter. Dan Crowe never seems to have a problem getting hold of talent, and every issue had some kind of celebrity involvement (often from beyond the grave – this issue includes an eight-page original interview with Harry Houdini). Another regular feature was The Geography of a Book Jacket, in which authors would reflect on the covers of their books created for different countries around the world – this issue has Jonathan Safran Foer in awe of the work done on Everything Is Illuminated.
This is one of 88 contributions to My Favo(u)rite Magazine from magaholics across the globe. If you’ve not yet bought a copy its’s still available in our online shop.
Steve Watson is one of the moderators at The Modern Magazine conference, October 16, London.