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.