MAGOOZINE : The photography platform placing a spotlight on the scene makers of British Club Culture
Marking its 1st anniversary this month, Magoozine is an online publication by creative Shaun Evans, uncovering and documenting “the scene makers of British Club Culture''. Magoozine foregrounds a range of characters (mostly) from within the Birmingham scene, capturing them on 35mm film in some of the city's most iconic spaces; Nightingales, Dead Wax and Suki10c. The Magoozine platform has highlighted a vital part of the Birmingham community which has often been left undocumented. Each photo is accompanied by a small quote from the person, giving a momentary insight into their persona. Reflecting the transience of club culture, the brief insight into these people feels just as fleeting as it would be if you were to meet somebody in a club smoking area or by the bar.
Since starting, Magoozine has photographed for the Nightingales NYE Re-Run which saw performances from Cobrah and Ms Banks, partnered with queer club night Club Bandit (twice) and been part of Fierce Festivals, ‘Gardens of Bab’. Deriving from lockdown, this sentimental and unique account of British club culture merges aesthetics, humour and compassion and has since been shared to the feeds of The Face, Dazed and Tough Luck UK. Magoozine is quickly building an eccentric portfolio of DJs, Drag Queen, Club goers and just anybody who looks like a good time - Evans crafting his experiences into an insightful depiction of modern day club culture. Magoozine has immortalised the connections made at a club, between strangers, for us to experience on our instagram feeds.
How would you describe Magoozine?
Magoozine is for the people that make up crowds at gigs. Magoozine is for the people who are still up at 7am dancing in a sweatbox. Magoozine is for the people who are chewing your ear off in the smoking area. Magoozine is for the people who are giving you life advice in the loos.
Magoozine (inspired by the family nickname ‘Magoo’ and wordplay on magazine) is a bible for club culture participants. It’s a celebration of club culture showcasing and celebrating the one of a kind individuals that populate the club culture landscape. It immortalises the moments we have in clubs and documents it on social media. I want my followers to get the same feeling scrolling down Magoozine’s feed as you do walking into a sweaty nightclub, complete euphoria.
What is it about club culture (specifically Birmingham) that interests you?
In general I love the liberation that goes hand in hand with club culture. I get strength from seeing people being so unapologetically themselves and the shared sense of belonging that comes from a crowd of people moving in unison to a song in the 4 walls of a club. I feel like a lot of people venture into nightlife as a form of escapism, to really let go and find their true authentic self. A lot of these people tend to have experienced not fitting in or having to dilute themselves in the “daytime world” and nightlife gives them the space to not only be accepted but CELEBRATED, they find comfort in the dark to show their light.
I have a special place in my heart for the Birmingham scene as I just think it's so authentic, it has its own rhythm and is a very accepting environment. I say authentic because in Birmingham people don’t get dressed up for instagram, they don’t want to “be” they just are. People spend hours perfecting their makeup and creating looks for the night, not to preserve it and get followers but rather show it off and sweat it off.
What was the main inspiration behind doing it?
In lockdown I really struggled mentally and part of this was due to missing the spontaneity and human connection that came along with club culture, from the people you chat to in the smoking area to the random person you just snogged on the dancefloor.
To try and feed my craving I became obsessed with reading and watching subculture and club culture content. Watching Nelson Sullivan's “Vlogs” of the New York scene, reading books about the Club Kids and Blitz kids and learning more about the likes of Boy George, Dianne Brill and Grace Jones really inspired me and made me jealous that I wasn’t alive to experience the magic that happened in these eras. It made me sad that people didn’t treat nightlife like they used to, dressing in outlandish outfits and acting crazy. However, when lockdown was lifted and I started immersing myself back into the scene I realised these individuals existed right on my doorstep, it just wasn’t being documented or highlighted in the correct format. When you look back at old rave and club photography people are photographed in the midst of crowds dancing whereas the only way our generation has been documented is through highly posed and edited pictures in their bedrooms. I wanted to change this, to document an authentic representation of my generation, film being the chosen format as people can’t look back at the photo straight away, they just smile for the camera and keep on dancing.
The Magoo card idea arose from being on a night out in Glastonbury and randomly thinking, I wonder what everyone is thinking right now. An intrusive thought that ended up paying off.
Favourite Magoozine moment?
As you can imagine, doing this every weekend around hundreds of intoxicated people, there are many memorable moments. But one that will always stick out to me is handing over a magoo card to someone I had just photographed and them hastily eating half of it before writing on it. Manic crazed icon behaviour.
Whilst Birmingham has played a key part in the origins of Magoozine - Evans will now be taking his platform down south, to London.
What are you most excited for in the next step in your journey for Magoozine?
I’ve got so many exciting projects in the pipeline for Magoozine. Lots more collaborations. Lots more nightlife creatures. Lots more drunken smoking area chats. And lots more vodka cranberries.
Whilst I’m sad to take Magoozine from its Birmingham roots, I’m excited for the ride that London has in store for us.
If Magoo wasn’t at your party, it didn’t fucking happen.