Glossy magazines have always been a big part of my life. My mum started her career as a feature writer for Woman’s Mirror, a weekly magazine in the Sixties, and I can vividly remember the day she met me from primary school brandishing a tall retro coffee pot in her hand. She’d bought it with the proceeds of her first magazine commission and she was SO proud. So was I for that matter.
In the intervening years I’ve subscribed to scores of different magazines – from Vogue to Country Living – and even worked for a few myself. I love that exciting moment when they thump on to the doormat, usually a couple of days before you can buy them at the shops.
But in recent months I’ve cut the magazines I read down to two. I’m not sure why but I found that I was flicking through most of them and barely reading any articles. They all seemed a bit samey and dull.
There are two subscriptions I’ve hung on to though – for two magazines I reckon are head and shoulders above the rest. One is Grazia, the weekly magazine I’ve blogged about before, and the other is the utterly brilliant Red.
So what’s so great about Red? Well, for starters, it looks like a work of art. The photography is stunning and if I was a student I’d be half tempted to tear the fashion pages out and stick them on my walls. But more importantly, it’s full of stuff I actually want to read. Take the March issue. It’s got an At Home piece with novelist Maggie O’Farrell (I’m counting the days till her latest novel, Instructions for a Heatwave, is published on February 28), an interview with Noel Gallagher and a Q&A with the wonderful Tracey Thorn. The Everything But the Girl singer has just written a book about her life called Bedsit Disco Queen – my favourite book title of the year so far.
But as I flicked through the current issue’s 274 pages I was sad to see that the March issue is editor-in-chief Sam Baker’s last one. She’s leaving to write her next novel and have a go at being her own boss – which shows that she follows her own advice because Red is all about inspiring its readers and exhorting them to try new things.
So, from a loyal Oxford reader, all I can say is goodbye and good luck to Sam Baker. And thank you for all the amazing issues of Red you’ve published over the last six years.