These we have loved... ten great post-war magazines
Magazines come, and magazines go. Andrew Losowsky, the editor of a new book honouring the format, chooses 10 classic post-war titles whose passing he mourns
Monday 26 March 2007
PUNCH 1841-1992, 1996-2002
Punch was a British weekly magazine of humour and satire, and became notorious for its edgy anti-Irish jokes. The name was taken from a pre-launch editorial meeting, where it was suggested that the magazine's contents should be like a good punch mixture. (Its first editor, Mark Lemon, declared that "Punch is nothing without Lemon".)
Born at a time of radical politics, Punch took a stance as the "defender of the oppressed and scourge of all authority". Circulation in the 1940s was about 175,000, but the magazine's demise began in the late 1980s, and falling sales forced closure in 1992. The owner of Harrods, Mohamed Al Fayed, relaunched Punch in 1996, but the magazine never became profitable, and closed again six years later.
Great names: Malcolm Muggeridge, Alan Coren, Kingsley Amis, John Betjeman, A A Milne, Anthony Powell, Somerset Maugham, P G Wodehouse, Keith Waterhouse, Quentin Crisp, Sylvia Plath, Joyce Grenfell, Joan Bakewell, Penelope Fitzgerald
Lilliput was a monthly pocket magazine of humour, short stories, photographs and the arts, founded by the Hungarian photojournalist and future co-founder of Picture Post, Stefan Lorant. It was well printed, with an attractive cover always drawn by the same artist - Walter Trier - who always included a man, a woman and a dog in each. One of Lilliput's best-known features was its "doubles": two similarly framed photographs on facing pages, such as Hitler giving the Nazi salute opposite a dog with its paw raised. The magazine was easy to sell, especially in wartime. It carried no strong political statements; it simply made people laugh, providing an hour or two of easy enjoyment. Contributors ranged from prime ministers and archbishops to sportsmen - and the photography was good, too.
Great names: Tom Hopkinson, Bill Brandt, Patrick Campbell, Aleister Crowley, Robert Doisneau, Robert Graves, Michael Heath, Nancy Mitford, VS Pritchett, Ronald Searle
Oz was initially published as a satirical magazine in Sydney, and - in its second and more famous incarnation - as a "psychedelic hippie" magazine in London. It is remembered for its pioneering coverage of contentious issues such as homosexuality, abortion, censorship and police brutality, and it was strongly identified as part of the underground press. Oz was the subject of two controversial and celebrated obscenity trials, in which, on both occasions, the magazine's editors and publishers, including the current magazine mogul Felix Dennis, were acquitted on appeal after initially being found guilty. In the late 1960s, Oz became known as one of the most visually exciting publications of its time. Many editions that included dazzling psychedelic wrap-arounds or pull-out posters have now become collectors' items.
Great names: Richard Neville, Jim Anderson, Felix Dennis, Germaine Greer, Charles Shaar Murray, Deyan Sudjic, Robert Crumb
PICTURE POST 1938-1957
Picture Post was born out of an idea from publisher Edward Hulton and editors Tom Hopkinson and Stefan Lorant. The magazine was an immediate success, selling 1,600,000 copies each week after only six months. Along with stable-mate Lilliput, Picture Post pioneered photojournalism. It was renowned for its campaigns against the persecution of Jews in Nazi Germany, and for its crusades for a minimum wage, child allowances and a national health service. Circulation fell after the Second World War, a trend that continued in the face of competition from television. The photographic archive of Picture Post, now owned by Getty Images, is an important historical documentary resource.
