Master blaster: Indie Kiwi startup asks "WTF has happened to magazines today?"



Last night, frockwriter’s attention was drawn to Master Mouse Patrol, an interesting new, free magazine from New Zealand which describes itself as "sexy, yet polite". Developed by three Kiwis - Sam Williamson, Benny Castles (whose day job is menswear director of Auckland-based fashion brand WORLD) and Richie Wildman - the magazine is edited in Sydney, printed in Auckland and designed in New York. Here is the link to the website, which adds new material on an ongoing basis and also includes a PDF of print edition one: a compendium of musings on New Zealand, Australia, travel, food, the arts, photography and a comic from Kiwi illustrator Jooles Clements. It’s the second magazine to have launched from within the NZ fashion community – after Karen Walker’s travel site, Runaway Now.

But not even Walker’s more illustrious guest contributors in the form of Sir Richard Branson and model Shalom Harlow are a patch on Master Mouse Patrol’s anonymous "fallen drag queen" scribe “Bambi”, who lets rip on a wide variety of topics and, elsewhere in the issue, plays resident Agony Aunt.

With kind permission from Bambi and Master Mouse Patrol, here is her dissertation on the state of contemporary fashion magazines, which frockwriter believes deserves far wider play. Enjoy.




WHAT THE F*** has happened to magazines today?

It’s bad enough the publisher thinks he/she/it is doing us (the reader) a favour by keeping the cover price under $10 (f***ing arseholes) in a genuine and deluded attempt to remain relevant in the market, and to keep competitive so that they can slim up to advertisers and lie that they have a readership! What readership!? Even lithium-fuelled subordinates are turning off magazines by the millions!

DO YOU know why?

Well it’s because they write shit about shit! All they worry about is getting that prestigious tampon or Gatorade advert, coupled with the drug-f***-lust for the freebee! What makes it even worse is that the freebees you are getting are so pathetic and cheap you actually don’t realise that even your advertiser hates you! You lazy Mother F***ers, all you care about is how fat you look in those jeans!! F*** I hate you so much! The reader gets a regurgitated piece of nothing filled with press releases whilst you plump your lips with free arsecream!

You fly around the planet consuming stuff and not really believing in any of it because you are basically the nerd outsider from the schoolyard that everyone hated!

Magazines were once fantasy-filled bibles of style, fashion, modernity! They allowed us, the great unwashed, to dream, to aspire, to want to work harder for a better life… OR was that all an illusion and really the fuckers never ever dreamed for us!?

I loved looking through National Geographic. Reading about exotic travels, looking at bizarre and beautiful people, things, places. Even the advertising was aspiring: Rolls Royce engines, Lufthansa flying to Machu Picchu! Or the Rolex Oyster, how it was made and how good it looked whilst scuba diving in St Tropez, ads telling you of an excellence that you may want to experience or have! Old Vogues, old any magazine were different, you know why? Well they were alive, they had a soul, the writers cared, the photographers cared, the editors cared, everyone actually cared!

It’s so simple - money was not the only frikkin object! The craft of the story, the committment to the photo, this was what mattered, the money came later! That’s why we have iconic publications (only a few), they remain beacons amongst a sea of vile, useless, fat, hideous, mundane magazines that do nothing but kill the planet!

I was recently lucky enough to meet with the Editor At Large for American Vogue, and it struck me how nothing mattered to him except the moment, the creation of the moment and the recording of the moment! Perfect for Vogue! I realised spontaneity, campness and humour all made taste and that really is Vogue. It’s an amazing formula, a recorder of fashion, he made the moment and then recorded it and off he went first class to Sydney and back home to NYC and then Paris! And here lies the thing! It’s that exact free spirit! That powerhouse of character, a career spent seeding a drag aesthetic that makes a magazine great! Remember it’s not war and peace, it’s a frikkin magazine! It is ephemeral, a thing that exists only to record the moment!

Magazines are still extremely important vehicles in connecting our planet, moving culture and society forward away from ignorance, bigotry and hatred towards Prada, Louboutin and Gucci!

But more and more I see a cancer creep into the industry and slowly killing it; this cancer of seriousness, of self-importance - and, unfortunately, there are too many mediocre people fuelled up with degrees, believing that they are the elite, the one that has the god-given right to take the freebee and then basically lie to us all about society today, distorting the truth and assassinating the moment!

I hate you all!

To all the f****ing hideous magazines that I see on the newsstands around the world I dearly hope you all go under or even better you end up under the umbrella of ACP, where your life will be a slow living hell, where even your shit has to be justified to a manager, then quantified by an accountant! I hate you all and you deserve to die!

X Bambi



All artwork supplied by master mouse patrol