The Limits Of Self-Deprecation


By Peter Lyle:  I can't pretend this was my idea. The inspirational, successful, strong and handsome founder and editor of Manzine, asked me if I'd like to write it: The Limits Of Self-Deprecation. I felt that I would, and I quickly began to formulate some pretty obvious observations around the subject. I then sat around for a few days, which soon became a number of weeks, and now it's a couple of months.
It was when I finished that paragraph. Another fortnight's passed now. I'm going to just write it anyway, because I think the title merits it. The Limits of Self-Deprecation, once someone puts it to you exactly like that, is an interesting thing to ponder. I knew that right away, but what it was was, I didn't know if aforementioned editor Kevin had any specific thoughts or referents in addition to that title. He didn't - not to share anyway, he just let that title hang there for me, like some mystic cryptic master of Wu-Shu taking me up a few Dans or whatnot. The phrase must just have unfurled in his mind, like a quivering curlicue of airborne cherry blossom drifting into the view of a priest sat crosslegged on a meditation mat atop an unmapped misty mountain.
Also, really the whole point of Manzine and the fun of it for us was to not have to write those stories where we say Oooh, this place/person/trend is interesting, because, and then give newsy celebrity examples 1, 2 and 3 and boom – you've got your trite cultural phenom. And that's relevant because I started trying to write this a bit before the Oscars. Knowing Colin Firth was the favourite, and hearing all his twinkly self-deprecating wit and understated charm and that in the build-up and at the Golden Globes, I worried I might end up starting this like an ES column. And of course, at the end of February, he's gone and won it and gave it, "I have a feeling my career's just peaked", and then he went on to paint himself as a pathetic specimen in words so carefully and wittily chosen that you knew, as if you didn't already, that he was quite the opposite.

Manzine Magazine club No.1: Fortune

We like magazines, we work in magazines and we have lots of magazines, and we have, unsurprisingly, tended to find that similar things are true of many of our readers. So when an esteemed friend of Manzine suggested we inaugurate a magazine appreciation column to celebrate this common area of interest, we thought it was a sensible idea.
Here, then, are selected editorial and advertising highlights from two 1948 issues of Fortune, the American business magazine that was founded just after the Great Depression. It's a large format, perfect-bound beauty with a embarrassment of editorial and advertising riches, from smart stories on the impact on the new craze of the year, TV, to numerous celebrations of the possibilities of plastic. Founding art director Thomas Cleland had started out as a self-taught book typesetter in his teens, and the text treatments are as striking and accomplished as the photography and witty graphics. Basically, it's rather brilliant and bold.


The Consequences of Vengeance

Chris Floyd exists partly because his mother was not blown up by V2 rockets launched from The Hague during the Second World War. Here are some pictures he took and a story he wrote about the subject

Hague Haagse Bos. A V2 launched from here hit Hughes Mansions, London on March 27 1945, 07.21am 
The photographer David Bailey told me recently that when he was a kid, a German V2 Vergeltungswaffen (Vengeance Weapon) rocket, landed on his local cinema. After that, rage and sadness were with him constantly. He believed Hitler had killed Mickey Mouse.
I am 42 years old and I have two children of my own. Girls. They are six & two. The older I get, the more prone I am to dwelling on the feints, swerves and potholes of this life, as well as the gifthorses and cupcakes.
At 7.21am on Tuesday 27th March 1945 a V2 struck Hughes Mansions, a series of tenement buildings in Vallance Road, Stepney, London E2. It killed 134 people, most of them still in their beds. Most of population of the building were Jewish, of eastern European extraction. Two of those were my great grandparents, Abraham & Annie Mordsky, who lived at number 83.
This particular V2 also has its own little place in history. It was the final enemy attack of World War II to result in the death of London civilians. If Hitler, with his 1,000-year Reich collapsing around him, wanted to have one last go at exterminating the Jews, then what a sweet shudder must have run through him as the 1,401st of his beloved vengeance weapons to land on London took out 120 of them in the one place in Europe where they were guaranteed life and liberty.
Another relative, living nearby in Underwood Road, came running over to Hughes Mansions when he heard the explosion. In the rubble he found the bodies of Abraham & Annie, entirely physically intact, with not a mark on them. The colossal vacuum created by the V2 blast had asphyxiated them. It had sucked the life right out of them. They never knew what hit them.
My mother was two years old, a regular Monday night guest at her grandparents, while her mother went to work. Her father (my grandfather) was at sea in the Royal Navy. Abraham & Annie were his parents. My grandmother decided to change things around on the night of the 26th March and did not send my mother to stay with the Mordskys. Consequently, she was not killed at 7.21am the following morning. As a further consequence, you are now reading this.

