My dude Maxime Buchi has had the aesthetic of Sang Bleu jacked a few times in the last couple of years and nobody else is as qualified to peddle a curiously gothic, hip-hop, high-end clusterfuck as amicably as he can. Everyone’s on the skulls, Caravaggio, Jordans and black-on-black, but Mr. Buchi remains one of the few who manages to pull off the look without looking awkward. This is because that look is a perfect manifestation of his life’s work thus far. What he puts on paper and skin works just as well on cotton and after some dips into tees earlier this year, the SB London sweats and tees tie in with the London studio. If you’re gonna buy apparel with gothic typefaces and moody graphic design, go Sang Bleu rather than any toy post-Givenchy hype startups — Maxime contributed to Damir Doma, Balenciaga, Mugler and Rick Owens’ branding, plus he put Rick Genest on. You might have seen Kanye West clutching a copy of Sang Bleu recently too, so when Mr. West breaks out some SB clothing, all you Damir-come-lately types are going to hop on board. Plus it’s tattoo-related clothing that doesn’t look like Afflication and that’s something to celebrate — I’m glad to see one of the architects of a look is putting something out there.
Following on from the recent love letter to Oshman’s on here, Mr. Glenn Kitson kindly grabbed me the greatest socks ever on a holiday to Tokyo. Unnecessary, excellent packaging and all the details that make things from Japan inexplicably desirable makes these the antithesis of those three-packs for £5 they used to shift at Sports Direct.
I don’t have much of an inclination to be a writer or journalist. If an opportunity arises, I’m occasionally keen to participate, but the assumption of free work and a brief period spent in the competitive wastelands of fishing for freelance work soured any keenness I once displayed. I still enjoy interviewing people and maintain a wish list of subjects I’d love to document a conversation with. On the writing front, I’d sooner write a brief piece on a product for a brand for money than waste my energy peddling glorified advertorial for nothing. I think out-and-out corporate copy is a little more honest.
Despite this cautious approach, I wanted to speak to my friend Maxime Buchi because he doesn’t deal in one-word replies and because he asked if I wanted to conduct an interview to coincide with the release of Sang Bleu #6. If you have common ground but never grew up together, it’s strange how much conversation discusses other people’s past and output without ever broaching personal stories. If you know Mr. Buchi, you know that he’s an intense individual with a multitude of philosophies.
After conducting this interview almost a year ago in an incredibly noisy branch of Byron Burger (where background sound and dense dialogue muffled by food munching made it hell to transcribe), our outlet to publish it made the decision to stop running features. A few other outlets were approached but they wanted it edited down, which we felt rendered it pointless (and made me give up on magazines that operate within the industry I work entirely) and a mismatch for Sang Bleu’s glorious sprawl. Another good friend, Nick Schonberger wrote a great intro, but still, we had no choice getting our doomed chat published anywhere – either digitally or on paper – so Maxime upped it on the Sang Bleu site a couple of days ago. I’m blaming Maxime for any typos too. Here’s an extract:
GARY: You’ve got a Gucci Mane tattoo. What incited that addition to your body?
MAXIME: Gucci Mane as a rapper is pushing what I think is postmodern. He represents my idea of postmodernism in rap. Even before the albums he was representing something extreme and new in the same way as NWA back then. If you listen to it now, late 1980s rap was so theatrical. And then in the early 1990s, tension started building up. If you listen to NWA going into ‘The Chronic’ and if you listen to Ice Cube’s solo albums you can feel that it’s getting more and more serious.
G: It reaches an apex around 1992.
M: With the LA Riots.
G: When’s the first time you saw tattooing in hip-hop? Tone Loc’s Crip tattoos were early. There were a lot of shoulder tattoos but Treach from Naughty by Nature seemed to be on forearms early.
M: You know what? I just remembered the other day, that the first rap tattoo I remember was a French rapper from the group NTM.
G: What was the tattoo?
M: It was a logo that MODE2 designed.
G: MODE2′s and Chrome Angelz’ work lends itself to a tattoo very well.
