The Whatsisname CollectionAugust 26, 2009
A number of years ago there was a place called A&S Magazines on 40th Street behind the Port Authority, which sold used magazines. One week I went in there and they had this particular collection of magazines, boxes and boxes of them, which they were selling quite cheap, because they had all been defaced. A gentleman in Connecticut had been buying magazines- mostly men’s magazines- for several decades, from the forties to the early seventies- and deconstructing them. He would take them apart, and then he would make a new magazine from the remnants of several, arranging the pages to highlight certain stories and downplay others. He would staple the pages back into the cover, and then he would cross out whatever stories weren’t in his version with a wax pencil. Finally he would stamp his name on the cover and number the whole thing, presumably for his “library.”
Even though vintage, these oddly shaped, crude reassemblages really wouldn’t appeal to many people. Obviously I bought as many as I could, somewhere between three and four hundred- they were quite cheap, especially for a source of reference and inspiration that has been so central. Being a sensible person, I took apart his assemblages, and put the pages into plastic binders, where I could study them properly.
On earlier covers from the fifties, the defacement is quite severe, with very little text left.
But towards the end of the sixties, when text-heavy covers become more common, the wax-pencil corrections are gone, as if he’s acknowledged the futility of his task. It’s funny about his name stamp, too- I can’t read it. Buechel? Breskol?
These magazines seem both innocent and sinister now. And the randomness of their presentation in the “new author’s” version accentuates the confusion.
I’ll be scanning more of the pages and covers and putting them here: http://mkupperman2.wordpress.com/magazines-the-whatsisname-collection/