Monday, January 9, 2012

Have I lost my love for magazines?

I have been obsessed with magazines my entire life. As a child, I always had my head burrowed in a book or newspaper (there is ample photographic evidence!). But I reserved a special love for magazines. If we visited relatives' houses and I disappeared for any length of time, you'd be sure to find me in a quiet corner with a stack of Woman's Day and New Idea. Total junkie behaviour. I used to offer to "help" my mum do the weekly grocery shopping at Coles and then stand at the checkout and flick through magazines like a deranged speed reader. Her rage for my cheap and cheeky behaviour was palpable! But she fell for my "help" excuse every time. Duh!

When I started a part-time job at age 13, I saved my money for two things: magazines and music. I had a subscription to Rolling Stone, Juice, Dolly, then Cosmo. But my favourite was Who Weekly. I'd walk around to the corner store faithfully every Friday and buy my copy and inhale it like a drug. Celebrities, fashion, gossip. Heaven! And I never threw them out. Ever. But at 18, when I moved out of home, I had to throw my collection out. I'm still not sure I'm over it.

So last week, when my husband and I had a big clean-out of our study to make way for the nursery, the first thing I tackled were the seven or so boxes of magazines sitting like the Tower of Pisa in the corner of the room. Still sitting in removal boxes and unopened. They weighed a tonne. I had back issues of Vanity Fair, GQ, Elle, Marie Claire, Real Living, Vogue, Vogue Living, Esquire, Elle Decor, Belle, In Style, Travel + Leisure, Gourmet Traveller, Wallpaper and Monocle. You name it. I had it. Shockingly, I have moved internationally twice in the last three years, so some of these magazines have lived in Sydney, Singapore and now Shanghai. And most of them have never been opened again since I first read them.

Why oh why do I hoard these 100-page paperweights?  I'm not usually a hoarder. But for some reason, magazines are my achilles heel. I can't throw them out. Ever.

Until now.

This time, I had no problem. I flicked through each and every magazine perusing for articles or recipes or decor ideas that I'd like to tear out and keep. Just in case. But there was nary a pile of clippings to be seen at the end. What has happened to me?! Is my obsession over? Perhaps it is.

This is a shocking turn of events. I have put it down to a number of factors:

1. I have now worked in the magazine industry. I know what goes on behind the curtain.

2. Gossip is so much faster to access on the internet. Why buy Who, People or New Idea when I can read it all on the net FOR FREE on blogs and e-mags?

3. Magazines are verging on inaccessible in China. And they're insanely expensive.

From buying around ten magazines per month, I have now whittled myself down to about two magazines. Two?!!!  Am I insane? How in God's name have I reduced my reading to Vanity Fair and Hello magazine (no judgement: Hello is only CNY30 at my local pirated DVD shop and I buy it a month or two after its publication date. So frugal and retro!).

Looking at it positively: I'm now being budget-conscious, time-efficient and judicious. Looking at it negatively: I've lost my magazine mojo. But never fear: the one time I become a magazine obsessive again is when I fly. Show me an airport newsagent and a plane and I'll show you an empty wallet and a stack of glossy tomes.

But I have reformed: instead of dragging these magazines back from my holiday locale to sit in my apartment unopened again for eternity I am going to do a shocking thing. Leave them behind. Or, shock horror, throw them in the hotel bin. My 13-year-old self would be horrified! But my 34-year-old self feels evolved and very, very free.

On that note, I'm off to bed with my "new" old copy of Hello. You'll find it in the bin in the morning. Victory!


  1. I remember like it was yesterday the day I left my decade-old stack of British and Italian Vogues, Vanity Fairs and The Face in a falling down rental share house back in the day. Wish I'd kept the copies of The Face.
    But well done! (Can't believe you moved continents with them in the first place. Was someone else paying the relocation fee?)

  2. Thankfully yes! The first time I moved, the packers boxed them before I had a chance to do a proper clear-out. And the second move: same thing. Thankfully I have purged and our third move (whenever that happens) should result in a lighter shipment. And a monkey off my back.