During a recent chat regarding the documentation of youth culture, a few issues came up: sure, we have Tumblr, IG and the rest — a constant feed of DIY documentation — but the self-taken shot can often lose spontaneity. Will the selfie hold up as a document of subcultures? Is anyone taking shots of real life? Are we still not seeing the woods for the trees? Are we assuming that a few square miles of London represent reality for a majority? Are normal human beings still out of the picture, despite a sense of social-media assisted democracy these days? How does street style photography of the denizens of an action sports and street wear even work? Are destined to always overlook the characters, nuances and eccentricities that define British culture because of some ill-fated assumption that youth culture as a whole as become a homogenous blob that unites hip-hop and art while wearing black, slim-fitting drop-crotch tracksuit bottoms from Zara?
Thankfully, there’s a few outlets that present reality beautifully and the biannual LAW (Lives and Works) is one of the best. They even seem to be branching into clothing, but issue five of the magazine — which is usually well worth the twelve quid or so it costs — is free at a selection of stores and galleries around the country. Even the propaganda-style ads displayed in a classic lost pet style are beautiful. The promo video for the new issue explores the life of the bookie at Peterborough dog track — not your average spot to use for promoting a publication and pleasantly devoid of the 1994-era Blur romanticism of working class pursuits. LAW taps into something that a lot of other media outlets seem to ignore.
While I’ve never managed to grab a copy of Neville Brody and Kez Glozier’s The New British magazine (is there actually an issue in existence beyond issue #0?) despite waiting almost three years to get my hands on it, they’ve been busy in the interim and produced a 25-minute film called RELEASE that’s directed by Glozier and dedicated to the UK shuffling phenomenon that seemed to divide club goers over the last couple of years. The film explores the connection between this and old world jazz dancing (which connects to the British jazz dance scene of the 1980s), with screenings in early August. Here’s a (non-embeddable) trailer.