Back in the early ’00s, I worked in a market research call centre. Poised there between hours of 4pm and 8pm (all the better to interrupt your dinner! Ha Ha Ha!), dialing telephone numbers off an ancient green-on-black computer terminal I’d ask questions down the line like, “Would you agree with the statement that brand X is an ‘arrogant’ margarine?” “And would you agree STRONGLY, VERY STRONGLY or EXTREMELY STRONGLY?”
Needless to say, I didn’t last very long. Being a poverty stricken student seemed preferable to the drudgery of randomly dialing the public at large. At worst you’d get someone who wanted to scream at you and, at best, old men who’d say “Oh, yes, I’ll be right back…” and you’d then hear them pottering around the house for the next fifteen minutes thinking they were getting the ultimate revenge on you and your band of telephonic dinner interrupters.
But, I digress…
One of my abiding memories of this time, more than anything else, is of siting in my little cubicle, wearing my headset microphone and reading a little publication called OUT4FAME. A free bi-monthly zine dedicated to Aussie hip-hop culture… which was, well, honestly a lot better than it sounds now.
Fast forward about a decade and that little zine has blossomed into Acclaim magazine, five years old, 22 issues deep and widely distributed across the globe. The currently issue on our shelves features a cover shot by Japanese photographer Yasumasa Yonehara (he’s the guy that all those American Apparel ads rip-off), articles on sneakers, the emergence of custom motorcycle culture, hip-hop art weirdo Rammellzee (R.I.P!) and all kinds of other great stuff.
In the wake of the release of their fifth birthday issue, editor Alex Weiland dropped by to tell us a bit about her favourite mags…
1. Mass Appeal (R.I.P.)
Whilst sadly no longer around, Mass Appeal was a Brooklyn title that had a heap of influence on ACCLAIM back in our early days.
It started as a graffiti zine in the 90s, but evolved into a really solid urban men’s lifestyle title, that whilst rooted in quite a niche scene, wasn’t elitist and was very accessible to the average-joe. I loved the vibe of the mag and the articles were always great.
2. The Face (R.I.P.)
The Face is basically every magazine editor’s favourite magazine.
So much to appreciate about the title, but what I loved in particular was the way they were never tied to one scene or genre, yet they managed to be able to talk about all of them with credibility. To me, The Face really represented that era of ‘Cool Britannia’, when the UK was killing it in the tastemaker stakes. I have a really strong affection for that time, especially the aesthetic.
3. Super Super
Super Super is another terrific English title. Essentially it’s a zine on steroids.
It started around that time the whole Nu-Rave scene was popping off in the UK but it’s now diversified to cover modern pop culture in general. The design of this thing is just nuts (their frequent and purposeful use of low-res images cracks me up) and they always have the most amazing covers.
Super Super is sort of like the show Skins, in magazine form, if you didn’t want to stab every character for constantly being miserable little twits.
Say what you want about Hef, but goddamn Playboy was killer back in the day.
Above all else, what I appreciate about the magazine is that it sold an entire lifestyle to the reader. You weren’t just buying a girly mag, you were entering and participating in a culture.
Who doesn’t want to read about the corruption in Vietnam War effort and then turn the page and look at an amazing set of breasts. It’s not often you can feel intelligent and horny at the same time, but Playboy pulled it off.
WAD is a French title that is often overlooked, but easily one of the best magazines in the world today. The sheer amount on content in each issue is jaw-dropping, let alone the fact it’s written in both French and English.
Their fashion editorials are always great, and each issue is themed. The Girls issue a few years back was a real stand-out. One of ACCLAIM’s past editors, Pierre, once worked at WAD, and his knowledge was a great asset in our early days.
Honourable mentions: Nylon, Complex, Sneaker Freaker, Lodown, Dazed and Confused, i-D, Miss Behave (RIP), Juxtapoz, Love Sucks Die (RIP), IDN, MAD and pretty much any Japanese magazine ever.