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My Rules

    Mark Tolch
    Senior Member

  • My Rules

    Released By:
    Burning Flags Press and Rizzoli New York
    Released On: September 16, 2014
    Author: Glen E. Friedman
    Purchase From Amazon

    *NOTE: Although the photos are captioned as belonging to other books Friedman has published, these as well as many other photos can be found in MY RULES. Photos can be found on

    The Book:

    I have to admit, rather sheepishly, that I didn't really know who Glen Friedman actually was until about 10 years ago. And by that time, I'd already absorbed so many of his great pictures without knowing who was behind them, and well, I feel a little silly now. To cut to the chase, for me it comes down to being an outsider, as many of us were. At the time, though, I thought that I was unique in my parents split up when I was young, we were dirt poor, we moved around a hell of a lot, and then one day, my mom met this guy who had some money, and we moved once again to a pretty upper-class neighbourhood. Grand as it was with its giant houses and nicely-dressed children, this was not my home. Those richass pricks set out to label me as an interloper from the moment that I got there, even when I begged my mom to buy me the same clothing that they were wearing, to lift the strict rule that she held around the house so that I could at least hang out by the convenience store after school, to let me watch the same R-Rated movies that this new group had access to. No dice, whatsoever. And even though they did buy me my first skateboard, it was a shitty department store brand, bearing little resemblance to the Bones Brigade pro decks that the kids on the block were riding.

    It sounds like such a stupid, whiny thing to have had any effect now...."Oh, my mom won't buy me the fancy skateboard that everyone else has!" but at the time, at that age, when I think that everyone wants to fit in, very traumatic. But while I maintained my hobby (poorly) as one who skated homemade quarter pipes in the streets, I did manage to find something I could connect with; music. At the same time this whole skating thing was getting big, a soundtrack was growing with it. Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Faith No More, Ice T and a huge assortment of other hip-hop groups were blasting out of radios curbside while we ran these sessions in the street...and it's that attitude, still as an outsider in another city a few years later, that led me to punk rock while much rattier looking skaters snorted crushed-up painkillers and drank codeine cough syrup.

    But I'm getting away from the story. In the magazines, on the album covers, I was aware that certain pictures were grabbing me in a way that others weren't. Some photos just ARE....others not only ooze life, they reach out and pull you in for lack of a better description, and make you a part of them, like they're connecting with your state of mine. Paraphrasing Craig Stecyk in his introduction to Glen's work...he immerses himself in his subjects, and the photographs have that same pull on the viewer. You can see that in all of his pictures, from the legendary Z-Boys of the 70's, to the Bones Brigade of the 80's, from Black Flag to Public Enemy, from Minor Threat to Run DMC, a series of urban connect-the-dots exercises. Friedman's work absolutely defines everything that makes the outsider feel that they've found something to call home, and if it's something that they're not aware of, his photographs inspire a need for education, to know what the hell that is, and how I can be a part of it as soon as possible. And even though, at the time, I didn't know that they were the work of one person, it's quite easy to look back now and at least identify a very tangible link between the photos in terms of subject and attitude.

    So, now you're wondering...but how's the BOOK??? and how does it compare to others that he's done? Well, simply put, My Rules is an absolute monster. Compared to the (not to be insulting) slim editions of his prior works, "Fuck You Heroes", and "Fuck You Too", it's a monstrosity. I took a photo of it for a friend next to his collaborative book, "Dogtown: The Legend of the Z-Boys", and it dwarfs it. But it's meant to; by Glen's own admission, it's a tome, meant to encompass a huge body of his work, some of it previously published but in a larger format, a higher resolution than has been seen before. At 11.5" tall and 13" wide, and over 300 pages, it is completely mind-blowing to hold it. The textured hardcover...I guess it's embossed, in a way, and the sheer weight of it lets you know that you're holding a quality product. Flipping to the inside pages, a short intro from Glen, an intro from Stecyk, an intro from artist Shepard Fairey, and then straight into huge pictures of Z-Boys Tony Alva and Paul Constantineau getting radical at Kenter Canyon in the 70's. Al Barile from SS Decontrol and then Run DMC circa 1985, hanging in Hollis, with the grain just popping off of the page at you; within the first few pages, I knew that this was going to be unlike any other "coffee table" book I'd ever seen.

    Chuck D. and Flava Flav wearing Minor Threat shirts, Fat Boys at the skate park, Jimmy Plumer hitting the lip with a smoke dangling from his mouth...truth be told, with photos like this, there's really no need for any other bonuses to enhance the book, but every few pictures we get a written testament from some awesome participant...Tony Alva, Darryl McDaniels, Chuck Dukowski, Jello Biafra, Rodney Mullen...talking about the times, the pictures, their involvement with Friedman...that makes it that much better and puts it into a slightly more focused perspective, and seals the deal even further.

    So, there you go. Glen Friedman has created one motherfucker of a book. The end.

    The Final Word:

    Amazon is practically giving this book away. At double the price, it would be a worthy purchase. Go now. Get it.

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