Four&Sons Journal, edition #1

· Tuesday April 9, 2013

Dogs. They're the best. Like when you're walking along the street and you come across a scruffy guy tied to a pole - pats and fun! Or what about when you're out for coffee and the couple on the table next to you have a loyal friend sitting cross-pawed at their feet? For us non-dog owners, that's pangs of envy and rapid-onset dejection.

But no more! To celebrate turning one (so really it's seven), Melbourne's Four&Sons - the best 'dog-culture' website on the whole internet (aka our daily escape portal to a happier world full of walks, pats and yearned-for companionship) - has been made into a souvenir print edition. Sixty pages (if you include the ad on the back cover, and I think you should definitely include the ad on the back cover) of articles and projects that salute our handsome canine friends and their influence on our lives and lifestyles. It's 'dog-centric' content for dog-centric people, just as it is online - but this limited-edition, real-life journal is a bit more special because editors Marta Roca (Four founder and Dalmatian in dog alt-world), Samantha Gurrie and Emma Guthrie have curated the content to focus specifically on artists, “for whom their craft and canine companions are inseparable”.

A lot of features by local contributors have made it in: the interview by Mel Cousipetcos and Campbell Boyer (of Spore) with English photographer Jo Longhurst, about her Whippet-based series The Refusal, is on page 14, then four pages later there's a short ditty by Urchin on the birth of '80s surfing legend Ghetto Dog (created by Geelong-born artist Peter Webb). The second half of the journal focuses on projects, rather than words, with series of illustrations and photos - portraits of the 'Dogs of New York' by Dietmar Busse; 'In Dogs we Trust' (a series of friends, just hanging out) shot by Will Robson-Scott and Ollie Grove; and the 90 snaps of US photographer Theron Humphrey's hound Maddie 'on things' make for an amusing double-page spread. Just remember to wash your hands when you finish patting the newsprint or your sandwich will be covered in inky fingerprints.

But my favourite feature might just be the directory on page 32 with advice from regular Four&Sons writers, artists and designers about the best things to do, watch, play and read with your best friend - Bukowski poems, Cujo, the best places in London to frolic off-lead. I'm particularly fond of the tip from photographer Martin Usborne that the best way to snuggle a dog is by spooning them on the sofa. Just like that time when you were thirteen and your life was over because you were too sick to go to the Hanson concert. RIP Monty.