Marcus Agerman-Ross, Jocks & Nerds
Jocks & Nerds is a London-based quarterly that covers culture and style from historic and contemporary standpoints. Photographic shoots are accompanied by interviews with individuals and overviews of eras. Distributed free since 2010, it recently established a cover price. We meet editor/creative director Marcus Agerman-Ross as the summer 2015 issue is published.
Where are you today?
Milan. It’s the men’s fashion shows
What can you see from the window?
Lots of executive cars converging on one venue.
Are you a morning or evening person?
I’m a “sun” person. I’m a really light sleeper so in the summer I get up early and go to bed late. I’ll try and do a bike ride or a swim before I start work on those long days.
Which magazine do you first remember?
Probably the comics and football mags I would have bought with my sweets money but Smash Hits (the music mag started by Nick Logan) is the first one I really remember. I would have been about ten then.
What’s your favourite magazine this morning?
I subscribe to Sight & Sound because I love cinema and I also get Intelligent Life and Newsweek because I hate seeing the news only on the conveyor belt that is the digital world. I don’t own a TV.
What’s your favourite pop culture decade/era this morning?
I’m a shapeshifter. Always have been. I studied fine art and my work was about the idea of reinvention through clothing everyday. I’m a child of the eighties so I hate the misinterpreted rehash of it that exists today. There were really great clothes and music, etc in the eighties that no one wants to celebrate.
We love the way Jocks & Nerds has such an open attitude towards British men’s style. Is there a subculture you don’t like?
I actually don’t really like the word “subculture” to be honest. I prefer to see clothing or style in the way Louis Armstrong saw music. Either “good or bad” That tends to be down to the individual. There’s a feature in our current issue about Cuts and James Lebon. He always you should cut hair to suit the individual, not the trend. That is key.
Anyway, to try and answer your question, I think there is too much reference given to the casuals. There isn’t much photographic documentation but what exists most looks terrible. Of course, some looked good. But the looks in all those Brit thug-porn movies are not how it really looked. Also, rave looked terrible. I caught the tail end of rave but I was more familiar with the London club scene which back then was either head-to-toe Vivienne Westwood or a soul boy look so I stood out a mile at these raves!!
That said, as an editor I’m interesting in the social anthropological mirror that clothing holds up to society and history and that’s something that really drives my interests in fashion.
How do you manage to produce Jocks & Nerds as a weighty, perfect bound 194-page magazine and distribute it free?
Actually we put a cover price on it about a year ago because we couldn’t keep up with demand. At the beginning we targeted retailers so we could get it directly to an audience we felt would really connect with the magazine which was really successful but in order to increase our print run and broaden our distribution we decided to put a cover price on it.
Who do you identify more as: a jock or a nerd?
Ha, good question!!! Well I have Scottish heritage so… No, seriously, the title of the magazine is not meant in a literal sense. We called it that more for its sonic and visual style. We thought people would understand where we placed ourselves amongst other men’s magazines that can be very staid and traditional. The idea is really that it is opposite facets of the same person. That is to say we set out to portray a three-dimensional character within the magazine.
It’s also a bit about reclaiming the word “nerd” In fashion parlance it tends to be shorthand for a Pee-Wee Herman type character but I like to think of neediness as about being interested and passionate about something. To be great at something requires that element. It’s like Keith Richards twisted fingers because he spends all his time playing guitar. It’s that notion of “nerd” that we represent.
What are you most looking forward to this week?
During the shows I’m on the road for 2 weeks taking in 4 cities so anything that feels like home is most welcome.
What are you least looking forward to this week?
Being at the shows is both energising and tiring. It’s hard to find anything to complain about to be in a job like this. My only fear is managing the day-to-day running of the office while I’m away for so long.
What will you be doing after this chat?
Criss-crossing Milan looking at an array of clothes that won’t be in the shops for another year.