Freelance writer and wanderer always on the lookout for quirky activities that take you off the beaten track.
Published December 5th 2011
A friend of mine dragged me into Vin Mag a little while ago, and although I was reluctant at first, when we finally emerged later on I had realised how wrong I was to doubt the stopover. The store is a real gem, especially the downstairs area filled to the brim with vintage magazines.
Vin Mag in Soho
With over 250,000 magazines in stock, Vin Mag is the place to go if youíre in the mood for some vintage reads. They have everything from 1960s fashion magazines to early editions of Life Magazine and nineties versions of Playboy and Rolling Stone. Venture into their Soho or Brighton stores and youíll probably find yourself browsing the endless racks of magazines and comics until your eyes glaze over.
Although most of the magazines themselves are encased in plastic wrap, their covers will have you in fits of giggles (shoulder pads and other eighties fashion in full swing in Vogue) or amazement (the naked, pregnant Demi Moore on the cover of a 1991 Vanity Fair never ceases to shock me just a little) or even just downright appreciation. However itís not just the well-known magazines and editions that may flabbergast you and keep you incessantly perusing, but some of the beautiful and delicate editions of otherwise unheard of releases. I never knew that Jacqueline Wilson worked at a magazine called Jackie before her rise to fame as a childrenís author. Monster Times, a horror and sci-fi newspaper from the seventies was also an entertaining surprise.
The magazines range from £2 to £200, so there's sure to be something to suit all budgets.
The magazines of the store are not the only treasures to be found, they also stock vintage advertising posters, retro greeting cards and post cards, kitsch nick knacks and cult t-shirts. They also have a website where you can find many of the products in their online store. But if possible, itís always well worth the visit to the shop itself.
If they donít have what youíre looking for in store or online, you can make use of their Magazine Request service by telephoning or emailing.
Next time youíve got time to kill in Soho, pop in to Vin Mag and have a look around. Or if youíre looking for a unique gift then why not pick up a magazine from the year that the recipient was born? You donít need an excuse to buy, but a raunchy Cosmopolitan from the seventies or a mint edition of Empire from a few years ago will increase in value over time and be an out of the ordinary conversation starter for your bookshelf or coffee table. And make sure you drag your friends along, theyíll thank you later.