Given that so many publications today have become overly politicised and preachy, as well as living on borrowed time in the wake of internet media, you’d be forgiven for thinking that nobody in their right mind buys magazines anymore. Despite this slow death, some super niche mags are still doing it the old fashioned way—providing the reader with stuff they want to read about… if you really like potatoes or corpses, that is.
10 Emu Today & Tomorrow
If you want to know about the state of emu farming today and want to speculate as to the future of farming emus, this is the magazine for you! There is a very dedicated, very passionate community of ‘dromaius fanciers’ out there and, armed with the most recent issue of this industry publication, you could join their number, harvest some bright blue eggs and enjoy some surprisingly delicious meat. But what type of meat is it? Technically, emu meat should be regarded as poultry but the good ole’ USFDA have designated emu meat as red meat due to its colour and similar PH value to beef. Emus are lean mean fighting machines and, much like their big cousins the ostriches, they can cut your belly open with a flick of their razor-sharp claws. Thank goodness then that the most recent issue of Emu Today & Tomorrow provides the reader with a comprehensive guide on raising these animals safely. Disappointingly, no centrefold birds…
Formerly known as ‘The Times of Ireland’ (sorry guys, this had to be said, we love you really), this publication allows you to really get to know potatoes, giving you an academic understanding whilst you shovel them in your mouth in chipped form. Another industry magazine, Spudman gets way more technical than the jocular name suggests; items include research papers from the University of Idaho (Ok, still pretty jocular) on the best practices of potato storage, forecasts on the fiscal wealth of the potato chip industry and, in an online subsection called Spudwoman, you can see profiles of the leading ladies in the bumpy, beige, potato shaped world. Published 8 times a year, you’ll get your money’s worth if you’re a lover of spuds. Disappointingly again, no centrefold spuds…
8 Girls and Corpses
Founder, publisher and self-styled ‘Deaditor-in-chief’ Robert Steven Rhine has explained what inspired him to create this delightful magazine:
“Why Girls and Corpses, you ask? Well, if you’re like me, you like two things, beautiful girls and rotting corpses. So, I thought, why not bring these two great tastes together in one magazine?”
Fair enough then. If you think that this is just a silly bit of LARPing, busty models hanging out with B-movie props bought from storage auctions near seedy strip malls in Arizona, you’re wrong. Dead wrong (forgive me, I had to). The corpses you’ll see in this magazine are real! Imported from countries where the rules and regs around cadaver transportation are a tad more lax, these guys grab them for a photo shoot before allowing the bodies to continue to their final destination at bio labs or museums. If you are not overly squeamish at the sight of decrepit, mouldering dead bodies, check these guys out. A genuinely funny, irreverent publication that’s a breath of stinking, dank air for this prudish age. Or a bunch of sickos, you decide.
7 Elevator World
A whole world of elevators? One would be forgiven for imagining an MC Escher-like planet of perpetual, crossing movement machines but, as you may have guessed, nothing in this magazine tends to be that mind-bending. Their website is a good deal slicker than many entries on this list, showing us that this industry must be on the cutting edge of civilisation, like new tech, AI and Elon Musk. Ok, maybe that’s a tad hyperbolic, but any media company with a dedicated bookstore section on their site are doing pretty well by my estimation. And what books are on sale here? Well, for the low low price of $83.50 you can be the proud owner of the ‘Elevator Maintainance Handbook and Manual’ or, for a bargain $179.99, you can show off to your friends by reading aloud from ‘The Vertical Transportation Handbook—Fourth Edition’. Get your subscription for this mag and after a few months immersion, you’ll be buying your ticket for ‘Lift Expo Italia 2021’, hosted in the historic city of Milan. I for one will not be attending due to the hosts blunder of arranging for the expo to be held on the ground floor of the MiCo convention centre. Fools.
6 Practical Sheep, Goats and Alpacas
This magazine is not about sheep, goats and alpacas that can assemble an IKEA bookcase without the manual, it is another guide to ownership that will ensure you are kept at the cutting edge of livestock rearing… unless you own a llama or two, in which case (we assume) you can fuck off.
Very much of the same stripe as ‘Emu Today & Tomorrow’, this magazine tells you everything you need to know about raising the types of animals that so kindly allow us to wear their coats and eat their flesh. Starting out back in 2013, this quarterly magazine is a handy guide for anyone thinking about getting themselves a sheep or a goat or an alpaca. For instance; what breed of goat are you going to get? How will you keep your alpacas? What happens when your sheep contracts orf virus? What if your llama escapes? This magazine has the answer for you (save the last question, you know where you can go, pal).
