Top marks to Penguin for not only publishing a set of books celebrating the 150th anniversary of the London Underground (twelve, one for each Tube line), but for going beyond the predictable in selecting writers for each line. Music writer Paul Morley (Bakerloo), kids campaigner Camila Batmanghelidjh (Victoria) and naturalist Richard Mabey (Metropolitan) all figure. And who better to deal with the East London Line, which snakes through Whitechapel, Shoreditch, Hoxton and Haggerston, than Jop and Gert from Fantastic Man?
Their paperback celebrates the buttoned-up shirt, looking at ‘what motivates men to expose themselves to the discomforts and delights of buttoning up’ through a series of essays and archive photographs. Simon Reynolds looks at the top button in music, from mods to new wave (hello, The Feelies); Alexander Fury deals with high fashion; Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant (below) discusses his signature buttoned-up style.
The book is a carefully on-brand extension of the magazine, in some ways a small project (it’s a £4.99 paperback, after all) but within what’s possible in the form and at that price its’s a lovely thing, printed on better-than-average book paper with gloss for the fashion photography.
Happy birthday, Tube.