Look at these books I got for my birthday.
What do they say about me?
1) I love music - electro, with a northern flavour, a particular favourite.
2) I work, (for my sins), in magazines but still love them.
3) I'm a big old gayer who likes looking at dirty pictures.
Correct, correct and, erm, correct. Am I that obvious?
Er, yes, I also got this: but I'm saving this for a blog of it's very own in the weeks to come...
J 'adore Factory Records the Complete Graphic Album.
A surprisingly straightforward Tony Wilson (funnily enough in the foreword) explains how Britain was a dark, dank and design-less place BF (Before Factory). Well, more just a shade of brown and orange from what I remember but when Factory introduced their design ethos (every product from gig flyers, to records, to a whole club was Factory tagged) it did bring Britain around to the idea that shapes, colours, words and ideas called design could, perhaps, add something to one's life. This book by Matthew Robertson is a little anodyne in the written detail, especially when talking about my favourite design, Fac 73 New Order's Blue Monday. The die-cut holes in the cardboard sleeve design meant every copy of this 12-inch sold at a loss. At a loss? It was the biggest selling 12-inch single OF ALL TIME... well over a million. But this gorgeous tome is all about the pictures anyway. Many bring back memories, especially the warning hazard type stripes: it was cool and made dowdy Manchester look like NYC. Later on, the Happy Mondays' Rave On sleeve seems to encapsulate the mood at the time, amateurish but definitely bold and knowledgable. I stroke this book it's so bona to varda!
J 'adore too, 100 Years of Magazine Covers.
As a bold statement, none could be more up itself than: "Magazine covers... at their best come together as a spontaneous street level exhibition, publicly displaying the work of our best creative talent...". But when the co-author and designer of this equally gorgeous tome is Neville Brody, the Art Director present at every great magazine design leap forward, you can kind of forgive it. The usual suspects are here, step forward i-D and The Face, but also present are a comprehensive look at covers throughout history and around the world, neatly packaged together in logical themed chapters rather than *yawn* chronological order. It's very striking that, although technology has made covers look more slick, it was, and still is, all about the message and ideas. I was amazed by the Time Out covers from the seventies. Although more political, the ideas were groundbreaking and effective. My only quibble with the content, however, is the complete lack of music or teen stuff. NME and Smash Hits in the 80s were poles apart but equal in terms of creative verve and deserving of a reappraisal here, after all, they got most of us interested in the first place. B+
J 'adore, also, Butt Book
It's very strange to see someone you know stark-bollock naked. But even odder with bits upside down and dangling in a copy of Butt. Imagine. "Can't talk, love, I'm doing a Butt shoot, yeah I'm on the top deck of the 159, arse to the wind, one hand up me crack and me cock nuzzling the ear of this old woman in front of me, Yeah great, innit?". Yes, the pics are all wonderfully verité and the design is refreshingly different, but it's all very try-hard (ouch). There's a nice edgy probing perviness to the features but after a while it all gets a tad reeee-lent-less. My advice? Read it with your mates, it's nice to pass around, to discuss the, er, finer points of selling skid-marked undies and to point at the person you know in there and go: "Oooh, ain't she brave".
All that talk of design made me tweak a few things on my blog...