Friday, June 19, 2009
Headpress, What Happened to you?
I've been a faithful reader of HEADPRESS since the days when it was just a magazine style publication. I think i came on board with issue #8 or #9. It has always been a favorite of mine and a breath of fresh air when a new issue came out. I've always felt it was worth the long wait for a new installment. But with issue #26 things started to change. The focus seemed to drift away from the long standing periodical of "Sex, religion and Death" to the new mantra of "The Gospel of Unpopular Culture" which seemed fine. A broader approach if you will. But that issue's broader approach seemed to be to just include more or what I would call travelogue pieces. Writers recollections of "wacky" episodes in their lives traveling in foreign lands of basically doing naughty things like getting high, having illicit sex and annoying the locals of said land. If you read one article, you basically read them all. With issue #27 long standing editor and creator David Kerekes, unwisely brought on board a co-conspirator (aka new money man)who further changed the focus of the magazine/imprint. Issue #27 was almost entirely made up of these kinds of article, this time written by the editors in an attempt to sound like some sort of modern Hunter S. Thompson. The design work on the issue was outstanding, but the content seriously lacked the insight and bite of any of the previous issues. to call it lightweight would be an understatment.
Which brings us to issue #28. The very first issue of Headpress I have ever put down in disgust. almost every single artilce in the issue is the fluff travelogue filler that has plagued the previous two issues. It's as if they cannot pay writers anymore so they are just jamming the issues with this tripe now. Vacations stories of the wacky financial man getting high in Amsterdam that have no conclusion whatsoever. Anything of worth is relegated to literally two page spreads while these other bits run on and on and on. The only article of interest is a longer bit on the blow job bars of Bangkok which would have been at home in the older issues.
Also the high quality of layout and design is gone this go round. A note on the first page claims a fire caused all the art to have been lost. Perhaps it is true, or perhaps it is a cost cutting measure and a cover story. Who knows?
It is a sad day for me, because this was seriously my favorite periodical in the entire world. Something I've cherished close to my heart and look forward to like a visit from an old friend. I really don't see me picking up this again in the current state. If you look back at the classic issue #22 "The Funhouse" issue and this one, it is hard to believe it was done by the same people.