Saturday, July 25, 2009

Review: Club Life

Club Life
By David Cantero

Published by Bruno Gmunder

Reviewed by Paul Kane

Are you looking for a book to stave off suicide, or at least a bad bout of the blues? Well, look no further. Club Life collects together umpteen stylish and sexy illustrations that have previously appeared on flyers, leaflets, invitation cards and posters for nightclubs all the way from Melbourne to Milan. Taken as a whole, one sees that they conjure a sunlit world, happy and hedonistic, which is perfect, though perhaps a little too much so, on reflection. You wouldn’t want to live in this world 24/7, but it would certainly make for an exciting weekend once in a while.

The beautiful young men in Cantero’s graceful compositions are always striking a pose or swooning with abandon, no matter whether the situation seems to warrant it. Or perhaps because the situation always warrants it. They are like startled fawns that are nonetheless pleased to be the centre of attention. Why, one wants to enquire, are they startled so? Don’t they know that a frown, no matter how slight, can give one wrinkles in later life? Perhaps they are wondering why it never rains.

Cantero’s artwork is bright and vivid and certainly distinctive. Were this book an animal it would be a strutting peacock, named Patrice or perhaps Reif. Patrice would have a penchant for sweet multicoloured cocktails, smooth disco anthems and fun, fun, fun. His favourite bedside reading would be The Artificial Princess and his favourite colour (and flower) would be fuchsia, a word which he’d sometimes mispronounce for comic effect... You get the picture.

Club Life is a fun book and the goodly number of highly accomplished illustrations collected herein is a celebration of contemporary gay nightlife. Though, naturally, there are elements of wish fulfilment too. What the book lacks is a slight yet distinct hint of cinnamon that is somehow vaguely life-enhancing. But you can’t have everything.

Paul Kane lives and works in Manchester, England. He welcomes responses to his reviews and you can reach him at



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