As a self-confessed magaholic, Liv Siddall makes the perfect host for ModMag. She’ll be back on stage at ModMag17 introducing our speakers, and this year she’ll also be speaking about her work as editor of Rough Trade magazine. We spoke to her about the magazine ahead of next week’s conference.
What’s your favourite cover of your magazine?
My favourite cover of Rough Trade Magazine was for issue seven. It was around midnight before going to print the next day and Bruce the art director and I still had no cover…We had a look through the photos in the issue for something we could use and found a beautiful portrait of D.D Dumbo taken by Australian photographer Jamieson Moore. In the background was a load of yellow leaves. It was autumn then, in October, so we used the leaves as a background and decided to take a line out of the magazine’s monthly horoscope to put on top. That month’s was written by the band Sunflower Bean and the quote was: ‘Don’t let any self-pitying tendencies keep you down this month, yeah?’ We overlaid that in some nice Virgin Suicides-esque bubble type to see how it would look. And it looked bloody great. Took about ten minutes and ended up being my fave cover. I like it because it didn’t remind me of any other magazine covers out there.
What has been your magazine highlight of 2017?
Probably successfully getting Mac DeMarco to guest edit the May issue. Or when one of my heroes Robert Forster of The Go-Betweens dropped by and told me he was a big fan of the magazine and picks it up whenever he comes to London.
What was the one mistake that taught you the most about making magazines?
I mistakenly thought that because the magazine was the centre of my world, it must be the centre of everyone else’s. Sometimes I’d see customers in the shop pick up a copy, flick through it, and put it back down because they didn’t like it or didn’t give a shit about it. That felt weird, but it was good because it taught me not to care as much what people think, and know that for every fan of the magazine, there will probably be ten people who really hate it, or don’t know or care that it exists at all.
Which other speaker are you most looking forward to hearing at ModMag?
I tend to prefer solo speakers to panel discussions, but this year’s panel is full of so many great people that I’m very excited to see that. Also can’t wait to hear what James Hyman has to say, and I always like hearing from Lydia Garnett as her and Lucy who make Accent have an infinite supply of astonishing stories about extraordinary people all over the world. I’m also really looking forward to hearing Takahiro from Popeye because I’d like some insight into the magazine scene in Japan.
What will you be talking about at ModMag?
Well, since agreeing to talk about Rough Trade Magazine at ModMag months ago, I have been made redundant and Rough Trade Magazine is no more. Now my talk will just be me presenting and going through my entire C.V in detail, live. Any questions?
The Modern Magazine 2017
Thursday 2 November (9am to 5.30pm)
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1R 4RL (map)