“Print is dead” scream the digital brigade and everything is online these days. Nonsense. Pop into Magalleria on Broad Street in Bath and immerse yourself in a phenomenal array of magazines that will challenge your WH Smith experience to the max. Diverse and celebrating the most niche of subjects, passion-fuelled writing and breath-taking photography characterise numerous titles which have ripped up the rule book with regards to traditional publishing; however, it is the production values of many ventures that stand out the most especially in the fashion sector. Thick, hard backed tomes, lavishly embossed covers, exposed bindings and magazines of every imaginable size and style provide an inspiring alternative to conventional formats.
Equally inspiring is the uncompromising spirit that underpins the business, which undoubtedly stems from the attitude of the founders, Daniel and Susan. Every time I visit Magalleria I am left with a feeling that something good is happening in the world; that creative forces can succeed in the face of consumer marginalisation; that there is a place where the writers, designers and image makers can thrive untouched by the corporate machine; where ideas flourish and connections are made. Perhaps it is a whimsical thought, but I believe Magalleria is serving as a genuine creative hub in the same way that the 100 Club attracted the original punks, and Greenwich Village attracted the beatniks in New York way back when.
Back in my fanzine publishing days, only the odd independent record shops would stock my stuff and I remember the head buyer from Waterstones telling me “we don’t carry music books”. For the publishers of these new magazines, shops such as Magalleria are heaven sent as they not only provide distribution, buy they create networks, ignite relationships and fuel the urge to get involved. The magazines themselves serve as doorways into hitherto unknown projects, people and events sustained online in between issues.
On a purely personal level, treasured discoveries include Soffa (Prague), Attitude (Portugal), Design Anthology (Hong Kong) and a mesmerising collection of mags from Clutch Books in Japan. I could go on ad infinitum, so pay them a visit if you are in the city or visit the website to buy online.