Thursday, October 2, 2014

The first edition of Whitelines - a glimpse into the snowboarding world of 1995

Now that we've saved Whitelines by taking the time explain to them why print is dead and what they need to do to save themselves, we figured the next thing we should do is critique the very first edition. We thought it might be interesting to see where it all went wrong, but what we found was a strange glimpse into a vaguely remembered part of our past...

If anyone wants to read the first post on Illict all you have to do is scroll to the bottom of the archives and you'll find a very strange story/lie about the invention of snowboarding. The internet is very convenient like that. For print though, things are a little bit trickier. It turns out that Whitelines don't actually have a copy of their first edition, having tossed it out in one of the frequent clean-outs they need to allow themselves to make more paper. Over the last twenty years nearly all of the copies of the first edition have gone missing for similar reasons throughout the country, but we were able to track down one well-loved and dog-eared copy of the October 1995 magazine. It was in the paws of a former pro snowboarder, Chris Moran from ACM. Here are some things we relearned about snowboarding in 1995.

1. It's not all that surprising Chris Moran kept a copy, he was all over it like a cheap suit. He featured in some way on twelve different pages including grabbing the first cover. It's essentially the Chris Moran fanzine by Whitelines. To be fair though, Chris was almost equalled in his magazine domination by just three other British riders; Stuart Brass, Danny Wheeler (who craftily garnered some extra coverage by also running a shop at the time) and the worlds greatest snowboarder - Steve Bailey.

Fun fact: Chris Moran actually found a way to ensure he got even more coverage a little while later when he became the editor of Whitelines and he still manages to keep his name in lights as a contributing writer. We are starting to suspect that Chris Moran only exists while Whitelines has his name in it. This magazine is to Chris Moran, what the Picture was to Dorian Gray.

2. 1995, the era of marshmallow shoes.

Some interesting retro insights into the spawny world of wannabe snowboarders Take That, just after they split-up, before they fully split-up, before they got back together, before they split-up again, twice.

3. Talking of footwear, before the age of quick internet fact checking, things like this used to happen...

Still, better than those bloody Nipe boots.

4. 90's era snowboards are getting snapped up left right and centre at the moment by rampant vintage snowboard traders. Amongst all the interesting finds in that market it's easy to forget that on the whole snowboard graphics in the 90's were incredibly plain and mostly absolute shit.

Here's a whole page of instantly forgettable snowboards.

This was a page from the very minimalist snowboard review section, just 5 cramped pages in the back of the magazine. Not at all like the 176 pages of fancy separate magazine that this has evolved into today.

Fun fact: There were 26 snowboard brands featured in that section (16 of which are now dead brands), which strangely enough is more than the 21 brands that appeared in this year's much larger mag.

Of the 150 snowboards featured in the 1995 edition, only four were in any way not dull:

The two on the left (Lib Tech's Doug Boy and Division 23's Peter Line model) are classic designs, the World Industries Winnie the Pooh is reminiscent of a simpler time when snowboarding really didn't give a shit about copyright and loved computer generated flames, and the board on the right from The Movement was just stand-out heinous. 

We did spot one great base graphic later on in the mag...

5. Classy captions

6. Like the snowboards, the snowboard gear ads were also universally bland, but some of the shop ads were so 1995 they were great:

90's cartoon characters, hand-drawn ads and illegible fonts - all ads should be like this.

Fun fact: Of the 35 shops who bought advertising space in the first edition of Whitelines, just one of those shops still exists (or is at least is called the same thing). If you ever inadvertently time-slip back into 1995, it's probably best not to invest in a British snowboard shop.

7. Back page ads featured snowboarders with soggy asses. You don't see that any more.

8. We lied a little. There was one interesting snowboard gear ad...

At least we think it's a gear ad, could be anything really.

9. Something all the ads were missing that looks really strange twenty years later - no websites or email addresses. You just had to phone them up, or write an actual letter to muddle your way through figuring out what the likes of Fishpaw were trying to flog you. And if you wanted to buy something, you just sent your credit card details in the mail.

Credit card fraud. That's where the real money is if you do ever inadvertently time-slip back into 1995.

100537.521@ the hell are you supposed to do with that? 

10. 1995 snowboard events.

Minimalist halfpipes, shitty magazine graphics and a man in drag entering the women's event...

In the days before the Olympics things were a little different

'The World's Greatest Snowboarder' and another incredibly minimalist halfpipe at a different event.

And more men in drag

Snowboarding in drag must have been close compulsory 1995. I really don't remember that, but you can't argue with printed history.

and finally...

11. The most bonkers commercial link-up in snowboarding history

Even Shaun White hasn't managed to get near this record

If you want to know a little more about the early days of Whitelines I found this interesting piece about the first editor, 'Chod' Thomas, which is worth a read.

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