I’ve never ever considered myself a journalist, because I’m not qualified to be one and I generally write about the same topic, using the same words and phrases, again and again and again. I write as a hobby, and it’s always an honour to be asked to write for magazines I pick up — especially when they actually engage in an editing process, rather than hurling my semi-proofed copy straight in there. Participating in the back and forth of a good edit session is part of the pleasure as far as I’m concerned, because I’m prone to drop a typo or ten. INVENTORY — whose attention to detail is something that I admire —asked if I wanted to speak to Erik Brunetti about his career for their new issue, and he was more keen to talk art than dwell on Fuct. Which is fair enough. Plus I spoke to him about clothing and controversy for ACCLAIM a couple of years back. Because it’s Erik in conversation, he drops plenty of quotables on several subjects, plus there’s some great Tim Barber photography to accompany it.
LAW just dropped an excellent short video on Slipmatt (who was part of SL2 — the kind of act XL used to sign back in the early 1990s). This electrician/hardcore DJ legend embodies an era and is still putting in the hours today. There’s something admirable about the British subcultural characters who carve a niche that they persist in, whether it’s considered cool or not. Shouts to the Bedford crew who were buying the cassette packs from Not Just a Ticket back in the day, while I was haunting Andy’s Records for rap tapes.
Seeing as Slipmatt embodies the spirit of 1992 like few others can, it’s worth noting that Ian Powell upped a Dance Energy from Monday, November 23rd 1992 in its (almost) entirety, from the House Party era of the show, complete with a comedy subplot where Vas Blackwood schemes to earn some money for some trainers and Normski executes the laceless Huarache look with a certain panache. The performances by Secret Life and Reese Project will smear that nostalgia a little for you by reminding you that the good music was generally a one in three affair on this programme.
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.