magCulture Christmas Cracker 2019

Join us for the second magCulture Christmas Cracker, brought to you with The Hoxton, Southwark!

Our mega charity raffle is returning for 2019, in support of Shelter From The Storm, a completely free emergency night shelter providing bed, dinner and breakfast for 38 homeless people every night of the year.

Prizes include magazine subscriptions, signed books, bubbly, bundles from our favourite titles, magCulture Live 2020 tickets and heaps more! The full prize list will be announced shortly. 

Raffle tickets are £5 each and can be bought in advance as well as on the night. We’ll be welcoming back special guest Penny Martin, editor-in-chief of The Gentlewoman, to draw the winning tickets at 7.30pm sharp. There will be bonus prizes for people in the room too!

Book your free ticket for the evening raffle draw party here! You can buy raffle tickets even if you’re unable to attend on the night, although there will be bonus prizes for those in the room!

As well as the raffle, we’ll also be launching our charity Christmas card packs. The five designs are by:

Veronica Ditting (The Gentlewoman)
Richard Turley and Sophie Hur (Civilization)
Nina Carter (It’s Freezing in LA!)
Tony Brook and Jonathan Nielson (Spin)
Jeremy Leslie and Alice Bowsher (magCulture)

Everyone involved in producing the cards has donated their time and services for free, meaning every penny from sales will go to supporting Shelter From The Storm. The set of five cards costs £12 each and will be available on the night and to pre-order via the magCulture online Shop.

The magCulture Pop-up Shop will be on site, stocked with highlights from our Clerkenwell shop. Join us for a wonderful night of festive cheer!

Buy your raffle ticket(s) now

Book your free raffle draw party ticket

Noble Rot #21

Noble Rot, the magazine of ‘Sex & Drugs & Pinot Noir’ has come a long way since issue one – such was the success of the mag that the creators opened later opened the eponymous wine bar in Bloomsbury. It’s just reached its 21st issue – time to take another look at the mag.

‘Noble Rot [the wine bar/restaurant] resounds with maturity — you could take your uptight grandfather there — but also has a deep capacity for grandiose silliness.’ wrote restaurant critic Grace Dent in 2016. Noble Rot the magazine is the paper embodiment of this sensibility, though the mag and bar are classic chicken and egg – you’d be forgiven for assuming that the publication is an accessory to the establishment. It was actually the instantly successful mag that came first, backed by a kickstarter campaign in 2013.

That first issue was printed in black and white, but thanks to the crowdfunding efforts the mag is now consistently one of the brightest we stock in the shop. Many of the recent covers have come in a particular shade of hot pink ink, reliably cartoonish. The liquid logo promises all the giddiness of a long wine soaked evening: dry humour yes, content no (Disclosure: the mag was designed here at magCulture from issues  6–10).

What to expect from issue 21? The quintessential Noble Rot lineup: a review of wine label art (top); DJ Madlib’s quaffing habits on tour; an in-depth gastronomic tour of Rome (above) and the next in an ongoing series of chef’s favourite puddings – Black Axe Mangal’s Lee Tiernan offers a 1,000 calorie deep fried mince pie.

An article about the ‘10 most annoying restaurant affections’ (above, illustration by Mark Long, who alos did the cover art this issue) is a classic offering from the team: the opposite of what you’d expect from the snobbish and catalogue-y wine enthusiast mags of yore. Noble Rot is a mag with high standards, but never talks down to its readers.

My absolute highlight from issue 21, though, is an interview with vino veteran Hugh Johnson (above), in which he describes tasting a wine from 1540 as having ‘the ripeness of sunshine 400 and something years ago… Stored energy’. It’s editorial gold.

That’s Noble Rot all over, pure, unapologetic indulgence. A potential recipe for disaster, of course, but it’s combated by a refusal to slip into fustiness. Emerging from the pages of the mag you’ll feel uplifted, more knowledgeable than before (though potentially determined to sample a now-empty vintage from the Renaissance).

Editors: Dan Keeling and Mark Andrew
Art director: Dan Keeling
Designer: Rachel Dalton

Buy a copy from the magCulture Shop

Gossamer #4, ‘Inside’

A weed magazine that challenges your assumptions about what a weed magazine would, or should look like.

Rather than a rambling zine of Camden Market-esque leaf prints filling up every other page, Gossamer is an articulate publication, fully self-aware. Editors David Weiner and Verena Von Pfetten are conscious that smoking cannabis and ‘the ability to do so is a privilege that depends a lot on how you look and your socio-economic background’. This critical awareness has led to a balanced publication – a feature titled Love and Other Drugs (above) is sex-positive and politically astute, as are all the articles that explicitly reference cannabis culture.