Big Youth

The Mid-Life Marvel of The Peter Pan Sculpture in London’s Trendy Hyde Park – and what it means. By Peter Lyle.
Peter: pan?

There are no edifying ways to be a man in the modern world. You can basically be a compliant, right-on, super-sensitive, shit-taking pussy, and hate yourself for that, or you can be an overbearing, self-gratifying, Machivellian egomaniac, and have more fun but do more harm too, and eventually feel at least as revolting and ashamed. But the point is, either way, you're trapped inside a gender that surrendered all its fading claims to a distinct, important earthly purpose a good three or four decades ago.
As a boy, I tried to adapt to this indubitable and inglorious truth by reminding myself that I was a boy, and that was different. The downside of that was that I started mourning my lost childhood before it was even over. Melancholy, sometimes sentimental, artworks about the irretrievability of youth and the inevitable rubbishness of the adult male (typically represented by a well-meaning buffoon of a father) became a serious preoccupation. The original, perfect “National Lampoon's Vacation”; the mighty Tove Jansson's “Moominpoppa at Sea”; Jeffrey Eugenides' chorus of heartbroken Virgin Suicides narrators; Oscar Wilde's fairy stories; the Borribles, Michael Barry's London street kids who never grew up, and “On the Nickel” a Tom Waits song about tramps in Downtown LA that always makes me cry snot and adopt the foetal position before the second bar's over.

A Shorter Classification Of Visiting Demons, Aliens and Monsters.


A zomnie, imagined by Peter Lyle

By Dick Valentine, of Electric Six.
In assessing the existence – or lack thereof – of monsters, extra-terrestrials, and demons, we are quick to rely, much too often in my opinion, on the time-honored traditions of evidence and science, and even, on occasion, scientific evidence. Where the farmer sees the strange lights over his farm, a quick and handy explanation rooted in the man-made (the weather balloon, the ICBM, the bottle rocket, and so on…) will always win out over the relatively fantastic: the alien spaceship.
Yet, as demonstrated in the prior paragraph, there is a word that denotes the concept of "monster". That word is "monster". And, in the same way, there is a word that denotes the concept of "demon". That word is "demon". And because we have these concepts in our popular consciousness and these words in our lexicon, we need not concern ourselves with the reality that no single atom, molecule or quark is presently assigned to the physical composition of a demon or a monster. The concepts alone of such beings are the projected manifestations of the being – that is to say, they don't need mass to exist. They need only a receptor to interpret the projected manifestation. That receptor is almost always the human mind, and lately, it seems the human mind du jour of these beings is my own.

Tits

(Some readers complained that Manzine, as a men's magazine, doesn't have enough tits in it. To counter those arguments, we hereby reproduce the following, by @flipflopflyin. 
© Craig Robinson. www.flipflopflyin.com

There Now Follow Three Transmissions From Men Expressing Their Emotions



Essays On the Emotional Man No.1: Anger


Nappy Dread Man
Thoughts from 4am on the subject of inter-parental schadenfreude. By Mark Hooper
Having a baby is amazing. I thought I’d better get that in right at the beginning because, if you read any newspapers or magazines ever, you would be forgiven for thinking the opposite. “Why does study after study show that having kids makes people less happy?” asks New York Magazine. Meanwhile, in the Sunday Times a mother who decided to stop after one child describes how she’s made to feel “selfish” by her more broody peers, and The Observer runs the shocking news that working mothers aren’t actually damaging their children’s long-term emotional wellbeing.
There are a few common threads in the above. Firstly, they’re written by, and for, well-to-do middle-class parents. And secondly, they’re all about guilt. What’s with that? When we had our baby, something odd happened. As my inbox pinged with well wishers, I noticed a certain tone creeping into a few of them, and all from the same type of people: the sort of friends you gather on Facebook who aren’t really your friends, and all of them men.
To paraphrase, the typical message from these people went something like this: “Congratulations. You realise you’ll never sleep again don’t you? Ha ha. Life as you know it has ended. Join the club.” The obvious reply to which reply, “Wow. I’m sorry your kids have ruined your life.”

