Aesop Book

It is my humble opinion, that as far as the brand-building exercise goes, the skincare brand Aesop should be in every marketing textbook, though marketing is the last thing Aesop stands for.

Ray Gun: The Bible of Music & Style

How I missed the existence of RAYGUN magazine during my formative years is beyond me. The California-based music and style periodical was launched in 1992, the same year I immigrated to the United States and began immersing myself in American pop culture. It covered every great rock act under the sun – from Iggy Pop to Sonic Youth, from Morrissey to Marilyn Manson, from R.E.M. to Nine Inch Nails, and so on. 

Looking at the new compendium tome from Rizzoli, RAYGUN: The Bible of Music and Style, put together by Marvin Scott Jarret, the magazine’s founder, fills me both with hope and dread for the state of the print magazine industry. Because RAYGUN was as forward-thinking in its visual representation as it was in its content. No magazine I can think of took the adage “the medium is the message” as seriously as RAYGUN did. Its innovative treatment of fonts, graphics, page layout, format is truly peerless. None of this can be replicated on the Internet. 

Andrey Tarkovsky: Life and Work

Decades after his death, with only seven feature films under his belt, Andrey Tarkovsky remains the greatest film maker Russia has produced, under Soviet Union and thereafter, both in the collective critical film imagination, and probably in fact. His films were so multifaceted – from the stunning cinematography to the philosophical dialogue that always centered on the same question – what it means to be human – that to unpack their sheer elegiac sweep of his films requires a book.

Depeche Mode: Monument

Some time ago in Tallinn, Estonia, I went to a Depeche Mode bar. That such a thing exists is emblematic of the deeply devoted fan following that the band has commanded since its inception. That Depeche Mode is a phenomenon that is hard describe is old news – it’s essentially a pop band that has blundered into the zeitgeist, instinctively grasped it and has held it tight to its chest for decades, more often than not not knowing exactly how or why. Depeche Mode is simultaneously surface and depth, lightness and darkness, seriousness and silliness. Its range of work runs from the cringe-inducing to awe-inspiring. It’s a band that has often been bewildered by its wild success, one whose members who for the first time knew they had a sure hit in “Enjoy The Silence,” ten years after they began making music. In other words, Depeche Mode is a band that despite its mostly electronic sound is quintessentially human. Perhaps this is why the world has been so generous to it, so patient with its failures, and so richly rewarding in its successes. Not to mention that the band’s influence on electronic music, from techno to industrial, cannot be underestimated, but that’s a whole different story.