After a papery drought, there’s been some interesting publications dominating my floor space these last few days. I was recently pondering as to who actually buys some of the regular fashion titles. Can fashion students and the front desk of the capital’s agencies alone keep some magazines in business? The annuals, bi-annuals and some quarterlies are the ones I’m more prone to pick up because I’m an idiot who loves heavyweight page counts regardless of ad content and because I work on fuzzy logic that £16 twice a year beats monthly costs. And if my change from a £20 note is barely enough for a medium-sized meal at a junk food outlet, I’m likely to actually force myself to take an hour out to browse the fucking thing. As I type this I realise how odd my magazine habit is getting, and how flawed my justifications for purchasing are.
However, Carhartt’s increasingly good—and increasingly regular—Brand Book is avoiding the usual self-serving guff by offering some Carhartt-centric content that’s genuinely enlightening—particularly the article on the brand’s 1960’s approach under Robert E. Valade. It’s interesting to see that there’s a Carhartt streetwear store planned for NYC’s Crosby Street. Are we selling Americans their output back? Will it surpass the greatness of Dave’s? Time will tell. The Frenchies get their time to shine with some good A.P.C. collaboration imagery (as obvious as it is, that pocket tee is the best double-label pieces ever) and an excellent interview with Mathieu Kassovitz, who may have struggled with a ‘La Haine’ follow-up, but gets props over here for the ‘Munich’ performance and offering a pre-emptitive panning for his own movie, thus retaining my respect.
The image of the mighty JoeyStarr—once arrested for hitting a monkey but also a man who wooed Beatrice Dalle—crops up in the new Purple too. Purple remains a glorious Trojan Horse for anyone who wants to smuggle soft-core porn under the veneer of metrosexuality. For that, Oliver Zahm stays a hero. The Banks Violette, Brett Easton Ellis, Rick Rubin, Kim Gordon and Daido Moriyama interviews are cool, as is the Chloë Sevigny shoot, where James Ransone and Alex Olsen swing by, but the nude pictures of Paz De La Huerta are the killer application in issue 14. Again, thanks Oliver. You can trash talk bloggers from now ’till infinity for all I care as long as you peddle content like that.
Back when I upped my troubled magazine top-ten on this site, I pondered as to whether ‘Swallow Magazine’ made it past the Scando-centric debut edition. The good news is the second issue of this hardbacked labour-of-love is on sale now. This time it’s the ‘Trans-Siberian Issue’. Want to learn about Russia’s dairy products? Mongolia’s peasant foods? Cooking for oligarchs? Do you want a comic strip insert that doesn’t make you look like an absolute virgin if you’re caught reading it, unlike that nonsense at the back of ‘Monocle’? You need all these things – you just don’t know it yet. Combining the best photography with the best design, travel and food journalism, and much as the slow-food approach is making a pleasantly sluggish, full-bellied impact on the bigger picture gastronomically, the unhurried approach to publishing has generated the best food journal ever (there’s surely, 14 years after the ‘Loaded’ food spinoff, ‘Eat Soup’ flopped, a gap in the market for something similar). This will get ripped-off for impending lookbooks in one way or another once everyone tires of facial hair.
I’m glad I was never a writer in the graffiti sense. Cowardice, a lack of style and an innate lethargy meant I was destined to remain a no-moving spectator. But, as I’ve stated here, while I don’t know much about it, I know what I hate. Watching destruction unfold is a beautiful thing though. Graffiti documentations tend to be – because those deep in the culture are fucking oddballs – painstaking and brilliant. Utrecht’s WOW crew follow that tradition by collating enough images from 1990 to the present day to create a full colour newspaper, printing 1500 copies, then torching 1000 or so just to make a point about graffiti’s temporary nature, where hours of worked are swiftly buffed away. Missing the Morganator’s knowledge drops on a daily basis, he recommended I spent a prohibitive amount on the ‘War Of Words’ project and I complied—I regret nothing. I feel I’ve donated to a fine cause, and anything with an appropriately intense foreword by hood socialist Dumar Brown is wothwhile. SHAVE, WILD, YALT and the crew’s prolific output is logged here, and there’s a lot of trains in the mix. This is a glorious antidote to gloss, twats and stencils.
‘War Of Words’ had me hosting my own graffiti documentary festival—just as videos like ‘Video Days’ blew my mind, and DVDs like ‘Risky Roadz’ and ‘Practise Hours’ tested my patience and flipped my wig in equal quantities, ‘State Your Name’ stays epic. The final four minutes of the first ‘Dirty Handz’ video offer the most crazed punk rock moments of the last twenty years, ‘Fuk Graff’ is funny as shit too. But that soundtrack to ‘State Your Name’ just fueled a weekend of Diplomats re-visitation. Matthew Trammell’s Heatmakerz and Dips celebration on The Madbury Club had me amped, extolling the virtue of the seemingly disposable sounds with a timeless quality that defined Harlem.
Vado’s verse for BET shone…and that’s not just because of his lame company—that’s the second coming of Kool G Rap right there, and the man who’ll make the rest of the Dipset crew step their game up to the point where the reunion transcends a cash-in unholy alliance and brings the spirit of 2002 right back. Allied with araabMUSIK, my hope for east coast rap is restored, but Cam’ron’s ‘Fairytale’, produced by Heatmakerz is the most heartening part of recent events within the camp. I long for a time when JR Writer spat over high-velocity E.L.O. samples and Juelz Santana made magnificent use of Kiss’s ‘Only You’…we’re nearly there again. It’s a beautiful thing.
Ever on the lookout for some more visual stimulation, watching John Huston’s ‘Wise Blood’ in the early hour today, it became apparent that I should have mentioned the beginning titles in an earlier blog. To channel the film and book’s off-kilter sensibility, a child was drafted in to create that crude lettering and they misspelt John’s name as ‘Jhon”—it crops up twice on the credits, and juxtaposed with a backdrop of bible belt righteousness, it proves deeply effective.