Monthly Archives: October 2009



I never wanted to be pigeonholed as a ‘sneaker dude’ – that’s why this blog has mercifully evaded the subject, unless it’s dealt with in a manner that’s a little stranger than a straightforward history. Back in mid-2006, I experienced a little buzz among marketing/design types onine when I hastily wrote something for Sneaker Freaker to promote the Crooked Tongues adicolor shoe. The baffling thing was, I thought ’10 Sneaker Collaboration Commandments’ was pretty crap…one of the weakest things I ever compiled for Woody and the crew. It didn’t help that I had started full-time at Crooked after the shoe had actually been designed. Plus I was a writer, not a designer.

Still, I was briefly feted for my insights into where designers were going wrong despite no experience in design. I felt like a charlatan – all I’d wanted to do was evade a boring interview by trying to parody Frank Blizzard’s masterpiece. One of the prominent Joshs whose made a name for himself online (apologies for forgetting the surname) praised my brutal mutilation of the English language when I “hilariously” removed an ‘a’ to make the word ‘”collaboration” to describe the sort of tat that was being pumped out at the time. That kind of thing was considered funny in 2006. I think.

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“Born with the courage of an eagle, the strength of a black tiger, and the power of a god.”

If you had to push me for the greatest crossover between films, it’s the lowkey meeting of ‘Style Wars’ and ‘The Beastmaster.’ I’m not here to educate you about the scene that links both flicks, but if you’re under 25, you get a pass. With the documentary screened on PBS in 1983, and the motion picture in question released in Summer 1982, two huge influences for me collide on a train platform, on what looks to be an unremarkable afternoon in NYC, as the Fresh Extra Terrestrial/Tellestial Brothers (bear in mind E.T. came out that same year) meet up.

Before a rap session ensues, Kase, Dez (aka. Mr. Slap Your Favourite DJ) and D-5 gather and are distracted by the ‘Beastmaster’ half sheet on the wall in the background. I’d like to know what song Kase is singing on the approach to the poster (“Do you wanna see, do you wanna take a chance?”) Edit -Thanks to rap scholar Mr. Craig Leckie for informing me it’s ‘Do You Wanna Rock’ by Funky 4 +1 but he promptly begins a deconstruction of the art.

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Growing up, I noticed Jerry Hurtado aka. Skatemaster Tate’s name seemed to crop up an awful lot. Whether it was through music, or as his moniker suggests, skating, Tate seemed to drift through left coast subcultures, with the ease that he displayed when he was drifting through traffic on his ever-present longboard.

As a disclaimer, I’m prejudiced toward longboards. Tate and Andy Kessler (RIP) are an exception – too often, they’re transporting a lean character in bootcut denim, Quicksilver sneakers and wraparound shades who undoubtedly hi-fives after blitzing “brewskis” and date rapes girls with noserings to a scratched CD of whalesong. As a second disclaimer, should you go YouTubing, please do not judge me on the basis of the Skatemaster’s atrocious ‘Justice To The Bass’ with The Concrete Crew – I’m fully aware it makes ‘Rico Suave’ sound like Nasir Jones by comparison. Instead, we should take a look at the man’s other achievements.

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Slightly misleading title actually, because Toshio Nakanishi isn’t exactly obscure. He’s a fairly pivotal, boundary-hopping figure on the Japanese music and art (with the Basquiat steez)  scenes whose been at the helm of some acts that hardly became household names to westerners, but certainly enjoyed cultdom on these shores.Plus he worked alongside Hiroshi Fujiwara at a time when you, yes you, had no idea who he was I still think he deserves extra props, even if its just for the Major Force involvement.

To put things in perspective, growing up I’d see the Major Force name dropped in the music press via characters I looked up to like Bomb The Bass’s Tim Simenon, and that incredible logo cropped up on t-shirts on the torsos of the extremely connected. But I had no idea what Major Force actually did. Except be Japanese and hard-to-find. Like Trax, 2-Tone, UR, Def Jam, Rawkus and Mo’ Wax buy-on-sight when the logo showed itself on the racks seemed to be the attitude, at costly import prices (the far east made those steep US shipments seem bargainous by comparison). Later, I’d learn a little more about Major Force’s genesis, and Mr. Nakanishi’s history in particular, is significant.

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Roger Meyers – “Your honour, you take away our right to steal ideas, where are they gonna come from? Her?”

Marge Simpson: “Uh, hmm…how about ‘Ghost Mutt?”

I love dogs. When I see someone with some hefty, dumb-looking hound at their heel I feel the same broody pangs that I imagine those ladies that can’t have kids and pilfer a baby feel. That’s not to say I’m in the demented frame-of-mind to womb-raid a puppy from a heavily pregnant bitch, but yes, I am broody for dog ownership. Not for reasons of security, or a need for company, but simply because they amuse me so much in all their leap-around, slobbery glory, from the rat-faced faintly effeminate Chihuahua, a brilliant zip file of a beast, to the St. Bernard, with its deceptively dignified look pushing owners towards giving it an old man name rather than something daft. Apart from Cujo. But with a peculiar name like that, he was destined to turn out bad, whether a bat bit him or not. Wouldn’t have happened with an old man name.

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So they’re making a ‘Lords Of Chaos’ movie? Looking at the IMDB feedback, black metal fans are less-than-happy. I don’t blame them. Extreme music fares poorly on celluloid, and with loyalist fans who’ve long been marginalised periodically spotlighted, often “ironically” before being ignored again, they’ve got a right to carry a chip on their black-clad shoulders.

Punk and hardcore have been mistreated – think the ‘Iron Skull’ Cro Mag rebrand in 1988’s ‘The Beat’ or more recently, the flawed ‘What We Do Is Secret’, yet black metal, surrounded by tales of mental church burners seemed to be, bar some sensationalist documentaries, left well alone. Plus, let’s be honest here, Horgh and team Immortal don’t need much assistance in looking pretty silly. Though one documentary appearance worthy of note is, in the otherwise dull ‘Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey’ where a beered up Necrobutcher, bassist for Mayhem, goes off on the critics, and pretty much anyone…

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A while back I waffled about my opening credit fetish when it comes to films. I bored a meagre (but appreciated) readership with regards to how I feel shortchanged when the titles don’t match the poster/VHS/DVD artwork, and that films lose their spark when we’re hurled in after the studio/distributor logos without so much as a single credit, instead leaving it for the elongated end credits instead. It’s heracy for a geek like me. At least drop ’em in after the opening act.

Shit, even throw the audience a curveball by letting the cast and crew scroll horizontally three quarters in. Anything. I appreciate that when I foolishly attempt to squint and adjust the contrast to watch an iPhone film bootleg, one of the first casualties of my nefarious deed is opening credits. Many pirates are too shook when they start. If they start. But if I’m shelling out for the much mooted cinemagoing “experience” I WANT OPENING CREDITS. Preferably innovative ones. ‘Zombieland’ – step forward. Computer-aided they may have been, but the film’s introduction worked a lot better than the poorly lit ‘Dr. Tongue’ zombie that welcomed me to the ‘Day Of The Dead.’

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