Friday, 21 November 2014
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Renegade masters

Tom Bawden reports
Dazed & Confused joins the branding fray with a TV programme which perpetuates its core values of anarchy and originality.

Brand extensions are all the rage at the moment in the magazine sector, with men's magazines Loaded and FHM launching a range of underwear and a credit card respectively. Both have been greeted with a degree of suspicion in marketing circles.

Leftfield culture bible Dazed & Confused, on the other hand, looks set to hit the bullseye with its closer-to-home brand extension - masthead TV. This follows the opening of a Dazed & Confused gallery in London's Old Street two years ago.

Dazed & Confused editor Jefferson Hack and creative director/celebrity photographer Rankin have set out to replicate the magazine's brand on the TV screen, in a two-hour programme to be broadcast on Channel 4 later this month. It is named Renegade TV gets Dazed.

Like the magazine, Renegade serves up a mish-mash of music, literature, art, film, culture, politics and humour, in a variety of formats and styles.

Sometimes it works really well.

Comedian Paul Kaye (aka Dennis Pennis) debuts his new character, small-time hustler and film producer Lloyd Richmond - interviewed in a spoof programme, The Dazed Show.

Meanwhile, Bjrk presents a fascinating and beautifully shot documentary on modern minimalist musicians - a brainwave not dissimilar to the magazine's invitation to fashion anarchist Alexander McQueen to guest-edit this month's edition.

Sometimes it doesn't work.

In one tongue-in-cheek short film written by Kathy Burke (Waynetta to Harry Enfield's Wayne) Wayne's influence on the film's subject was clear for all to see. "However bad things were, I could always have a wank," he reminisces early in the sequence. Never was a truer word spoken.

Meanwhile, a spoof soap powder test sees a stereotypical housewife shoot the presenter and camera crew half way through the "washing powder X" test. Clearly cocking a snook at vacuous advertising and injecting its trademark brand values of originality and anarchy, the sketch nonetheless lacks the edge of cutting satire.

But nothing ventured, nothing gained. Renegade is not afraid to experiment and inevitably much of the material doesn't work. But it produces some gleaming gems in the process. And all punctuated by a great original soundtrack by Howie B.

Although at this stage a one-off, if successful the programme may become a more regular feature. Let's hope it does for the sake of those fine gems.

Renegade TV gets Dazed goes on air on Channel 4 at 11.30pm on 21 September.

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