I like having a favourite section in a magazine or newspaper. Funkenklein’s ‘Gangsta Limpin’, The Perry Bible Fellowship, The Rap Bandit, a free rag’s ‘Pet Of The Day’ or Jonathan Bernstein‘s ‘Aerial View Of America’ and as with those four examples, I’m usually left to mourn them. Either the publication goes under, or the scribe loses their edge, passes away or gets the boot for being too damn niche. Seeing as I let myself be so susceptable that I believe I’m not susceptible in the slightest, secretly, I’m open to a regular guru to point me in the direction of specific products.
Take books for example – your common garden hipster doofus might try to foist the likes of ‘Steppenwolf’ on you, but the reality is, it’s just a percieved must-read they pretended to read. No disrespect to Mr. Hesse, but that book let me down. I don’t want to go down the Dan Brown route or weepily speed-read ‘A Cat Named Darwin’ either. And I’m too lazy to withstand the weekend book reviews, and trawl through the Peter Carey dickriding. That’s why Stuart Hammond’s ‘Palace Waywards Book Club’ – the literary spinoff from the Palace Waywards Boys Club crew, that reinforced those skater stereotypes of hidden artistic depths was the shit. It was excellent taste at work, but was also, with +1 magazine’s passing just a few weeks ago, nipped in the bud.
If you never picked +1 up, which is pretty churlish seeing as it cost nothing, beyond the excellent cover designs, the content was bang-on. They even let me contribute, and, salutes to David Hopkins and Sam Ashley, they were open-minded and never changed a damn thing in the text. That’s rare – I once had an editor scupper my prose with whimsical bracketed asides, and fear the worst post-submission. It got better and better, but ad revenue put pay to the magazine’s ascent. Whenever I picked it up, the ‘…Book Club’ was the first port-of-call.
Books are one of the few inanimate objects I still cherish. I attribute this to being utterly jaded as well as being incapable of freeloading any good books beyond big hardback numbers with stencilled graffiti on the cover. You can tell me about a t-shirt, shirt or fancy coat. It’s out my head in seconds via the ‘want’ (store) or ‘don’t want’ (discard) thought process. If I choose to buy it, I’ll probably pretend I discovered it first. Books are different. I’m open to recommendations. If you put me onto a book I enjoy, you’ve immediately earnt my respect. Hammond put me onto the brilliance of Poe’s ‘The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket’ despite popular opinion labelling it a promising book scuppered by a descent into metaphysical weirdness. The pages sold ‘The End Of Alice’ to me, a book so grotesque it shocked a fellow commuter nosily reading over my shoulder. It chatted with crew affiliate and author, Matthias “Wolf Boy” Connor. It left on an enthusiastic high, recommending ‘David Vann’s ‘Legend Of A Suicide’.
Stuart Hammond writes for Dazed now too, but hopefully the page will reappear in its familiar form either online, or more fittingly, on paper. R.I.P. +1. Shouts to David and the crew. Nearly every issue is currently online as a PDF here. P.W.B.C. is, as you will have noted, currently making powermoves. To the rest of you, to quote Mr. Bun B, “Go read a book you illiterate son of a bitch and step up yo’ vocab.”