Great names: Stefan Lorant, Tom Hopkinson
Celebrated contributors: Walter Greenwood, Anne Scott-James, James Cameron, Robert Kee, Sydney Jacobson, Bert Hardy
SMASH HITS 1978- 2006
Smash Hits was Britain's most popular pop-music magazine. It was founded by Nick Logan, creator of 1980s fashion bible The Face. Smash Hits was above all witty, with an impertinent tone and a peculiar sense of humour, regularly asking pop stars questions like what colour socks they were wearing. The publication peaked in the poptastic 80s and became so important that even Mrs Thatcher tried to appear in it. Smash Hits' sharp articles and reviews were like nothing else you could read on the newsstand. David Bowie's 1983 album Let's Dance, for instance, was described as "Well, dull... DULL DULL DULL DULL DULL. But so what? Everybody makes a dull record occasionally". Smash Hits became equally renowned for the silly names and catchphrases it invented. Any ageing rocker who surrounded himself with nubile females was referred to as "Uncle Disgusting". Alcohol was "Rock and Roll mouthwash". The death of Smash Hits meant the demise of one of Britain's brightest pop mags.
Great names: Nick Logan, Mark Frith, Mark Ellen, David Hepworth, Tom Hibbert, Miranda Sawyer, Neil Tennant
Nova was one of the trendsetting women's mags of the 1960s and 1970s, with cutting-edge writers, designers and editors. Its coverage of events and social change stood out against innovative fashion pages. Nova offered an interesting but challenging mix of articles on sex, fun and fashion mixed with editorial issues such as equality, racism and contraception. Nova is now seen as a style bible for editors and designers. An attempt to revive the brand in the mid-1990s missed the point of everything the original magazine stood for - innovation and not following the crowd.
Great names: Christopher Booker, Susan Sontag, Irma Kurtz, Helmut Newton, Don McCullin, Molly Parkin
SNIFFIN' GLUE 1976-1977
Sniffin' Glue was a much-imitated and influential British punk fanzine created by Mark Perry, inspired by The Ramones' song "Now I Wanna Sniff Some Glue". The first issue was put together on the children's typewriter that Perry had received on his 10th birthday, with headlines in black marker. Being pretty much the first punk fanzine, Sniffin' Glue found a ready market with UK fans of the emerging movement. Issue three was the first to include photographs, and issue four even attracted advertising. Despite commercial success, though, Glue maintained its amateurish typography and DIY ethic. When the music threatened to become mainstream, Perry decided to call it a day rather than allow Sniffin' Glue to become just another magazine.
Great name: Danny Baker
THE FACE 1980-2004
The Face was, from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, the mag read by young, culture-hungry non-conformists. Founded by Nick Logan, a former NME and Smash Hits editor, it was a fashion/culture bible. Its early days are remembered for Neville Brody's design and Jürgen Teller's photography. In 1999, Logan sold his company, Wagadon, to publishing giant Emap. Sales were in decline; Emap failed to sell it on, and it was seen to have lost its influence.
Great names: Nick Logan, Richard Benson, Sheryl Garrett, Neville Brody, Julie Burchill, Tony Parsons, Jürgen Teller
MODERN REVIEW 1991-95, 1997
The brainchild of Julie Burchill, her then husband Cosmo Landesman and Toby Young, the Modern Review aimed to bring high-brow criticism to low-brow subjects, such as TV soaps and action films. Its mission statement included pictures of Roland Barthes and Bart Simpson. Circulation soon leapt from 5,000 copies to 30,000; one issue included a free cassette of Liz Hurley reading erotic passages from Burchill's latest book. The magazine had a unique vitality; by the time it folded, most broadsheets had copied its formula. A revival in 1997 lasted just five issues.
Great names: Julie Burchill, Cosmo Landesman, Toby Young
Queen, the "Ladies' Newspaper", was one of the longest-running British magazines for women. It was started as a weekly, and initially contained very little about fashion, focusing more on "inoffensive amusements for ladies", such as social events and literature. In 1862, Queen was sold to William Cox, who began to include fashion plates from Paris. These were very popular and often pictured two adults and a child. In the 1960s, Queen faced fierce competition from Harper's Bazaar, which finally bought Queen in 1968, and became Harpers & Queen. The name was changed back to Harper's Bazaar in March 2006.
Great names: Jocelyn Stevens, Mark Boxer, Lord Snowdon, Betty Kenward, Dennis Hackett, Quentin Crewe, Drusilla Beyfus
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