Thursday 27 November 2008

Which! Waterways Mag?

Which! waterways magazine

I like to subscribe to a regular waterways related magazine, but which one should I choose?

Belle is a great advocate of the benefit of letting things "settle", which is really just another take on the old adage of "lets sleep on it". Selecting a waterways magazine isnt exactly a life changing decision but I have certainly slept on the issue and let it settle. In fact I have given the matter about five years of fragmentory thought and, having thought finally reached a decision, I figured that I had better "show my workings" and maybe get bette
r marks. Does my recent trip to a schol parents evening show?

Belle discovered my early stash of illicitly purchased waterways mags in my bedside drawer, and brought the matter to my attention during a dinner party.

Belle announces to all who will listen:
"Guess what I just found in the Captains bedside drawer?"

The room goes silent - whats coming next the
y all wonder between mouthfuls of Delias's calorie free chocolote Bread and Butter Pudding?
" I found a huge great pile of Glossy Magazines (emphasis on the Glossy of course), thats what I found"

The Captian noticed a sudden move to inhalation rather than mastication.
"Actually I found 10 much thumbed copies of Waterways World".

You would think that the revalation that they wern't Penthouse, Knave or Mayfair (I may be revealing my pornographic age here) would be something of a relief. However, the titters whch replaced the shock were soon supplanted with "you sad old bugger" looks. I had to conclude that there would be less stigma attached to a stash of recent prorn th
an back editions of boating magazines. I will ponder that a bit more.

So. The big question - which mag should I subscribe

There are three blushing damsels sitting on the bookshelf trying to catch my eye, all in some ways similar, but uniquely different when you get to know them.

Lets start with the biggest and therefore the most popular girl (sorry, magazine) on the bench:

Waterways World.

  • This has been running since Noah started recommending boat travel.
  • Has a circulation of something north of 30,000 I believe, mostly sold by annual subscription and over the counter at chandleries / hire bases etc.
  • Is based in Burtion on Trent
  • Also publishes an even more niche historical can mag :
I subscribed to WW for several years but ultimately found it dissatisfying. Its main focus is in profiling new boats which can become tiresome if you dont own a new boat or aspire to buy one. It's a middle of the road magazine, based in the midlands, focusses on the midlands narrow canals, aiming for a middle class, middle income market.

WW's worst failing is an apparent inability to respond to correspondence. They are truly aweful - but at least they did publish one of my "Tixall in the snow" photos in the Q4 IWA magzine. Thanks WW - I will cash the cheque real soon.

Canals and Rivers

The next girl on my dancecard. If WW was
too much of a Midlander, surely the addition of free flowing fresh water (rivers) would add spice.
  • Potentially this was a match made in heaven as the publication hales from my native Norwich.
  • So here we have a girl with all the attibutes I find attractive, and she speaks witha Norfolk accent. "Cor blas me bor, loook at thaaat - bootifuuul". (sorry - cant resist)
  • The problem is that whilst this girl likes boat maintenance, her main experience is on the GRP stuff she encounters on the Broads.
  • She also obsesses on the broads most months. I love the Broads, I spent most of my youth on or in them, but like a the subject of my adolescent romaces, I dont maintain any ongoing interest. Beverley Wiltshire, if you are out there I am sorry to break it to you so hard.

Canal Boat

So this brings us to the last of the thee hopefuls
  • She looks ok, but is rather strangely proportioned being both taller and wider than her rivals who diet to maitain a strict A4 profile. However, they say that our unique beauty is found in differences.
  • She dosnt get around as much with a circulation of just over 13,000
  • She has several regular feature writes each of whom are allowed to maintain their very individual styles
  • Her back end is completely devoted to the nerdy canal boat maintenance, which I love
  • Her boat profiling is a split between new and second hand.
All in all this is a canal boaters magazine, written by canal boaters for canal boaters. It kind of does exactly what it says on the cover. I two timed WW over the summer so see if my attraction of Canal Boat was a passing crush or the real thing and have concluded that she is the girl for me. I went to Pendeford in August looking for their stand and was greeting by an actual pretty girl armed with freecopies of Nicholsons. The discounted early editions were nice to have, but I was already sold.

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