Article in the Big Smoke September 20, 2010

Editorial policy dictates that we sneer at London.  Not for any real reason, mind: it’s purely because we are based in the North and that’s what you are supposed to do, along with wearing flat caps and walking whippets on the moors. But always the first to buck a trend, we’ve gone dan sarf for the week

First. Tonight is the launch of Teal Triggs’ new book Fanzines, published by Thames and Hudson. The book is  a compendium of the nearly eighty years of self publishing. Expect a large review in the next issue. Held at the London College of Communication, part of the launch is a Zine library set up for one day only. Sweet deal.

Secondly, Wednesday sees the launch of Circus. A new publication transcending the divide between digital and printed media, Circus takes blogger content and turns it into a highly original bookazine. To celebrate this they are holding the world’s second Blog Slam, the first one was in Berlin a few days ago as part of their launch there. The idea: contestants perform their own blog post in front of an audience and a panel of independent publishers. Then someone wins, or something.

Kindly, Circus has asked yours truly to be one of the ‘independent publishers’ along with Amelia Gregory of Amelia’s Magazine, Wafa Alobaidat of Sketchbook Magazine and Chris Osburn of the Londonist. Pop by if you are wandering around aimlessly in Brick Lane at 7pm on September 22nd. Its in the Rag Factory.

Finally, on Thursday morning I’m drinking four cans of John Smith’s on’t train north, watching Owls match and listening to some Richard Hawley on me walkman.


Kevin Braddock (Manzine) On Copying August 31, 2010

Our final interview from issue 0 on copying is with editor of subversive men’s mag Manzine, Kevin Braddock. Manzine is a magazine for that want to escape the aspirational, archetypal, male stereotype of the typical men’s magazine. Published occasionally by a small group of writers who work on other men’s mags such as GQ and Esquire, Manzine is a sort of hobby project that talks about real experiences, whilst sending up the over-exaggerated lifestyle claims of glossy magazines. This makes it one of Article’s favourites.

In this issue, we’re looking at copying in creativity as something that’s useful. In dealing with the myriad influences you have, being subversive or indeed totally original might not be appropriate. How useful is imitation or copying to you as a way of communicating in the right way?

I don’t know how useful it is, but it is certainly inevitable in some ways. All creativity is a product of what it absorbs and reinterprets, it all exists in a lineage or tradition, so in that respect there is probably nothing truly original. What you do with the influences is what counts. Manzine combines a tradition of DIY publishing and the process and formats of established, mainstream magazine production. Those are our two key influences, and they way they react off each other is what makes Manzine unique.

Tracing paper, I imagine, is one of the greatest aids to creativity. Read more ⇒


Mono Paper Issue 3 August 25, 2010

We like free magazines at Article. One of our current favourites is Mono, a free magazine with no words.

The idea behind Mono is to create ‘visual essays’ through sequences of images, with the current third issue presenting eighteen full page monochrome portraits selected by artist John Stezaker. Stezaker typically creates collages by chopping and reassembling film stills, scenic postcards, and shots of classic film stars; here the composition is built from similar images in their original, unchopped state. We sort-of think we recognise some of their faces, though we’re a few generations too youthful and ignorant to know who these are portraits of. But this doesn’t deduct from the fun that can be had with interpreting this paper.

The narrative begins with a suggestive wink from an in-costume fireman on the cover, a hint at the intrigue and the eye-play to come. Subsequently we have a 180-degree-rotated man in uniform, implying a twisted frame of mind, a bourgeois creep in a bowler hat setting his flirty eyes on us while ignoring his yearning lady, and another passer-by with a prop checking out a wary nurse and making his uglier other half envious, before we cut away to a doctor preparing to inject a vulnerable-but-content naked man on the opposite page. Something goes wrong, doctor number two calls the mistress but she’s not bothered, though the wife in the pearls is pissed off and makes a dodgy deal with a detective for revenge. Suspension builds, she wakes her girl friend up with a phone call to bitch about it all. To conclude we have twin images of a lip-glossed and slick-haired debonair, who seems to have some narratorial confidence as he gazes reassuringly into our eyes as if to say that whatever mess these preceding faces are in can be left in his capable preened hands to sort out for a small fee.

So from all this it may be construed that this essay is a comment upon the corrupt state of the professional classes and the institution of marriage. Or something.

Whatever it ‘means,’ this paper is worth a few flick throughs. The cross-page and over-leaf interaction, particularly in the series of phone conversations between portraits, is carefully arranged so as to stir our curiosity. Everything here is said with a look, and at times this creates the sense of being both voyeur and object of the gaze of these portraitures.

Issue 3 of the Mono Paper is out now. 3000 copies, free. We picked ours up at the Site Gallery. A complete distro list can be found here.