Too busy with diminishing Macbook power for a long-arsed blog entry. But a recent dinner table conversation on Klaus Kinski, and the discovery that a US journalist, quite rightly, described him as having, “…an alarming face” there’s always time to gather Kinski quotes. The recent translation of Herzog’s superb ‘FItzcarraldo’ memoirs, ‘Conquest Of The Useless’, as with ‘On Walking In Ice’, proves what a master of description he is, obsessed with his decaying, writhing environment. Kinski’s ‘Kinski Uncut’ (which desperately needs a reprint) proved Klaus to be a bilious style-master in the writing stakes, and a psychotic loverman to boot.
The year’s 1993 – hip-hop is horn-led, R&B choruses are frowned-upon, shorts are big, athletic footwear is rugged, with outdoor courts in mind, and if they’re too much for you, the boom in plain retrospective suede models is in full swing. In the following year, the resurrection of the earlier Jordan models will slowly but surely infect sneaker releases, arguably to the industry’s detriment. But that’s enough of the scene-setting (and bitter digressions) – if you didn’t get into the big smoke much in the early ’90s, a magazine like ‘Phat’ was a glossy-papered oasis of subcultural information and a break from then-waning publications like ‘i-D’ and ‘The Face’ who were too busy covering Courtney Love and ‘The Crying Game’ to focus too much on street fashion, giving us our very own British take on the then-great ‘Big Brother’. ‘Sassy’ spinoff (via Andy Jenkins, Mark Lewman and Spike Jonze) ‘Dirt’ also achieved cultdom Stateside, with a similar gung-ho, irreverent spirit before cancellation, but over here, and available in your local WH Smiths? We had a lot less to go on. ‘Phat’ was a mine of information.
Hanes ‘Beefy-T’ – Before a wash (right) & after one wash (left).
“Fuck ya cowboy boots, this Timbos on my feet/Some boys bear the names, I rather rock a white tee/Go against ya dress code and still be V.I.P.”
I wear a white tee most days, but the quest to find the perfect specimen of the shirt has been relatively fruitless. I’m certainly not the first person to blog about the white tee either Mr. Andrew Bunney and Jake Davis have logged their journey to white tee perfection (ultimately never finding the ‘one’ despite numerous suggestions) – Andrew’s post from a few years back inspired this one, but what he searches for in a shirt is different to mine. He was looking for a thinner undershirt, with a printed rather than sewn tag. For the most part, I’m not thinking Brando or ’50s rebel yells, but just looking for a thicker cotton number that isn’t boxy or too ‘Soulja Boy’ – can’t knock the man’s hustle, but too long makes me feel too old.
“Every person, no matter how big or tough they are, should always have a partner. You never want to go on the streets alone. It’s a mistake. It’s just you’ll get lonely, you’ll get upset, you’ll get beat up. Because, you never can tell if someone’s gonna come up from the front of you and start to get your attention, and this other dude is gonna walk up behind you and bust your fuckin’ head. Partners are always better.”
I don’t know if it’s the fact that I’m suffering a bout of lower-middle class guilt for getting mad at an image hosting site for a whole hour while kids are out there starving, or just because it’s always on my mind as an underappreciated document of the realness in it’s unfortunate bin-digging, prostituting and pimping form, but the 1984 documentary ‘Streetwise’ is on my mind again. Set among the down and out residents of Seattle’s streets, it’s essential viewing for you ’80s teen on screen connoisseurs, and the polar opposite to John Hughes’s fictional youth angst of the era.