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The Rake - April_2016

15

For the better part of a year, or since season six of The Walking Dead began, I have made sure to have my Rolex Sea-Dweller strapped to my wrist and my 18-inch A.G.A. Campolin Stiletto by my bed every night before I go to sleep, so that just in case I wake up to the zombie apocalypse, I’ll be prepared. The Rolex is the only watch I know I can wear day in, day out, and in a pinch use to smash the occasional Walker in the cranium with Swiss-made, highly chronometric brass knuckles — and have it keep ticking to the second. The knife in question has a massive stag-horn handle and is handmade by an artisanal 93-yearold family business in Maniago, Italy. The knife has been oiled so the blade springs out each and every time without fail, as if prestidigitated into existence by Shiva, the destroyer of worlds, as instantaneously as if it were wired to my central nervous system. But more than just populating my personal universe with survival tools, I try to imagine what living in the zombie apocalypse would be like. Because the primary lesson of The Walking Dead is that no one can survive alone. Which is why, when survivors realise that the structure of their nuclear families has been exploded and deracinated, the first thing they do is reform into tribes. When I interviewed him, the actor Andrew Lincoln, who graces our cover this issue, and who may well be the biggest television star on Earth, said: “I’ve come to realise that every form of social interaction is questioning, ‘Are we in the same tribe or not?’” The character he plays, Rick Grimes, the Messiah of Dystopia, the Moses Among the Undead, has formed the group that has become the most resourceful, most compassionate, most purposeful and most intent on surviving against innumerable odds. And why is it that Rick’s group is able to ascend to victory against seemingly insurmountable problems? Who can forget the moment that Rick, Daryl and Glenn are lined up at the human abattoir in the cannibalistic society of Terminus, and Rick is questioned by its leader, Gareth, as to what weapons he’s stashed away from them. Rick says: “There’s guns in it. AK-47... .44 Magnum. Automatic weapons. Nightscope. There’s a compound bow and a machete with a red handle. That’s what I’m gonna use to kill you … ” This is not heroic posturing on Rick’s part. It’s a statement of intent, a will to power, because he knows without an iota of doubt that it will be his group that survives and Gareth’s group that will perish. How? Because the magic encoded within the familial bonds of Rick’s group and their affection for each other allows them to be greater than the sum of their parts. So it’s dawned on me that the first people I’d seek to form my zombie survival group would be the same individuals that make up my collaborators at The Rake. The first person would be my editor, Tom Chamberlin, who, since his appointment, has grown marvellously to fill his role with confidence, responsibility, fairness and great leadership. He, more than anyone, has an understanding of the universe The Rake connects with — one of gentility, manners, stylish irreverence, literateness and culture. His past cover stories on Charles Dance, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Stanley Tucci have seen him mature brilliantly as a writer. At 6’5” and built like a Viking, we better find ample food supplies, though his capacity to lift heavy objects as if in a personal zero-gravity bubble will doubtless come in handy. The second person I would recruit would be our Oxfordeducated craft and tailoring writer, Aleks Cvetkovic, a man of preternatural maturity, wisdom and decency. Indeed, I imagine him, despite his physical youth, quickly occupying the role of group wise man or elder, deferred to in times of great moral dilemma. In this issue, for the very first time, Aleks helms not one but two key sartorial features, and is himself the subject of our Custom story — impressive considering that, in December of 2014, he was our intern. In addition, his skills in medieval swordsmanship should bode well when zombie decapitation is needed. The third member of my Undead Survival Team would be Charlie Thomas. Our self-effacing editorial associate has come into his own as a voice in The Rake, penning the brilliant story on the suit and its role in cultural rebellion in our previous issue, titled Street Smarts. Charlie’s stint as a semi-professional basketball player implies extraordinary speed and hand-eye coordination (it was his job to sink three-pointers from the baseline), which would be a major asset to us. As would his extreme handsomeness. There’s my fashion editor, Sarah Ann Murray, whom I met in Singapore as she was culminating her transcendental global walkabout, whereupon she apparently came across The Rake and decided she needed to work here. She’s since played a critical role in defining and evolving the visual identity of the magazine with astonishingly vibrant, infinitely elegant photoshoots. She’s also the most doggedly determined and tenacious person I know. By a very long shot. And she runs like she’s a blonde bullet shot out of a cannon. Key assets for group survival. And there is Jo Grzeszczuk, our stylist, who is possibly one of the most brilliantly creative people I know. It’s a delight to see her finding her voice and bringing to life her vision in our shoots. Her capacity for injecting levity and conviviality to the group, and her ability to keep us laughing despite dire circumstances, would be vital. Both Sarah and Jo have achieved some of their finest work in this issue of the magazine. There’s my new assistant, Flynn, who already at a young age is an extraordinary survivor, and something of a bad-ass. She is also something of an expert in varying herbal remedies for all forms of ailments. So it’s dawned on me that my Zombie Apocalypse Survival Group consists precisely of the individuals that comprise The Rake magazine’s editorial team. I believe we are greater than the sum of our parts. And I think the magazine you’re holding proves that. —Wei Koh, Founder & Editorial Director 14

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