Magazine Talk: The British Are Here

The same but not equal.

I admit to being unabashedly patriotic, especially as we edge toward Independence Day, the ultimate American holiday. In honor of the country of my birth, I have been known to pair a t-shirt with jeans, complain about the outrageous cost of gas, and refuse to lower my voice in public places. I’m not saying I’m reflexively patriotic, but I will say that we are a nation of highly competent people.

So you can imagine that it troubles me to admit that, in some cases, the people who occupy all those countries our forebears fled — especially all those overcrowded, underfunded European countries — are better at doing certain things than we are. No, I’m not talking about making pastry or foreign policy — either of those topics are way above my pay grade. I’m talking about producing a magazine. Just this week I was reminded of this fact by reading two examples of superior magazines from Great Britain. Great Britain! In light of the 4th of July, this pains me most of all.

Exhibit A: Country Living

If you have any interest in rural life, or even rural life as filtered through the smog of urban life, check out the British edition of Country Living. Now I feel strongly loyal to the American edition but the British edition manages to make our edition look more like a perception of rural life, with features about what kind of floral-patterned boots a country gal should buy for a morning at the Farmer’s Market as opposed to features on a hard-working flower grower who has a booth at the Farmer’s Market. Not that we need articles on hoof-and-mouth disease to make a publication about country life authentic, but I would like to actually encounter people who live the rural life and can impart real information.

Link: Country Living, British-style.

Exhibit B: World of Interiors

This magazine is so superior, so endlessly engaging, that I have nothing to say about it. Other than: scrape your pennies together to buy a subscription. If you care about interiors high and low, refined to eccentric, if you are interested in discovering design past and present, great writing, and fantastic, imaginative styling, then forgo eating for a few days so that you can afford to have this magazine delivered to your door, or mailbox, or wherever it is you prefer to take delivery of things that will make your life better. And since you’re paying for overseas delivery, your family might have to forgo food for a few days as well. Don’t feel bad about this.

The Perfect Magazine: World of Interiors

So God Bless America, except when it comes to magazines. Then it’s God Save the Queen, as long as her subjects keep churning out such goodness. I’ll pay the premium every time, free of the taint of revolution.

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