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I am a sucker for a page turner, especially when it comes in the form of a glossy mag with pretty pictures, fashion to revere and cultural reviews. Any mag that comes under $10 these days consists of mostly B grade banter of which i can catch up on in any doctor’s surgery. My feminist tendencies also steer me well clear of the body image centric stapled rubbish.
The internet is once again the saviour in filling the void of that part of my brain that the glossies (now often matte) once nourished. The ever amazing thing about the net, is that it is already like a magazine shop in the way that it caters to the distinct tastes of anyone willing to do a search. I gravitate towards the broad cultural sources, that’s what magazines mean to me, sections of quality photography with information and hopefully some well resourced and edited cultural journalism that includes some great interviews or opinions. A cultural magazine should cover all the old faves of music, art, film, literature, events, food and then some….[insert your own preference here]. I note that sometimes the online magazine is a blog, really it’s the same thing but if it’s a blog culture mag it probably didn’t evolve from a physical format, such as Juxtapoz which is actually available online (reduced content) or as a digital version (ipad, see below) or a tangible copy for a little bit extra.
There is a online magazine for every city in the world, I am sure of it. Flavorpill takes care of most of the big cities in the U.S. and is like the online version of what Time Out magazine used to publish. Then there are Aussie versions, Broadsheet & The Thousands and The Colour whose competition of each other keeps everyone on their toes and off the couch eating out, they are both online but you can also subscribe to their weekly newsletters for a hit of their ‘best of’ from that week. You will not find opinion pieces or long reads here, you will find social pages, gallery launch info and cultural reviews.
Here’s a quick list of my current actual online magazine favourites to get you clicking, follow the links of the pages you like. Suss out the style of writing that appeals to you or the featured art and follow those contributors/authors to wherever they go, that’s how I discovered most of this list:
The Fox Is Black – where this whole post started really
Lost At E Minor – brothers Zavros are consistently updating this website with new global finds, one bros lives in Austin, TX and the other Newcastle, what a mix.
Rookie Mag – for teenage girls
Faux Magazine – good mixtape and lost and found sections
Flavorwire – the non-localised version of Flavorpill
Once the beginning of a famous rock motto by Motley Crue, “Kickstart my heart” has always been an instant motivator to get my head rolling and methodically air banging. I am 100% sure that was the intended purpose. I can’t say I was a ‘Crue’ member but I can admit freely that I never get sick of the guitar licks, massive Tommy Lee drums and the drama surrounding the group AND all those tatts! This 1989 motto lives on, not just in the rock arena but constantly in my bones whenever I feel I need a boost of energy or ideas. Play it using the link, you’ll see what I mean.
Kickstarter, the online creative fundraising platform is equal to the Crue song in it’s energy and dedication to a cause. It allows any company or individual to pitch any idea and publicly raise funds accordingly. Some ideas are product inventions like a new city bicycle design or a collapsible sunglasses case while the creative projects are a broad mix of collaborations and public art, including documentary films. I first stumbled across Kickstarter via the industrial design website Core77, it seems they have project partners that help to publicise new projects. The idea was a converter for the the ipod nano into a functional wristwatch, it looked schmick and desirable, that’s all I needed really. Most recently though I discovered the Elevation Dock+.
For anyone that has ever used a docking system for their iphone/ipod this invention is set to take Apple mobile products to another level. Read the benefits. The popularity of the funding from pledgers/backers speaks for itself. They raised almost $1.5m from over 12,000 supporters to get the product into production. There are varying levels of support, the more money you pledge the bigger the benefit when the product or idea goes into production.
Less shiny but more earthy is Kiva, a non-for-profit organisation that similarly garners support for grassroots projects to alleviate poverty and create empowerment and opportunities for people that need a kick start for their business. The major difference here is that the money offered is in the form of a loan. Supporting farming, food stalls, crafts, transportation methods, you can help anyone from anywhere with any business for just $25 and there is a 98% chance of getting the money back. Great odds for a reinvestment.
Both these ideas make me think how a little help can go a massive distance and if you really want something then pay for it and you will not only get it first but you will know that you contributed to a fresh idea that would make your own or someone else’s life better. Even more exciting would be a friend raising funds to support their idea through to fruition using the Kickstarter project page, it really separates the ‘gonnas’ from the ‘doers’.
Go forth and click.
For the most part I am a peanut butter purist. Fresh. Usually available from market delis where they pour a bag of raw peanuts into a processor, the dial set to medium crunchy. A pooey goo without the pong comes flowing, thick and slow. My attention span is heightened, I love to watch. Best $5 spent.
