Nostal­gia site gets a book retro-fit

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - TICKET STUBS - Tony Clay­ton-Lea

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.”

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