When I lived with my mum and dad, I read the newspapers they bought: Repubblica always, and sometimes Il Manifesto. There were also weekly magazines like L’Espresso and Diario.
When I went to live on my own, I continued to buy newspapers for a while, without much continuity. Then I discovered that you could download them via the Internet, without too much hassle, even though it was illegal. The hassle, however, increased with the proliferation of fake sites, traps, dead links: a small but clear demonstration that it is not prohibition but excess that prevents the dissemination of information. Paradoxical effect of freedom.
A few months ago I discovered the existence of MLOL (the Media Library OnLine) and its regional version EmiLib. From which, with the library’s account, Sala Borsa, you have free and legal access to the main newspapers (as well as various ebooks and audiobooks).
So, for example, on Sundays I can read Il Sole 24 Ore with its cultural supplement, Repubblica with its Robinson supplement, and Il Corriere della Sera with its La Lettura supplement. There is also The Guardian, the English left-wing newspaper of which I am so fond, and its French correspondent Libération, and the hipsterist Les Inrockutibles. Finally, some specialised magazines such as Computer Music, Future Music and BBC Music.
If the cakewalk lasts, it will be the end of my career as a newspaper reader. But in the meantime, various periodicals are available free online in pdf.
In the past, I have learned a lot from Music Theory Online, a university-level magazine.
Also on the subject of music, there is Crack Magazine from Bristol.
Then there is Zapruder, born from the Bologna-based collective Storie in Movimento.
Or Improjazz, a French jazz publication.
Or Wilder, a magazine of unpublished comics.
And then there are the old-fashioned music blogs, such as that of the legendary journalist Everett True.
Once, or rather several times in my life, I tried to imagine a magazine made entirely by me. I never did, but for a while I published the cover every week, letting the reader’s imagination fill in the rest. It was called Radical Pop, and this was issue 0.
Unfortunately I don’t have access to the New Yorker, my ultimate object of desire. I have now discovered that all the issues, until summer 2018, are available in a small library on the outskirts of Bologna, the “Natalia Ginzburg” in the Bellaria area, piled up carelessly. What a shame. Anyway, the Goings On About Town section about New York events is also available online for the most part: there is art, classical music, dance, gastronomy, cinema, nightlife, theatre, conferences.
As for music journalism, its pinnacle for me has always been the London-based magazine The Wire. I used to subscribe to it for a number of years, but then when I do, I stop wanting it and never read it, although when my subscription runs out, I regret it and am tempted to fall back on it. I can still read the summaries, which are in themselves full of stimuli and suggestions of new music to listen to.
On the other hand, the magazines that exist only online, and that we used to call webzines, have always been considered second rate, and in fact they often seem to be made on purpose just to add confusion: we could call it “information pollution”, or info-pollution.
But there are also authoritative publications, especially for music, starting of course with Pitchfork, which I have always had a mixture of love and hate for. But I’ve always had a fondness for the refined The Quietus and the anarchic Tiny Mix Tapes. Then there’s Consequence Of Sound and Popmatters, and the international edition of Noisey.
I used to admire the Italian edition of Noisey so much because it was so irreverent, but not so much today. There’s the Bologna-based The New Noise. And there is still the famous Rockit, which used to be the point of reference for the whole Italian mainstreet scene.
Among the cinema webzines, there is the Italian Quinlan.
Among those more generally cultural, there are for example Paste Magazine, Talkhouse, Rivista Studio, Gli Stati Generali, Il Tascabile, Doppiozero, Che Fare and Esquire Italia. On television, Link.
There are also archives of magazines from the past. For example, the Gino Bianco Library offers the classic magazines of the Italian left in the 20th century: Quaderni Piacentini, Quaderni Rossi, Quindici and many others.« Mazinga Naxos »