It’s very difficult to find good quality magazines. It’s even harder when you live in a small town and Wal-Mart is pretty much the only place to find them. Even then, every magazine cover is plastered with headlines about how bad the Kardashians look in bikinis or rumors that Kate Middleton is pregnant again or other things that use negative, completely untrue stories about women to make themselves money. And I like to keep in line with my feminist values, so I don’t read those. I’ll occasionally pick up a copy of Rolling Stone if it contains articles about The Vaccines or Florence + the Machine, and sometimes I flip through Vogue or Nylon to get fashion inspiration and to read articles that actually highlight the incredible things that women are doing rather than the things that make them look bad. However, independent magazine culture is beginning to thrive and that means there are tons of new volumes packed with solid articles. I’ve fallen in love with a few magazines, and although I order them online or venture to a Chapters to find them, it is well worth it.
My current magazine obsession is called Huck. I discovered them a few months back when they featured Julian Casablancas + the Voidz in an issue. We all know how much I love Julian Casablancas – I could go on for days about his political views and the rawness of his music, and he drew a treble clef for me that I have tattooed on my wrist. That’s dedication, people. Huck’s issue with Julian and his band of insanely-talented, beautifully weird friends, the Voidz, came out around the release of their album, so there were dozens of interviews to sort through, but Huck stood out. I was immediately enamored by the composition and quality of the photography, and the interview itself was in-depth and unique. Aside from the interview, the issue featured pages about up-and-coming artists like Ibeyi and Future Islands, as well as articles about the UK’s housing crisis and how ballet is helping young girls thrive in Rio de Janeiro. All in all, it’s my kind of magazine, and I could hardly bear to put it down.
In the “About” section of their website, Huck states that they’ve been “refusing to be civilized since 2006.” The page also talks about their celebration of radical culture and movements that “paddle against the flow.” They showcase new thoughts and ideas, grassroots movements across the globe, and people who think freely and openly. Huck is about stories. It’s about people with a DIY attitude who will stop at nothing to get to where they want to be. It’s about what these people have learned along their journeys. Their content is high-quality and original, and all of it is incredible. Everything about Huck is beautiful. They push boundaries and talk about unrepresented people and movements. I can relate to so much of what they’re publishing, and the parts that I can’t relate to provide life lessons and rough frameworks from the people who are currently living the kind of life I want to lead. Essentially, I’m in love with everything that Huck is doing.
I picked up Huck’s fiftieth issue a couple days ago. Entitled “Things I Learned Along the Way,” its pages contain stories from fifty intensely creative, influential people. They discuss the lessons they’ve learned throughout their lives and they sometimes provide advice to those of us who are reading, completely absorbed by every word. The people in this magazine are different. They’re not hotshot celebrities; they’re not likely to be on the cover of a tabloid magazine, and their faces aren’t on People.com every day. The things they share are worth reading and worth thinking about. I’m obsessed with every single story, from a director who spent his teenage years on trains around Europe to a musician who dropped everything to move to London just because it felt right to a woman who is building an empire with nail salons and is also empowering young girls to go after what they want. Huck talks to the important people, the people with interesting, relevant things to say, and it’s refreshing.
Huck just seems to get me and what I’m about. They recently released a clothing line with Roots, and all the pieces are plastered with the words “paddle against the flow,” and that seems like a good motto to live by. After months of searching, I finally found a t-shirt, and I’m wearing it proudly. Most of my life seems to be paddling against the flow, so I think it’s fitting. In the fiftieth issue of the magazine, they added a mini handbook called “Making it On Your Own,” and although I’ve only flipped through it briefly, I can tell that it contains all sorts of secrets that will be crazily applicable when I’m out of university and trying to start a record label or organize a music festival or do whatever I decide I want to do with my life. I love DIY culture, and Huck celebrates that and the people who are creating careers for themselves, and eventually – fingers crossed – I’ll be one of those people. This year they also released their first-ever book, which is packed full of advice from creators, doers, and all-around rebels about how to live a creative life. Huck, and everything related to it, stands for all that I believe in. The fact that I was able to pick it out of hundreds of indie magazines astounds me, but I’m incredibly happy that I did. Although it costs a bit to get it shipped here from the UK and the wait can be agonizing, it’s well worth it. If you can get your hands on it, you should read it. Let it make you think, let it challenge your views, let it educate you and fill you with inspiration. I promise you it’ll do all of those things and more, and you’ll love every second of it.