The force is with them

The timing is atrocious. After six weeks of no postings I break the silence with Paul Weller on the cover of Metropolitan then just one post later I’m back with Metropolitan again. My apologies to the teams working on Ink’s 30+ other titles. However, we can end any discussions of the best cover of 2015 right here and now on the last day of June, because this is it:

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I absolutely love this cover. The story is the Secret Cinema team bringing The Empire Strikes Back to life in a mystery London location. The cover concept is by art director Adriano Cattani, the illustration by the brilliant Yann Legendre.

But there was a possibly even more fabulous option, which involved a cover-mounted Busby-wearing Stormtrooper toy.

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It was never going to happen – it’s not just the production costs, we’d have had our asses sued raw by the Mouse. Shame. Ade has the wonderful mock-up above by pop artist/bootleg toy-maker SuckLord pinned up beside his desk.

Then there was the other cover.

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This comes from the photoshoot inside the mag.

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Ade, photographer Ben Knight and writer Peter Watts went along to one of the Secret Cinema screenings (they’re not allowed to tell you where but it involves a tube ride to southeast London rather than space travel) to waylay attendees, all of who were in costume. They were invited to step in front of a white sheet to have their photos taken while Pete carried out quick interviews. The most common response: ‘I’m only here because my boyfriend insisted’.

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(Posted by AndrewH)

It’s been a while…

Apologies for the lack of recent posts. We have some catching up to do. It would be a shame to let June go by without noting a crop of particularly fine covers adorning Ink publications.

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Metropolitan managed to land an interview with Paul Weller and a cover shoot carried out by photographer Lottie Davies with assistance from stand-in art director Jamie Trendall. The venue was the brilliantly bonkers Croc Bowling Alley at London’s new Ham Yard hotel. Weller wouldn’t bowl but he did play piano and he did smile, but only off-camera. Here’s a few shots that didn’t get used:

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Metropolitan always has a contents opener that speaks to the cover and also this month to the theme of the issue overall, which was music. I think this is very lovely:

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Not exactly music but also great fun is the spread relating to new book Haircuts of Hackney, published by independent publisher Hoxton Mini Press, which is a ‘visual encyclopedia’ of East London ’dos, as drawn by artist Daniel Frost.

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Deputy editor Elizabeth Winding hit Hackney, book in hand, to find real people with the same styles, sprinting after Pretzels in London Fields and scouring Broadway Market for Fros. Everyone posed for photos, including a passing dog:

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The pics are by the brilliantly named River Thompson. (Posted by AndrewH)

A shining example

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There has been a terrific crop of covers coming out of the Ink London office this month. We had easyJet Traveller‘s custom-baked Great British cake and then n by Norwegian‘s hospitalised Scream (see previous posts for both). Now comes Metropolitan‘s neon lips. The lips were an existing piece that art director Christos Hannides spotted when he paid a visit to the workshop of neon artist Chris Bracey (see below). Chris, who has made film-set pieces for Stanley Kubrick and Tim Burton, also did many of the signs for the girly joints and strip clubs of Soho, the subject of the magazine’s cover story. As well as allowing us to borrow his lips, he also custom-made the Metropolitan masthead in neon. Next month, Ryanair magazine constructs its cover from the pelt of baby otters. (Posted by AndrewH)

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Here’s Leeeeeeeeeon!

Leon Borja of Hawksmoor. Photo by Phil Fisk

Meet Leon Borja, age 29. He’s a sous chef at Hawksmoor, on Air Street in London’s West End. Art director Christos and I met him the other week as part of a series of chefs with tattoos being photographed for the Eurostar magazine, Metropolitan. Leon has a huge steak covering his chest; to be precise, a T-bone steak, which, he told us, is his favourite cut of beef. The steak also happens to be roughly shaped like Brazil, which is where Leon comes from. Down his right arm are various fruits and vegetables in yellow and green (the colours of the Brazilian flag); on his left upper arm are sprigs of basil and rosemary (two herbs that grew in his grandmother’s garden) and a bottle of Tabasco. Leon loves Tabasco: “If I could, I’d put Tabasco in everything. And I love Bloody Marys”. Immediately after the shoot, he was heading up to Camden to get a new tattoo around his navel: “This will be the one where it all comes together”.

We could have filled a whole magazine with pictures of Leon and his tattoos, but we met a bunch of other chefs too (that’s Lee Tiernan, head chef at St John Bread & Wine, below), all of whom were photographed by the talented yet charming Phil Fisk – check out his mind-blowing Circus series here. You can see the results in the forthcoming February issue of the magazine. (Posted by AndrewH)

Lee Tiernan of St John Bread & Wine. Photo by Phil Fisk