Words: Guy Jones + Heywood Ward
Photography: Reece Leung (unless stated)
So there we were 3 ambassadors for the mag making their way to the German capital, Reece ‘The Fringe’, Heywood ‘The Looks’ and Guy ‘The Mouth’, each taking 2 pairs of boxers, 2 pairs of socks and 2 tees complimented by 100 physical mags each. Hannah was pursuing a temporary boxing career at the time.
Reece was on his way straight from a work Xmas party out in Leeds and not only survived but managed to be the first one at our stall in Bright still steaming with one hour sleep. He had texted accounts of his adventure throughout the morning. “Feeling like a bag of smashed crabs”, wide piss and handing out mags on an early morning train to Manchester Airport resulting in mixed appreciation were the key notes here and initiated the first tears of laughter of the trip for Heywood and I as we got our flight from London.
Upon arrival to the warmer than expected Berlin and spotting a red phone booth on a pallet clearly nicked from Blighty, we saw two fat fellas (reminiscent of the fat police duo off the fast show) engage in a slow paced chase. A woman shouted “terrorist” but that might have just been the brand of beer they were drinking as they looked too pissed to cause damage on a large scale. The drama concluded with the chaser combining a fall with a rugby tackle and whilst in between deep breaths held his own wounds exhaling the word ‘scheisse’. A nice little visual freebie to keep the endorphins high before the train left for the Bright Trade Show.
Due to my strong ability of putting my care in other people’s hands, Heywood was in charge of logistics (and humour). When we arrived we found Reece, fringe still enthusiastic, eyes looking less so, putting up prints and holding a drill with the wrong bit attached. “Why aye man!”
Stall set up and our trade show neighbours greeted (what up Scumco, Poetic Collective, Avenue and Frank) and word soon spread that the Vague stand was the unofficial bar, cloakroom and general place accepted for lurking.
At one point the stand had no Vague representatives, but instead 3 other magazines hosting our promotion…Well…drinking our beer and inadvertently promoting our cause, but we wouldn’t have it any other way, family over competitors all day!
Whilst our stand was in safe hands we thought we’d execute our free advertising strategy by sticking Vague stickers to anyone and everyone in our immediate vicinity, mostly they didn’t deserve it but to see people get so wound up by it definitely added to the amusement.
Unfortunately we didn’t get Gary Rogers as he seemed to have more awareness than the other swaying, giggling messes but who’s arsed.
Someone who evidently was arsed found one sticker on them and proceeded to scrunch it up and dump in one of the urinals. This only provoked more laughter on our side.Have you ever laughed whilst pissing, it’s quite the challenge.
Out the booth and now for some networking! Bright was paired with ‘Seek’ meaning a wider demographic of people who couldn’t understand/no patience for our shit chat and nonsense garbles, excellent!
One of my personal favourites was seeing a branded ‘Bang & Olufsen’ banana to which provoked one of the more scrambled conversations of the trip. Heywood took the steering wheel on this one beautifully; “So which of you gals invented the bluetooth Bang & Olufsen banana speaker?”
After many bemused looks and more technological x fruit theories the creative genius finally admitted it was their idea, realising it was the only way we were going to leave and pester somebody else.
Mark Kemp kept the demo alive throughout the three days we were there, giving himself bruises on his knuckles from the amount of props he was receiving.
Behind the scenes Mark had got knocked off his bike a few weeks prior and had to have baths spliced with healing salts every night in order to keep up the high level shreddery. Fortunately he had his energy levels spared when the Element vert wall comp kicked off.
Dallas Rockam soon became our favourite ‘competitor’ and we soon found ourselves screaming “I wanna rock! VAM!” chant to the melody of Twisted Sisters most iconic hit at Dallas Rockvam. At first he didn’t really realise but soon took it as a compliment of some degree.
Dallas defo has a rad outlook and an overdraft of tolerance to have drunken Brits ‘rhythmically’ shouting his name. He also won the Vague sticker slap challenge!
The awards ceremony was that evening and Reece (and ourselves to that matter) were still standing. I had temporarily swapped Heywood for Matt Broadley as my carer who tried to take me to food emporiums primarily to avoid more alcohol/nause ups only for me to run in any available offy then brag about my purchases to which he cared for not one bit (sorry Matt).
