Three years after its announcement, I got the impression that Paul Gorman’s history of The Face magazine, Legacy: the Story of the Face, had been put on the back burner. After all, Paul seems like a busy man, seeing as his biography of Malcolm McLaren arrives next year. The last I saw of the project was an announcement that Thames & Hudson would be publishing it, then…nothing. But books are a lengthy process, and the author just updated his blog after a brief hiatus to shed some more light on it and announce its autumn 2017 release. Editorials from the magazine under the ownership of Nick Logan’s Wagadon seem to be informing a lot of contemporary projects but it’s easy to forget how The Face slowly faded away in a new century after EMAP acquired it in July 1999. You can read some extra information on what Legacy will cover RIGHT HERE.
The magazine’s influence on some important modern publications is phenomenal, and back when people read the damn things it had the power to shift cultures beyond their birthplaces around the country, from cities to towns to the whole world. I was always disappointed at how quietly The Face exited the shelves after the March 2004 cancellation announcement; left to die slowly rather than given the mercy killing it should have had a couple of years prior. Paul is the right person to give it the eulogy it deserved.
The debt I owe to The Face for at least providing me, the reader, with the perception of being in the loop is immeasurable and it’s something that completely changed how magazines looked, from costly tomes to free supplements. While a Rolling Stone or New Yorker style digital archive would be tremendous (and I wish Vice would do the same for i-D), a book on its rise, reign and slide is a good idea and with Paul Gorman — the man behind the excellent Reasons to Be Cheerful, Mr Freedom and the classic The Look: Adventures In Pop & Rock Fashion — writing it, Legacy: The Story of The Face (Thames & Hudson) is going to be a necessity when it arrives in 2015. As a hint of what’s coming, the talk of it being made with the participation of founder Nick Logan (to whom any appreciator of perfect print owes a significant debt) is previewed in Gorman’s conversation with Logan in the 20th anniversary issue of Arena Homme Plus. To commemorate two decades in the business and having the credibility capital and creativity to outlive its parent publication, that issue really delivers — provided that you can deal with the abundance of male nudity that it defiantly throws in the mix, it engages in some champion shit talking, with shots fired in i-D and Morrissey’s direction, Jean Touitou giving a typically good interview (complete with comedy accents), MA-1s, my friend Gary Aspden’s essay on the misappropriation of sportswear and the rise of the real deal, plus some other things. There’s a lot of substance between the glossy stuff and pics of dicks (innuendo unintended but inevitable).
Shouts to Long Live Southbank, Hold Tight films and all involved (Ben Powell really nails it with every comment he makes to the camera) for Long Live Southbank: The Bigger Picture, a measured response to the famed undercroft’s threat. As the Southbank Centre celebrates the 40th anniversary of this skate spot by deciding to shut it down entirely, this puts the case across for its preservation with contributions from famous faces and the activists and volunteers putting in work to try and keep it alive. No stick it to the man ranting and no hysterical retaliation.
In a world where we want to talk about past triumphs and educate from indoors, nobody in power wants to understand the psychology of skating. There’s nothing like promoting creativity by stamping it out in its purest form and nothing breeds apathy like people in charge dismissing creative activism as small-mindedness. I’m inclined to think that those 64,000 petition signatures would have hit 100,000+ if everybody rocking a five panel cap and weed leaf patterns on their socks in the city had signed it.