Manzine Things & Thoughts, September 2010

• Fresh Cartography
Manzine friends the Herb Lester Associates make marvellous foldout maps of “the best places to meet and work in”. The Central London edition is available now, and more cities are planned.Three quid from here.
• Obamania (remember that?) As Interpreted In The Field of Grooming: Is this the most PMA shower gel in existence?  YES IT IS.
• Cyclometrosexuality
As with just about everything they do, Rapha’s new range of men’s performance skincare products (soap, embrocation and chamois cream) are so beautifully packaged there is no way you’d store them in your shed, garage or bike room – the bathroom or dresser has to be the only place.
It would of course be a tragedy, not to mention rather painful, if the well-groomed cyclist-about-town got rather mixed up one cold winter morning and used the chamois to shave with and the embrocation for lining his bib shorts.
Rapha’s recent “Inside Stories – A Collection Of Rapha Labels” booklet is also attractive. It collects the stories sewn into the brand’s jerseys (classic ropad climbs, duels and moment) into one collection. Narrative apparel, it’s nice that, isn't it? (Thanks to Keiran Riley for the send.)
• Stuff About Smoking
Manzine does not advocate smoking as a lifestyle choice, but if roll-ups are your thing, OCB’s Cartonne Express No.4 Bis papers are an attractive and tactile package with a hardback cover and evocative geo-location details (“Odet – Quimper – Finistère”). 100 hemp and flax papers in 36 x 69 mm format with an elastic fastener device. Pleasant.
If in case you are trying to kick the weed, Manzine recommends these licorice skipper’s pipes, available on Scandilines ferry sailings between Rostock and Gedser. More tasty, though not much cheaper, than Nicorette gum.
• Aspirational Masculine Archetypes You Never Knew Were Cool, No. 1: The Smoking Motorcycling Cellist (as seen on this billboard for Gauloises).
• The Use of Skinheads in Marketing
It would be inaccurate to suggest that FMCG brands entirely took the sting out of the British neo-fascist movements of the late-Seventies and Early Eighties, ut the famous Persil automatic ad, in which a young skinhead-ish bloke proves unable put a wash on without help from his mum, arguably did a lot to change public perception of skinheads as people who need help, instead of people to be feared.

So too did the Guardian’s famous “Point of View” TV spot help rehabilitate the skin as a caring, responsible member of the community, often running to rescue businessmen from cascades of falling bricks, as in this thought-provoking film:

It’s also tempting to wonder what hardcore British skins thought when in the Eighties media planners for Weetabix commissioned another animated TV ad which characterised the popular breakfast comestible as a group of boisterous nutty boys (and one girl) complete with braces and DMs (btw: is that Bob Hoskins doing lead vocals?)

However, the international precedent for using skinheads/slapheads as marketing devices is Procter + Gamble’s magnificent Mister Clean: a suntanned bald man “who cleans things very well”, and who dates from 1957 in the US (in the UK, Mister Clean is marketed as boring old Flash). Manzine isn't suggesting that this domestic sanitation brand or its mascot has any association whatsoever with extreme righ-wing politics, of course. More to the point, his white eyebrows, golden earring and beefy forearms suggest an altogether more friendly sufferer of Male Pattern Baldness. But we wonder, if marketers were to use a similarly polarising social sub-group to sell products today, who would it be? Answers on the back of Seven-inch of “Baggy Trousers” by Madness, please.

• Manzine Mutt Of The Month
As featured in the new issue of Manzine’s favourite creative magazine, It’s Nice That, this bespectacled Weimeraner (correct us if we’re wrong) imagined by Eic Yahnker and known only as “4-Eyed-Dog”. More about Eric's stuff here. It's Nice That No.4 is out on Friday October it. Here are a few pages shots:

• And Finally, A Thought From Quincy Jones whom Manzine met the other day: “You make mistake and that’s how you grow and get educated. It miraculously morphs into experience. I made a lot of mistakes, man”. Read more in Manzine IV, publishing this Autumn