Sunday, May 15, 2011



I like it. I like it a lot. I guess that's because I AM retro myself. No, I've changed with the times. See, I do blogging and email and I'm a websurfaholic. I love the information access of the internet. It's like an encyclopedia of all things, and I love how I can skip from one subject to another without getting another volume of the Brittania down from the shelves as I had to do as a kid.

I've been a reader of the venerable Field and Stream Magazine for at least 40 years, since I was in elementary school. Soon, by junior high school, I was a subscriber to F&S and Outdoor Life, among other magazines like Downbeat! and Guns and Ammo and Scuba Diver and Dirt Bike. Later, magazines like Hot Rod! and other car magazines would dominate my late teens, but back then and even now, I still read F&S quite often. Although for many years OL was my favorite, sometime in the last decade F&S became my purchase at the grocery store, based on the articles in it.

So this month, at the local grocery, the intentional "going retro for a month" tactic employed by F&S really worked on my subconscious. I didn't think when I looked at the cover that F&S was telling me the issue was a "retro" special issue. No, when I looked at it I though how odd it was that a normal inexpensive jonboat was on the cover.

Maybe it's the fact I read so many of the magazines over and over back then, keeping them for months and often years as a reference point, going back for info recalled about fishing or hunting or boating.

I still have a favorite issue of F&S I've kept since the early 70's, with a story about a Golden Trout fishing adventure in California's High Sierras that looked very cool. To be fair, I've kept one OL mag as well from that era, with a story about a family vacation to the Gila National Wilderness in New Mexico. In both cases, they were great stories, better pictures and all of that allowed me to daydream about being there. And to go places like that when I grew up, which I have.

So I realize that F&S must chase their younger demographic, no doubt elusive these days like all else, but I wish they'd just return to the retro concept, say about 50% worth in each issue. Some retro covers. Some articles about retro guns and fishing gear and tactics and articles from the past, supplemented with current day updates.

I really liked the cover and the layout and the content of the Retro F&S issue. I wish they'd do it more often.  And it would have been very nice to have seen them flesh out the 1911 diagram they did with a nice long article about all the tidbits that were in the diagram.

That's one of the problems with lots of magazines dealing with popular subjects. They keep their stories and articles short because they don't think the readers have the attention span for longer material. If it's an interesting subject and it's well written, I like longer articles.

Now, about attention spans, what were you saying?

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