Who likes the simple things in life? I might not have met many of you personally, but I’m fairly confident that if you didn’t like the simple things, you wouldn’t be following Planet Penny! And it is the little things that give pleasure, the whole ‘Happiness is a Warm Puppy‘ thing. (Or in my case, a warm Higgins!) A sunny day, a small damp hand in yours, the first lick of an icecream, everyone has their own tiny moments to light up the boring bits of life.
One my personal simple pleasures is a magazine subscription. Most post these days is pretty humdrum, but a favourite magazine plopping on to the door mat and the anticipation of opening the wrapper at coffee break is lovely. And there are so many magazines these days and they are so expensive, it’s hard to make the choice of just the right one and be certain of it before you sign up for a subscription.
The magazine I have been most loyal to is ‘Selvedge’, I have every issue going back to the very first one and they sit on a shelf on my studio ready to be dipped into for inspiration. Even the advertisements are inspiring, and there are fascinating articles on textiles from all over the world, from the depths of history as well as news and interviews from textile artists and designers. I really admire the thought and originality which has gone into the look of the magazine, distinctive and recognisable, but always original.
These are some of my favourite covers…
And then there is ‘Mollie Makes‘. Do you remember the kerfuffle when it first came out? So many of us were desperate to get hold of one of those first copies, Facebook seemed to be full of people discussing it! But there was an introductory offer for the first few issues which is always a good hook, and it has consistently delivered. And, I think importantly it is another magazine which decided on a look, a style and colour palette which really works and makes it stand out recognisably as itself amongst the huge plethora of knitting, crochet, scrapbooking, and other crafting magazines on the news stand.
And out from the ‘Mollie Makes’ stable trotted ‘The Simple Things‘…
Over several weeks we were beguiled by the advertising and appealing images, and the wonderful evocative covers. So distinctive. Beautifully designed, the covers made the appeal of The Simple Things universal. And inside? Well, it’s not a craft magazine, but there’s craft to see. Not cookery, but fabulous recipes. Not just a travelogue, but wonderful photography from interesting cities. Stylish but simple interiors, beautifully written pieces about nature… And not aimed at any one small section of society, sex or age group, there’s just something for everyone.
So I bought my subscription, and each month I would remove the wrapper and smile. And after relishing the contents I would sit it on a side table where it would make me happy when I passed by.
And you can see why…
But over the past few months, it hasn’t made me happy. In fact I have been getting so grumpy on a monthly basis that I decided the best way to get it out of my system is write about it! A few months back I unwrapped my new copy of ‘The Simple Things’ and found that they had abandoned their stylish and distinctive design for something akin to the promotional magazines handed out for free in your local supermarket.
Oh dear, I can hardly bring my self to give them space on my blog! So gone is the universal appeal, it’s all about young women now. Oh, and slim young women with perfect teeth! But why? Why take something which stood out from the crowd and deliberately cause it to merge into the background?
I still love the content, but it doesn’t make me happy the way that it used to…
I know I’m not alone. Just looking at some of the comments on ‘The Simple Things’ Facebook page every month when the new issue is published shows me that. So I thought I’d have a little rant and find out what you think, I’d love to know.
And maybe if enough of us express an opinion Future Publishing might just notice!
You never know….