M: MODE2 designed that logo and it was the cover of their very first single. It was a mini CD. Joey Starr had it tattooed at the top of his shoulder. You can see it in the video of ‘Le Monde De Demain.’ If I remember well, I even got it as a sticker in on of the early issue of infamous french rap fanzine ‘Get Busy,’ I am not talking about the watered-down 2000 resurrection, but about the early 90′s photocopied ones. The first copy I got — the one with the sticker — had a MODE2 illustration on the cover too. I still have it. It’s amazing. I used to think that the first rap related tattoo I was struck by was in the Warren G ‘Regulate’ CD booklet.
G: The ‘Long Beach’ back piece?
M: Yes. It’s so good.
G: You grew up in Switzerland. What was the hip-hop scene like there? Is it like Germany, where people really get into things?
M: Yes. I have a feeling that hip-hop kicked off in France and Germany as a very serious cultural thing. Switzerland came early too. Bambaata used to visit. We had the Zulu Nation, of which I was a member. Those who could were traveling to NY as if it was going to Mecca.
G: If you can only get certain things sent over, you’re going to get serious. What got you into hip-hop?
M: Rap. I grew up in a very political environment and my parents were very left wing.
G: Were they bohemians?
M: Kind of. In a Swiss way, whatever that means! They had strong values. I read ‘The Communist Manifesto’ when I was a teenager. I declared I was a communist when I was 12. Obviously, I didn’t know what it really meant, but I could understand and agreed people should generally be more equal. My grandmother was an Italian Protestant. We had that obsession with America right out of post war Italy. And also because of the hippy culture my parents were into.
G: Did your parents have any interest in the Black Panthers?
M: Absolutely. My parents didn’t like punk. For them it wasn’t an option. It influenced me. For them rap was that fight in America for civil rights. Obviously, they couldn’t understand the lyrics – then they might have had another opinion. They might have had another opinion. The first rap I heard was Run DMC’s ‘Tougher Than Leather’ which was pretty hardcore. Rhythmically and lyrically it’s pretty tough. From then onwards I was only interested in things that were tough sounding.
G: Getting a backpiece as a first tattoo is a bold move. Don’t most people end with that?
M: In Japanese tattooing you start with your back then expand to your entire body and that’s totally how I approached it. I was totally ready for such a commitment. I had been considering my tattoo for a long time. That’s just the way I am. A backpiece is a personal and symbolic investment. It’s like having a good watch. Not a lot of people know, but those that know appreciate.
Jorg at Beinghunted has started talking about the origins of his site. I’ve long cited BH as a key inspiration on what I do and with the current array of content management tools, sites like that being updated in HTML makes them seem like something from another world. Ease-of-use 12 years later is staggering, but as the man points out, it still works. I remember seeing the Hideout version of the Nike Presto on there (see above) in late 2001 and desperately hunting them until they mentioned that they were a one-off a few weeks later. Were they made by Nike? I’ve never known, but that Jordan IV Cement theme seemed unique at the time. Bear in mind that these were the days when an Alpha Project shoe could appear in a major Hollywood production, like this cameo from the Zoom Seismic in 2000’s Hollow Man.
The Mo’ Wax Urban Archeology trailer shows that James Lavelle and everybody else involved seems to have plenty to dig through. This video was presumably meant to coincide with a Kickstarter link to raise book and exhibition money, but at least it’s happening. There’s plenty of Mo’ Wax music I couldn’t listen to in 2013, but the imagery and ephemera collated is something I’m keen to see. Will the Mo’ Wax Bulletin Board get a mention too? That was a key digital nerd meet up spot to see in a new century and wait for releases that never seemed to happen.
There’s too much good stuff out there to maintain focus at the moment. Even I want to get way from the WordPress backend and read this right now, but the voices in my head won’t let me until I’ve uploaded something. It was good to see Jerry and Michael Richards talking about that fateful heckling incident…by incident I mean massive outburst of racism. I never bought the joke-gone-wrong theory, despite my love of Kramer, but I’m inclined to believe he had a post ‘Seinfeld’ breakdown of some sort that manifested itself alongside some extra issues. 6 years of sadness on, I think he’s served his time and he cuts quite a miserable figure on ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’ — especially at the very end when Jerry talks to him about the career-killer. The other blast from the past in the latest episode (as seen on other installments too) is Jerry’s Nikes.
