Face off

18 07 2017


Photo shoot from Kaltblut magazine.

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28 05 2017


Above, a random find at a Japanese language bookstore, a magazine apparently titled “Houyhnhnm Unplugged” aimed squarely at the hip, forty-something year old man, with rather eccentric fashion spreads themed around the favoured leisure activities of comfortable middle age: “ceramic art”, “breakfast”, “jogging”, “architecture” and my favourite “plant”, featuring a bearded man in a jaunty jacket holding a staghorn fern. Meanwhile, below…


Mommy’s little helpers

17 05 2017


Bangkok model Cindy Bishop features in an acerbic, and colour-saturated, domestic-themed spread for Thai Harpers Bazaar – just in time for (Western) Mother’s Day!

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6 03 2017


Gene Kasidit stars in this fashion shoot for “Surround” magazine, photographed at an incredible neo-baroque (and very Bangkok ) hair salon called “77th studio”. I’m tempted to book in for a cut.


Celebrity endorsement

2 03 2017


Top, Trevante Rhodes for Calvin Klein; bottom, Tokyo it-girl (somewhat tarnished by last year’s instagram scandal) Kiko Mizuhara, flogging Bangkok’s perenially empty Central Embassy Mall and centre, Gigi Hadid’s powerful, perplexing cover shot for the new Vogue Arabia. What does it mean? Super-superficial American celeb trying on her identity as the world’s most contested nationality (she is half-Palestinian) like a glittery rag, soon to be disposed of? Fashion co-opting Islamism, or the reverse? Is Vogue grovelling to conservative religious figures or sending  them a message of contempt? The image’s ambiguity is what gives it such power.


12 02 2017


Travel magazines are a guilty pleasure. Utterly disposable and laughably transparent, they are purely devices to stimulate spending. To this aim, everything always has to be “new!” – all the time. “The new Paris”, “The new New York”, “Hottest new destinations for 2017” (are they really going to be so different from the hottest destinations of 2016?), and so many “extraordinary” new hotel properties, yet all offering overpriced variations on a well-worn theme…a room and a swimming pool. Got it.

And yet, I like them. They are pure escapism and a very cheap way, for an hour or so, to feel rich, idly leafing through the pages and deciding which of these places I would (will?) go to.

Conde Naste Traveller, with its well-executed Instagram-inspired art direction (above) is a particular favourite.

This weekend I read an article in it on “South America’s New Hippest City” which was – to its credit, surprisingly – La Paz. But the article put a strong case and I learned something about the city I had never known before, namely that it has sparked a new architectural trend dubbed “cholet”, a portmanteau of “Chola” (Andean native) and “chalet”. Apparently a sign of greater indigenous affluence under President Evo Morales, the buildings have been commissioned by the indigenous nouveau riche from a riot of influences: art deco, street art, Transformers and traditional Aymara culture among them.


You can read more about the cholet movement here.

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Duiro: Woo Yeah!

8 01 2017


The very fresh and stylish-looking Korean gay magazine Duiro has released its second issue, on the theme of “marriage”. If I am understanding this (Korean) facebook post correctly, it is looking for crowdfunding to print the issue, with a tie-up with underwear/fetishwear company Woo Yeah as a possible incentive. The issue looks great so I hope they will get it off the ground!

STOP PRESS: You can order a copy here.


FFW>> Brazil 2016

24 12 2016

It’s been a while now since I was in Brazil and I have lost touch a bit with the rich thread of Brazilian pop culture, but luckily São Paulo fashion mag FFW has published this end-of-year music listicle of Brazilian rappers, soul singers and drag queen superstars to help get me back on track.

Back to nature

5 12 2016


Osaka go-go boy Yuta Brave takes a camping trip for J-gay mag, Badi. More (NSFW) pics after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Bang Saen beach getaway

4 12 2016


Thai fash mag Volume does a fun fashion story to celebrate one of the country’s original beach resort success stories, Bang Saen. The closest stretch of sand to Bangkok, Bang Saen was developed in the 196os as a holiday resort before being overshadowed by Pattaya and then Phuket. It is still popular with domestic tourists however, and it does boast a midcentury-style “heritage hotel” and a handsome young mayor, both of whom appear in this editorial.

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Two Japanese comebacks

25 09 2016

J-Pop megastar Utada Hikaru is back with a new album, seemingly with a slight gay bent. This track is a rather lovely lesbian-themed duet with fellow “Heisei diva” Shiina Ringo.

Even more exciting from my point of view is the surprise re-appearance of “Relax” magazine, which I was shocked and thrilled to spot in an Eslite bookstore in Taichung.


