The Face Redux

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NME RIP. It was a slow, painful death, but it’s still left a great void in British pop journalism. Which seems like as good an excuse as any to relaunch The Face, right? But not your grandma's The Face; a different kind of magazine to the original, but retaining the same core pop ethos. Quarterly, thick, high production values, passionate writing about pop, not fighting the tide of the web. And NOT nostalgic. So no dragging back the old writers to relive the good old days; get some new voices out there (consider this a very optimistic job application). Structurally, the Little White Lies model would work well. One big fat interview with the cover star – guess who my suggestion for the first issue would be – followed by lots of tangentially related stories, offering the sort of depth you don't get online.

You never know, it could happen. 

Chris Ware on the New Yorker

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Over the last ten years, Chris Ware has been capturing the shifting values, worries and conventions of 21st century parenthood on his covers for The New Yorker. From the playground full of fathers to the ubiquitous glowing screen of the always-online parent, these scenes will be all-too familiar to any parent. Here are some of the best.

The Recorder #4

The Recorder, Monotype's relaunched/redesigned magazine that explores type in a wider cultural context, has very quickly become a must-have for studio shelves. Issue four is particularly splendid. Not because of the exceptional (and refreshingly colourful) art direction from Luke Tonge, or Adrian Shaughnessy's look at the history of record sleeve design, or even Nicole Phillips' fascinating look at typography in education.

No, it's because 1990 Amiga classic Speedball 2: Brutal Deluxe (one of the greatest games ever) is on the cover, and every time I see it, I'm struck by waves of nostalgia and joy. The smile only gets bigger when you reach Darren Wall's article inside, looking at the pixelated type of Doom, Sensible Soccer, Street Fighter II, etc. Well worth the cover price alone.

Personal project: Backrow

Here's a little something that's been lingering in my "must get around to at some point" folder for absolutely ages. Backrow. It's nothing really, just a crumb of an idea, but it's one that I keep coming back to: a simple magazine (or given that it'll be nowhere near profitable, probably more appropriate to call it a zine) with just one feature: a big conversation with somebody interesting about the films they love. Kind of like The Happy Reader … but not books. 

Right now, it's just a cover concept, an optimistic issue count and an idea. I have an actual proper BFI qualification in film journalism (yes, it's a thing) that is going to waste, so this definitely represents a professional itch needs to be scratched. 

Hopefully I'll catch up with this in 2017.

Words we don’t say

I found this fascinating list on the Made Shop's lovely tumblr, originally posted by Hugo Lindgren at the New York Times.

Lindgren explains:

In 1997, when I was first hired at New York magazine, Kurt Andersen, now a best-selling novelist and radio-show host, had just been fired as editor. Everybody was grieving about this, though not me, since I wouldn’t have had a job there otherwise. And though it wasn’t until years later that I even met Kurt, he unwittingly left me a gift: tacked to the bulletin board in the office I took over was a single page titled “Words We Don’t Say.” It contained, as you might surmise, words and phrases that Kurt found annoying and didn’t want used in his magazine. Just yesterday, I rescued it from a bunch of old office stuff that I was throwing out, and I have to say, 14 years later, it’s still a pretty useful list of phony-baloney vocabulary that editors are well-advised to excise from stories.

I think I need one of these. There are many, many words I use far too often in my writing (I type "splendid" at least a dozen times a day), and tired, tabloidy phrases that get repeated over and over. There's a fine line between having a distinctive voice and having a hackneyed one. It's important to constantly exercise one's vocabulary muscle.