Graphic Underground: London 1977-1990: By Brian Lambert, 240 pgs. By Norb

Sep 25, 2014

It is probably tiresome for the locals to hear this, yet probably bears immediate mention, that this is London Ontarioof which we speak, not the place with the bridge and the dungeon ((although one supposes those freaky Canadians have a little of both of those as well))—a town of around 350,000, lost somewhere between Detroit and Toronto, and renowned for its drab normalcy. This book was intended to serve as a companion piece to an art exhibit of London punk ephemera—flyers, zines, record covers—and, as such, I find it tooled slightly towards the inclinations of the person who picks it up in the gift shop on the way out of the exhibition rather than completely aimed to pique the interests of the random bookstore snooper ((case in point: Nowhere on the front cover is it clarified that the London in question is in Canada—when I initially flipped through it, my first thought was “Hey, where’s all the Jamie Reid shit?”)). Further, as the book was produced through a collegiate art gallery, there’s an understandable tendency here to place the punk happenings du jour ((see? I can speak Canadian!)) in the context of the art scenes of the day ((stemming from/in opposition to/etc.)), which is a sort of academic turn one doesn’t usually see in scene-documenting materials, where potential connections between the punk scenes and art scenes usually merit about half a sentence of discussion. Essays aside, the brunt of this book is basically pictures of fourteen years’ worth of flyers and some other stuff—which is awesome not so much because London’s flyers were anything special to look at, graphically ((they weren’t)) ((sorry art dudes)), but because it brings to bear the idea that EVERY scene could produce a book like this. Which is, dare I say, “what it’s all about.” Nice work you doughnut-eating bastards! –Rev. Nørb (McIntosh Gallery, 1151 Richmond St., LondonON, N6A 3K7, Canada,

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