To mark 40 years of Gay Times magazine, the magazine’s archive of front covers is being exhibited at the Outernet in central London.

The exhibition is actually a video wall presentation rather than the actual magazine covers, and it can be a bit too fast if you want to look at the covers themselves. Still, they say this is the first time the full archive has been exhibited publicly.

The video footage is divided into four decades, with short intro texts, a montage of the front covers, and key passages inside the magazines.

It would have been nicer to have a proper timeline year by year with larger images of the covers to look at — an actual exhibition rather than what candidly feels more like a sales video pitch to an advertising agency. The upside is that it does flip through fairly quickly, so if you blinked and missed a magazine cover that caught your eye, it’ll return in a few minutes.

Sadly, the display does feel like a bit of a missed opportunity.

For many gay people of a certain age, Gay Times was the gateway to understanding what all these youthful urges were all about, and a slower, more thoughtful display of the front covers would have been incredibly nostalgic. Up comes that first cover you ever remember buying, nervous as heck in a newsagent a long way from home where you hope no one recognised you. The first front cover whispering tales of forbidden fruits within, that like many first experiences, you never forget.

This display could have been full of people sighing in fond memories.

The video will be at the Outernet next to Tottenham Court Road tube station for the rest of June, in the smaller side room next to the big screens. You can check the video display times here.

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One comment
  1. Baz Watts says:

    Some of these front pages mean a lot, to many people. But you know those radio adds where there last twenty seconds, about age restrictions, terms and conditions, etc, are spoken at twice the speed, and you can’t really hear them? That’s what this exhibition is like. A page of text appears, and when you’re 30% through – it’s gone. Fifty images appear, you focus on one, then they’re all gone too.
    What a wasted opportunity. Each of these front pages should be framed and on a wall so they can be perused at leisure. A big, BIG opportunity missed.

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