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Paperboy #4
Magazine of the Month

Paperboy #4

First published during the early Covid lockdowns to offer the happy distraction of good news, Paperboy has continued to appear regularly despite the pandemic receding.


Perhaps this is due to the seemingly endless supply of existential threats in the news? Or is it simply because publisher David McKendrick is having such a good time making it? Either way, we’re delighted it has continued, and happy to present issue four as our Magazine of the Month for May.


Paperboy issue 4 is pulled from its plastic wrapper


First impressions count for a lot, and Paperboy pulls out all the stops to look special. Bound this time in a full pink textured book fabric with a black foiled logo, and inserted into a screenprinted plastic envelope, it stands out from the crowd. And as McKendrick reminded us when he dropped off the new issue at the shop, such details don’t come cheap (see the use of black staples for the binding).

But this isn't a magazine that’s all looks and no substance—that special feeling continues inside. A veteran of high-end magazines (Wallpaper*, Esquire, Christies), McKendrick has directed a beautiful mix of sharp photography and intelligent writing to the expression of his unique brand of Scottish wit. In some people’s hands the stories might easily fall flat, but he has the contacts book to make them fly.


A spread from ‘Cool Bags’ fashion shoot


A fashion shoot titled ‘Cool Bags’ (above) brings to mind high-end luxury handbags, but actually features ice boxes; in another, branded sunglasses are accessorised with crisps (below) complete with brand names credited alongside the fashion names. Both stories are shot by Tom Craig and styled by John Handford, who turn the easy wit into beautiful photographic stories.


A shiot from the crisps fashion shoot: a woman in shades smiles to the camera as she holda up a crisp


Liv SiddallÆs essay about luck, as it appears in issue four of Paperboy


As well as shooting new stuff, McKendrick gathers existing material, such as Marius W Hansen’s butterfly still lives, and a selection of bags from The Paper Bag Archive. He also has an eye for great writing. The issue theme is ‘Luck’, and a series of columns by the likes of Lou Stoppard, Liv Siddall (above), Jeremy Langmead and Osman Bari (of Chutney) offer compelling personal stories of good fortune.


Tipped in lottery ticket from Paperboy issue four.

Plus there’s a tipped in lottery ticket at the back of the issue (above), offering the reader a chance to taste pure luck.


Paperboy’s ‘good news’ isn’t an earnest alternative to the daily news cycle, it’s cleverer than that. It takes us to another mood entirely, a place of the happy humour that its creator specialises in. Long may it continue, even if (when) the existential-threat pipeline runs dry.



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