In the late 1950s, a Playboy-aspirant magazine was established that delved deep into life’s big enigmas like “A Short History of Undress” and “How to Make it Big in Café Society”. Despite its undeniable contribution to literary culture, the publication was sadly discontinued shortly after its launch. The magazine’s influence, however, lives on in the form of the brilliantly hilarious and wonderfully tacky modern-day Scamp, which has just seen the release of its second issue. Run by Oskar Oprey, Jam Steward and John William, Scamp is a must-have item for any “art and fashion shiterati”.
“We don’t have an office or anything; Jam and I work on the layout in coffee shops and in our bedrooms. John and I have known each other forever and we’ve worked on loads of projects together over the years. Jam came on board for this issue and we love him,” Oskar tells It’s Nice That, to which Jam responds: “I’m glad to hear I’m so loved. Also if anyone wants to offer us a nice office with a view, we might consider it.”
Scamp takes its name from a Roland Camberton novel. “It’s about this penniless writer who’s trying to hustle money for a new literary magazine he wants to publish called Scamp. He falls in love with one of the contributors but doesn’t actually manage to bring the project to fruition, so I decided to step in and do it for him,” Oskar says. Scamp is, in other words, the righting of Roland Camberton’s wrong. From literary interviews that touch on the appeal of witchy-looking girls to unconventional, ghoul-themed pin-up shoots, Scamp is a carefully composed publication where farcical absurdity triumphs.
Issue two adopts the theme of gods and monsters and features writer Charlie Fox, musician, pornstar and Helmut Lang model Brody Blomqvist and explores the world of the late artist and doll-maker Greer Lankton. “I may be partial to a hot pink or acid green border,” Jam says. “I wanted each spread to reflect the story within each of the articles, so every page has a different inspiration and reference. I found myself looking a lot at the original Scamp, the goofy lad’s mag. I’m often inspired by poster designs, especially ones from 90s techno and electro raves, which are a personal love of mine. Sci-fi movies, horror films, anime and anything a bit queer also feeds into my design style.”
Yet Scamp’s aspirations extend beyond the page. The team’s project “Where is Majela?” sees the three editors mobilise readers to identify and locate Majela Zeze Diamond AKA The Queen of Vagina. “What we’re trying to do is bring the Youtube star The Queen of Vagina out of retirement and sing a song about Donald Trump being a pussy grabber. We are really hoping to track her down and get her on board for Scamp’s third issue. It’s hard work! If any It’s Nice That readers have any information about her whereabouts please drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org,” Oskar says. The campaign takes up an impressive three spreads in Scamp’s second issue. The first double page is made up of pink, red and blue banners featuring either #WhereIsMajela? in bold font or plasticine vaginas made by illustrator Margot Parker. The two other spreads include a “Missing” poster of the “genderless free spirit, X-Factor contestant and Big Brother auditionee” and an eight point pussy plan.
Scamp is loud and vibrant, refusing to take itself too seriously. The magazine’s strength lies in its astonishing attention to detail; Scamp’s main fashion shoot, for instance, stars impeccably-styled models in luxurious silk suits with fish sliders for shoes. “I’ve never struggled to form an opinion and so the stuff I choose to create for Scamp is just a scrappy and genuine collection of my favourite things… like Oprah. I’m proud of how fantastically unimportant it is. A Scamp of no importance,” says John, the genius behind the fish-slippers. Yet, despite his humble sentiment, Scamp is undoubtedly poking fun at today’s tense political climate. Jam adds: “Taking down Trump is probably our bread and butter when it comes to importance points. I think all the people featured in Scamp are people who have something important to say.”