Nostalgia site gets a book retro-fit
Who said looking back was boring? Try telling that to Brian McMahon, whose website, Brand New Retro (brandnewretro.ie), has, since 2011, digitised Irish magazines and fanzines from the pre-online era.
If you’re part of the growing number of people that regularly browse the website and take delight in either old adverts (“It’s party time! Take home lots of Babycham for Christmas”) and old magazines (including 1979 men’s magazine Execu
tive), then you’ll be delighted even more by the news that the online content has been cherry picked for a coffee table book, edited by McMahon and beautifully designed by Joe Collins. It’s published by Liberties press and goes on sale on December 4th.
McMahon explains how it all started. “My brother Eamonn had a decent fanzine collection from the 1970s and 1980s, and my mother had a lot of magazines from the 1960s and 1970s, so when I started the blog, I had up to 40 unique titles. I scavenged markets, charity shops and car-boot sales for them. It was easy enough piecing together the blog and the book because it’s a labour of love.”
McMahon points out that neither the website nor the book is a definitive collection of pre-internet Irish magazines (many of which have been forgotten about), but rather publications that appealed solely to his cultural tastes. That his choices happen to shed a light on more than archetypal Irish interests is a bonus.
So are there any more pre-internet magazines out there waiting to be digitised and flicked through once again? You bet. “There’s gold in everyone’s attic.”