This Friday we’re visiting editor, writer and consultant Kati Krause at her home in Berlin’s Mitte district; we’re there to check out the magazines that she’s got stacked up on her coffee table.
We’re very excited about the latest project that Kati has been working on as contributing editor, a title based out in San Francisco called Anxy that’s all about ‘our inner worlds’. It promises to investigate the personal struggles and fears that we don’t like to talk about in the open, and to smash stigmas about metal illness and depression. This week Anxy has launched its Kickstarter campaign – we’ve already pledged, and I’m looking forward to receiving my Carl Jung dream poster and seeing what the team come up with.
In anticipation of this magazine that’ll delve smartly into personal issues, we’ve invited Kati to share her own issues for us… magazine issues that is.
As usual, we asked her to select a new issue, an old issue, and another thing…
A new issue: MacGuffin #3
That pile of magazines you see in my selfie above? That’s my Unresolved Issues pile, also known as magazines I still have to (want to) read. The pile is growing. I’m so behind on my new issues, it makes talking about them hard. However! I just received one yesterday that will immediately be placed at the head of the queue: the new MacGuffin. MacGuffin is like a box you find in your grandparents’ attic, marked “George 1933 (Paris)”: full of items that are lovely, weird, heart-breaking, and completely unpredictable. It’s serendipity in a magazine.
Each issue, MacGuffin picks an item of everyday design – first beds, then windows, now rope – and spins an incredible number of stories around it. I have not yet read this issue but only flipping through it and seeing the sheer density makes me giddy: there’s cornrows and string figures and shorthand and, well, Christopher Nemeth. So for my next rainy day, I’ve made plans already: I’ll camp out on my sofa and have MacGuffin take me on a trip.
An old issue: Swallow #2 and #3
I know I’m cheating by naming two issues, but honestly, choosing any magazine was already so hard that I felt I deserved some leeway. After much deliberation I settled on Swallow – the anti-foodie food magazine that doubles as a travel publication – because it may be the most complete magazine I’ve ever seen. Yes, that seems like the best word to describe it: complete.
Swallow makes the absolute most out of being a print magazine through design, touch, story rhythm and even smell, thanks to perfumed peel-off stickers in the Mexico City issue recreating the smells of the city’s barrios. It’s a full-on object. And on top of it, it strikes a perfect balance between intimate and aspirational, familiar and bizarre, dirty and glamorous to keep you gripped from start to finish. Swallow’s three issues are currently sold out so I think it’s about time to pester the lovely James Casey to make another one.
And another thing: honest magazines
Here you see the three magazines that have maybe most influenced how I currently feel about magazine publishing: Manzine, Rookie and Mushpit. They are three very different publications – Manzine was (*sniff*) for men, Rookie is a professionally produced online magazine and Mushpit, despite looking much slicker today than this 2012 issue, is a loud-mouthed fanzine. But in a Venn diagram, Mushpit and Manzine would overlap for their self-deprecating humour, Rookie and Mushpit for being by and for loyal girls, and Rookie and Manzine… for their essays that read like diary entries, maybe? That central bit of the Venn diagram, however, is clear: it’s honesty.
All three are magazines that don’t pretend, that actively oppose pretending in their different ways. Instead, they propose we accept our faults, speak about our fears and wear our vulnerabilities with poise – because they are the things that make us human. That’s the most important thing a magazine can hope to transmit, I believe. And if you think that’s cheesy, I suggest you go back to your minimalist interior magazine and we’ll speak again once your armour, too, has cracked.