Interview :: Toby Creswell from Strangelove Magazine

June 13th 2011


Folks say print is dead. Newspapers are hemorrhaging readers (and, consequently, advertisers and revenue) and the Internet has blood on its hands. Your local newsagency is your new local graveyard, where magazines and tabloids cough up ink and shrivel in to the racks. The printed medium is being superseded by the harder, better, faster, stronger digital universe. That's the case if you believe everything you read (online).

But editor Toby Creswell will tell you otherwise. "I think that the magazine now is where the theatre was in the 1930s," he explained to the Flog. "I think that magazines will have a future in the same way that the theatre and radio and books have survived the onslaught of new and more accessible media. Many of the things that magazines did well—current information like gig guides, news—have been taken away by the Internet but at the same time if there is a magazine that interests you then people will still pick it up. It’s still a great place for design and layout and also the long form article."

This week, the former Rolling Stone editor is sprinkling the city with fresh copies of Strangelove, the new music and culture magazine backed by Fuse record label. The mag is free, and focuses on the top rather than the topical; Strangelove describes itself as "classic in feel, contemporary in inclination [and committed to] highlighting the past [and] emphasizing the future. The first edition features interviews, photo essays and long-form features on and from artists like Rat vs Possum, The Unthanks and Jean Luc Godard.

The magazine will launch at Oxford Art Factory tomorrow night, and a banging array of art types have gathered to spray the first copy with champagne. There will be performances by Ghoul, Oscar + Martin and Evil J + Saint Cecilia as well as a book reading by Dave Graney, projected ilms by Ingmar Bergman and a surprise blues and roots super group.
We grabbed Toby Creswell to take a peek between the pages.

FBi: They say Strangelove is not about what's new, but about what's good. But what if what's good has already been covered? What don't you like about the new/topical news value?

Toby: I guess where that came from is that so much of the media is locked into an unvirtuous circle and the news value of everything, the access to artists and the like is determined by the marketing departments of record companies, film distributors and the like. So what we have now is essentially a media which is an extension of the PR divisions of those groups and what happens is that the same people are regurgitating the same answers to the same questions in every media outlet and then they are gone. Popular culture is made not for an audience but for consumers. So the beauty of Strangelove is that its free, we’re outside of that and we can cover things because they’re interesting not because they’re current.

We have some things in the magazine that are current, some things that are associated with Fuse and Title and other things that are way outside that. Some things are not very current but are very good; the Harry Smith Anthology has been around for 50 years, the film 'Two Lane Blacktop' has been around for 40 years. But if you know those things and you care about them then you’ll be interested in revisiting them and if you haven’t heard about them but seek 'em


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