The Eighty-Eight issue 2
Delivered to Stack subscribers in  Aug 2015

by Steve Watson in August 2015
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It’s not often that independent magazines cross paths with proper mainstream celebrity, so it’s surprising to discover that The Eighty-Eight is curated and funded by jazz pop star Jamie Cullum. Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that it’s actually really good. Mixing quality content with the desire to do things differently, this is an exciting and innovative independent magazine.

Read on to find out more…

Simon Tapscott

Job title

What is The Eighty-Eight?
“A beautifully designed collection of riveting reads and random curiosities, containing essays, stories, poetry and pictures curated by Jamie Cullum.”

What makes it different to the rest?
Jamie is always insistent that the magazine is “something of substance”, and doesn’t fall into the trap of many independent magazines that look great but lack depth and genuinely good content. We’re lucky that he knows a lot of interesting people from his many years spent touring, and the magazine is a great platform for colourful and unusual stories.

“The Dark and Dirty History of Flamenco” in volume two is a great example, including an interview with Silvia Perez Cruz, a Catalan singer/songwriter Jamie met sometime on his global adventures. The creative process works really well – he outlines what he’d like to see in the magazine and the creative team commission some amazing writers and illustrators to make it happen.

Who makes The Eighty-Eight?
Editor Anna-Marie Crowhurst and Art Director Kate Monument, whose credits include The Guardian, The Times, Stylist, Penguin Random House and ASOS. Our second issue features esteemed contributors such as authors Evie Wyld and Rebecca Hunt, artists Matthew the Horse and Sergio Membrillas, as well as appearances by Professor Green, Stella Creasy, Sophie Dahl and Ben Folds.

Who reads it?
Our strapline is, “An occasional magazine for the adventurous thinker”. With one issue under our belt and the second about to land, we like to think we’re creating a genuinely good independent magazine and perhaps surprising a few people along the way.

Why do you work in magazines?
The honest answer is that I thought my time in magazine publishing was coming to a close, until a discussion with Jamie one Christmas about how we could launch a new title that wasn’t about him, but contained a range of essays, stories and art curated by him. Consumer publishing has had to virtually reinvent itself in the digital age, and it’s been a joy to rekindle the sense of theatre and occasion that only a well crafted, lovingly prepared print magazine can invoke. I spent 15 years working in magazines and I like to think it was all in preparation for this.

Aside from the print magazine, what else are you involved in?
The team is quite small and we are all freelance so we work on a range of projects. It’s a real cottage industry, and self-publishing this magazine has certainly been an educational process. Other work has had to take a back seat while we build the commercial strategy, which largely centres around building an international distribution network. At launch the magazine was only available via Jamie’s website and gigs, but it was clear from the outset we had to extend its reach to a much broader audience than his fan base, so building a network of stockists has been key.

What would you change about The Eighty-Eight if you could?
Easier and more frequent to the boss man (the first content meeting for the first issue took place in the back of a van in Wales during promo for one of Jamie’s albums). I’d also allow myself to call it The 88 (instead of writing out The Eighty-Eight) without feeling I was compromising the brand somehow!

Where do you see The Eighty-Eight in five years?
I’d like to develop it as a media brand with a guarantee of really good content, spearheaded by the print magazine but also including digital media like video and podcasts, plus events.

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