5 The Fortean Times
We’ve been making fun of a lot of the entries thus far (no offence meant to all you emu farmers and elevator engineers out there by the way), but that’s simply not going to fly with this venerable, thought provoking magazine. This is the type of mag we need to counter the prevailing culture obsessed with cancelations, moral purity tests and an insistence on self-immolating ideologies. Stemming from the writings of Charles Fort, The Fortean Times could be a shining light that guides us out of the mire.
Charles Fort was an interesting fellow. His works skirt the fine line between the conspiratorial, woo-woo believing spiritualism of the Victorian age and the rational, reason-first approach that the Enlightenment brought to the western hemisphere. This monthly publication seeks to carry on Fort’s work of cataloguing and presenting news and events that confound conventional explanations. Full of amazing photos, really top-notch writing and a strong community spirit, if you are going to subscribe to any mag on this list, get this one. You can even toddle along to their annual ‘UnConvention’ to enjoy an IRL expo of some of the brightest minds in the Fortean field. From strange deaths, readers’ letters about perceived paranormal encounters to in-depth articles on pop culture Forteana and the weirdest news stories one will ever read, the Fortean Times is the magazine for skeptics and believers alike, showing that the middle path between doubt and faith is the safest path for us all.
Since 1984, this has been the bi-monthly bible for parents who got more than they bargained for exiting the birth canal. There’s lots of media out there for parents but this is the biggest and best resource for anyone blessed with ‘doublers’, ‘trips’ or even a ‘double doubler’ of babies. With book and product reviews, interviews and scholarly articles on all things twin-related, this is a surprisingly exhaustive publication for the multi-sprogged parent.
It’s pretty cool that these guys offer a free digital subscription but it is a bit disappointing that this so-called ‘magazine for multiples’ provides you with only one physical copy when you subscribe to the main magazine!! Come on, Twins magazine, let’s get a buy one get one free offer, please.
3 Miniature Donkey Talk
Never has a title needed a comma more—imagine it as a command: ‘miniature donkey, talk!’ That’d be a viral video if there ever was one. Alas, you’ll have to read all about the scintillating world of tiny donkeys instead. If you were a fan of Eeyore, clearly the only really compelling character in the Poohniverse, or if you fell in love with the wise-cracking donkey from Shrek that sounded a little bit like Dolemite, then you’ll love reading up about their real-life counterparts.
For 25 years magazine founders and miniature donkey farmers Bonnie and Mike Goss have been providing this niche community with informative, newsletter style articles and a hub for buying and selling goods and services to keep these tiny pack animals looking sharp. All we need now is for someone to create an artificial voice box with pre-recorded lines voiced by Eddie Murphy, and Miniature Donkey Talk will become the most subscribed magazine in the world.
If you wanted your face on the cover of any magazine, which one would it be? Budding musicians may pick Rolling Stone. Every actor would love to see themselves holding an Oscar on the cover of Variety. Time person of the year, anyone? You’re all wrong. What you need to do is get yourself on the cover of PRO Monthly, the mag for portable restroom operators. Current cover star, John McGreavey was once an accountant who, after doing some of the numbers, decided to buy a porta-pee-pee business. Wiping ass and taking names!
All joking aside, it is quite fascinating that this industry has such an exhaustive, well-written glossy mag to service it. We take public utilities like portable restrooms for granted nowadays, but when you think about it, how awful would any given music festival be without this invention? How many times has a portajohn saved you from shitting yourself in public? Give these guys some love because, along with electricians, sewer workers and submarine network field technicians (https://www.ciena.com/insights/articles/A-Miserable-Day-in-the-Life-of-a-Submarine-Field-Technician-prx.html), they are real heroes living amongst us.
1 Crappie Now!
No, this is not another magazine dedicated to portable toilets as the title suggests, rather it is a magazine for very specific fishermen. The crappie is a North American genus of freshwater sunfish and they look utterly delicious. One popular method for catching these delectable little beasties is called ‘spider rigging’—this fishing method employs multiple rods arcing over the water (if you imagine looking down at the multiple rods with the boat at their centre, it’d look like a spider, see?) How do I know this? Thanks, Crappie Now!
I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a sucker for a subculture. The internal jargon, the sense of community, the meaning drawn from whatever the hell it is they’re doing, it’s great to watch people who truly love doing whatever their passion is. If you fancy a deep dive into the world of crappie fishing, give this magazine a try. If you want fishing to be less crappy, get an issue of Crappie Now! Now!
About The Author: C.J. Phillips is a storyteller, actor and writer living in rural West Wales. He is a little obsessed with lists.