Proper Magazine issue 18 – review

How can it feel, this wrong

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Benchmark. The dictionary definition:
noun
(1.) a standard of excellence, achievement, etc
(2.) a point of reference against which things may be compared
(3.) any standard or reference by which others can be measured or judged

Some things are meant to reassure, comfort, acknowledge. Others set a standard, that thing that everything else is measured by. What if you’re after both? Home truths and mens jackets. Some things speak volumes just by existing.

Proper has the right to be what ever the fuck it wants to be. It’s earned that right. To paraphrase uncle Monty: i used to weep in front of the cover of issue 3. Some things are meant to be. Modern technology has killed our love of the object. Proper #18 – the Road Edition. It exists. A small object of desire. It’s a point of departure. It’s also the first issue produced as a job. These fuckers are getting paid for this. Bonus.

If this road leads nowhere, i don’t care, i’m going
So how does it measure up, now that it’s gone all professional? That’s the big question. Kings of the fashion laderati, documenting the passing phases of popular male tastes. It’s a fucking job. Proper remain the benchmark. There’s something genuinely exciting about these little packages of information, portals into the psyche and human condition of the modern male. If someone wants to go all blasé on me and tell me it’s the condition of western consumer culture to document its own despair then, fuck it, if that’s the case lets at least do it some justice. Let’s do it proper.

Despite the casual way in which they come across (it’s a northern thing, well versed) they obviously thought about this issue a lot.  Content-wise it’s packed and a little bit thoughtful, designed to make you think.

The distance between us when we communicate
Issue 18 contains:

  • New Balance house in Stockport. First i thought this was an april fools thing, or a dead arty conceptual photo-shoot thing, but apparently there’s a bunch of athletes holed up in a semi in suburban Stockport who wear nothing but New Balance. It’s a fucking brilliant article/interview/photoshoot.
  • Fraser Trewick founder of Hawksmill Denim does his favourite five, and turns us onto the brilliantly obscure Brogues classic I Ain’t No Miracle Worker. (Basically it’s Al Wilson’s The Snake reworked as a sixties garage anthem. Or should that be The Snake is a northern soul reworking of…).
  • Two big weighty articles on the archetypal american road movie, and what it all meant during that period of US cultural dislocation (late 60s-early 70s). One by Dan Moores, beautifully illustrated by um, Persons Name courtesy of the Cunning Craftsman, and the other by TSPTR’s Russ Gater which is his love letter to the cult classic Two-Lane Blacktop. Love these articles because they introduce you to a subject matter with a genuine sense of purpose and affection, make you want to investigate further, watch the film, make your own list. Me i came up with Vanishing Point, Duel and Smokey and the Bandit. Seriously. All class act american road movies in their own way.
  • Andy Inglis does his tour manager diaries, and Eddy Rhead does the motorways (it’s a concrete thing) and hey guess where the first motorway in Britain was built (give you a clue, it was up fucking north).
  • Action Man. The doll. An article about the boys toy from yesteryear which is 50 years old this year. Which slips into an article about the militarisation of male fashion, with an interview with ArkAir.
  • The issue ends on a high with a magnificent piece about Motown (Detroit, motor city, car manufacturing, roads it all fits) with an interview with former editor of Billboard magazine Adam White who’s just written a book on the peerless record label, from a behind the scenes perspective, called Motown: The Sound of Young America.
  • Clever 4 page spread from Oi Polloi sounding off and selling us stuff. But in a humorous way.
  • Comes with a pull-out One True Saxon booklet/advertising feature called ‘Return of the Scuttlers’ showcasing OTS SS16 collection. Nice little background piece on the scuttlers and modelled by a Manc band called Prose who sound pretty sharp, worth checking out.

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