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Regulars / Bookshelf

Founder and editor-in-chief of Intern Magazine Alec Dudson shares his favourite books

In 2013 Alec Dudson launched the first issue of Intern Magazine through a successful and much talked-about Kickstarter campaign. Showcasing a variety of young creatives, the biannual mag works hard at keeping the debate about internships alive and provides a voice for equality in industries where working for free has become the norm. The fourth issue is just wrapping up its submissions stage, but luckily for us Alec has taken some time out to show us what’s on his minimalist bookshelf. From classic American fiction to a gift from Gestalten, it’s a cavalcade of inspiration.

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Bret Easton Ellis: American Psycho

Bret Easton Ellis: American Psycho

I bought this book just before a solo trip across America after graduating from my Sociology MA in September 2010. Although incredibly dark, the character’s obsessions with material possessions and being considered valuable by his peers, who he disdains rather than admires, are a searing critique on 1990s [sic] yuppie culture. It’s amongst my most travelled books and kept me going on a few long Greyhound journeys during that trek.

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Strunk, White & Kalman: The Elements of Style (illustrated)

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Strunk, White & Kalman: The Elements of Style (illustrated)

Strunk, White & Kalman: The Elements of Style (illustrated)

Vera Sacchetti, the wonderful woman who gave me my big break in the magazine industry, lent this to me while I was her intern at Domus. It’s served as a reminder of how important it is to maintain a meticulous editorial standard at Intern. I don’t refer to it half as much as I should and I’m pretty sure Vera has forgotten that I have this, but consider this my vow to use it more.

Vera was one of the first people I pitched the Intern concept to and her reaction – “It has to be international” – will always be remembered. At the time, that seemed such a daunting prospect, but the more I thought about it, the more I realised she was right. It’s such a vital element to the magazine and Elements of Style represents the level I aspire to consistently achieve. I love Maira Kalman’s illustrations as well, they’re fiercely witty. The murder scene twinned with “He noticed a large stain right in the centre of the rug” cracks me up every time.

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Boat Magazine: Issue 4, Athens

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Boat Magazine: Issue 4, Athens

Boat Magazine: Issue 4, Athens

Not strictly a book, but a publication of great importance to me. This was the first time I was published in print and it meant all the more to me having spent seven months interning at Boat under the stewardship of Davey and Erin Spens. It was a crazy part of my life, one during which I lived out of a backpack and got everywhere on my bicycle, moving from couch to couch around London while working at a pub in the evenings. Witnessing the way the studio and magazine ran was incredible and the people I met have turned out to be dear friends and collaborators.

I met Chris and Craig from what was soon-to-become She Was Only that time and they’ve art directed Intern from day one. For this feature, Chris and I went to visit the head of the Asteras Exarchion football club, who at the time played in the lowest organised league in the country. The ground was cut into the top of a mountain, the sun was out and we were drinking and singing with the home fans. After instigating a song of our own, we were firmly accepted into the fold and I still wear my Asteras T-shirt to play football in now. 

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Paul Phung: Stills 01

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Paul Phung: Stills 01

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Paul Phung: Stills 01

Paul Phung: Stills 01

This is a zine produced by Catalogue Library the New York Art Book Fair 2014 and is an edition of 50. Paul’s photographs graced the front cover of both Issue Zero and Issue One of Intern and they’re both images that went a long way towards the great press we received at the time. I remember seeing this posted on his Instagram feed and loving the look of it with its bold typographic design paired beautifully with Paul’s piercing black and white photography. I was touched when he sent me a copy, along with the Post-It note and have treasured it ever since.

One of the greatest satisfactions I get from the magazine is when the exposure our contributors get helps them to progress their careers, that’s one of the main aims. Paul has told me that on a number of occasions people have mentioned Intern when offering him work and it’s a satisfying feeling. I’d never take responsibility for his or any other contributor’s success though, for me, it’s just an honour to work with these folk and try to present what they do in the best possible light.

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Francesco Franchi: Designing News

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Francesco Franchi: Designing News

Francesco Franchi: Designing News

I was given this book by the marvellous Andres Colmanares and Lucy Rojas at their inaugural IAM Conference Barcelona back in March. It was one of a number of publications that Gestalten gifted and I was incredibly grateful to receive it. The conference was brilliant. Andres and Lucy brought together a tremendously interesting mix of people, all with amazing insights and perspectives, and it was a real honour to speak at the event. If you’re in the market for a conference next year, make it this one. The spirit of togetherness and collaboration that runs through its very core makes it tremendously engaging and inspiring. The book has some brilliant insights into the changing world of editorial design. For instance in an over-saturated independent magazine market, working out your online strategy is more important than ever, this publication is a great reference book for my plans moving forward.