At 44 years old, I am probably 30 years older than the target audience for Front magazine. Famed as the L:ads Mag that smuggled an Eric Cantona lookalike into a Manchester United team photo during a Champions League match, Front magazine has amassed an impressive readership figure of 100,000.
The last time I bought a magazine was on a 1989 train journey from Bristol to Leicester and the magazine in question was Viz (when it was still funny), so what has prompted me to purchase Front magazine now? Well it was nothing to do with the under-dressed and over-proportioned young lady on the front cover (although I’m pretty sure the girl in the newsagent thought it was) but more to do with the article on British skateboard brands that I had been told by one of my suppliers was inside this month’s issue.
In many ways, reading front is a bit like skimming through a skate magazine – the ads on the inside front cover are for skate shoes, and images of skaters (well, naked girls on skateboards) populate various random pages. There’s even an interview with Ben Grove on page 23! But the article in question is a 6-pager featuring interviews with owners of various UK skate brands called “Welcome to Radlands”. The brands featured include Crayon, Fabric and Witchcraft. Skateboarding has always had a D-I-Y mentality, and with improvements in technology and the availability of quality woodshops making decks cheaply, creating your own skate brand may look like a tempting option.
But it’s clear from the interviews with the brands’ founders that good old-fashioned hard work is what makes these brands popular. Constantly filming, constantly doing demos, and constantly keeping the brand fresh with new graphics and shapes ain’t easy, so we congratulate all UK skate brands featured in the Front article for having the balls and the stamina to keep at it. And a sense of humour of course: when asked what his design process is, Witchcraft founder Richard Sayer replies “listen to metal and draw a picture or listen to metal and ask someone else to draw a picture. If it’s hand rendered and evil, it works!”
So congrats to Front magazine for giving props to our hard-working British skate brands. I may be too old for the magazine, but for a brief, exciting 30-minutes or so, I was a magazine buying teenager once again!