In order to express my deep sadness about the closing of Borders shop this weekend, it seems necessary to divulge the facts of my secret life as a magazine collector. Only those close to me know the depths of my obsession, I’m a sucker for glossies, they are my heroin, I love buying them more than I love clothes, shoes, probably more than I love my family. My collection runs the length of my bedroom at a knee-high level and when I lived alone in Paris this summer, magazines from the 3000 strong collection at Agora Presse et Catera (think rundown Borders, but shabby Paris style) was my salvation. Above all, I literally cannot resist the shiny, new, alluring covers of the niche style publications I know I can only get in limited stores. Border’s was like my dream library.
I own hundreds of publications, a mixture of men’s and women’s titles, vintage and brand new, magazines on fashion, arts, lifestyle, film, textiles, home furnishings; I even have a magazine solely consisting of pictures of light shades. Similarly to collectors of items that may perhaps be considered more valuable, I have slightly ritualistic practises to organise my passion. I sort them ruthlessly every few months, only keeping special issues. I regularly rearrange them to remind myself what I own and of course, I buy them frequently and fanatically.
This is where Borders came in. Alongside 8 hour coursework sessions, donating about thirty quid a time to Starbucks and buying out nearly the entire World Cinema section in one January sale; it was the magazines that kept my custom so strong for the past four years.
I have very specific favourites; usually determined by a consistency in features articles and photography that manages to engage me, I am dyspraxic with a very short concentration span. I always buy Vogue, but only Paris and Deutsch; I only buy British Vogue at Christmas. I always buy an.Other Man in preference to the original female version. I like German magazine 032c with English text and Interview and Wallpaper, from America. I think these particular preferences in specific city versions, or choosing magazines aimed at men when I am female is to do with the ideologies the magazines represent to me; I have always been fascinated, even as a child, by what the covers promise to offer me. More than an hour of relaxation with a cup of tea; they are to me, a cultural text. I learn about people and their lives through them, experience an editor’s artistic licence, and discover historical timelines and sociocultural happenings.
My favourite ever issue of a magazine is Lula: Girl of My Dreams, Issue 7. Since I discovered it, I rush to Borders every six months to grab one of a hundred copies they stock. They always sell out because they are the only place that stocks Lula in Southampton. Perhaps it is now apparent why I might look so disheartened when my friends remind me there is always WH Smith.
I feel mysteriously treacherous writing a blog entry (sorry Carla!) perhaps because of the ongoing discussion on fashion’s digital age. Fashion bloggers are saturating the internet with unsolicited opinions on the industry and sit next to editors and designers who have worked their entire lives to create names for themselves. Anna Wintour, who made her own mark as the fashion world’s figurehead by moving with the times and being the first editor to heavily endorse celebrity culture in Vogue, is infamous for refusing to include bloggers in the magazine, yet even she has given in and is set to feature a select few, particularly reputable Street Style blog photographers in a future issue.
Although I am not naive enough to attribute the downfall of shops like Borders to the decline in magazine sales; I dearly hope that people do not stop buying magazines for want of finding similar information for free on the internet. Magazines are an informative and visual media that cannot simply be replicated temporarily through a webpage. For me, at least, having a real, physical version of something you love that is yours forever vastly outweighs the postmodern circus of internet blogging sites.