For the most part, graffiti magazines aren’t very good at all. It’s all well and good documenting the temporary, but the internet does a damned good job of logging ups in realtime. Plus I’m embittered at the £10 a time I spent in Tower Records on luridly logo’d foreign language, sporadically published ‘zines that were just scanned photos. You can do a lot more with a magazine than much of what’s out there and it can be done without dry snitching or lapsing into street art tedium. I’m more interested as to what goes on in the minds of the weirdos addicted to damage and On the Go (which is also the name of “Toronto’s #1 Commuter Magazine”), 12oz Prophet and Life Sucks Die all delivered their own unique interpretation of the hard-core nature of the scene. Now the UK’s own Hurt You Bad has stepped into the arena, their “Graffiti magazine without graffiti in it” mission statement is bound to make traditionalists slate HYB with their own “art fag” slur, but it’s actually a great read. No drips, no posed entries through holes in fences…none of that. But there is plastic surgery on a pig’s head, a really good SMART Crew interview, a chat with a writer who’s inside for cocaine trafficking, lots of good photography, Horfe’s work, me talking about the Beastmaster poster and a really big explosion at the very end. There’s extremities and obsessions at the core and you should pick it up. The digital world is spilling onto paper in one big inky gaping yawn in an effort to prove that it’s “for real” but more often than not, a Richey Edwards style self-harm episode would be more engaging. HYB however, has an agenda, chapters with fancy titles (fancy titles require fancy coffee) and all sorts of grown up stuff that proves they’re about more than just blog slander. It’s worth supporting.
While you’re supporting Hurt You Bad and anything else that benefits from everyone’s favorite miserable subculture, spare a thought for those inside for it — OKER’S 24 month sentence means his family won’t have him around for Christmas. Pure Evil Gallery is selling these prints and pieces to fund his nearest and dearest over the coming months. Murmur don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time all you like but bear in mind that burglars get equivalent or lesser sentences and a man (already on a suspended jail term) who punched and paralysed a man in an unprovoked assault got 34 months. Punishment’s part of graffiti you need to accept — especially if you’re a grown up, but there’s better uses of cells than filling them with people with a pathological predilection for writing on stuff. Fairey deserves more substantial sentence for that piece of shit opposite Nike’s 1948 store in east London and whoever was involved in that godawful Microsoft mural that recently went up — from the PR company to the painters — should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. A crackdown on street art and on-the-spot fines for tourists standing in the middle of the road with iPhones held aloft taking snaps of street art should be implemented, with doors kicked in and devices confiscated for containing street art tour apps.
Thanks to my buddies at First We Feast (best new website of the year) put me onto the 2013 opening of a Shake Shack in Covent Garden. There’s room in my heart for that place’s concretes, burgers and dog biscuits in a London setting. Seeing as the NYC branches are hardly cheap, I’m assuming that the dollar to pound conversion won’t be as startling as say, Chipotle, when it arrived on these shores. Crinkle cut fries stay winning too. This and Balthazar (when brands are paying for breakfast) will make this tourist trap area worth the effort spent swearing at the living, grinning, faux chirpy living tunnel of flesh that is the gauntlet run of charity predators on exiting the train station.
There’s a new Larry Clark film out and you can watch it right now, because Larry and the studio system don’t get on (lest we forget, Clark ended up choking a man who was meant to bring Ken Park — never released in the UK — over here). Having read some reviews from the Rome screening a couple of weekends ago, I expected the usual distributor limbo, but we have access to it immediately. Marfa Girl has skateboarding, woozy amateur performances, topless teenagers, an awesome babbling bird, some sex scenes, an interesting soundtrack, a gratuitous female toilet sequence (Clark’s own kind of streaming), some restrained melodrama, guns, a cast of unknowns and some beautiful cinematography (from David Newbert). It’s curious that, given free rein to do as he pleases without industry interference, everyone’s favourite documenter of casual deviancy, doesn’t make something particularly explicit (well, by his own jazzy precedents) and instead focuses on spirituality and very small-town eccentricities. You can watch it for $5.99 (which lets you have access to it for 24 hours) right here as a stream. If you like Larry’s work (does anyone else think James Woods’ performance in Another Day in Paradise is a career high?), you need to watch it. If you don’t, it’s not going to convince you. I liked it. This NOWNESS interview with the Larry Clark is well worth watching too.