Vague Paper


Written by Ché Zara Blomfield
Photos and illustrations by Gustaf Von Arbin & Vassili Brault at Finn
14 Monday 14th June 2010

Vague Paper is London based, intelligently macabre fashion and art magazine edited by Matthew Holroyd and a team of fictitiously named associates, a lá Dumb Dyke.Vague is the cheeky little brother of magazines. It is bold, controversial and unashamed – taking fashion faux pas and putting them smack bang in the middle of the self-published paper along beside stories of fame, failure and fatigue (fatigue from the boredom of regular review type magazines that is). Matthew's choice of articles and imagery portray both the desirable face of fashion as well as real ‘real life’ emotional issues we all deal with – from vulgarity to luxury, Vague covers it.

When Matthew and I first met trouble was already brewing, Matthew having posted a gossipy blog post harming the pride of fashion queen Mandi Lennard. Before hosting the launch party for issue six Mandi demanded he remove it! We giggled over the fact she had even seen it (concluding she must google herself daily) – taking yourself too seriously is never glamorous.
Pervious contributors include artists Victor Bergen-Henegouwen, Edith Bergfors, and Tim Mitchell and more recently London-based, multitalented artist Rasha Kahil along with work from Blommers & Schumm.
The pages are both beautiful and satire-drenched. With the next issue is due out soon, I queried Matthew on the essence of Vague and on what we can expect next;
My friend who works in a magazine store once said "people only make magazines so they can put themselves in it" – why have you decided to put yourself on the cover of issue 8?
I think your friend is just jealous, what a loaded statement. Of course being a front cover star has always been a dream of mine (and probably your friends too!), but I don't think my eight year old self would have imagined it would be Vague Paper. Vague Paper is hardly glam! On the new front cover I am pictured naked, aged 3, in a swimming pool with my childhood friend Katy Kelly. It’s photographed by my father.  The new issue is called Men and Children. This issue was about exploring the relationship between man and child. The year the photograph was taken, is the summer of 1984, referencing Orwell's book 1984. I came to the conclusion in making this issue that our country is plagued with fear by our political system, obsessed with safety, we are constantly injected with the idea that someone is coming to get us. I think this photo depicts this and will of course provoke many of our viewers, viewers that are controlled by fear.
Ha! You never told me that before! I imagined it to be a headshot of you! So going deeper into the issue - I have heard, first hand, the response to your magazine sometimes is "No, that is not ok" or "That is pedophiliac". I enjoy that you poke fun at peoples ideas of what is ‘ok’ and also Vague Paper points out the reality of larger publications such as Vogue that are constantly taking advantage of children, exploiting them not only for their looks but their nature just to advertise a product. Do you think that these realisations are finally coming to the surface?
Hmm… is that because you think I'm really vain? I don't think we were really looking at the before mentioned, we did to a degree in issue Five, that issue was about whether the representation of women in photography is fraudulent? As photography is very much a male orientated industry, we named that issue male photographers have two cocks. Issue six we featured a series of girls aged 6-8 dressed as beauty queens posing next to women with their heads wrapped in fabric, that issue was the self destruction issue and that shoot was about a masochistic relationship I experienced, the girls looked very exploited in that imagery, but not necessarily with regards to advertising. The semantic content of that imagery is rather mixed, the denotation of children as subjects in photography is often of vulnerability and exploitation, for which my intention was to capture, but the imagery also connotes frustration, desperation and torment and being at a personal low, which was the main reasoning for picking young girls as the subject matter.
I don't know why I thought that. In my mind it was an obvious next step from a centerfold image with Paris Hilton's (failed) best friend. I should have known better as children on the cover is an obvious trend – another trend I see in Vague is the imitation of tabloid and gossip magazine text. Investigating How to Die Rich (a lá Jade Goody) and tails of rejection. These are themes that are continued in issue seven with writing from Tinsel Mortimer, will the changes now start to take place now that guest editor ‘Poxy Knoxy’ has killed ‘Anna Summour’? 
Poxy Knoxy is not able to take part in this issue eight due to legal reasons. This new issue sees Ravi the teenage blogger take over and the issue is full of extracts from her diary. So we get to see a deep Ravi instead of the material girl. Plus my brother Nicholas has written some stories, he has a rare genetic disorder called Mannosidosis which causes him to have a mental age of a six year old, he is extremely funny and very slap-stick. Plus one of my favorite artists at the moment; Rasha Kahil has written a story about her imaginary children.
Haha, well thats a shame about Poxy, amazing you have Ravi contributing. What else can we look forward to in Issue Eight?
We have editioned this issue, so the first run will be of 200 copies only. Readers can make pre-orders on our website and we will have only five exclusive stockists, one in London, Paris, New York, Berlin and Tokyo. The starting price will be £20, but prices will change according to the issue number. It’s looking very handmade, with beautiful binding, different paper stock and the page number has increased to 200 pages. My favorite project in this issue is from the photographer duo Gustaf Von Arbin & Vassili Brault, we collaborated on a project with them in New York.
Issue 8 Men and Children can be pre-oredered from the Vague Paper website




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