Funnily enough, Jerry’s swoosh obsession has been very good for my “career” and after Mr Josh Porter (formerly of NikeiD a few years back) told me that Seinfeld’s occasional appearances in the NYC iD space always involved him grabbing Shox and reportedly shrugging and saying, “I love the Shox” it’s no surprise to see him in the onetime rudeboys’ favourite technology. Seinfeld is still very much a Nike man. This entire episode feels like a bittersweet ‘Seinfeld’ epilogue – more so than the ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ arc that was a be-careful-what-you-wish-for for the show’s nostalgic fans. It’s a moment of catharsis and a one-man intervention for Richards that’s a long way from Richie Appel’s fictional one back in 1992. It’s worth giving the wire-haired eccentric points for at least conceding he fucked up, unlike Enoch-backing pseudo bluesman Eric Clapton.
Mr Nick Schonberger hooked me up with a copy of ‘Forever: The New Tattoo’ and it’s excellent. There seems to be a movement that doesn’t want to consider itself a movement within the trade of tattooing and this book does a great job of documenting some key practitioners who are vandalizing bodies with a skilled brutality that’s mesmerizing to look at. Tradition and free thinking, plus a certain unwillingness to participate in those TV shows and webisodes where a woman comes in to get a dolphin on her back to represent conquering some terrible malady makes pinning down some of these masters of the needle difficult, but Nick seems to be in that inner circle, asks some insightful questions and writes extremely well. Geometry, homemade styles, French cartoons and big, cool snakes and daggers for the fuck of it in the most visible places are all on display and the book’s design is beautiful. It’s not an encyclopedia, nor one of those ‘1001 Tattoos’ £6 from Fopp tomes — it’s an elegantly gnarly cross-section of the current mood. Guy Le Tatooer, Fergadelic, Duke Riley, Alex Binnie, Duncan X and Curly’s work is remarkable and in this format, paper does it justice. Go buy this and pick up the new ‘Sang Bleu’ while you’re at it – yeah, the new issue is £75, but you’re only going to spend twice that on a bad shirt that you forget to eBay and end up shifting for £60, so compared to that sartorial misfortune, ‘Sang Bleu’s a bit of a bargain.
I sneaked a look at an unfinished copy of the new ‘Hurt You Bad’ magazine and stole this picture from Sofarok’s Instagram too. If the notion of a graffiti magazine without graffiti in it seems absurd, you can get your fix of train and wall damage from a swift Google search these days. You don’t need to pay £12 for 24 pages of scanned photos and excitable German text to get your fix and the HYB team’s output is strong. Crucially, you won’t notice the dearth of drippy tags or throw ups until after you finish reading it – that’s quite an achievement. Where a lot of publications lose their footing — despite some bold press release proclamations — is the lack of an editorial agenda, leading to a cluttered, scrappy pulped tree equivalent of (insert blog name here) that defeats the point. I don’t know when it’s coming out though, but you need to pick up #1 — it’s the best graffiti magazine (the new breed of beautifully designed books don’t count) I’ve browsed since ‘Life Sucks Die.’ And I really liked ‘Life Sucks Die.’
Y’OH Streetwear has made some serious moves this year by creating gear with just enough nostalgia for the older heads who long for the Iceberg and Moschino era that got kids dressing back in the day and plenty of prints to ride today’s wave for the youth who couldn’t care less what we think. It’s a potent mix and Kara keeps creating it. If you ever longed for one of those tees from a diffusion line that was just expensive enough to get peer props and distract from your cheap denim — maybe you lusted after a Guess Jeans design with the embroidered letters — Y’OH’s embroidered take on the excellent Y’OH Sport design drops next week. Everything looks better when it’s embroidered. Shit, even NAFF CO.54 and any other knockoff on cotton or nylon coach jacket fabric used embroidery as a distraction from their fugazi nature. Great stuff.
I can’t help but think that Master P’s No Limit Soldier Gear could’ve flourished in the current climate of camo. P Miler was never actually worn by anybody and can never come back, but Soldier Gear was rugged before you were reading ‘Free & Easy.’ Actually, didn’t Dame get the State Property division of Rocawear when everything fell apart? That might have worked in the workwear and military pattern wave too. He could have resurrected his cash-flow with that one and maybe the Curren$y (a former No Limit man himself) and his lawsuit wouldn’t have hit so hard then. The line art that came in 1998 No Limit releases beats most brand lookbooks and that mix of camouflage, basketball short styles and fleecewear is all over the place this season. That’s word to Fiend and Mia X.
