i-D magazine November 1990 issue number 86 'The Born Again Issue'. Such an outstanding year looking back the optimistic build of the nineties and proof that radical modernists were alive and kicking in N.E London inspired by 1960s American telly
i-D started life as a zine in 1980 and has lasted pretty much unspoilt to this day. The magazine has never really pandered to the big guns and here in 1990 they mention the then dodgy: Camden, Kingsland Road, Aldgate, and Penge- Penge!. These days of course Dalston East London is super scruffy chic and Camden has finally fallen on its sword.
In 1990 it felt like other magazines stuck to the flashier side of London and all of its advertisers label listings. In these days of sustainability and repurposing here we have talk of second hand clothing from Levis and Marks & Spencers crew necks- in an internationally acclaimed magazine- sitting alongside some sussed off the shelf brands.
Before the advent of the world wide web, zines as you know (we keep on bleating on about) were a major source of what was going on even as late as the early nineties. Sure zines are all cool and whatnot but many moons ago they were crucial.
You couldn't google image or tumblr inspiration and so 60's & 70's TV and film were a major inspiration for club fliers and zine art. The other bonus of watching old TV shows was clothing inspiration and getting a smart 1960's modernist look for a crowd looking to dodge the obvious cliche sportswear mod-ish clothing brands.
In this i-D article I-Spy series is the focus but: The Prisoner, Man from U.N.K.L.E and The Avengers were probably more widely watched on British television, purely down to those series being aired nationwide at the time. The spy vibe cold-war modern tv shows were a big influence on many mods wardrobes, of course everyone took the cheesy story lines with a pinch of salt- the clothing was the be all and end all.
The out and out bonus of this article is of course the fact that it was the first tv series to feature black and white co-starring actors in the USA. The show ran for three series from 1965 to 1967 which when you consider the 'laws' in the southern states of the USA at the time was a feet in itself. The multi racial element of I-Spy was as this article suggests an absolute plus point for mods religiously watching the series and it reflected the healthy mix of this revival scene.
The photography in this article is by Nick Knight founder of Showstudio fame, a skinhead in his youth he photographed and published the now famous Skinhead book in 1982 on Omnibus Press. Towards the back of the book theres a photograph titled 'Sunday mod bashing in Bethnal Green', which is doubtful it was probably the other way around.
Prior to Nicks apparent mod bashing style war photography he smartened up a bit and shot a few covers for The Style Council in the mid 80's and Weller's first solo album in 1992.
I never made it to Hardtimes monthly club night at Pyramid Arts centre Dalston, wish I had - I reckon it would have been brill. I've still not made my way out to Penge either, I'll get back to you on that one. Have a good November you Neo Radical Modernists, you.