Book Review: The World According To Vice

Posted in Books
By Sam Bathe on 21 Nov 2010

Vice used to be the coolest kids on the block. Since launching in 1994 in Canada as Voice of Montreal, they changed their name a couple of years later and soon became the go-to alternative opinion and centre of the hipster world. You could pick up a free copy in the best bars, shops, clubs and cafes across the world. Style yourselves by their regularly updated Dos & Don’ts. Listen to some of the best bands around on their record label. And watch (admittedly brilliant) original content on their online television network But in recent times it feels like the magazine has fallen by the way side, and though some of their special issues are worth a look, and their London venue The Old Blue Last is still one of Shoreditch’s hotspots, blind superficiality and an air of subsequent arrogance hasn’t served them well. They’re so edgy they light fashion shoots intentionally badly and give albums a review score of 0 out of 10 despite blatantly not listening to them. Can they pull it all back? Well, if The World According To Vice is an entertaining read, that would certainly help.

Billed as “a definitive collection of the best pieces from the irreverent, risqué and totally compelling magazine”, if you like the magazine, you’ll like the book. The favourite stories from UK editorial team Andy Capper, James Knight and Bruno Bayley, The World According To Vice is effectively a ‘best of…’ of the last few years of publications. From Babes Of The BNP and reports on Athens, Al Qaeda and The Meadows housing estates to interviews with Terry Gilliam, Spike Jonze and the gun-toting 11-year-olds living in some of Merseyside’s rougher areas, at times this book will shock, and very often amaze as Vice‘s dedication to finding a story shines through.

If you’re new to Vice, this is the perfect introduction, and certainly shows the magazine’s best side. There are some great articles, interesting photography, and though the frustrating need to be edgy remains, with the slick production values and gorgeous gold foil on the cover, said problems are mostly forgiven.

The World According To Vice is out November 25th, RRP at £20.

FAN THE FIRE is a digital magazine about lifestyle and creative culture. Launching back in 2005 as a digital publication about Sony’s PSP handheld games console, we’ve grown and evolved now covering the arts and lifestyle, architecture, design and travel.

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