Nick Ferreira. The dude behind Holeshot zine (R.I.P.) and currently Challenger BMX magazine. He’s been putting out printed BMX goodness for a long time. Knowing this, I started wondering what printed goods get him stoked or inspire him, so I hit him up to find out.
Click below to check out a few zines/magazines that Nick is into, along with some words about each one from the man himself.
Red Steps / Sam Waller Photo Zines
Here’s my BMX pick for this list. Sam Waller has been making zines and publications for quite some time–I think the first zines that I ever received from Sam were his old zine Urban Mist. I always enjoyed those zines and I continue to enjoy Sam’s work with Red Steps Magazine and his photo zines, like his Auto Focus series.
Red Steps is a true gem as far as BMX media goes. It’s lost some of that “handmade” aspect of Urban Mist, but I would argue that that’s okay and actually more representative of the times considering it is 2019 (more on this later). His photos are simple and raw and feature his friends riding in England. It’s not about exotic locations and could maybe be best described as “working-class BMX.” When he interviews people, he asks thoughtful and funny questions that always seem to stray from BMX, which, I can’t stress enough, is very important. I interviewed Sam for the Challenger web log awhile back if you’re interested in learning more about him. You can buy most of Sam’s zines, including Red Steps, via the Central Library, the distro that Sam and Clarky run out Manchester, England.
Pedestrian Magazine is a great project by Alexander Wolfe. A magazine, “for those who like to walk,” Pedestrian features interviews, collected found items, descriptions of walks (“Notable Walks”) and other things related to walking. I hated to walk for a long time because I was so bike centric but walking around with no destination in mind is definitely one of life’s simple pleasures (ooof gonna make fun of myself for using “simple pleasures” but sorry but it is true). I think why I like Pedestrian so much is because how parallel walking around a neighborhood is to riding around a neighborhood looking for spots e.g.: looking for food and convenience stores, turning down this street instead of that, talking with people in the neighborhood and random passerbys. And just like with riding bikes around you can get a closer inspection than you get with driving, walking slows you down even more so you get to take more in. I also really like the design of Pedestrian, which is clean without being overly designed.
One of my favorite “magazines” of recent, Acid is a surf magazine that is “more than just surfing.” It’s kind of like The Albion but maybe a bit more lighthearted and slightly more playful with the design. The issue I have features a great article about a surf trip to the Baltic, some cool surf paintings, a trip underwater to discover artificial reefs, and a bunch of really sick surf photos. It has a great paper stock and while it is definitely more of a “magazine” than a zine, its content carries the torch of zines past with the editors seemingly only putting stuff that is interesting to them in there. In other words, it’s not a bunch of content driven by sponsors/advertisers.
You can scoop Acid from their shop here.
Again, not really a “zine” but an interesting magazine that also carries the torch of independent publishing past. While Real Review looks slick, its content is, for lack of a better word, “punk.” But just like you don’t need to wear punk costumes to be a punk, (probably more punk to just blend in these days) you don’t need to use photocopiers and “use your hands” to make a zine. That’s sort of what I was alluding to previously in the Red Steps write up. Okay, sorry for the digression. I guess Real Review is actually an architecture magazine but it features all kinds of content that could probably be referred to as “culture” but what’s nice is that it doesn’t seem like an advertisement for luxury goods. Some of my favorite articles/content in the newest issue, issue 8, include interviews with Chelsea Manning and Virgil Abloh, an article about private property, and my favorite article, “Ruthless Rhizomancers” by John-Paul Trang. Minus the title which is a little annoying and self-important, the article dives deep into the weird world of 21st century fashion, specifically streetwear. It’s a great article that discusses, among other things, how weird that world really is. First sentence in the article: “Fashion has come to depend on appropriation and ironic self-reference so heavily that few consumers today can distinguish original from derivative work.” The article then goes on to describe the progression of brand referencing previous brands. There’s a great William Gibson reference from his book Pattern Recognition (which I’ve never read) that discusses an earlier incarnation of this dilution and degradation with Brooks Brothers referencing Savile Row (had to look it up: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savile_Row ) Ralph Lauren referencing Brooks Brothers, and Tommy Hilfiger referencing Ralph Lauren. Real review is great because you don’t really know what you’ll get and that’s a great thing in 2019. This issue also features a separate insert by one of my favorite artists, Wolfgang Tillmans. The magazine is designed simply but very nicely. It’s sometimes a bit cumbersome but also slows you down a little which is also a great thing in 2019. Real Review is available from their website and probably places like museum gift shops. Oh and I should say, I didn’t think I would like this magazines based on the cover either.
For my last pick I wanted to touch on a few zines that really inspired me over the years with quick one (or two) sentence summaries.
Elk: by Jocko Weyland and first zine that was very mysterious to me. You can buy Elk from Printed Matter.
Giraffe Brothers: Big shout out to Andrew Burton and Dan Burton for being my adopted older brothers and turning me onto all kinds of cool shit, including zines.
Mothers News: great newspaper from Providence that acted as what could maybe be described as an alternative to alternative newspapers That might not be an accurate description but Mothers News is hard to describe. You can decide for yourself by reading back issues of Mothers News on archive.org
Skunk Zine: I got my hands on this based on a letter from Skunk’s creator Devin Lau in Dig back in 1997. Skunk changed my outlook on riding zines. I reissued it with Lance Palko’s (a member of Skunk Bros) permission. You can read an interview I did with Lance over on the Challenger blog. Sadly, Skunk Zine’s creator Devin Lau passed away. RIP Devin. Thanks for the inspiration.
All the zines people are making now: There’s a lot of production out there these days and it’s inspiring to see. Scenes across the world have all kinds of zines. I know everyone wants there to be a “real” BMX magazine, but maybe it’s better that there’s just a bunch of loose projects free from energy drink sponsors floating around. You can find some cool projects in places like The Central Library, Berks Street, and Empire.