I buy old magazines. I love old magazines. As well as being an interesting magazine with lots of good (or rarely less than interesting) writing in them there are images and design that serve to date the mag – like a little time capsule; a snapshot of the precise time they were created.
But there’s more than that. There’s the bits no-one pays attention to when they pick up the magazines. The adverts. Concentrated and contextualised and absorbed 30 years later they’re even more fascinating in providing an insight into how people thought, what they spent their money on and how attitudes have changed.
Adverts for golliwogs, adverts for cigarettes – they seem unthinkable and appalling these days. I’m of an age where I can sincerely state that no-one thought anything of them when I was little. I even remember collecting badges for Golly pinbadges.
Anyway, when I see the old mags I buy them and I read them. The words and pictures are great but it’s the adverts that I love. It’s one of those rare occasions when advertising pleases me. Below are some of my favourites – or some of the adverts I think are significant for some other reason, not all of which are noble.
But as a mark in time that demonstrates how times change they’re fascinating, even rather lovely things. Shorn of their ultimate aim – to make you buy things – they’re intriguing and brilliant cultural artefacts.