“Relax” was the Bible of early 2000s Tokyo cool, a magazine I “read” (well looked at) religiously and in one of the most glorious moments of my existence, once appeared in. The magazine shut up shop in 2006, but is apparently back, with exactly the same layout as before and in its first issue, an extended interview with Mike Mills (a name I haven’t head in a while) as though the last decade never happened…

懐かしい !!!

The September Issue

5 09 2016


Read the rest of this entry »

Hidden Bangkok

4 08 2016


Thai magazine ‘aday’ has released a “100 secrets of hidden Bangkok” issue and it seems to be a hit; I asked a Thai friend to help me get hold of a copy but the magazine had sold out everywhere. These kind of “Secret City X” articles always tread a fine line, sometimes the tips are exceedingly basic and obvious, as in a recent “Travel+Leisure” magazine feature I read on Hong Kong which tipped Sheung Wan as an under-the-radar district the expat hordes had yet to discover, when of course, it is in fact firmly established.


Oneday Wallflowers, the elegant floral workshop tucked into an alley on Chinatown’s Soi Nana, and one of the 100 secrets of Hidden Bangkok.

But in the case of “Hidden Bangkok” the editors seem to have made some interesting choices – and discoveries! Some of the places listed are obscure attractions which I have none the less visited and enjoyed, while many others IU had never heard of. I can’t wait to get back to the city to explore them.


The public park in the old Tiajew Chinese cemetery near Surasak skytrain station, read more here.

Good luck getting your hands on a physical copy  of the magazine but there is a Google Map to the 100 secrets of hidden Bangkok here, although it is only in Thai – let google translate be your friend!


Chula University’s little-visited zoology museum.


The Islamic Center of Thailand in Ramkhamhaeng.

The Evolution of Badi

11 07 2016

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Here are some of the covers of Japan’s iconic gay magazine, Badi, through the decades. They range from the early issues sporting orange-skinned drawn models in pointedly exotic settings to the more streamlined line illustrations of the nineties and turn of the century (which I remember first hand!) Pointedly though, both imply that the editors couldn’t find live human models willing to front a gay mag.

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Then in the new century, humans appear, leading up to the newly glamorous high-fashion shots of top J-photographer Leslie Kee in recent years.

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And my personal favourite cover, the “sexy fishmonger”:


<3 Japanese magazines

21 04 2016


The latest Brutus magazine contains their (second!!!) ‘Bizarre Plants Handbook’ complete with several pages of lovingly shot succulents, a round-up of some of the world’s most interesting botanical gardens and a “Bizarre Plant travel guide to Germany.” Amazing!

21 03 2016


Another amazing issue of my favourite mainland magazine, The Outlook, this one with the theme “mask”.

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Military chic

9 01 2016


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Korea has a new gay magazine. International distribution will start next month, and the current issue’s theme is (topically for a country with compulsory army service), “military.”


The Outlook: Its a Monster

12 08 2015

My favourite mainland magazine, the super art-directed “The Outlook” is back, with a new issue all about…the history of monsters!

Cop a mouthful of mouthfeel

2 06 2015

Mouthfeel is the arty new cooking and restaurant magazine “from a gay perspective”. Its an interesting concept. Creator Mac Malikowski has talked about wanting to explode the silent homophobia that pervades commercial kitchens even as gay people run much of the industry. It is similar to the way that fashion can be a weirdly homophobic trade for instance, despite all those designer queens- when is its gayness ever explicitly recognised or heaven forbid, politicised?

Mouthfeel aims to liberated the roaring gayness of the F&B trade with its tongue, err, in cheek.

Weekend read

21 03 2015

And I use the word “read” loosely. A condensed, illustrated (and vaguely homoerotic) Mahabharata, brought back by a friend from India (thank you!) and the “mode hormone” fashion-and-sex issue of avant garde Chinese lifestyle magazine The Outlook.

… and another Khartoum.

20 03 2015

The Dubai-based Middle Eastern culture magazine “Brownbook” recently published this issue containing a slick hipster guide to perhaps one of the world’s least obvious destinations – the dusty capital of war-torn Sudan. Celebrating the “souks, sufis and street style” of Khartoum, the beautifully photographed issue highlights some interesting modern architecture (the cover page mosque), tribal and modern fashions (the latter via what are referred to as Sudanistas!!!), Nubian girl group of the 1970s Al Balbili, and even portraits of the refugee disapora in Melbourne, in a photo essay by Aussie photographer Gina Nero.

Global village, indeed!