Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Death of a Magazine
I am a magazine reader and for years Tokion was my bible but sadly it has, in recent months, been sold on and as a result editors and contributors have jumped ship but thankfully not before taking the time to release Revisionaries which you can read about here. What is left of Tokion is a shadow of its former glorious self. I've been down this road twice before with Muzik and, under slightly different circumstances, Jockey Slut both of which I devoured initially but was turned off the more corporate they became. It comes as no surprise that neither still exists in any shape or form although Jockey Slut has since morphed into Dummy, a magazine they struggle to give away due to its slightly sanctimonious content.
None of those hurt me like the demise of Tokion though. If someone asked me what I wanted in a magazine, I'd have said in depth articles about all forms of popular culture, forward thinking design and photography and just enough cheek to liven things up a bit. With Tokion I got that in bucket loads. Some of my favourite issues have been their retrospectives of their Creativity Now conference, which they held in the States and in Japan once a year. They'd get interesting people from all walks of creativity to get together and have a good old fashioned pow-wow. To give you an example of who they'd ask to sit on a panel in 2005 they got Trevor Jackson, Hanck Shocklee and Carl Craig on one, Christopher Doyle, Harris Savides and Anthony Dod Mantle to sit on another and so forth. What would emerge from those discussions was bullshit-free inspiration immersed in a world of truth. It was looking to the future by respecting the past.
Tokion was always as much brain food as it was eye candy. It would always strive to set the trends rather than follow them. It would sit on the perimeter of hype and only take the time to cover work that had some longevity to it. No flash in the pan, pretentious, no talent cunts allowed and thank God for that. The typography was always unique and worked in perfect symbiosis with the text and imagery displayed. There was thought and concern for the reader in every issue, so it is with a sad heart that I turn the pages on what is ultimately a huge amount of disrespect to its legacy and its loyal readers.
Gone are the in depth articles and interviews, they're replaced with short pieces that are poorly written and with seemingly very little care for presentation. A magazine that you used to have to set aside an afternoon to get through is now a 10 minute read and a dull one at that. The artists they seem to be backing now are no more than passing ships in the night, utterly forgettable. They used to tell you the whole story, all the drama and intrigue but are now just selling a product. The thing that grates me most about it is that amongst its contributors now is that bandwagon jumping, self-glorifying dipshit, Larry Tee and I know it's a bit shallow to dismiss a magazine based on one person but he is the personification of everything that is wrong with society. Remember Electroclash? This is the prick that 'invented' it and it didn't even last 15 minutes, which is pretty much the same amount of time it'll take for this new watered down version of Tokion to disappear from our newsstands.
I think that it is for the best that it ceases to exist, so that its legacy can preserved for what it was and not remembered for the crap that it has become.
Old v New
Crap use of typography and placement in the new Tokion
Some of the older issues
That my friends is a master-class in magazine design
One of my favourite articles with legendary Blue Note engineer Rudy Van Galen who did the 'Love Supreme' session with John Coltrane. Turn the page and Andy Johns tears Rick Rubin a new one.