In its first chapter, What's Contemporary featured contributors using visual language to illustrate their response to the question: What is Contemporary anyway?

Please note some of these past issues bear antiquated, perhaps ineffectual design and tricky navigation—a charming glitch in an ever-perfect digitized age.
Arriving in London in 1983, aged fifteen, Punk and the labour party were a distant memory, The New Romantics had become rockabillies, and Boy George and Margaret Thatcher were global phenomenons. London was a strange place. You could still see the remnants of post war Britain if you looked hard enough, but mostly the city was drunk on its new ultra-ambitious conservative ideals. Yet, in all that transition, it still cultivated small groups of independent thinking creatives. The Grey Organization, for example, was a semi-radical group of skinhead artists from east London. I’d see them in the mornings as I went on the coffee run, and they looked wonderfully menacing marching through Covent Garden in beautiful grey suits and Dr. Martens. Another, Buffalo, was essentially fashion hipsters, centered around Ray Petri, who filled the pages of The Face, Arena magazine, and, my personal favorite, Crunch, which was run by Mark Lebon. I was taken by a mutual friend to see a filming of Nick Kamen's new pop video at Lebon's Crunch studio. The studio was a small garage in Ladbroke Grove, full of cameras and bits of sets, hand-carved phallic penis furniture, and interesting Polaroids scattered all over the place, and it all moped along nicely to the sound of rare dub and a cloud of marijuana smoke. Everyone was beyond cool, dressed in Westwood, Nemeth, and Johnny Moore boots. I don't think I’d ever seen anyone as handsome as Nick and Barry Kamen —even Nick’s girlfriend, Tatjana Patitz, looked drab in comparison — but, most of all, Mark left an impression. He towered over everyone, for a start, and shouted with a big booming voice, just like the comedy film directors in Buster Keaton films. The crew all snapped to attention, and, somehow, in all the chaos, a funny, obscure, brilliantly contemporary handmade video took shape. I later became a lodger at Mark and his then wife Camilla Arthur's house in Kensal Road, along with Kate Moss and Mario Sorrenti. At the weekends, Mark's ten-year-old son, Tyrone, came to stay with us, and we all lived quite eccentrically happy for a while, in crazy 275. Looking back, I still think that one year shaped the way I think more than any other time in my life.
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