The Blue Martini Pages
|Well, where to begin. First let me start off by saying that I think this
magazine perfectly illustrates how the so called "swing scene"(the name itself
is a misnomer, I use it here only as reference to the generally accepted nomenclature of
said scene) has been degraded from a sub-cultural movement to the insipid blend of
wholesome fun and cornball coolness it has become. As any kind of meaningful statement, if
ever it truly was, it was indeed short-lived. I believe that two things were at fault for
this. I think that a lack of criticism and a general lack of understanding as to what
constituted a scene that existed largely as a bastard child of both the preexisting
rockabilly and the punk scene of the eighties; (If for no other reason than that the
majority of people who were involved in the early swing scene had come from one or both of
those backgrounds) were its death knell.
Now lets get on to the magazine. The Blue Martini Pages is published by two guys calling themselves, I kid you not, Lucky Hand and Kansas City Jason, who have promised the Herculean task of letting all the rest of us in on "Who's Who and What's What of the Swing Revolution". OK. Well, I don't know about that, but we did get an awful lot of photographs of the editors posing with various bands. We also are treated to sundry platitudes such as "...I swear by my fedora...." and even some potentially infuriating statements like this gem taken from the article entitled Zoot Suit Riot, Riot; " In the 1940s, Los Angeles had a large Chicano teen population...Most of the young Chicanos were members of gangs (!!!) who wore a signature suit; the zoot suit." Excuse me!!! MOST of them were in gangs, huh? I couldn't believe my eyes. The author then goes on to tell us how the zoot suit is " more than a big, baggy suit that transfers you back to the 1940s, it's a legend." Well, no, actually it's an socio-economic statement and before you make a fool out of yourself by wearing one perhaps you should learn a little more about it.
The rest of the magazine is full of the typical gushing band revues I've come to expect from "swing" publications and few "events" articles that come off as pedestrian at best. There are two exceptions, however, that warrant individual mentions. The first for its blatant misrepresentation, the second because it actually has some useful information. First we come to the fashion section. When I found out who the "fashion expert" was, I must confess, I almost fell over laughing! But after reading the article I was infuriated. Not that the article was particularly enlightening enough to be neither here nor there (go figure) it was just the arrogance the author displayed in his "I am constantly watching you cats out there, and notice everything you wear, and well, some of you could use a little nudge in the right direction," statement. Take it from somebody who has been around vintage clothing most of his life, this guy has NO business telling anybody how to dress and should pay more attention to his own "look". Then he goes on to suggest that you should befriend the employees in vintage clothing stores and antique malls so they will do "special favors" for you such as holding clothing longer than they're supposed to. Now again, having grown up around the antiques and vintage clothing market, I think he deserves a loud resounding FUCK YOU from the entire industry. My family owns shops, my friends own shops, and I own a shop. And the last thing any of us need is fucking weasels like this pretending to be a friend to get "special favors." We LIVE of this pal. Not to mention we bust our balls to find the stuff. THEN he talks about shopping at thrift stores. Well there are plenty of cheap seventies clothes out there so I guess all you "hep cats" will be satisfied!
Secondly is the article about forties hairstyles and I think it has valuable information for women. It has tips on four hair styles for the ladies and is the one of the only articles contained within the covers that doesn't become annoying in the first two sentences. Here is a tip for you at the BMP. Use this writer more often! The only other thing this magazine has going for it is its glossy cover and nice layout. If solely advertising (not by a loan or Mommy and Daddy) supports this magazine, I wonder how long it will continue at that quality of production. I suggest that you pick up a copy of this magazine now because the first issue is free. You can have a read that you might find humorous or enjoyable and you won't be out the three-dollar cover price for issue number two. The only other question I have is, are these guys even old enough to drink a martini?
|-Shad Kvetko: May 1st, 1999|
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