Dutch magazine MacGuffin takes matters (and things) into their own hands twice a year. This is a design & crafts magazine that plays in a league of its own, writing about one thing at a time (and no, I will not cut it with the stupid puns). Working with an amazing team that puts together an impressive selection of imagery and writing, MacGuffin is the go-to paper temple for any object aficcionado. Actually no, scratch that, it’s THE go-to temple for anyone who worships curiosity. Wondering about the name? It’s got nothing to do with MacGyver (sighs) and everything to do with plotting, and Alfred Hitchcock. He was the one to use this term for a plotting device that refers to a seemingly irrelevant object, event or character in a story that works however to set, and keep the plot in motion. And so, the plot thickens.
See for yourself, here: https://bit.ly/2Fjjifs
The 7th issue of MacGuffin is a thing of beauty. It’s a sensual, philosophical, historical, artistic and creative ode to the trousers. For someone that has managed to live through a solid 7 year period of my life without owning or wearing not even one pair of jeans (don’t ask), this issue felt like going behind my former enemy lines. From Umberto Eco to Roland Barthes, from The Great Depression to The Bee Gees, from the Marlboro man to men in skirts, this issue breathes life into an item that has, quite literally, grown on us. So much so that „on any given day, over half the world’s population is wearing jeans”, as author Emma McClendon points out in her article taking on The Legacy of Labour on the Runway. Almost 200 perfectly designed pages (thanks to graphic maverick Sandra Kassenaar) of insight, testimonials, lust, fashion and history down to the last button, to enjoy and to make you never take off your pants in the same way again.
Browse it pantless because after reading it you’ll get a new, almost enticing sense of putting your pants on. This is your lover, undercover: it’s as if you’re getting intimate with the one thing you casually wear on a daily basis without giving it a second thought. That thing that shapes your ass, hugs your hips and slides down your thighs. Also it speaks of THAT episode from Friends, when Ross buys the leather pants. That and the almost 7.000 liters of water required to manufacture a single pair of jeans. Let that sink in.
Paul Gorman’s “Baggies with attitude” takes on the streets, a young Enniful and i-D Magazine and the pre-globalized world when street style and MTV reigned supreme. Also containing this delightful quote: “The Clash frontman Joe Strummer once justified his wearing of straight-legged pants in the 70s, when flares were the norm, with the phrase ‘Like trousers, like brain’.
Then there’s Roland Barthes on the nature of pants, that is “certainly not that trimmed and smooth object on the hangers in the department stores; rather, there is the stuff about it, carelessly dropped from the hand of an adolescent, when he undresses, fell to the ground – limp, lethargic, indifferent. The essence of an object has something to do with its decline: not necessarily with what remains after it has been used, but with what has been thrown out of use.”
The ABC of Neo-Survivalism gets you hot for teach: I’m gonna go with the C for “Caught with your pants down” neatly illustrated by an ancient victim of the Pompeii eruption, immortalized in a rather compromising, but nonetheless unequivocally pleasurable position.
Ashes to ashes, pants to pants.
Speaking of pleasure, Umberto Eco takes the matter into his own pants in his essay “Lumbar thought”, dwelling on how one gets almost worn by his jeans, living in the knowledge of having them on, while also asking a question that has been haunting me ever since: “if Vienna had been on the equator and its bourgeoisie had gone around in Bermuda shorts, would Freud have described the same neurotic symptoms, the same Oedipal triangles? And would he have described them in the same way if he, the doctor, had been a Scot, in a kilt (under which, as everyone knows, the rule is to wear nothing)?”. Just think about it.
However, as Otto von Busch emphasizes in his “Between the iris and the ass” piece, “dreams are still draped in denim”.
Listen to me