I still want to know if Givenchy could put out the leather camo baseball jersey in XXL and create a hype. No sooner was the basement of Macy’s awash with rapper endorsed gear, than everything fell apart again. But I think my urge to own a Coke Boys tee indicates that the reign of the oversized rapper gear (as opposed to lame attempts to step into the arena with attempts at luxury goods) is returning, even if jorts are still the epitome of strugglewear. I recent read Master P’s ‘Guaranteed Success’ (after all, this guy was making the current wave of ‘Forbes’ list rap dudes look like paupers in 1999) and while it was enjoyable, I still haven’t bought an entire block and put an full-sized solid gold tank in the hallway of my home. Hopefully the Ice Cream Man’s teachings will allow me to have a $600 million fortune when I start brand building, based on his work.
Before any rappers (bar the adidas Run-DMC sweats — Troop LL apparel was trash) seemed to have their own “proper” gear, Japan’s Major Force label had me obsessing over their windbreakers with the arrowed logos on the back. I never knew anybody cool enough to have the hook up, but this more subdued Major Force brand jacket that recently appeared on DJ Muro’s King INC Diggermart is a powerful piece of rap memorabilia. The ‘Strong Force From Orient’ on the label in the wacky font is a particularly strong look. Is it from 1989 when that tape dropped? Or newer? I know some of y’all are way more nerdy than me and can answer that. In fact, the whole Major Force clothing story is one that’s never been fully explained to me.
So ‘Dredd’ is apparently pretty good. Who knew? I don’t actually hate the 1995 ‘Judge Dredd’ as much as I should do, but that’s because I quite liked the Mean Machine build. Mr. Chris Cunningham is the man behind that creation, because he was on the makeup department for that film. Now he’s back and built big robots that fired lasers in association with Audi. Nowness had a great little bit of background on it yesterday. Cunningham’s work defies category, but there’s always that shrill, clanking, biomechanic Shinya Tsukamoto ‘Tetsuo, the Iron Man’ aura that takes me back to my comic shop working days. Cunningham himself could helm his own Judge Dredd flick.
‘Sang Bleu’ has an aesthetic that’s been ripped off more times than I’d care to name — from the imagery to the fonts, Maxime’s vision gets borrowed time and time again. The difference is, that whereas your average Air Max 1 to Van Assche, Nike blog gone Style Zeitgeister can be a little shaky with that look, Maxime Büchi and the Blue Blood squad live this. Shipping a magazine that’s nearly twice the weight of a phone book is a challenge and issue #6 has 700 pages without a single advertisement. To describe it as a tattoo magazine would be missing the point a tad and the £75 cost is a testament to the deranged amount of work that ‘Sang Bleu’s editorial squad have put into this issue. These are being printed to order, so order now if you want a copy when it goes to press at the end of this month. If you’re in a creative field, you’ll probably pilfer at least a couple of ideas from it, so take the time out to put some money into this endeavour.
Farewell Tony Scott. Underappreciated and considered a maestro of the overstylised, his movies were always interesting. What’s wrong with an excess of style anyway? I never put a tape of any of his films into the VHS expecting ‘Kes.’ For matters of disclosure, I hate ‘Top Gun’ — it’s boring, hi-fiving rubbish and no better than ‘Iron Eagle’ or any of its sequels. I hate ‘Days of Thunder’ too. But there’s much more to pick from — a corrupt cop losing his fingers to Denzil’s angel of vengeance in ‘Man on Fire’ (incidentally, I’m also a fan of the messier 1987 movie of the same name too which Tony Scott was originally set to direct) , Bruce Willis making like Prodigy and rocking his assailant in the face and stabbing his brain with his nosebone in ‘The Last Boy Scout’ and the Drexl Spivey interrogation (Tarantino’s script but Scott gives it a final buff that makes it better) in ‘True Romance’ and the end of the slightly underrated ‘Revenge’ that’s typically glossy but packs an emotional punch (though it’s more effective if you’ve actually watched the movie). Then there’s 1983’s Bowie-tastic ‘The Hunger’ (above) with the gothiest opening scene ever. The new wave of bloodsuckers can’t compete with this vampiric new wave moment — the font, the lighting, Bowie, Peter Murphy, psycho monkeys, Catherine Deneuve in Yves Saint Laurent (and trust me, even if ‘The Hunger’ was the only thing Scott ever directed, for the impact the Sarandon and Deneuve love scene had on my pre-pubescent mind alone, I’d be mourning his passing) basically makes it the most black painted bedroom friendly 6-minutes of cinema ever. Bela Lugosi was dead, but this next breed of bloodsucker was a great deal more menacing. Ignore the usual bro fodder when it comes to celebrating Tony Scott’s life and there’s gems. Am I the only one who likes at least 50% of ‘Domino’ too? What’s that? I am? Okay then. Each to their own.