Gossamer isn’t all weed however, and the mag is surprisingly equally as strong when it dives into the more surreal end of the spectrum.  An article titled ‘An Oral History of the Inside Joke’ (above) really has nothing to do with the drug whatsoever, neither do the repeated ‘how to’ segments, popping up every couple of pages – guides to keeping secrets and running baths, addressing the issue theme ‘Inside’

I particularly enjoyed Foster Kamer’s ‘Making Reservations’, an article about the author’s time at a job where they were responsible for accepting bookings at some of New York’s most exclusive restaurants. The piece is extremely telling despite not disclosing anything incriminating, and ends as abruptly as it begins. Suddenly issue four’s cover – a macro photo of a taut telephone cord, slightly out of focus, both the speaker and the machine itself out of frame – makes sense.

Gossamer’s design places it in a distinctively millennial bracket (reminiscent of brands like Glossier or ManRepeller), all punchy sans-serif logos and young photographers. Ads for CBD ‘pills’ and the Ace Hotel are seamlessly homogenised with the main content, overseen by designers Verena Michelitsch and Kristína Bartošová.

Issue one was actually designed to be more of an activity book for stoners, rather than a magazine. Some of this original design direction has been retained at the back of the issue – I love the grid that follows New York’s Approval Matrix concept, except, refreshingly (and perhaps confusingly), the content is made up entirely of ‘things in other things’, rather than social/cultural news. Each item, or ‘thing’ in the grid has been dropped somewhere between ‘pointless’ (the human appendix), ‘delightful’, (secret rooms), ‘upsetting’ (mousetraps) and ‘useful’ (book appendixes). According to the chart, the ultimate ‘thing in another thing’ is Schrödinger’s cat.

As marijuana slowly becomes legalised, it’s exciting to see indie mags rushing to create spaces for the burgeoning culture. Gossamer is a unique and relentlessly absorbing read, never resorting to appropriation or judgement. Two thumbs up.

Buy a copy from the magCulture Shop

magCulture Live: schedule and details

magCulture Live takes place on Thursday 7 November. We’re excited to share the running order and other details for the day.

As ever, the central focus is editorial creativity, and this year the strand running through the day will be the theme ‘Making a Difference’. In addition, each speaker will address one or more of five editorial disciplines: art direction, illustration, journalism, photography and typography.

magCulture Live, London 2019

9:00  •  Doors open for registration
9:45  •  Introduction
10:00  •  Ariane Spanier, FUKT
10:30  •  James Hewes, FIPP
11:30  •  Independents, ‘Making a Difference‘
Alex Morrison, Contra
Bertie Brandes, Civilization
Martha Dillon, It’s Freezing in LA!
Felicia Pennant, Season Zine
12:30  •  Gert Jonkers, Fantastic Man
14:00  •  Serge Ricco, L’Obs
14:30  •  Jody Quon, New York
15:50  •  Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, Gal-dem
16:30  •  Matt Willey, New York Times Magazine

Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square
London WC1R 4RL

Doors will open at 9am for attendees, meaning you can grab a hot drink, browse the magCulture pop-up shop and swing by our sponsor stands before the talks kick off at 9.45am sharp.  We encourage you to be at the venue by 9.30am to ensure you’re registered in plenty of time and don’t miss the start of the day.

Bring your own bags
In keeping with our ‘Making a Difference’ theme, we’re keen to make magCulture Live as sustainable as possible wherever we can. This means we won’t be giving out tote bags full of goodies as in previous years; instead we’ll have bundles of goodies for everyone, but ask you to bring your own bag with you to carry them.

Please also note that we won’t be handing out single-use bottles of water at lunch so please bring a reusable one with you. There is a water fountain on site and tap water will be available throughout the day from our caterers.

Audience questions
Two sessions will be open to questions from the audience; the independent magazine speakers (11.30) and Jody Quon from New York magazine (14.30pm). Please be ready to join in!

Tickets are still available – book now!

We’re grateful to our partners for their support:


Thank you also to our media partners:

Felicia Pennant, Season Zine

Today we meet the last of our magCulture Live speakers. Journalist Felicia Pennant launched Season Zine to celebrate female football and football fans in 2016, predating the current surge in interest in the women’s game. As well as Season Zine, she has contributed to many other titles and is currently commissioning editor at Dazed Beauty. All of which accounts for her winning a PPA New Talent 30 under 30 Award this year.

What are you doing today?
I’m in London and the plan is Season, gym, work, Season. We’ve got a new issue coming out this month! Number seven.

Who/what inspired you to work in magazine publishing?
I think subconsciously, magazine publishing was always something I wanted to do, History and English were my academic subjects, and my parents had their own publication in the nineties so they got it. I evolved from a bookworm into a magazine worm, when my dad sent me a care package with Vogue and Elle aged 14 at boarding school which opened my eyes to the possibilities of magazines.

But it wasn’t until I discovered publications like i-D, Fantastic Man/ The Gentlewoman, and The Green Soccer Journal that I realised the creative opportunities and freedom of entering that space and doing it independently- your way. I laid out my BA thesis from Central Saint Martins as a magazine and I love the process – conceptualising ideas around a theme or specific subject, bringing them, and your passion for them, to life on a page via words and visuals, collaborating with amazing creatives.

You produce something original, considered and detail-oriented right down to the paper stock, that can be kept and treasured forever. Documenting our time, society and human nature away from a screen. In order to learn the different ways to publish magazines and creative content – most of my work experience has been in that arena: from Love, British GQ, 1883, and  Tank magazine to ASOS magazine and Dazed Beauty.

