Hot and Cool revels in being mysterious; it never gives too much away. The biannual magazine sticks to the hard facts – ‘Issue 12. 2018. £7. 230 x 300 mm. 108 pages.’ In refusing to define itself, or its content, Hot and Cool can be anything it wants to be.
This approach is evident throughout the magazine. There is no editor’s letter or contents page. Article titles appear as tiny text on blank white pages; the only other hint of the content that follows are the names of those responsible. When it comes to articles, and indeed the magazine itself, Hot and Cool shuns introduction. This does not come across as a show of arrogance or self-importance, but rather a self-assurance. Hot and Cool lets the words, photography and artwork speak for themselves and, in doing so, demands that the reader engages. At points, it is not immediately clear what the topic of an article is, it is only by delving into the written interview that you begin to find out.
As ever, photography is a strength of the magazine. While colour photography does feature, it is pleasing to see black and white dominate. Issue 12 opens with Tea Pot Lids, a black and white fashion shoot by Jamie Hawkesworth (above), styled by Max Pearmain (former men’s editor of Pop magazine). The images contrast with those in an interview with Charlie White discussing his photographic study of an ordinary teenage girl from southern California. Completed over a decade ago, The Cyrilla Strothers Project is seen in retrospect. “You know, during our project Bush got re-elected. It’s been a big ten years,” says White in the interview. “I think that the more time that passes, the more interesting the photographs become.”
The final five spreads of the magazine are filled with a hilariously abrupt conversation between Matt Williams and Simon Thompson (above), presented line by line, sentence by sentence. “MW: DO YOU LOOK AT YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR? ST: FIRST THING IN THE MORNING, MAINLY FOR SIGNS OF CHANGE. MW: WHERE DO YOU GO TO DO THAT? ST: BATHROOM. THERE’S THESE TWO MIRRORS, I GET TO LOOK IN ONE OF THEM.” At no point are you told who Matt and Simon are.
The magazine has plenty of white space. Generous borders framing each and every bit of text or photograph is typical of the indie genre; the repetition of ten single white pages, on every other page, is slightly more daring. Positioned right at the end of the magazine, and across two different features, these blank pages indicate a change of pace. It is an apt ending to Hot and Cool. A magazine that is subtle in its approach with nothing rushed or overbearing. A magazine that just is.
Editor: Alice Goddard