Essays On The Emotional Man. No.2: Need

Conception…
The Trials of Life as experienced with the trousers round the ankles while wanking in an NHS toilet facility. By Simmy Richman
The stages of man can be mapped by the things we want: from gadgets to show off to friends when we’re at school, to bikes, to girls, to cars to – if such things take your fancy and you read the wrong kind of men’s magazines – statement watches and nice suits. The stages of man can be mapped by the things we want, but one stage of woman is defined by need. 
We’re talking babies. And lately, we’re talking babies quite a lot. She wants one. I want one too. But, well, me being a bloke and all, I have the desire but she has the need.
The it-would-be-funny-if-it-wasn’t-so-unfunny bit is that, growing up, seeds and eggs were meeting up and doing their thing as they pleased. Situations would be considered, options looked into, terminations – the word we would use maturely in such matters – arranged. Now, we can’t get our microcosmic bits to do the merry dance for love (and there is love) or money (there’s a bit of that too, though we haven’t gone down that route… Yet).

Essays On The Emotional Man. No.3: Sadness


Don't Fear The Weeper
Simon Mills addresses the social trend for crying, assuming such a thing exists, before moving on to some more humanistic and personal insights on the phenomenon and the taboos surrounding it

Some men can’t cry. You can take them to a soppy wedding or a horridly sad funeral, show them pictures of orphaned kiddies or that bit from ET and… nothing. Not even the thinnest cataract of salty mist.
Oh, they’ll choke a bit and get a bit dry-mouthed as the scalenus muscles in their gullets constrict the thorax, but the lacrimal glands' nicotinic and muscarinic receptors will fail to activate, and the tears just won’t come.
But this is usually not an ocular plumbing issue, more a complex, emotional thing – a kind of phobia in fact. Fears for tears, if you will. There isn’t a specific psychiatric term for the condition, so I’m going to make history by coining one: Lachryphobia.
Stephen Russell, “The Barefoot Doctor”, used to suffer from a chronic form of mature lachryphobia. In his book “The Man Who Drove With His Eyes Closed” Russell describes a poignant scene in his young life when his mother dropped him off at boarding school for the first time. “I was eight years old and I felt an overwhelming sensation of grief and abandonment,” he says. “My natural instinct was to blubber, but no way would I do that because none of the other boys were crying.” 
In fact, Russell suppressed his tears so effectively, he actually thought he’d never cry again. Eventually, it took the death of a close friend, mentor and father figure, the celebrated psychotherapist R. D. Laing, to release the tension of that critical childhood moment. “I cried for three days solid when he died.” says Webster. It was the first time he’d shed a tear for 27 years.
“Crying, like laughter, is a natural semi-autonomic function, there simply to force your diaphragm,” explains the shoeless doc. “You breathe out and thus release whichever intense emotion you were holding onto in your chest and abdomen.” This process, he says, “makes mascara run, figuratively speaking,” and it will often seem inappropriate to indulge. “Bottling it is bad for your health on all levels.”

Saddamski


An interesting trip to the former Iraqi Embassy in East Berlin, with photographs and text. By Daniel West. Photography: Andreas Lux
An abandoned villa, one careful owner (deceased). Impossible to resist. So off we set, the two of us, tourists of the apocalypse.

In an overlooked corner of suburban Berlin, of course. A light industrial estate – innocuous. But you could see in a snap it had form. That unyielding Modernism, the crunch of glass underfoot as you mount the steps. An archtectural smoking gun. 

Inside the once-plush carpets are caked in scum. Wallpaper limps off in sheets or arid cracks. A mosaic that has lost its own logic. Cramped rooms with no windows, one chair in each. Two disembowelled TVs. Like an open wound, we agreed

Planes passing overhead can’t drown out the echoes of bureaucracy. A solitary leather brogue, three copies of the FT from 1989, typewriters,  files, magnetic tape, a Japanese machine with two bulbs (they read “OPERATION” and “TROUBLE”).
 Elsewhere, domestic horror. Floral three-piece suite, Persian carpets, photographs of false Mesopotamian idols, an Air Algeria calendar. Prudish lace curtains barely concealing Saddam’s leg. Uncle Sam peeps in.
And what of all that shock and awe? But the exit is just empty bottles and spent fags like always. A tickertape washout for the comedown-cum-climbdown from hubris. An AfPak hangover full of party poopers, and the faint stench of shit.