Sunday 28 July 2013

Marc Bell and the possibly unrelated rant about unoriginal content in the printed media.

Marc Bell oppo ice to bar.
I was riding with Marc Bell last weekend. We've been riding together for something close to 18 years, he's a top guy to session with. There's something about his approach to riding and the energy he brings when he's on a bike that makes the day of riding fun, technical and imaginative.

Woah, did I just write that? I was trying to think of something cool but I slipped into spare photo, up against it deadline wise, magazine editorial mode for a second there.

On this blog I would say I even went out of my way to be different, so I've got to be extra careful not to sound like the later pages of BMX Magazines. I'm referring to the pages after the Winstanleys advert where virtual unknown and young scallywag kids from no particular scene or guys who have fell off years ago get a page dedicated to them. 

The writing in these features is invariably done by the featured riders best mate who himself hasn't written a sentence since his GCSEs and approaches the topic in a formulaic and highly plagiarised way. And when I say plagiarised I mean that he read a couple of other issues with the same feature and copied it exactly only replacing the previous riders name with his mate's name and maybe altered the drinking fable ever-so slightly to fit in better with his memory of whatever generic drinking tale of machismo and bravado he wants to use. By doing this he paints his mate in a light of awesomeness and manly-ness that is unparalleled in his area of england.

The problem here is that you are not the first to copy the formula of the last issue. In fact you come from a long legacy of copied editorial dating back to the very early 90s. The features at the back of BMX magazines have been copied like bad homework and had the names changed for 2 decades now, a process of anonymous perpetuation that has created  interchangeable monthly features which are seemingly idenical for hundreds of issues. 

The feature being at the back of the mag is more page filler that fun and weirdness so I guess it no longer matters, nor did it ever matter.

Does any one read magazines any more? 

I heard that physical media was dead.

Marc Bell has been in one of those back of mag features which was written by me of all people, I hope I managed to keep it original and fun, I'm hunting for the issue but so far no joy.

For anyone writing a short piece for the back of a mag about an unheard of kid at you local park or trails, here is the formula:

1. Mention when you met this kid (possibly add an odd situation, or that you initially thought he was a dick but have long since been proven wrong)

2. Mention that he was going 5 feet higher, grinding 5 feet longer or bar spinning 5 times more frequently than the next guys in the park

3. Mention that he can do anything that he wants on a bike (only he doesn't need to, right?)

4. Mention that he's a nice guy (no need to quantify this statement, he's a nice guy, isn't that enough, if for whatever reason its not enough say that he fixes the kid's bikes down the park, or drives people to the skatepark in the rain, or digs a lot and holds down a job and family, or will hit you up with a snout if you're skint)

5. Seriously mention that your guy rides for fun, write it as if you're taking the reader aside in an awkward mafia sort of way, hammer this point in hard. (as if anyone other than 0.0001% of people have ridden ever for any other reason other than fun (I only ride for the bitches and the dollar, you get me ho))

6. Insert a tale of gratuitous drinking prowess or conversely how badass your mate is to stand against the grain and be straight edge in a northern town known for its drinking and pub culture (the ultimate in tuffness), always mention pub culture if he's from the north, or the skallys if he's from the south.

7. finish with a statement about how this isn't the last time you'll hear from this kid (even though chances are it definitely is)

There you go, the 7 golden rules of back page magazine editorial, use them well, all you need now is a staged photo of a unimaginative trick, or something that never got pulled anyway and you're well on your way in the world of BMX journalism.

since I've just shut down the world of back page printed media and since we started this post with a picture of Marc Bell here's a photo of a massive ledge spot that Marc once shut down.

The spot is at the Civic in Sunderland and its all but fell down, I guess no one else will ever step up, I doubt any one would have any way, Marc, you the man.

Marc bell in NSF2

1 comment:

  1. Hit the nail on the head! haha. I might have that Marc Bell issue somewhere. That old G sport ad he was in doing that wet rail in sheff was mint too.