There’s this stereotypical notion that is thrust in our faces all the time – through films, TV and other similarly reliable outlets that educate us on society’s trade secrets – that ‘friendship’ is something for ‘girls’, who cry and eat ice-cream together. Guys, on the other hand, have ‘mates’ who they watch the football with down the pub. No heartfelt conversations or going too deep, right? Not so much.
27-year-old, Leeds-based Andy Jones challenges these “ludicrous concepts showing how males ‘should’ act to fit in with ‘normal’ society.” Inspired by his view that magazines like the Lad Bible and comedians like Dapper Laughs have it all wrong, he created a zine You fyt wiv your Boiz, You die wiv your Boiz – named in tribute to a random piece of graffiti found at his local abandoned school, which he felt fit perfectly with the project. You fyt wiv your Boiz redefines ‘lad culture’ and shows how male bonds are “real relationships between adult males based on curiosity, innocence, affection and a real sense of brotherhood.”
Expanding on this sense of “brotherhood”, Jones describes his love for his friends as going “a lot deeper than having a few mates to go out up town with on a Friday and play FIFA with on weeknights.” These friendships are a far throw from how ‘lad culture’ is usually perceived – “we really open up to one another, trust each other, and explore the world and ourselves together, all at the same time as having a total laugh, taking each day and each opportunity as it comes, and not taking ourselves too seriously,” he says.
You fyt wiv your Boiz documents this close-knit group mostly at gigs in Leeds and on tour. After years on the Leeds hardcore scene “something suddenly seemed to click in 2012 in terms of a lot of new people moving to Leeds and coming to shows, new characters emerging, personalities coming out of their shell and more opportunities to travel with the bands we were all playing in at the time.”
Jones reflects, “on one simple level the project is an ode to my friends but hopefully the idea of having that strength in a bond of friendship is something people can relate to.”