Tony Scott put Mickey Rourke on during his early to mid 2000s comeback trail, but I’m currently obsessing over his straight-to-video era, post ‘Wild Orchid’ and pre ‘Buffalo 66’. Rourke’s presence at any stage of his career is undeniable and this 1994 portrait by Michel Comte for ‘L’Uomo Vogue’ is amazing. The manliest of hand holding (check the dual watch wearing) and Mickey matching a Marlboro with adidas tracksuit bottoms and two-tone wingtips is a tremendous look. You need to be Rourke to make that unemployed look actually work for you though. He might dress a little Eastern-Europe theme pub now when he’s hitting Stringfellows, but there was a point when this guy couldn’t not look cool. (Image from Photographers’ Limited Editions)
For a short while I thought I dreamt up this photoshoot, but this 1992 ‘People’ article image of Phil Knight slam-dunking in Jordan Vs is every shade of awesome. Reluctant to get in the limelight, this picture is a rare super-animated publicity image of the Nike co-founder. Having read several accounts of Knight’s competitiveness on the court, that expression on his face is no surprise.
The downfall of many a product (sometimes an entire brand) is the fonts. Mr. Maxime Büchi is a mastermind when it comes to letterforms and with the new ‘Sang Bleu’ arriving shortly, he’s putting out some shirts with some fine typography without resorting to tattooing cliches. I need to transcribe an hour-long conversation with Maxime for another site at some point in the next few days. Gotta love that overachieving Swiss-born madman. In the meantime, go to SangBleu.com to see how you can get a tee. (Image swaggerjacked straight from the mxmttt Instagram account)
And via my friends in Las Vegas I just found out that Jim Jones’ Vampire Life brand and French Montana’s Coke Boys brand are exhibiting at the same time. Is streetwear beef going to make a return?
The quest for the perfect plain tee continues. It’s a quest that’s doomed from the start. Some are too thin…others feel constrictively thick (as a young ‘un, a Karl Kani shirt was purchased that could literally stand, phantom-like, if positioned correctly) – the expensive repro brands for a whitey are out the budget. Fil Menange make cotton-spun works of art, but still, art that’s going to end up with ‘pits like the Turin Shroud after a single summer in rotation, and all the Mitchum Smart & Solid in the world can’t save them. No luck finding treats like deadstock Oneitas with reinforced collars. Since this piece was upped, there’s been at least 4 voyages to the States, and pickings have been slim. Quality and quantity are the key factors. Naturally, fit is fairly important too.
As every bellend deems themselves enough of a tastemaker to air their dull fashion picks openly, it’s nice to champion something that appears to be legacy-free. Made in the USA but defiantly no-frills. In 2001, when Uniqlo made its first appearance on these shores it was pitched as the tee spot. All colours, low, low prices. a crewnecked spectrum. That seems to have fizzled out in favour of plastic packaging and prints, plus those fits aren’t what they used to be. Just as there’s denim-specific stores, how about a t-shirt retailer in the same vein? All brands, all plain – no logos. Japanese, US , UK and Portugese efforts…all colours, from slimfit to knee length, XS to XXXXXXXXL. Who doesn’t like a crispy tee on their back? Hanes Beefy has been the pick in recent years, but they get boxy fast – if you’re paying some ludicrous markup on them as imports, they’re far from perfect. If you pick a colour it fades after 2 washes too. Time for the ProClub Heavy Weight.
