As a restart to a season of book reviews I thought I would draw your attention to a briefer read with a lovely look. I love magazines, from Private Eye to the New Yorker via Esquire, Vogue numerous music mags including the late lamented The Word and things like Amateur Photographer from my youth. I am of an age to (just) remember the Sunday Times introducing its colour magazine in 1962 which broke the mould of weekend newspapers; when I was a little older I used to spend some of my pocket money to buy the paper, eventually I pursuaded my father to buy it because, “the sports coverage was so good”. The use of the visual image inspired me to take photographs and resulted in my learning darkroom techniques and appreciation of great photographers.
So when a message on Facebook suggested that I might enjoy a sight of the second edition of “Elsie” I took the plunge paid my £10 and waited full of anticipation. Unfortunately its arrival at my Cardiff address coincided with my leaving for a summer in Ireland, but the wait was well worthwhile.
Who? Elsie is produced by Les Jones better known to most people in dentistry as the Marketing Director of Practice Plan. If you are familiar with some of the Practice Plan fund raising “stunts” at trade shows, like Amarillo, then you will be familiar with Les and his work.
What? Well it’s difficult to define really. A4 sized (smaller than edition 1 for pragmatic reasons) , high quality, heavy paper, with 40 leaves giving you 84 pages to take in and enjoy. I can’t say read because although there are paragraphs, stories, tales, descriptions and lessons learned, what this is mostly about is the image and the experience. So whether it’s boarded up shops, gloves from the road, impressions from Bukumbi (Les is a supporter of Bridge2Aid), portraits or a great photo-journalistic piece on his local hunt there is a massive amount to see. I had thought I had done it from cover to cover on three occasions but just realised whilst writing this that I had missed an article on pre-recorded audio cassettes.
Why? I guess, if Elsie doesn’t float your boat, you could call this self-indulgent. Some might say it’s a vanity project. I believe that you could say that about every work of art.
Closer to the truth is that it’s a labour of love, a form of expression and a way to make those of us who read it start to look at the ordinary in a different way; to help us become, as Henry Miller said about the aim of life, “more aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely, aware”. Les is hardly making a living out of this, I shudder to think what the printing costs are and there is a limited circulation of 1000.
Go on, indulge yourself it could be the most provocative £10 you will ever spend. Did I say that there are 100 different covers? So you are bound to have one a limited edition of 10.
I have just ordered edition 1, I can’t wait!
How? Elsie’s website www.elsiemagazine.com is worth a look too, designed with flair and humour and an example to all of us who want a good website.
Where? Join the discerning ones who have liked Elsie on Facebook.