UNDERGROUND LITERATURE

The blogging today is briefer-than-usual, as I’m abroad and rushed off my feet like a motherfucker. Looking around New York, one thing’s abundantly clear – from a publication point-of-view, things are a little flat. Whereas I’d usually be stuffing a bag with goodies from Universal News, it just wasn’t happening this time. Same with clothes. Sure, there’s some okay gear – got to love cheap ‘Lo and Champion,  but when the general choice is either lairy tee prints or potted histories in a button-down, I tend to go into autopilot. The food is as great as ever, but it’s strange to be in this city and not be impulse-buying from borough-to-borough.

Wait. Let me put ‘Jerusalem’ on the iPod for a second, because in terms of magazines, the UK is still banging out gems unexpectedly. Two of the most interesting, defiantly British in their approach yet hugely diverse in content are Barnzley’s ‘The Daily Terror’ – the paper wing of the ‘A Child Of The Jago’ brand and store; now on its third issue, and totally free, and ‘Dodgem Logic’ – Alan Moore’s new magazine, determined to resurrect the spirit of underground magazines.


There’s no point releasing the usual torrent of hyperbole with regards to Moore. Trying to keep it succinct, he’s one of the greatest living writers of any medium, but despite the Teflon cult legend status, he probably isn’t celebrated enough. There’s probably a whole ‘nother mini-essay to be written about the impact of ‘Watchmen’s smiley face on UK street culture in the late ’80s, which, just to tie these two publications together with a neat subcultural bow, was Barnzley’s doing during his stylist days.

The fact Moore dwells in Northampton rather than the nation’s capital gives him a healthy distance and reinforcement of my theory that being out of London can be good for the imagination – that’s celebrated in the magazine he’s just launched – ‘Dodgem Logic.’  “Colliding ideas to see what happens” it even comes with a CD of local bands. The sense of underground on offer here isn’t the naivety of the slew of rags from the ’70’s talking tokes and titties – it’s the whole timeline of underground press, and Moore provides and excellent essay on the medium’s history, as well as a strip illustrated and written by himself. There’s focus on comedy, politics and much more from some strong writers too. All for £2.50 too. And not a shred of chambray in sight either

‘The Daily Terror’ launched in late 2008 with some great content from Mr. Jason Jules, bringing back a politically minded underground feel, with a healthy dose of outrage in the mix – not dissimilar to the Jago attire aesthetic, and a punk spirit that’s authentically edgy without descending into mohawked fiver-a-photo Watty-lookalike plastic anarchy.

Issue two was okay, but wasn’t on par with issue one, despite some good Link Wray related content (in fact, issue one and the Jago lookbook are readable right here), but Chris Sullivan, of Wag Club, The Face, and any significant UK style movement or publication, brings the ruckus, particularly with a Studio 54 and disco feature – bear in mind, Sullivan actually went there rather than living vicariously through Google (like me) that alongside Lisa Robinson’s piece in the new ‘Vanity Fair’ could be part of an amyl and re-edit renaissance. The piece on Paul Hartnett proves that snapshots of street style might be rinsed by any clown with a G9 now, but it ain’t nothing new. A fine read, and best of all, free of charge.

www.achildofthejago.tumblr.com
www.dodgemlogic.com