Season Zine was addressing women’s football long before the current increase in attention for the sport. How do you view that success?
Do you know what? it’s something my mum brings up all the time now that women’s football is becoming mainstream (and she’s the parent who’s least interested in football- my dad and I follow Chelsea together) and I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved working around full-time jobs and with limited resources.

But there’s still such a long to go in the bigger picture and so much more to come from us. Season started with the goal to empower and champion women in football – whether they play or not – countering the male, pale and stale state of the culture and exploring the football and fashion’s interplay in creative and authentic ways. We’ve platformed a lot of the initiatives and people in this space in the six issues so far and men have been welcome in our space from day one, which is so important for football-related projects like ours.

It’s great that attention has increased, although the bandwagon-jumping is obvious and unoriginal, it leads to better representation and visibility for women. But it does sometimes feels like a lot of this increased attention is surface or conditional- flash-in-the-pan moments around a big tournament or game when issues like racism, pay inequality, and the fact that women are still struggling to find pitches to play on mean the reality is that things aren’t as accessible, diverse or inclusive as they seem. We’ve been telling stories along this vein since 2016 – everything and nothing has changed.

The magazine has developed a strong presence and voice; what are your future ambitions of it?
2020 is a new year and a new decade so there are plans and things in the works – two more issues and a new website to start with. We’re rethinking everything- how Season and the culture have evolved and how best to navigate it and stay true to what we do. Beyond that, you’ll have to keep an eye on @season_zine, all will be revealed in due course.

How can magazines make a difference in 2019? 
On so many levels – from changing the way someone thinks about something and broadening their horizons to educating and inspiring someone to take definitive action.

Words and images are much more powerful on a printed page than a screen. Totally dependant on the topic of course, but independent magazines operate as an alternative commentary that you need alongside with the mainstream media for a more informed picture.

Another way magazines can make a difference, beyond empowering, inspiring and passionate content and in light of recent climate protests, is their production. Recycled paper, printers that offset their carbon footprint, specialist inks – It’s something we’re exploring much deeper than before with Season.

Who are you looking forward to hearing/meeting at magCulture live London 2019?

It’s a fantastic line-up and it will be great to hear Charlie Brinkhurst-Cuff, Bertie Brandes and Alex Morrison speak. But as Fantastic Man was one of Season’s inspirations, I’m most excited to hear/meet Editor-in-chief Gert Jonkers.

Meet the rest of the magCulture Live speakers

Hear more from Felicia at magCulture Live on 7 November. Check the Eventbrite page for the complete line-up  and details.

Book your ticket now!

No Man’s Land #4

American women’s club and co-working space collective The Wing has just launched its first international location – right here in London. No Man’s Land is the collective’s in-house magazine, aiming to bring their ‘smart, edgy sensibility’ to a wider audience.

In our interview with executive editor Deidre Dyer last year, she listed ‘Mold, Broccoli, GQ Style (the biannual w/ Tyler the Creator on the cover), Riposte, The Gentlewoman and, always, Apartamento’ as some of her favourite magazines. I can see how these influences have been manifested in the pages of No Man’s Land: it’s a highly accomplished mag, with forward thinking art direction and design overseen by Emily Oberman at Pentagram.

Here, we break the issue into five basic elements.

ART DIRECTION:  The Wing have teamed up with Cartier Women’s Initiative Award, and the candidates are profiled on duotone pink and red pages. Sandwiched between these pages are pull outs: a selection of acid green, yellow and black stickers and a poster of Queen Latifah. Inspired by feminist zine culture, this has been a feature since issue one.

ILLUSTRATION:  María Medem’s illustrations are featured on pages 46 – 55. Medem seems to be everywhere at the moment, I’ve spotted her ethereal work in the latest issue of Gossamer too. Medem’s illustrations are paired with a feature on doulas – trained non-medical companions who assist with and offer support during health-related events like birth, abortion and death.

JOURNALISM:  ‘What condition are we in?’ is a great article by Katherine Bernard, in which the Wing member and ‘magazine enthusiast’ uncovers and describes old issues of Conditions magazine, a mag wonderfully subtitled ‘A Magazine of Writing by Women, with an Emphasis on Writing by Lesbians’

PHOTOGRAPHY:  An interview with cover star Adwoa Aboah is accompanied by photographs by Renell Medrano. Aboah is the founder of GURLS TALK, a platform described as ‘a safe space to share and listen without any judgement or stigma’. In this interview the activist and model discusses work, rest and community.

TYPOGRAPHY:  Designed to mimic a click and drag glitch, the word ‘WORK’ has been made up of hundreds of tiny little ‘interactive’ bright green buttons each labelled ‘Work is Not for the Virtuous’: the title of this article. The team at Pentagram looked at activist graphics to inform their design, and the result is refreshing: rather than patronisingly feminine, the bespoke type is playful and modern.

Executive editor: Deidre Dyer
Design: Pentagram

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