Listen to this

Posted on 3rd April 2012 by simonbeattie

Here are some shots of a complete run of Sonorama (44 issues, 1958–62),  an innovative French monthly news magazine which offered its readers an extra, aural dimension to the articles and features through the use of flexi-discs bound into the magazine itself.  Each issue contained six different flexi-discs (from May 1961 onwards, more).  By folding the magazine back on itself and placing it on a record player, readers would have been able to listen to political speeches, interviews, or music.

The magazine documents the early years of the Fifth Republic, and the question of Algeria obviously dominates the series.  Aside from politics, one can read about (or listen to) Edith Piaf, Brigitte Bardot, Sacha Distel, Maurice Chevalier, and the eternal Johnny Halliday; Albert Camus (his new play Les Possédés, followed by his death only months later), Jean Cocteau, Marcel Pagnol, André Malraux, and Jean-Paul Belmondo.  Away from the francophone world, there are features on Sophia Loren, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Ella Fitzgerald, and Maria Callas.


One story covered is the election of a new American President:  ‘His name is Kennedy.  He has everything Americans dream about: a tan, a degree from Harvard, a ravishing wife, two beautiful children, a huge fortune, and the ability to succeed in everything he does.  He is 43 years old, 23 less than Khrushchev.’

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One response to “Listen to this”

  1. […] always been drawn to books which require some action on the part of the reader (witness the French magazine you could listen to on a record player), or books which have been created or altered in some way for posterity (such as volumes of early […]

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