one of the most frequently recommended sober treats is that of a magazine. as I stood in front of the newsagent’s shelves yesterday I ran through in my mind all the magazines I have habitually read at different times in my life.
of course, Jackie was my first proper magazine. but before that there were battered, borrowed copies of my brother’s comics. The Beano, yes, but WW2 comics like Warlord, too. my appetite for the written word extending to black and white cartoons dealing with the post-war generation’s need to process history with story titles such as ‘The Panzer Killers’, and Nazis who shouted ‘Donner und Blitzen!’ as they perished in a hail of machine gun bullets.
so moving on to Jackie was my introduction into a completely different world, providing answers to problems I didn’t know I had, such as ‘what is your face shape?’ and ‘how to tell if he really likes you’. which later segued into Cosmo and its 1980’s and 1990’s determination for girls to have a good time. between the sheets, mostly. and yes, advice about office politics, but no real sense that anything was much more important than Getting Your Man.
of course, part of Getting Your Man was getting thin. which took up a lot of energy in my twenties, too. years of weighing matchboxed sized pieces of Edam on the advice of Slimming magazine. one diet I made up for myself, whilst at university, rather than finding on the pages of the magazine, involved sticking to a strict 1,000 calories a day – 100 of which came from a large tot of whisky consumed last thing at night as my ‘reward’ for being good all day. alcoholic, much?
after a brief foray into wedding magazines having successfully netted myself a rather splendid example of the type (thanks no doubt to all the tips in Cosmo about How To Keep Your Man Begging For More) my focus now moved to the house buying and renovation lark. think my favourite title was Period Living and Traditional Homes. I now pored over articles on how to restore a Victorian house, as escapism from an all too demanding job.
and then the children came along. and for my months of pregnancy and subsequent toddler days I read, panicking, every Pregnancy & Birth and parenting magazine. when what I really needed was a single piece of paper saying, “Don’t worry. You’ll work it out.” Primrose’s Parenting Handbook. you read it here first 😉
after that there were more ‘how to’ titles. like BBC Good Food Magazine – their website still a good source on days when you have NO idea what to cook for supper.
I pick up Good Housekeeping occasionally but still feel a bit too young for it, and the articles on what to do when the children leave home. though that will be here before I know it 😦
I confess to a long-standing Country Living habit. it occasionally irritates me with its rose-tinted spectacles view of what it is like to live in the English countryside. but its heart is in the right place and it has lovely recipes, too.
but my new life saver is Runner’s World. I have it on subscription now and pounce on it when it arrives through the letterbox. if you run and don’t yet have a subscription I highly recommend it!
so, what did I pick up yesterday? the May issue of Psychologies. Cover stories – 16 page special on ‘Let it go’ (thought of you, Lucy!) – ‘5 ways to release the past and make a new start’. and ‘Society: does female-friendly porn exist? Really?’
still trying to understand myself, and the world around me. less focused on externals, I like to think. making peace with my body after all these years and trying to understand what is going on between my ears, instead.
so, what magazines do or did you read?