The BESA awards ceremony kicked off in style with symphonies composed by Reel Big Fish filling the room. At which point I’d like to say props to all nominated (self props) and all those who won, you smashed it!
We all have our own favourites whether they won or not and give them our unconditional love always (Yes that means you Nick Palomino).
Bright lights, joints on the dance floor and liquid intoxicants were in vast quantities. Arguably the quote of the evening was from Blackpool legend Danny Brady who approached Mark Kemp to tell him that he was feeling malleable. This was probably the first time this word had been used in a party situation and was welcomed with open arms.
The second day maintained the tone of the first 24 hours only this time the Vague stall had also become the inadvertent site to promote ‘Tanqueray gin’. Nice (Jazz club fast show). The stickers had been re-upped and the handing out of mags almost became a jokingly aggressive threat to anyone that evidently would have nothing to do with us.
There were some earnest conversations with genuinely dope people who also accepted the mag. People get further wind off Vague being the unofficial booze supplier resulting with people popping their head round and immediately requesting a beer to which I proudly and drunkenly would tell them to go fuck themselves and whilst they’re semi stunned I hit them with “I can give you directions to the bar if you like” then either laugh, give them a beer or often both depending on soundness/reaction. Would you rather watch an episode of ‘The Young Ones’ or ‘The Good Life’ anyway?
Bitchslap Magazine hosted the following evening which came about much quicker than expected (sorry for turning up so late to the booth boys). It was also the breeding ground for more hilarity, well for us anyway.
One notable interaction was Reece having a go at someone in thick Geordie for not being who Reece thought he was, followed by a shorter doppelgangerof Lev Tanju who must have been friends with the poor bloke receiving some North East bantz approaching Heywood. The following conversation ensued:
Lev 2.0: “You Americans think you know everything.”
Heywood: “We’re not American.”
Lev 2.0: “You Americans think you know everything.”
Heywood: “We’re not American.”
Lev 2.0: “Ha! So where are you from then?”
Lev 2.0: “Oh so you’re Canadian, where? Toronto, Ontario, Vancouver?”
Heywood: “The last one you said”
Lev 2.0 then asked Heywood if I knew someone from said place, Heywood couldn’t hear what he said and just said yes to appease him, This then prompted a 2nd “Ha!” from him as apparently I’d agreed to knowing a person who didn’t exist – rumbled. On a roll Lev 2.0 then asked if he knew any German.
Heywood: “Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof.”
Lev 2.0: “What does that mean?”
Heywood: “Life is not a pony farm.”
Lev 2.0: “That’s bullshit!”
If it wasn’t for Gaz and the far too relaxed Berlin attitude towards smoking joints on the dance floor this issue may never have been resolved. Praise Jah we all lived happily ever after, especially with the fact that none other than Louis Theroux was killing it on the dance floor!
The rest of the evening included Reece persuading someone else that his Grandad invented Jasmine tea and he knows Flo Rida (Listen to carpentry story about a bloke called Cral from Heywood for reference).
Upon leaving Monarch, Reece thinks it would be a taste idea to continue his sticker bombing mission, this time with fan favourite Dallas ‘I wanna’ Rockvam.
Dallas looked like he was having a nice chat with someone, Reece took this opportunity to crouch down and sneak up, attempting to sticker Dallas’ right foot with a ‘Globe’ sticker along the side of his shoe, he’d surely never notice that! He noticed straight away and Reece just continued to make sure it was stuck on properly all whilst narrating what he was doing to Dallas to make it seem less suspicious / weird/ obvious/fuck knows what Reece was thinking, he was driving the combine harvester!
Travelling back Heywood and myself had priority boarding for ourselves and the social hierarchy feeling was rife, so much so that we tried to board a plane to Madrid just because it was Ryan Air. “So I’m sorry could you please tell what the point in having priority boarding is if we can’t just get on any flight? More or less the final piss-take of the adventure.
Thanks for having us Bright/BESA/Seek/Berlin for the sweatshirt and the taste mid-week weekend of networking and laughing.
Oh and if you’re reading this Daniel Panneman, I was drunkenly chanting your surname to Van Halen – Panama you gorgeous man.
Peace out y’all!