‘The World According to Vice’ – book review

It’s been a while since I did a proper REVIEW of something, so when a review copy of Vice Magazine‘s latest tome plopped onto my doormat it was with great gusto that I ripped it open. After admiring its sleek black and gold hardback cover and 352 uncoated pages it was in the bag and off to work. This was my first mistake.

Anyone aware of Vice as a magazine, website and online TV channel will know of their much-copied but ultra-refreshing editorial stance. No fear. No subject too far, no ‘vice’ too sordid, and as I was reminded as I opened the book for the first time ON THE BUS OPPOSITE A SMALL CHILD no detail left to the imagination. We had enjoyed the vice photo-guide to milking ones own prostate and an article on which sex is the more proficient fellator before I noticed his tiny innocent eyes peeking at the filth within. Yep, not one for the family bookshelf.

Back in the comfort and relative safety of my own house I was free to more fully explore the contents of the book. Since its media empire emerged from a small Montreal-based fanzine in the late nineties, Vice has kept a reputation for brilliant photojournalism and reportage from all corners of the globe, an achievement it flaunts proudly with articles on everything from the proponents of the northern (and horrendous) ‘Donk’ musical genre to the current collapse of Dubai’s economy and mistreatment of its construction workers. Summaries of VBS documentaries on Liberia, North Korea and the now award-winning documentary about a heavy metal band from Baghdad are interspersed with pieces on Hyponogogia (waking nightmares) and Chemical Psychedelics. A fair few of the articles I had read before but I devoured them all the same, their fury and humour fresher for being in a new format.

If you are a fan of Vice already, this is everything you would expect it to be, a collection of the most timeless, brave and often controversial articles and features from their huge collection. Interviews with Lemmy, David Lynch and Spike Jonze are interspersed with photojournalism from across the world and extracts from the infamous vice guides under the heading ‘(Don’t) Try This at Home’ – It’s a fantastic pick-up-and-read book, housing the same great content as the magazines but in a much more presentable format.

The World According to Vice retails at £20, which depending on who you are is well expensive or pretty reasonable for a ‘thing’ to be. Personally for a book of this size and quality it’s a no-brainer, if only for some cracking dinner party anecdotes (and if you’re the type of person that goes to that kind of dinner party you can definitely afford £20). Go buy it you bastards.

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