Flexi culture

A collection of cover images from Krugozor, a flexi-disc magazine made in the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1993. More information on this great lost pop cultural artefact can be found in Made in Russia: Unsung Icons of Soviet Design, which is rich with anecdotal tales about the knock-offs and reverse-engineered objects (and occasional originals) that permeated the sparse consumer landscape of Soviet Russia. Foreign Policy has a gallery from the book. A quote:

‘In 1964, Soviet authorities procured from France a machine that pressed thin, floppy vinyl disks, and charged a group of people working at All-Soviet Radio with the task of forming an editorial board. The board decided on the format, which would include audio, text and photography to provide readers and listeners with a full sensory experience. The magazine was named by the writer Lev Kassil; “krugozor” is a beautifully subtle pun, a word for “outlook” that incorporates the word for “circle” or “round” (“krug”). It was the round, tear-out disks in Krugozor that gave Russians their first nonbootleg recording of everyone from Barbra Streisand to Pink Floyd to Michael Jackson.’

According to the book, there’s an ongoing project to scan and digitize the magazines and disks, but there’s very little English language information out there. Sites like this offer up a few issuse (Number 9, from 1971, Number 5, from 1982), but the usual caveat applies regarding unknown foreign language search engines, dubious pictures and download links. Scans and an excerpt can also be found here, at Showcase. A Pretty Penny also has an issue of the French flexi mag Sonorama, which was clearly an influence (according to Encyclopedisque). There’s also an issue partially scanned at this and that and in 1970 Queen were featured, with a special cover featuring Misha the Olympic mascot.

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