Pre-shrunk, meaning they keep their shape without becoming belly tops after a handful of spin cycles, and clocking in at 6.5oz where Beefy manages 6.1oz, ProClub’s not some heritage line. That logo is ugly, but it’s still one hell of a shirt. Luxe-T make a heavy shirt that’s soft too if you’re in the market for something more sub-sub-sub-substantial. Is there much of a ‘Club backstory? Not really. The site doesn’t reveal a lot about the brand other than their ‘Comfort & Style’ mantra, and apparently they’re California’s bestselling plain tee.
The ProClub Heavy Weight isn’t too long and is loose enough without compromising the dignity of anyone over the age of 20 – their Tall Tee is popular too, spitting in the eye of the new generation of moody sartorially focused folks. If you’re looking for an undershirt, fall back – the Heavy Weight will just make you look like you’re gaining pounds, but for external wear, they’re a strong hot weather pick – not heavy enough to prove constrictive. The downside is you’ll need to bulk bay from the ‘Bay to grab some beyond the USA. The pick of 20 colours is a positive though. Hanes’s bruiser is being put on hiatus in favour of these bad boys. The anti-heritage movement is in full motherfucking effect.
And some recent holiday snaps on the homie Maxime’s Sang Bleu blog of the visit to the SA headquarters just off LA’s Skidrow. For a couple of Euro left coast rap disciples it felt like a pilgrimage. Too much good stuff. Go check the site.
Magazines are my lifeblood, but lately things have been a little lean. A combination of internet information overload and the general demise of the magazine racks have meant slim pickings for printheads lately. On the formally glossy side, what was once heaving with ad-revenue now feels like a pallid pamphlet next to its glory days. For no good reason, grot for gimps like Zoo (which actually has my selection of shoes in it this week if you’re in a shoplifting mood but I wouldn’t bother – it’s shit), Nuts and worst of all, Front, are stunting with bolstered circulations. It’s not fair, but then, as my old man used to say, life’s not fair. But I’m still panning for gold when it comes to publications. We must be due a new Fantastic Man any time now, though maybe their attention is on the women’s spinoff, The Gentlewoman.
There’s no end of style publications pimping pretence and tits-out anti-glamour, but as reads, (bar the old guard and Lurve) they’re a transient, fleeting experience. I need some substance in my life. The last seven days have been, compared to preceding months, relatively bountiful, with new issues of three favourites quietly dropping. Independent, bloody-minded and each pushing the aesthetic and vision of their respective editors, some in wilful lo-fi as the antidote to Monocle’s €90 soap trays and one as plush but dense with content as ever. They all warrant a browse and your support…not out of sympathy, but because they’re all very, very good.
SANG BLEU #5
Tattooist, hip-hop connoisseur, writer, font fiend and editor-in-chief of Sang Bleu, Maxime Buechi is evidently a man in love with print, and the publication (still thick enough to fend off the heftiest assailant if you’re subject to a sneak attack outside an arty bookshop on copping a copy) goes from strength-to-strength. Still playing with the medium, the usual fashion, fetish, body mods and philosophy leanings as heavyweight as the journal’s physical form are present alongside a lot of ink and skin. This is what can’t be translated to a computer screen sufficiently, though the blog is excellent.
Splitting issue 5 into two books – one matt, one glossy in the paper stock stakes, with a paper slipcase, this edition feels less fussy in terms of supplements and fold-outs but doesn’t compromise on content. Providing an uncompromising but accessible entry to a realm that’s got scant regard for new jacks or fly-by-nights, there’s a handful of great tattoo publications out there, but by remaining resolutely hardcore but broad-minded, this still gets the vote for being the best magazine on the market right now. £24 isn’t cheap, but taking into account the work behind this glorious mass of colour flash, black and white photography taken globally, custom typefaces and a great standard of writing, this isn’t a cheap one to publish. Good to see the homie Bert Krak repping Brooklyn’s Smith Street Tattoo too. Taking into account the burgeoning number of side project publications from the house of Sang Bleu, you should feel pretty lazy too.
