Exposed: Brighton - Off Licence Magazine

by Tom Tye, Apr 02, 2019

Off Licence Magazine take us on 35mm visual tour of their Brighton

In an age when digital content comes streaming at you from every conceivable angle, there's something to be said about a good, old-fashioned, matte-finished snap from the local Boots. A photograph you can hold in your hand - a slip of resin-coated paper topped with a light-sensitive emulsion that makes you think "yep, I was definitely there".

Because in the era of fake news, how can you trust information that exists purely in the digital realm? Did I really take that picture? Did I even go on a gap year? Once that henna tattoo has faded there won't be a shred of tangible evidence. Real photos, real experiences, stuff that we can truly cling onto - that's what it's all about.

Meet Off Licence Magazine. A Brighton-based print and online platform for underground music, photography and culture across the UK. Founded as a website in 2017, Offie Mag released two sold-out print magazines last year, using actually off-licences as many of their stockists.

They host events, radio shows and just run around Brighton & Hove in general, feeding their growing, international audience with plastic bagfuls of content nearly every day.

We gave Offie bossman Greg Stanley the challenge: a 27-exp 400 ISO disposable camera and the task of capturing the best bits of your city and what it means to you. Here are the results:

How did Off Licence Magazine come about?

I always wanted to start a magazine when I finished uni, I had a few ideas of what I wanted it to be. The content was always going to be British Hip Hop, underground music, film photography and an emphasis on good writing.

The name hadn't really come to me yet but, on the side, I use to run an Instagram page called Off Licence Photography, which was completely ironic. Basically, me and my housemates used to take a lot of photos of each other on nights out, which I'm sure a lot of people do, and just look at them in the morning and have a laugh at each other in WhatsApp chat. A lot of the photos were in off licences on our walk down London Road on the way into town.

There's something about the ridiculously colourful lighting, it's almost Warhol-like. They're a bit of a cornerstone of British culture, especially living in the city. I can get a beer at any time of day or a Rubicon at some weird hour. I guess the whole aesthetic of the magazine is inspired by off licences, their Google stock images, their weird fonts.

Our latest issues [ISSUE ONE and ISSUE TWO] are all sold out now, but the offies that stock them are AMPM on London Road, Wine Me Up on London Road and Lewes Road - they've got such good names - there's one in Peckham and Rare Kind Records, Resident Records, Magazine Brighton, Family Store, Glazed Donuts - who I wish I took a photo of; the only place to go if you want a good doughnut in Brighton - and a place in Amsterdam and, Ipswich. But, the best place to get one without leaving your house is our website.

 

This was taken at Brighton university's library. It's the one off of St Peter's. If you're a student here and you go to Brighton, it's got to be the nicest spot, bar the bird poo on the window there... You've got a nice view of Brighton, it's a great spot when the sun's out. And, there's a corner shop nearby too - that's where I got that Lemon Fanta, it was a sunny day too so I was like I'm gonna get Lemon Fanta, that's like a holiday treat.

That's a little secret spot that our graphic designer Dan Lovrinov showed me recently. There's a Korean bakery in the Open Market which after 4:00 pm, you can get anything in there on sale. These were real cheap, like under a pound. They come out hot, you've just gotta go after 4:00 pm for half price.

Bit of a hidden gem in the Open Market - where you can go play table tennis too. It's right next to Giant Vintage and opposite the Kodak man. They're real nice in there and you can get some super rare, weird soft drinks like this watermelon drink. The photo was taken on the crossing next to the level, that area is also littered with Offie stickers, bit of product placement, bang.

 

Easy Hours. It's almost a tourist attraction, everyone knows about it. Easy Hours is the most ironic name - I feel sorry for the staff cause the hours are certainly not easy. It's never shut, I've never seen it shut. It's 24/7.

It's a mad place, you can go in there at weird hours after a night out when you might need to get something edible that you might regret the next morning. They've also got a Rustlers microwave machine inside the shop so, if you've really got no morals or self-respect you can grab a microwaveable burger right there in store. Easy. Hours.

Moes - I've been coming here for ages. Offie Mag was born on Ditchling Rise in my last uni house. Then I moved to Beaconsfield Road which is the same road as Moe's, so it's been my local coffee shop for a long time. It's nice and open, you can get a glass of wine here - I reckon it could be a bit of a date spot.

