The Stack, Wilder, WeAreHere, Gym Class #9

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I was one of the guests on last Saturday’s edition of ‘The Stack’, Monocle24’s excellent weekly hour of magazine coverage. Monocle supremo Tyler Brulé hosts the show and his passion for and knowledge of magazines shines through the whole thing – he has an admirable command of both the creative and business sides of publishing. Each edition feaures a mix of pre-recorded interviews with magazine makers, industry figures, shop owners, events organisers, plus an in-studio discussion.

Alongside me this week was Tim Heyward from Fire&Knives, who’s always good value (and who, by the way, is about to co-publish a new magazine called Gin & It, about drink, more of which soon). We were both asked to bring in a selection of magazines to discuss, and as always happens there wasn’t time to run through them all. So here’s a quick run through my selection.

But first up. star of the show turned out to be the new edition of Wilder Quarterly; both Tyler and I had brought it along and after one quick flick Tim was won over too. This Brooklyn-based magazine is essentially a gardening title, this Fall issue featuring a beautiful cover shot of autumnal trees. Inside there’s a pull-out poster guide to what needs to be done in the garden this quarter and some plant profiles.

But of course there’s more to Wilder than that; it’s a magazine about the outdoors and allows itself to wander off into related areas: there’a a gorgeous photo guide to different sweater knits (you can FEEL the warmth), an interview with original catwoman actress Julie Newmar (about her garden, above) and pieces about butterflies and aquaponics. Plus some seasonal recipes. 130 pages of matt paper, simple black and white typography and an open but intelligent editorial brief make Wilder Quarterly a great addition to your bookshelf of independent magazines.

The other print magazines I had with me were Cover (as already featured here) and a new title from the Middle East, WeAreHere Dubai. This is a really intruiguing magazine, as it manages to bring to life one of the most soulless places I’ve ever visited. Dubai aleady has a few local magazines – BrownBook is published there – but while that title successfully looks out across the whole middle east, WeAreHere Dubai has a tight focus on the local area.

Deliberately lo-fi, the magazine has a fanzine feel that suits its desire avoid the clichés of its subject. The centrepiece is an analysis of how to write about Dubai, introducing those clichés.

The airport looms large, with on-target dissections of the three terminals and their different roles as well as a description of aircabin staff life; we meet local graphic designer Romy Miclat; there’s an amusing tale about attempting to hitch a traditional dhow boat. Plus grafitti artists, DJs and various other local characters. It made me re-appraise Dubai.

Each issue will look at a different city – I’m looking forward to the next one already.

My last offering was the latest edition of Gym Class Magazine. Every edition changes format and for this one, the ninth, editor/designer Steven Gregor (who has been designing the UK Wired ipad app) has produced an iPad app using Adobe DPS. But – importantly – he has over-ridden the system’s heavyhanded navigation system. Result!

As ever the content is primarily about magazines, with one or two interesting extras (including this time an interview with magCulture favourites Django Django). But magazines are the main focus, and like ‘The Stack’ itself, Gym Class is highly recommended to all magCulture readers (click on images for larger versions).

Buy the app and enjoy… deep breath… Jon Hill (The Times) and Arem Duplessis (The New York Times) contrast their design director roles at the two newspapers; a Q&A with Pekka Toivonen of Kasino Creative Annual; a look at the redeisgn of sadly just-closed US music mag Spin; Andrew Losowsky on endurance publishing; Kati Krause interviewing Jessica from Berlin’s Do You Read Me? magazine shop. Not to mention Bob Newman taking a close look at the US’s city magazines (one example below) and reflections on last year’s SPD Awards from myself, Richard Turley and Luke Hayman. All for a mere £3.99 – treat yourself!

Anyhow, back to The Stack; as should already be clear, there’s plenty of crossover between it and this site, so if you’ve not already had a listen, the entire back catalogue is available online (and via their neat little iOS app).

And we still have copies of Wilder Quarterly available in the magCulture shop. Treat yourself! Again!

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