Magazines are border literature. If novels are birds, mags are butterflies: ephemeral, colourful, their mortality demanding instant impact and flash. Slippery and shiny, they whisper evasive insecurity, coyly coaxing us away from sustained examination to surface dazzle and aspirational gauze. Alighting briefly on minefields of potential depth, danger and debate, they are too light to ignite, but make it all seem somehow the darker for the patter of their fragile feet.
I love 'em. Reading them cover to cover, ads n' all, I try to bestow upon them the dignity they crave. Despite being an inveterate non-collector, I find ditching them as distressing as hauling Blanche DuBois to the nuthouse. First are the weeklies, deep in despair at their instant demise: the brash, boozy binge-magz are just too depressed to be helped, but the Sunday broadsheet supplements are needily, brainily knowing enough to give a hit of croissant-flavoured cerebral crack. Monthlies are a little more hopeful, carefully smoothing on the slap, afraid of their mouthy younger sisters but slyly self-important. And then the quarterlies: stately, serious, masking their fear that they are old-fashioned with a pompous mouthful of stiff, creamy pulp. Strangest, most seductive of all are the nouveaux design mags - so beautiful, so expensive, so vacuous they dare you, just dare you, to dump them.
A weekly dose of The New Yorker, a monthly morsel of Vogue and a quarterly quaff of The Enthusiast is the meanest starvation diet I can endure. National Geographic, Wallpaper, Intelligent Life, New Scientist, even Miniature Donkey Talk under duress - if magazines are border literature, I've blazed my way, head bowed, through the checkpoints manned by proper books into a wasteland of barmy, brilliant bollocks. Sigh. I'm just gonna have to read my way out.