TALK OF THE TOWN: LEAN MEAN TROUSER MACHINE: Get yours free now!
Sunday 06 February 2005
Which is not a word frequently associated with style magazines these days, since most of them disappeared up their own barometers and into the "So Last Year They Had To Put Them Out of their Misery" column. First The Face folded, then Boorman's own Sleaze magazine, which closed after only four months after he re-launched it. He looks down at his bright orange Adidas. "This is gonna be different," he says.
"This" is Good For Nothing, a magazine you may recognise by its distinctive cover star: a mangey pigeon. A closer look shows the pigeon is doing ploppies over a miniature Houses of Parliament. It's the kind of high-end street zine that you (if you were a hip young thing with asymmetric earrings and a London postcode) would have bought had they not given it to you for free. Distributed strategically in the ICA and selected pubs, Soho boutiques and second-hand clothes shops ("vintage" is an affectation banned from the mag), it has a home-made feel to it, a bit like a parish magazine put together by a cutting-edge vicar. "I'm sure it's full of typos," says Boorman merrily. "It's not meant to feel streamlined, faux-international, or like it's been focus-grouped for two years. It's meant to feel local and independent."
The idea of a national style magazine now seems a little grandiloquent. Instead, there's Flux in Manchester, Blowback in Birmingham, Sandman in Sheffield and Leeds. And Good For Nothing has a very specifically London cheek. "The staff are easily confused in Fortnum and Mason," reads a feature about tea and cake, adding: "They will forget you. It is possible to leave without paying." We haven't had this kind of reckless fun since Darling showed Julie Christie blithely pocketing tinned prunes in the food hall. Another column, "Touching Cloth", is a monthly look at London's most glamorous lavatories, and "Diary of A Twisted Temp" is a satire on Girl About Town magazine. The mag's certainly good for a laugh.
Which is handy, since style magazines of the po-faced, try-hard variety are about to be cremated by Chris Morris in the forthcoming Nathan Barley. Neil Boorman has seen Morris tooling about Shoreditch, gathering material for the series. But he seems to think he's not a target for him. "I don't run my new magazine wearing an ironic tutu while cycling round the office on a BMX. Never been into that."
And with that, Boorman and I head off to the Good For Nothing launch party in Soho. Here, in an underground nightclub wall-to-wall mirrors reflect Lauren Laverne (the mag's star columnist) on the decks and bopping gaggles of the Good For Nothing faithful (you can spot them by their lean, mean, tucked-in trouserlegs, which are modelled on "The Way You Wear It" fashion feature). Lady Sovereign, a tiny MC from Essex, is jumping up and down in her shell suit trying to convince a punk artist that Lady Diana is really dead. Meanwhile, the free Stella sparkles and the free music flows. Not bad for a free magazine.
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