Odd to think that Loaded was once a solid publication – and that’s not the folly of youth…maybe a touch of folly, but it’s better than the state of that rag now. James Brown’s Jack project was an admirable riposte to the then-state of men’s magazines, and it was a shame it lasted less than 2 years. Since then, The Idler’s touched on similar themes in an intelligent way, The Chap just feels like a smug in-joke, and the standard of GQ (where Manzine Kevin Braddock contributes regularly) and Esquire is patchy but much improved. There’s been a gap in the male market for the celebration of the mundane, hugely significant and the flights-of-fancy that the male psyche frequently follows. Enter the increasingly superb Manzine.
Small dog appreciation? Hand dryers? Ralph Steadman? Ginger cake? Lighthearted Monocle-baiting? Curry powder pictorials? Attractive female hairdressers? Recruiting a dream team of contributors, many with hefty job titles, possibly from the Condé Nast canteen, but all excellent, Braddock has created something great. Don’t let the 32 pages fool you – there’s a lot on offer here, and it’s earnest rather than whimsical – what could have descended into an ironic trip up its own rear is propelled by a wide-eyed excitement and some actual journalism. This just gets better and better, and for £2.50, it’s a necessity.
The Northampton-based magazine that’s got no less a genius than Alan Moore at the helm, Dodgem Logic is an odd prospect indeed. At its worst, this periodical feels like the handouts at an organic cafe run by a middle class collective who eye you with suspicion for being with ‘the man”, all pig-faced cartoon coppers, anti council rants and anti fast food rhetoric, but that’s a minor. Like Manzine, Dodgem Logic is harking back to a period of print press that’s been and gone without getting stuck in the nostalgia trap. In this case, Mr. Moore’s harking back to underground press, and having covered the debut issue here before, it’s still pretty decent – naturally, you can dress it up all you like with burlesque kink but the man in charge is the real draw here.
His essay on anarchy is a solid supplement to his work, he promises an extra 24 pages for an extra pound (with an accompanying cost hop from £2.50 to £3.50) as of next month and he wrote and drew an accompanying XXX comic that doesn’t match Lost Girls in the eroticism stakes – it’s an altogether more knockabout affair where space helmeted dick people pleasure proto-fascist nymphos. It’s not Moore’s best by a long shot, but it is, according to the blurb, “The first and only comic book that Alan Moore has ever both written and drawn himself, for fairly obvious reasons.” That alone justifies picking this up.
This blog was originally formed as a place to compile blog posts I’d written thus far. I omitted this piece on Sang Bleu because it’s a publication and organization that’s documented in superior fashion elsewhere online. Then, while surfing for information surrounding the release of issue five – which incidentally, is February 2010, and is available for pre-order right here and promises to be another 500 page monster, I stumbled across my own SlamXHype blog entry. Skim reading it, I noticed that the three paper publications I’d championed (TAR, +1 and FACT) are defunct. All in the space of nine months. Wow.
In its irrelevance, it became relevant, so I opted to reprint it here.
Of course, in that time, several magazine startups have appeared. That’s a positive move, but I still don’t think any can topple Sang Bleu’s approach. I’m not saying that the majority attempting to document what’s pertinent to me are perpetrators…actually, ignore that – yes, that’s exactly what I’m getting at, but knowedgable characters like Maxime Buechi are few and far between. Never underestimate the power of people knowing their shit. It should come as standard, but in the current climate, many are winging it. Mixing luxury goods, typography, extreme body modifications and lifestyle with graffiti and bonafide hip-hop knowledge, and making it gel is no small order, but Sang Bleu pulls it off. That’s why it’s the best out there. I don’t know whether they’re in the market for it, but those looking for collaborative partners beyond the usual game of soggy biscuit sychophancy that hurls out the same characters time and time again would do well to watch what Buechi’s up to.
I’m looking to expand on the subject of print press elsewhere very, very soon (with a piece of writing that requires amends every other week given the wretched state of the industry), but I strongly recommend heading to Sang Bleu’s website for strong, regularly updated blog content, and press links to interviews that discuss print press’s current crisis, and why Sang Bleu isn’t going to fold (literally, given its phone book size, or in the metaphorical business sense) any time soon.