Wednesday, May 25, 2016

LUNCH LADY #2: Coloured Turbulence

The first thing that strikes us, reading  the new magazine Lunch Lady, is that it seems to be made specifically by the very same people  the magazine targets: mothers of all ages with kids dealing with lunch, dinner and everyday life. It’s not made by a team of marketing people selling a magazine to a specific audience, quite the contrary, the makers are their own market and they know exactly who they’re talking to. 

The magazine is crafted with a lot of detail. Illustration, photography and text  are spread all over its pages in a graphically pleasing, and very fun, way. There is a lot of colour and there is quite a bit happening on every page: instead of using the mere calm white of paper or the minimalist layout a lot of magazines utilise these days, Lunch Lady’s editors have managed to fill the pages to the maximum without making it all too hysterical. In a way these rich aesthetics reflect the turbulent life of a mom cooking and inventing new things to do for the kids. 

The ink and paper smell good, which is of course very important, the print is beautiful and there is so much attention given to details. There are straight-forward recipes for sushi, pizza’s, cakes and milkshakes.  There’s an article about the forest, the mushrooms and cones and what you can do with them.  Apart from all the food there are pieces on parenting and art for kids. The magazine is slightly similar to the Polish independent title Fathers, yet where Fathers is directed specifically at dads as fans of the outdoors, cabins, camping and bonfires, Lunch Lady is a title that reflects every 21st century, albeit urban of rural, mothers perfectly.

Made by the same team  behind the popular title Frankie and the Lunch Lady blog, this is a magazine that doesn’t follow any trend nor tries to be trendy: it’s real . And clearly it’s made with love. 
The new issue is almost out and soon in the shop.

Monday, May 9, 2016

interview with Martin Pashley from UNION MAGAZINE

UNION is a new independent magazine from the UK, it features in-depth journalism and photography and seems a rawer version of HUCK magazine. They just published the second issue. We had some questions for editor Martin Pashley. 

How would you describe your magazine?

We're very content rich, words and photos wise. I think in comparison to some other indie mags we're quite vivid. There's a lot of stories about sub cultures and people doing extraordinary things from around the world. We like to let stories breathe so we'll often give 10 pages to a feature so we can really tell it. 

In the last issue we had features on biker gangs in Oakland, exorcists and Anonymous, this issue we've stories on white squatter camps in South Africa, a feature on a man who spent 26 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit, breakdancing in the UK and fighting festivals in Bolivia.  So it's quite full on. 

The second issue just came out, was the editing process different then with the first issue?

It was. We were more confident about the whole process. the first issue started with just the idea of 'let's do a mag'. As our background is more editorial we knew nothing about the process of or printing or distribution. We learnt everything along the way— - and are still learning.  

Why do you publish in print?

It's the best medium for the stories we want to tell. Our content isn't disposable and having it as a physical object reflects that. 

Which magazines inspired you? Which magazines do you read?

New Yorker, Harpers, Elsie, Huck, SideBurn, Fortean Times. There's so many good indie mags around now, it really is a golden age. 

What is the best thing about publishing a magazine?

The people you meet during the creative process. There's so much talent out there. 

What are your future plans with Union?

We're working on the next edition now. We haven't got any plans for world domination but we are currently looking for office space in extinct volcanos. So if you know of any please get in touch. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Sabat. Witches. Black and white photography. Potions. Dancing naked women. #WitchesofInstagram. Really, it’s almost too easy. Yet somehow, even for a complete non-Wicca atheist, reading Sabat: The Maiden Issue, can be spine-shivering fun. The first attempt at breaking into the tough world of magazine publishing and putting being a witch on the map as cool, fashionable, and very much ‘the new happening thing’, Nordic Elisabeth Krohn has done a smashing job.

But let’s be honest, didn’t everyone secretly sit in the broom closet of their parents’ house making potions and muttering spells? (No). Yet Krohn has taken ‘being a witch’ to a new level. It’s an actual thing, we’ve learned reading Sabat, witches on Instagram – it’s not just a TV fantasy anymore. If you’re a 90s kid, growing up with Buffy and the Charmed Ones, being a Wicca was probably something foreign, the idea of purposely branding yourself as an outcast (which was of course exactly what a lot of people liked about it). Sabat turns the tables though, and manages to unite kids (and adults) from all over and shows them a lifestyle, a community, a life. That’s why we’re excited to read the announcement for their second issue on the last page – this is just the beginning.

Sabat deals with every end of the hocus pocus spectrum: it takes the craft at heart seriously. In fact, it is quite definitely not hocus pocus. It’s satanic feminism, its hard-core high end fashion reminiscent of Owens, Mugler and Pugh, it’s about science, it’s about a world not everyone understands, which doesn’t mean it isn’t there. But most of all it’s about female empowerment. It’s about women taking control of their own faith, lives, relationships and future – about their position, their jobs, their souls. And all these loaded themes – albeit sometimes slightly predictable (Tarot, masks or prettily arranged flowers that aren’t just pretty) – are published by Krohn in amazing black and white photography, illustrations and graphics. 

Printed fully in black and white on a nice off-white matt paper, interspersed by pink leaflets, broken up by black pages with large white letters, and filled with mesmerizing illustrations by Tarin Yuangtrakul, Sabat is off to a good start. Featuring a re-publication of a classic fantasy-horror story by Arthur Machen on filter thin newspaper, a feature on magical stones, femme fatales in classic Hollywood cinema, fashion, Tarot, flowers, occults, art and Instagram, we’re extremely curious to see what’s left to tell in the second issue. Crashing onto the scene, Sabat is a mix of a zine, a glossy fashion mag, and a lifestyle journal that encompasses 21st century witches from A to Z, and that tells of a lifestyle complicated to understand, yet manages to keep it accessible without straying too far from the surface. [Insert cliché here:] It’s like magic.

Sunday, May 1, 2016


Japanese design and typography mag Idea publishes a special about 'post-independent' magazines. This new generation of magazines, the editorial says, is more focused, as opposed to the overwhelming content of the internet. A printed magazine might not be as practical as online content — it’s bulky and heavy and once the ink has been fixed on paper there's no way to update the text — yet 'this comprehensive approach to production — this folding-in of creative labor — is in itself a special claim.'

Idea asked 18 independent magazines to create a small booklet about their magazine accompanied by a short interview printed with silver ink on black paper. It’s a nice overview of Japanese and international indie magazines with quite a few Athenaeum favourites such as Agapornis, Dirty Furniture, MacGuffin, Gratuitous Type, Works That Work and Print Isn’t Dead.

The Japan-based magazine Too Much is also featured, a special title we love because of its diverse content and design. They call themselves a Magazine of Romantic Geography - as the magazine is about the relationships between people and space in cities. 'The mission of Too Much Magazine is to observe and report those extremely personal memories that happen in a city. We talk about the ideas that modern cities provide us and how our ideas would also create new city scenery.'

Works That Work editor Peter Bilak shows the financial side of publishing an independent magazine. He uses 'social distribution': readers take copies of the magazine with them in their luggage when they travel and avoid high distribution costs. About the magazine landscape he says: 'There is too much focus on the medium, and not enough on the content and substance of the publications.'

Next to the booklets there are interviews with indie magazine specialists and lists of their favourite titles. The latest issue of Idea is a true collector's item: featuring many of our favourite titles, printed and designed in a spectacular way the editors have managed to create something great!