The best-kept arts secrets in Britain. The Observer Newspaper September 2006

Nominated by David Shrigley

Russell, who runs the ICA Bookshop, home to many obscure publications,
recently introduced me to the wonderful Karen magazine (left). It's a
lifestyle magazine composed entirely from the ordinary: the weather,
rubbish, household chores, things like that. It's a reaction to standard
lifestyle magazines which are composed of fancy things that we are supposed
to want or aspire to. As well as recipes, shopping lists, drawings and
various found ephemera, Karen contains transcripts of numerous ordinary
conversations illustrated by photographs of the participants and their
environments. A typical example could be: 'Would you recommend being a
builder to young people?'

'Yes, I would recommend it.'

Karen succeeds in weaving its humble subject matter into something poetic,
profound, absurd and joyful. One issue of this magazine is more interesting
than every issue of every other lifestyle magazine in the world put

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