The PopCult Magazine Rack
Welcome to a new semi-regular feature in PopCult. Your PopCulteer has always been an avid reader of magazines, and in the past in PopCult I have made note of some of the periodicals that stood out on the stands. Now, in the spirit of PopCult always acting as a cheerleader for a downtrodden institution, every couple of weeks we plan to shine the PopCult spotlight on magazines that we think our readers might enjoy.
Remind is actually in their tenth year of publication, and they’ve been on my radar for some time. I’d usually pick up an issue with a topic that interested me, and I enjoyed the nostalgia they present each month in a fun manner. Regular readers of this blog are probably all too aware of my fondness for pop culture nostalgia.
However, with their latest issue, Remind has added a new feature that is so functional that it may well make the magazine a must-buy each month. With the January, 2018 issue, Remind has added Retro-TV listings. They have a fairly comprehensive run-down of classic TV programs that run on cable and digital sub-channels, like ME TV, Antenna TV, Get TV and several that I hadn’t heard of previously. They also list a few classics that run on channels like Sundance and AMC.
That’s not all. They also now run a two-page spread with the complete month’s programming guide for Turner Classic Movies. You may remember that TCM suspended the print version of their Now Playing magazine/guide last August, and switched to a wholly-unsatisfying digital format. With this new feature, Remind has picked up the slack and lets us Luddites enjoy flipping through paper to find out what movies are on TCM tonight, instead of getting an email that we don’t remember to open until half the month is over.
This is a great and logical addition to the magazine and it’s not too much of a strain on the editorial staff. Remind‘s publisher, NTVB, also publishes TV Guide, TV Weekly and the Dish Network monthly guide, so they have all this information floating through their offices already. It makes perfect sense and it really enhances what was already a fun magazine.
The key to Remind is pure nostalgia. They claim to cover each decade from the 1960s to the 1990s, but since nostalgia was already such a huge part of pop culture by then, they have also delved into pre-1960’s pop culture icons like the Universal Monsters, Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe and the earlier stars of Hollywood.
I’m not complaining, because Remind employs a light, informed and fun approach to their articles. You won’t find deep, probing analysis here, just the highlights and some great photos. It’s fun, and that’s really something we need more of these days. The articles serve their purpose to remind us of the cool stuff from the history of pop culture. Hence the name.
Remind also has trivia, crossword puzzles, word search, and one of my favorite features, reprints of vintage comic strips from the various decades. This is the kind of magazine that, by law, should be required in all waiting rooms. It’s a bit like Highlights Magazine for grown-ups.
Another part of the charm of Remind is that it’s a hybrid magazine, with part of it printed on slick paper, and the rest on newprint. Hardly anybody prints on newsprint anymore, and to be honest, I sort of miss it.
Too many modern magazines are all slickly printed (usually in Asia) on thick paper with art direction that sacrifices clarity for composition and content that reads like it was intended for a website. Remind isn’t like that. It’s a good, old-fashioned magazine on cheap paper that you won’t feel bad doing the puzzles in.
When I was growing up there was a magazine called Good Old Days. This mag served much of the same purpose as Remind, only for an earlier generation as it was dedicated to the period from 1930 to 1960, and seemed more rural-oriented and less fun. Shockingly, Good Old Days is still being published, and still seems to not venture much beyond 1960 in it’s subject matter. So, good on them.
It does seem like Remind skews a little heavily toward the 60s and 70s, but that doesn’t really bother me. I can deal with a magazine that covers the Batman TV Show, Star Trek, Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and The Beatles.
I don’t know if my younger readers will be that interested in this magazine, but the mag does touch on The Police, the early days of Apple Computers and Nirvana in their latest issue…even if the cover story is a look back at 1968. I admit that there is a chance that Millenials will look at Remind the way I looked at Good Old Days.
One other nice note about Remind is that, except for the back cover, it’s ad-free. Given the age of the probable target audience, this is refreshing, because I’d really rather not be bombarded with ads for prescription drugs, trusses and catheters when I’m reading.
The latest back-cover ad is for the Comet channel, which is pretty darned cool.
If you are one of the dwindling number of magazine readers out there (and if so, why are reading a blog?) you might want to track down Remind. It’s five bucks and you can find it at many places that still sell magazines. Or you can subscribe at this link.