Last week saw a new ship set sail in the vast sea of men’s magazines: PORT. The self-proclaimed “Intelligent Magazine for Men” places stories of world-wide importance opposite editorial shoots of luxury desk accessories. To put it plainly, PORT is for the man who understands that style and substance go hand-in-hand.
PORT only hit newsstands on the third of March, and to be honest I didn’t catch wind of it until a few days later. But I made up for lost time and immediately rushed out to get my hands on a copy. With the aid of a cocktail, I even made it cover to cover in one sitting. And no, not because there were too many ads and not enough content, but because I couldn’t put it down. To risk complimenting myself in the process, intelligent is exactly what PORT is.
I won’t pretend though that the object itself isn’t part of the allure. In the age of Kindle, iPad, e-whatever, print publications have the added demand of making the printed page desirable in and of itself in addition to providing top quality content. PORT feels substantial in your hands, and the cover is silky and soft. The title proclaims itself boldly in a font created specifically for this purpose, appropriately called PORT 1. Once you get past the exterior, you find a combination of soft matte pages and lightly-glossed photo editorials. Everything is neatly introduced with PORT 1 and you begin to understand just how alluring that typeface is. If you’ve ever read FANTASTIC MAN, the pages feel physically similar and the art direction is in the same vein. Something about capitalized titles, I guess. That said, it does seem less “fashion” focused and references to brands and branding are kept to a minimum.
Seduced by the lithe aesthetic, I got into the guts of the thing and was blown away. Well written, insightful editorial is what you get when the likes of Fergus Henderson, Samantha Morton and Jon Snow are Senior Editors and your authors are amazing people telling their own amazing stories. In this first issue, Daniel Day-Lewis writes about his time as an aid-worker in Gaza, Jon Snow speculates about the coming golden age of journalism, and James Gurney confesses his obsession with a certain Parisian timepiece. Second-hand accounts be damned, PORT goes right to the source. Dan Crowe, the Editor, is no amateur either. Formerly the founder of Zembla magazine and literary editor at Another Magazine, he also published a book with Rizzoli last year about contemporary writers and world crises. The writing is, for the most part, elegant and compelling, and I look forward to seeing who they pull out of the woodwork to compose the next issue.
I must caution you though, if you go into this expecting something inclined towards classic style, more along the lines of, say, The Rake, you will be sorely disappointed. PORT is elegant but thoroughly for the modern man. The concept is a revival, but the trappings are new. Typography and clean layouts play a central role, and there are even fashion and design editorials, but this is not a cultured style magazine, its is a culture magazine with style. And that, my friends, is something we can all aspire to. If you can’t reach UK newsstands, you can still get yourself a copy here. Welcome PORT, and well done.