Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Esquire (UK)

My favourite magazine, which I have read more or less regularly for the past five years, is the UK version of Esquire. I know it is originally a US magazine, but it is the British version I saw first on the newsstand as I was waiting for a flight and got sucked in by. Also I tend to like British magazines better – see NME, Q, FourFourTwo, the British version of GQ, and The Cricketer.

There are basically three elements that keep me reading the magazine. One is their ‘Culture’ section. I have gotten quite a few good recommendations for books, albums, films, and TV shows from this section. Part of its appeal I think is that Esquire assumes that you have a full-time job, and therefore cannot go around listening to every obscure indie band, or watching every limited release arthouse film. They basically give a few good picks, tell you what you need to know about them, and then move on.

A second element I like is the interviews. Yes, some can be a little fawning over their subjects, but the best ones get their subjects to open up about their careers, their everyday lives, their habits, and their flaws. My all-time favourite Esquire interview was in the first issue I bought (see picture above) with the comedian Steve Coogan, whose past decade at the time seemed like it had been a bit haphazard, with drinking and affairs. It suggested to me that one’s thirties might not be as straightforward and all-together as I imagined growing up.

And the third element I like is the design. Both the logo and the generous use of white look very classy to me, and is probably part of why I like Esquire more than the flashier GQ (also it is cheaper and lighter). The typeface also gives the magazine a nice kind of retro, England in the ‘60s or ‘70s feel. I do miss though the changing strip of colour they used to have down the left hand side of the cover though.

And the sartorial focus? It has probably got me thinking slightly more about my clothes, but I am never really going to be one of those men spending thousands of dollars on a blazer, or planning out my bespoke suit. Or buy an expensive watch. Never mind – even with a few style tips I will take it over FHM. 

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