For Jan Müller-Wiefel online media outlets are just too fast-paced. He prefers fragrant ink, open paper, finely finished spines. In Neustadt, Jan therefore presents the best magazines in the world - and bucketloads of fantastic tales.
While other lads were out on the football field day in, day out, kicking their sweat-drenched way closer to the dream of becoming the next Lothar Matthäus, he was publishing his first magazine. “My life has revolved around magazines ever since,” says Jan Müller-Wiefel, sinking into his black leather sofa with a cup of hot coffee in his hand.
Think Kurt Cobain bawling into the mike and trashing amplifier boxes with his guitar – in the 90s, not every teenager had at least three Tumblrs, his own blog, enough of Facebook but not yet of WhatsApp and Snapchat. If you wanted to supply contemporaries and kindred spirits with reading material, you got scissors and glue out of the drawer and cut, pasted and copied. “Football and punk rock were popular themes in the fanzines of the day,” says Jan. His was called “PiPa Millerntor”, the subject was of course the Hamburg team close to his heart, FC St. Pauli. At some point it was going so well that he and a few friends standing around the stadium sold 1,500 fanzines. “PiPa” ended in 1998, but the magazines went on.
Today Jan, together with Jürgen Nerger, runs an independent magazine store on Grossneumarkt. The store is one element of the Gudberg Nerger think tank. The store: small, not too small, but all the more beautifully formed. Fitted with smart shelves between which magazine lovers and all those who get the bug when they visit can stand, wander around and browse in one magazine after another, for hours if they want to.
Nowadays, the mags are all about design, the good life, beautiful life, right life, and about the love of craft beer, hand-brewed coffee and craft meat. However many large-circulation and white-cuby blogs the vast expanses of the Internet may produce, printed magazines are still standing: the feel of them holds a charm that you can hold in both hands over a cup of filter coffee and a piece of New York cheesecake, absorbing impressions in peace and quiet in a very relaxed atmosphere. Blogs are fast, absolutely nothing wrong with that, but they're over the horizon again just as quick, he points out. And leafs idly, lost in thought, through an issue of MC1R, Hamburg's “magazine for redheads”. “The best independent magazines stand out because of a self-contained topic, meticulously curated content and beautiful layout,” says Jan.
Jan’s favourite magazines
Since May 2015, a gallery featuring photography by young German artists has been docked onto Gudberg Nerger. The gallery and its two founders are, however, open to and up for anything to do with art, design and magazine-making. Jan sips the last warm coffee from his cup as his gaze wanders past the gallery walls, with photos of the infinite reaches of the American landscape, and on to Poolstrasse. “A lot has changed on Grossneumarkt in the past few years,” he says, “and for the better”. A lot of little shops have opened up, there's a faint aroma of coffee outside, guests in the coffee shop diagonally opposite sit at the street-side, laughing. Gudberg Nerger's location? “Couldn't be better!” Jan can't help but smile. From here, he says, he can get anywhere easily on foot, to the Jungfernstieg, the Planten un Blomen park and the Millerntor Stadium in St. Pauli.