My coeliac state leaves me with little option for fresh bread. Peanut butter is the best mask of dodgy, crumbling compacted baked dough. When I discovered Matisse gluten-free bread and Fatto a Mano in Collingwood the flavour mask became unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong, I still consider fresh peanut butter on toast a luxury but it’s not a necessity.
The point being, I have a new luxury. The supermarket aisle has always been privvy to an M&M section, they are owned by Mars afterall. We started with plain and peanut varieties, brown and yellow packs, not the most marketable packaging but I guess the crunch and flavour won us over plus, the original advertising of M&Ms was ingenious, remember? “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand”. Some years later a blue pack was introduced with almost a rice bubble texture inside, not quite biscuit but not all air. The texture was heaven, the packaging as equally unappealing as the original counterparts in play-do blue. Since then we have been marketed with countless varieties, including the classic Christmas M&M’s of red, white and green beads.
This week I was in Sydney, my friend introduced me to the new Peanut Butter M&M flavour. Holy mother of smooth texture inside a crunchy colourful outershell. M&Ms are not officially gluten free. US brand manufacturing differs from Australian sources which use wheat starch. That’s why the imported packaging wooed me. I haven’t seen the same available in Melbourne but I will be on the look-out from now, especially considering that they have just released the new coconut flavour. M&mmmmmmmmmmm.
While the internet has a plethora of content worth noting, most of which I tend to impart from this very newsletter to infinity and beyond, it’s so easy to get clicking on crappy websites with no real sense of purpose of their own and a regeneration of content already on high rotation.
A tweet today by @brainpicker read like this, “if you aren’t reading @ListsOfNote, you’re bad at the Internet”. When she’s right, she’s right. Although she missed that there is a related website, Letters of Note, that is equally as thought provoking and brilliant. The best thing about the net is simple ideas gone viral and having a community to share them with, whether it’s social media or really social.
Rather than harp on about how riveting and positively toxic these two websites are, I am going to share with you a snippet of my favourites from both. This will give you the heads up on what you are about to encounter when you go forth and click for yourself.
First up, a list written by Sid Vicious, 12 things that make Nancy so great. My favourite of all is too dirty to share, you will figure it out soon enough.
I found a List of Note from revered author, David Foster Wallace. I am always on the hunt for new vocabulary, always taking notes from books about words that describe exactly the sentiment intended instead of always having to revert to the same adjectives. This is just a list of words but it offers great insight into the mind of DFW, if nothing else for the words that inspired his literature.
The notable feature of Letters of Note are the stories within. I learnt today that before Jeff Buckley’s Grace was published he had an encounter with Bob Dylan, which he shared in the form of an impersonation at one of his own shows. Turns out this letter is an apology to Bob himself who heard an ‘out of context’ edition of the performance and was insulted. It’s just amazing to read the thoughts of Jeff Buckley, especially knowing what came after, the success of the record and his death.
Straight from 1967 and a 20 year old David Bowie comes this very personal and grateful letter to an American fan wishing to start the David Bowie fanclub. He discusses the perception he has of America through media and his real name.
You won’t regret signing up for the Letters of Note and Lists of Note newsletter, which also come compliments of Tiny Letter. They are a real hit.
Go Forth and Click.
If you wish to receive this newsletter in your inbox before the masses then sign up to my Tiny Letter, Wednesday Website Wack right here, it tickles weekly.
Allison and I met last year. She was my first real connection with a random person on the internet, crazy. I fell in love with her poetic storytelling, creative combinations of words, her typewriter font and most of all her energy to write and post. We took our interest in each other offline and since have posted tangible objects and letters as a way to communicate to and fro, Wisconsin to Melbourne. It’s a sporadic tendency without expectation. She uses tumblr.
Tumblr is a blog template for wo/men of all types. Literally. Emily asked me this week, “do I pinterest?” “No” I replied, “I tumble“. I tumble as a way to express my visual and aural loves, especially design, art, food and music. In the process I have uncovered a whole world of Allison types that are creatively expressive and motivated. Tumblr gives surfing the net some purpose, it can be a snapshot of anything you have going on at the time. You can create a look book or a wishlist or an encyclopaedic reference of something very specific. Felix Inclusis colour codes art images to create a rainbow of art, it looks hot and it serves as a great visual reference.
Tumblr has had some bad press in the past but I say BOO. It’s whatever you make it; a curated gallery, portfolio, music sharing, a link library or a search engine, plus it has an undertone of hilarity, I leave you here with the link to The Cosby Sweater Project.
Because I love to share, here are the images of 3 artists I have discovered as part of my tumblring addiction. They are Claire Whitney (Melbourne), Julien Picaud and photographer, William Wegman (in that order).
Go forth and click.