Bad Day: Issue 13
While we are undeniably web junkies who do much of our reading online, there remains something to be said about the experience of physically holding and flipping through a book or magazine. Thankfully digital media has not yet killed print but what it has done is weed out the mediocre and unnecessary; to succeed in the printed form you now have to create something special, something that cannot be replicated digitally. Bad Day, the bi-annual Toronto-based magazine, is our current obsession as it impresses equally as a design object and as cultural commentary. It has quickly made its way to the top of our must-purchase list for its compelling content, inspired interviews, and its dreamy aesthetic. As huge Charlotte Gainsbourg fans we were thrilled to see her face artfully blurred on the cover of the latest issue, which was launched last week.
What began a mere five years ago as a photocopied zine produced as a side project amongst a group of friends has emerged as one of the most noteworthy arts and culture magazines available, and was recently featured in an exhibition of avant garde magazines at the Museum of Modern Art. While the concept is hardly revolutionary – each issue features a number of interviews with actors, musicians, designers and artists, a photo spread and the odd comic thrown in for good measure – there is something unique and seductive about Bad Day that distinguishes it from similar magazines. Each issue’s selection of interview subjects is an interesting and eclectic mix of notable individuals working in a variety of cultural industries, and Bad Day consistently hits the perfect combination of high and low, and commercial and outsider, in its content. We’re consistently impressed with the group of cultural luminaries that the editors are able to amass for each issue, and while the mix may initially appear arbitrary, as you read cover to cover, the connections between often seemingly disparate individuals begin to emerge. The current issue is no exception and features designers Patrik Ervell and Calla Haynes, artists Laurel Nakadate and Jim Drain, and musician Mick Barr in addition to the feature on the genre-defying Gainsbourg.
The design, masterminded by creative director Colin Bergh, is compelling in its simplicity and decidedly retro 1970s feel. A large glossy this is not: each issue is printed in a single colour (in this case green) and on mixed paper stocks. Even the few advertisements sprinkled throughout are produced in the same colour and fuzzy hue so that the experience of flipping through the magazine never feels jarring. Bad Day has an unassuming, quiet quality about it. It may not immediately catch your eye, yet it is this low-fi aesthetic, something that feels quite anachronistic in our digital age, that makes Bad Day special.
The photography, which typically accounts for nearly half of each issue, is spirited and whimsical and effectively captures the essence of each subject. Although the photographs for each interview are typically taken and styled by a different individual, they all reflect a consistent artistic vision and contribute to the overall wistful quality of the magazine. Each issue also features a photo story and in this issue it’s by New York based photographer Peter Sutherland.
The mixture of the familiar and the unexpected is what distinguishes Bad Day from the bevy of culture zines available, and its convivial interview format allows even the most famous and guarded subjects to be presented in a new light. The editorial vision is precise and well-defined, and the aesthetic is beautiful while remaining critical and provocative. If you’re interested in checking out Bad Day’s latest issue, act fast as their limited edition runs tend to sell out quickly.