We’ve featured a few ambitiously serious magazines here recently — see this week’s Magazine of the Week a Dance Mag — but magazines can also be small throwaway ideas and still pack a punch.
One such is Where is the Cool?, a simple idea that started as a blog, migrated to Instagram, and has just made its first appearance in print. At once both serious and funny, it’s based on that most basic of editorial ideas, the list, and presents a series of places in answer to the question in its title.
Of course there’s slightly more to it than that, in the form of French photographer/creative director Laurent Laporte. Where is the Cool? is his baby and it is his subtle blend of the genuinely cool and the absurdly uncool that makes the project special.
On the one hand it was fascinating to learn about seventies French erotic magazine Kitsch and the two issues that were ever published, with artworks by Robert Crumb, Guy Bourdin and Roy Lichenstein (above, covers by Tom Wesselmann).
At the other end of the scale the preference for ‘bartending’ over ‘mixology’ may seem a semantic variation but makes the case for the authentic bar and bartander over the over-fussy contemporary mixologist.
Other destinations for cool include the Porsche 944 Turbo, a Spanish restaurant, John Kacere’s photorealistic bottoms and a Dublin greyhound track. All are primarily visual responses: photo reportage, illustration and written notes all figure, while the headlines (spiky serif, underscored) and text (functional monospace) tread a familiar indie mag direction that shifts the design away from pure zine to somehting a little more knowing.
But it’s the mood and character, the choices made, along with the unbound format that make Where is the Cool? special. It’s maybe best summed up in the final entry on the blog, a quote from Helmut Newton (above).