From my first contact with periodicals such as MAD magazine and Downbeat I fell in love with magazines. As I became literate I graduated to Esquire and Evergreen Review, Paul Krassner’s Realist and while it existed the wonderfully exciting Ramparts.
By the early 80’s I joined adventurous entrepreneur and aspiring art director Don Levy in bringing Stuff Magazine out of hibernation and well most of the rest is personal history(be sure to look out for my memoir Just Talking: How to Do Things With Words). But while I was fully engaged in the wild and wacky world of magazine publishing I came across a number of truly original (what I then called visionary magazines as opposed to the market driven tripe such as,uh, well, you know)publications.
The 80’s were an exciting time in the magazine world. It seemed that instead of starting a band or opening a restaurant, the new thing was to publish a magazine. I recall that at the time Samir Husni, aka “Mr. Magazine”™,claimed that nearly 300 magazines a year were being launched. Amongst the ones I number as worthy of recall are Interview, Spy, Before Television, RAW, Recreational Vehicle, and at the tail end Dave Eggers’s Might.And no such list would be complete without WET: The Magazine of Gourmet Bathing.
Now comes a kind of retrospective of Wet (Imperfect Publishing)n with publisher and designer Leonard Koren’s DIY advice on making a business out your artistic talents (such as they are). Its a fun trip down memory lane and strong and wonderful reminder of what was possible before the proliferation of shopping guides run by short fingered vulgarians.
Currently reading Prague Fatale by Philip Kerr (Putnam)