It's cheap too since it's not in the lanes, it hasn't got that premium price which I rate. With that said though, you can get your soys, your almond milks - just cause it's not in the Lanes doesn't mean it's not super trendy. We actually finished Issue 1 in here, we did the sub-edits in the back room.

Cylde News there in the background too. Actually, I should mention, Clyde News do homemade samosas and onion bhajis, they're actually wild, about the size your fist.

Pelicano. That's probably my favourite place to get a coffee, a bit more central. Coffee is real good too. The gardens nice too, it's a bit of a sun trap in the summer, I spent a lot of time in there last summer when we had that mad heatwave. The wifis pretty strong, and so's the coffee.

Presuming Ed's. This place has the maddest wifi. I was uploading videos to WeTransfer at home and it was taking hours, so I went down to Ed's and it took like 30 seconds, it's mad mate.

And the coffee is pretty sick. They do Poke bowls, things stuck on the walls, it's pretty trendy, pretty Brighton. A lot of my choices are around London Road you'll notice - it's a place that's special to me, and where you'll find Aldi of course.

Ah yeah, the aforementioned Dan Lovrinov, our Croatian-born, Australian, Swiss-resident who lives in Brighton and graphic designs all our mags. He's just extremely Brighton.

 

That's Brickcellphone, our brand manager, DJ and resident pizza chef. He makes pizzas in the day time and is the best DJ in the world by night. This is him, mid-dough prep.

Dead Wax is a spot I got to quite a lot, they do pretty fairly priced pizzas, beers and they're open til 3:00 am so it gets pretty lively even on a weeknight.

We've got a night coming there, fortnightly on Thursdays. We'll be playing a lot of the music that the magazine covers, then some more classic hip hop, funk and soul. Some nights will be vinyl, free entry, getting some live bookings in, should be fun. "Offie Mag Thursdays" is the running title at the moment - the first one is Thursday 18th April before Good Friday - so no ones got any excuses about work in the morning.

Royal Fried Chicken. Good fried chicken in Brighton is hard to come by, to a good standard, although a lot of them get a lot of hard press. Chicks are the one everyone seems to know about cause it's open late, although the staff in there are almost hilariously rude, so much that it's almost part of the attraction.

There's not a lot of high standard fried chicken in Brighton, and RFC is doing it best. It's by the Level so a lot of the skaters roll through and, they've got strawberry Mirinda.

Rare Kind Records. It's my favourite record shop in the world to be fair, they've been a mainstay of British hip hop for a long time, stocking it when no one else was. They've been massive in helping High Focus, which is a massive record label based in Brighton, they're integral to what they do.

They stock Offie Mag here too which is a massive bonus, but even if they didn't they'd be on here too. It's not just hip hop, they've got second-hand boxes with some absolute gold in, you can listen to the music in store, they stock local Brighton brands -they're just a real hub in Brighton's music community and have been, assumingly so, for a long time.

This is actually in my house, we converted it into a studio for a day and shot a lot of content. The guy with the camera there is a dude from Loud House, a London creative collective, they get a lot of rappers in front of the camera to rap on a beat and they liked what we're doing down here in Brighton so we did a bit of a collab trying to put a lot of Brighton rappers onto this London platform with them. It was really DIY, something that the magazine is all about.

That's Bador. Among others we had rappers from Yert Collective, Yogocop Records, QM Records and Independence come through. We're gonna be recording loads more, so if you're a Brighton rapper and you think you're sick, hit us up!

Some other ones to watch:

The CMPDND - a trio we've worked with in the past who are pretty sick.

Littlethaiprince - he's pushing the boat out a lot further than a lot of people dare to. He's like a super happy trap, takes influence from European trap which is wild - no one is doing that in East Sussex, he's sick.

Sly Fieri - sick name. Brighton has always had good boom bap rappers who are true to original hip hop which is cool, but they've taught a younger generation like him and Raf (Bador). They're still putting a focus on the lyrics but they're taking inspiration from modern trap and hip hop music, which is creating something completely new and exciting.

As well as your local corner shop, you can find Off Licence here:

 
 
 
 

Out Now.
-

The most comprehensive guide to
music and events, in your pocket.

Become native.