Back in the 80’s a group of scouse lads set out to write a little cut and paste fanzine talking about the footy, having a bevvy, trainers, life in Liverpool, music and genuilly just taking the piss out of everything. This little fanzine spawned into one of the best loved independent fanzines for the average lad on the terrace with an eye for smart gear, an ear for good music and a taste for a good bevvy. THE END magazine set the bar for independent fanzines and was loved by all who read it including legendary DJ the late John Peel who described the magazines contents of being “the very stuff of life itself.” Unfortunately for me I wasn’t born till 1986 so I never got the opportunity to experience THE END in all it’s witty glory, however many new publications have popped up over the recent years that have had that “The End” sort of inspiration and feel behind it that touch up on an even broader field of subjects for both the new generation of lads with the eyes, ears and taste for fashion, music and ale and the lads of yesteryear who can remember the days of The End and all the various other fanzines of their time.
For me, personally, none do it better than that of PROPER Mag. Proper started out as a website by two mates who then turned it into a small fanzine over 5 years ago with the intention of writing about smart gear, ale and footy. As the zine has aged it’s certainly graced and become a bit of a full on magazine, the most recent issue being a perfectly bound glossy 112 pages long. Although each issue come out every 6 months or so it’s become one of my favourite to read ever since I accidentally stumbled across issue 9 a couple of years ago. It’s a perfect combination of well written articles, interviews and reviews of smart clothes and the people behind the creation as well as well-humoured piss taking and witty banter of the best kind.
I recently picked up Issue 11 from Weavers Door in Liverpool and was certainly far from disappointed. The new issue covers a brilliant broad range of articles including an interview with Tokhito Yoshida, the man behind Barbour’s recent To Ki To range, and his wife whilst on a fly fishing trip and articles on London’s hidden gems, Norweigan scran, A guide to drinking real ale and rare albums you need in your life but don’t have. There’s also some great plugs and reviews of some very smart brands like Velour, 6876, Our Legacy and Vera as well as brilliant “Wish List” guide for an idea of perfect items to pick up once that winning lottery ticket pays up or that bank heist you’ve been planning all your life works out.
For me though it was a certain interview in this issue that really caught my eye. It was the interview with Yorkshire born Robert Wade-Smith the man behind the one and only Wade Smiths in Liverpool. Though I was born in the latter half of the 80’s and never got to experience the great “Trainer Boom” that happened in the city I certainly do have my memories as a kid of my ma buying my trainers for school every year from there and me always wanting to get the coolest (and usually most expensive) pair going and then eventually buying my Kickers and Pod’s that I wore for high school. It’s a cracking little article for anyone with good memories of the once great Wade Smiths even if they, like me, weren’t around for the trainer boom.
Certainly a publication I would recommend anyone to pick up whilst they still can. It’s stocked in a handful of men’s clothes shops and record stores scattered about the country like Weavers in Liverpool or Oi Polloi! in Manchester but can also be bought from the Proper Mag’s direct WEBSITE which also acts as a bit of a webzine for articles and reviews that don’t make it to the zine. The Proper lads are also on the usual mediums of Twitter and Facebook so get adding and friending them now but most of all GO BUY THE MAG!!! Go on, stop being a meff and go get it, before it sells out and you feel foolish for not actually taking my advice for once.