I’m just settling into bed with the first issue of my new subscription. Last month, I let my Vogue subscription lapse after fifteen years of faithful readership. Letting go of such a stalwart presence in my life had required some soul searching. The monthly thud on my doormat no longer generated stop-what-you’re-doing excitement and many issues simply lay on my table unread. Even so, the subscription had been part of my identity for such a long time, during formative and often tumultuous years, that admitting that it was no longer who I was – that I had moved on – was hard. Seeing the latest cover on the newsagent shelves without having seen the issue first at home was quite an odd experience, a bit like bumping into an old ex who you remain fond of but have no desire to still be with.
I had no wish to get into another relationship on the rebound, so to speak. Having always been a magazine junkie, though, I guess it was inevitable. Last week, I decided to take the plunge and get the Friend, the fortnightly Quaker journal. I used to read it many moons ago, borrowing it from my meeting as a teenager – way back before I even read Vogue. Going back to it again now feels like I’ve come full circle. Upon opening it, I turned immediately to the classifieds and other ads at the back, just as I had when I was younger. They always spoke to me of another world: one of ethical products and campaigning, retreats and activism, people living lives very different to my humdrum adolescent existence. Through the ads, I escaped to somewhere else, where I would be grown-up and self-assured and completely sorted. The Friend’s ads provided a dream world. Perhaps not so different to Vogue after all. I wonder what they’ll make me dream of tonight.