Friday, January 19, 2007

Magazines- Parting is such sweet sorrow

I admit it: I am a packrat when it comes to magazines. I mean, if I buy it, I am keeping it, bucking the trend that the average magazine gets discarded after roughly 29 weeks. Granted, I don't really buy news magazines so they do tend to age a little more gracefully, though my old copies of Wired and those pesky game magazines don't seem so fresh now, though I still wonder what ever happened to the N-Gage.

Looking through old magazines is indeed a window into the past in some odd ways... like when you look at the predictions of how certain things are going to fare. For example, whenever I see one of those articles about an upcoming television series today predicting which shows are going to make it and which ones are doomed, I think back to an October 2000 article in FHM that predicted that Cursed, Hype, The Queen of Swords, Andromeda, Sheena-Queen of the Jungle and Freedom would all have a long and happy life while series like Yes, Dear and C.S.I had questionable prospects for success. The fact that most of the shows I mentioned in the first part of that list would probably draw a 'Huh?' from most people makes my case I think. Or looking through some of my old Alternative Press magazines about the 100 artists you must hear this year and finding that even after years, I still haven't heard of most of the artists they are promoting really shows what a shotgun approach printed prognostication ends up being.

Or in hindsight, you can see all the hype that surrounded a movie that, in the end, is no longer really remembered for anything in particular. I mean, when was the last time you heard anyone talk about the Sweet and Lowdown or The Full Monty. In the end, this kind of backwards perusal of these past phenomenon allows for one to look at things in the long view, though that didn't help me with Snakes on a Plane unfortunately.

Perusing some back issues of some entertainment magazines also lets you see a group of people who will one day become more famous at a moment in time when they are just moving into the spotlight. I recall I have a particular issue of a magazine whose name escapes me that features Jaime Pressley, Kelly Hu, Jon Stewart and I believe Will Ferrell before they all started getting their act together(OK, saying that Hu on In Case of Emergency is getting her act together is stretching it) back in the late 1990's.

But the funniest trip back is still a few issues of "The 'Net" magazine from back in early 1996. This was back in the days when lower speed modems ruled the earth and the costs of net access where prohibitively expensive(if I used the internet then like I do now, my monthly bill would be somewhere in the range of 400 or more dollars.) It was a time when the JPG wasn't king, and when domain names weren't really being used, so almost every page on the internet was exceedingly long and featured at least one or two ~'s. It was a time when the prediction was that Flash/Shockwave would never really become a popular element online because it was so bandwidth intensive. Granted, they did cover about that time too, so maybe they weren't entirely without merit. I still remember text browsing, so reading about the early versions of this program called Internet Explorer that was about to hit its third version. I wonder whatever happened to it. Hmmm.

It wasn't until about 3 years ago that I finally got around to recycling a box of old video game and computer gaming magazines from the 1980's, and I wonder at what point it is going to feel right to get rid of those 3 boxes of magazines that I keep going to when I want a laugh or a quick vision of the past. Those old Writer's Digests have to be terribly out of date now too.


Anita said...

Somehow I got listed on a bunch of tech magazine subscriber lists, and now I have about 200 sitting on a desk at work. I guess I'm a packrat as well ...

MC said...

well, they are probably useful, wouldn't you say?