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WHAT IS HEADPRESS?

Headpress is a London based book publisher, established in 1990.

Since the release of its first book in 1992, HEADPRESS has been quietly amassing a global readership as diverse as the content of its books.

Crowned "The Gospel According to Unpopular Culture," HEADPRESS have published many acclaimed titles on topics ranging from bad mags to b-movies, bad gigs to counterculture superstars, as well as the much loved HEADPRESS anthologies.

A new branch of HEADPRESS is this media site, which contains free online content and hosts topical interviews, blogs and event information for our more impassioned culture vultures.


 

THE COUNTERCULTURE

 

Twenty-one years is a long time in publishing. Since the 1991 release of the first biannual HEADPRESS anthology of independent writing, thousands of publications have come and gone. Whilst others have fallen despite major commercial backing, HEADPRESS has survived, resolutely self-sufficient, amassing a global readership of thousands attracted by its standards of quality and originality, its consistent commitment to content over style.

For those in the know HEADPRESS has been on the radar for far longer, with a delightful combination of the weird and the wonderful, new journalism, features and reviews. Known for years as the journal of 'sex, religion and death' and guided by the creative vision of editor, cofounder and contributor David Kerekes, more recent acquisitions to the HEADPRESS team include the legendary activist and one-time MC5 manager John Sinclair, plus noted authors and critics Charles Shaar Murray and Mick Farren, which quixotically measures HEADPRESS' emergence from the underground by way of the counterculture of the sixties.

 
 

HISTORY

 

Headpress was founded in Manchester, England, in 1990 by David Flint, David Kerekes and David Slater in order to release in Great Britain a film by cult German director Jörg Buttgereit. Entitled Der Todesking (which translates as “The DeathKing”), the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) initially considered the film's subject matter to be too controversial for general release. Ultimately however, they deemed it art and granted an 18 certificate.

With revenue generated from video sales of Der Todesking (a limited edition of 500 copies complete with a cheap postcard), Headpress the magazine was set up. Co-founder Kerekes has described the birth of Headpress as follows: ‘As much a reaction to the formulaic mainstream press, as it was to the vacuum created by the glut of horror film fanzines in the wake of the "video nasties" furore’. With this in mind, the founders encouraged contributors to write about anything they wanted.

Headpress began book publishing in 1992 with a collection of comic strips entitled Killer Komix. This was followed in 1995 by Critical Vision, a collection of new essays and updated articles from early out-of-print editions of Headpress magazine. Headpress as of the late 2000s has published over fifty titles, although of the three founding members, only Kerekes remains. For a full list of titles click here.

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Rare first eight issues of Headpress, in its original A4 magazine incarnation.
 

In late 2005 Headpress relocated from Manchester to London, finding its spiritual grounding in the form of Caleb Selah, the Headpress service engineer and subject of several ribald adventures documented by Kerekes. Some of these adventures featured in Headpress 27 and 28.

In 2008, Headpress began working closely with John Sinclair, the Detroit poet, one-time manager of the band MC5, and leader of the White Panther Party (a militantly anti-racist countercultural group of white Socialists seeking to assist the Black Panthers in the Civil Rights movement).

In 2009, Headpress announced that it would publish in 2010 Blood In Blood Out: The Violent Empire Of The Aryan Brotherhood by John Lee Brook, and Beaver Street: A History of Modern Pornography, an investigative memoir by Robert Rosen.

The first in a series of films was released in 2010 under the collective banner of Headpress TV. These short films comprise interviews with some of the Headpress authors and artists over the years, as well as many of the subjects featured in the books and Headpress anthologies, including cult filmmaker Roger Watkins (pictured below). Headpress TV is an ongoing project, made in collaboration with Shashmedia.

Keep watching the skies. And your shoes. 


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