February 2009 blog-moan. FACT magazine went online only about a month ago. Dark days, even for freebie press.
A self-confessed yankophile, I’m not qualified to blog. I pay more attention to what’s going on in the US than I do outside the window. It’s a nasty habit. The UK has done great things to advance the cultures we celebrate (I’m loathed to use the term ’street culture’ but I guess it’s a neat enough summary) that an off-the-dome listing wouldn’t do justice.
When I look just across the Channel I see operations like Starcow and Colette, plus publications like WAD, Guillaume Le Goff’s Clark and Thomas Giorgetti’s SPRAY doing great things I get a sense that we’re slipping, but the grass is always greener. It’s too easy to assume every other country maintains a scene that’s hi-fiving, back-patting and grins all round. Whenever I’ve left Europe on anything work-related to the Far East or States, I’ve ended up privvy to some hushed backbiting of one sort of another, breaking the idyllic illusion.
But Brits like to moan. London is a hotbed of rumour and fermenting rivalry. And to be honest, I like London’s slightly misanthropic, miserabllist nature. We don’t settle for mediocrity. It’s the city rappers fear, where a severely depleted Wu Tang’s (duration dramatised for blog purposes) 7 second live set would leave them surprised when fans didn’t ask them to sign their collective scrotums, instead inciting the audience to fuck shit up. It’s a place where sartorial elegance was once our stock-in-trade. But we’ve always been cynical bastards.
Such attitudes set us up for a fall. Swaggering around with a sneer means everything the city generates must be perfect, right? Unreasonable demands follow suit. Given the current transitional time where dressing like a neon halfwit has given way to wingtip fetishism, it would be a damned shame if we never gave our homegrown industries, some of which are arguably the best on the planet, the spotlight they deserve because of snobbery, divisive spirit and daft politics, be it real world or electronic.
As a result of our habit of pulling the chair away and sniggering as soon as someone local gets off their arse and does something, my trail of thought is strictly homegrown today. London’s bricks and mortar retail scene may have crumbled like the walls of Jericho in the last 12 months or so, but the likes of Albam, Goodhood, DSM, Garbstore hold it own next to a sturdy old guard, against the homogenised menace that’s looming. Magazines like RWD, FACT, Document’s (RIP to it’s father publication) +1 and Barnzley’s Daily Terror are definitely distinctive too. And free.