Monthly Archives: March 2010


Mo’ magazines being draped on the table to justify an update. And two extremes. Kind of. But both these publications are linked by a certain slavish devotion to a subject matter being pushed to its most hardcore. Can’t stop picking up publications. Mono Workwear’s been covered to death elsewhere, but despite the barmy £30+ pricetag (Steve at The Non Place – master of pickups inspired me to cop a copy when I saw this Argos catalogue sized publication in his possession and testifies that unless you’re buying big, shipping and exchange rates can kill a £10 import bargain stone dead) it’s absolutely outstanding. Lightning and Free & Easy are superb, but this, and, given the title, you’d be disappointed, if it wasn’t is pure workwear. Less old man slacks reproduced, sheds, interiors or Rugged Museum visitors (shouts to “Mr. Small Head”) – lots of jackets. Lots of lots of them.

Seeing as even the most staunchly hetrosexual taken to stroking the jacket fabric of other males admiringly to the point of homo-eroticism, this right here is historical jacket pornography. Workwear is everywhere, and its easy to get apathetic – the whole poor man’s Frank Serpico look  shouldn’t kill your love for utilitarian garments and design that’s built only for protection and necessity – the mother of much outerwear innovation. No amount of cash-ins trying to better Naval, Mountain or General Research can kill that love. Mono’s effort just cements that. This is the Private of the clothing publication world – the remove-from-beneath-the-counter-with-a-wink-type-shit. Why is there no English-language equivalent? There’s nothing to match the density here – someone needs to make a short video documenting the editorial meetings and assignments that create glorious products in this vein. We westerners just haven’t got what it takes – we’d sooner exhale second-hand blog post smoke.

As the second volume (pictured here) celebrates British workwear in all its forms and their cultural impact, it’s a fine entry point for anyone wanting to take a gamble with a non-English language periodical that’s high cost. That it takes another nation to celebrate our innovations while we choose to jock an idealised Americana is sad but understandable, and the trip here into Nigel Cabourn’s (a big Mono fan) archives, sou’westers for days, Barbours, duffels in extreme conditions, ancient ads are downright priceless. Stateside, there’s Dickies, railroad workers and some great Carhartt content too. Only the burger edition of Lightning can top this one in execution stakes. Get down to Superdenim if you’re UK-based and grab a copy.

On the departure of an old colleague, a graffiti-related education has come to a standstill. Things seemed to get a little too slick when it came to presenting the artform – all embossed and spot varnished – 12oz wannabes lacking Allen and company’s legit status. If you crave the kind of thing you’d pick up on a megabucks Tower Records (RIP) binge back in the day, while it’s not Life Sucks Die (but really, is any magazine on that level? Unfair expectations) the UK’s Keep The Faith is just destruction. That lurid cover sucker punches the design snobs and it scorns the legal types who’ve made the huge money (D*Face on Xtina’s album? We thought she had better taste than that) with wack work – topless women, a great Coma interview, Mira’s ill Moomin piece, obituaries and lots and lots of train damage.

Mr. Chris Aylen spoke to the man behind the magazine here in depth, and you can buy it here. you know things are fucked up when an old-fashioned spot of vandalism feels refreshing. Seriously people, stop supporting bullshit…Keep The Faith on the other hand, is well worth your time.


Last year if you were short of a blog post inspiration you could just go and plunder LIFE’s image archives or go steal something from A Continuous Lean or The Selvedge Yard and add your own half-baked commentary on it. You could also up a lookbook that had been posted several times already, again, with a sprinkling of pointless opinion. But Google Books – aka. the print industry’s nemesis (don’t worry print, techno-book won’t replace pulped trees in my affections any time soon) just made blogs even easier. I plead guilty to abusing this online resource. Vibe’s up there almost in its entirety (a few holes in the mid ’90s), as is Spin, but the crown jewel is New York Magazine’s back catalogue. Shouts to Sofarok for putting me onto some pieces from the magazine’s past pages last year. It still packs a kick, with some excellent writing – the KAWS cover last year and the Dash Snow piece a few years prior were good, but over the years its been in the proximity of some zeitgeist moments by mere blocks, while we wannabes were soaking it up from a distance.

GWARIZM relevant highlights of a casual browse? A Valentines issue from February 1986 with the romantic tale of Futura 2000 and then-wife Christine Carrie, a tiny piece on Supreme from May 1994, a couple of weeks after the store opened, some coverage of the Phillies Blunt phenomenon from August 1992, a lengthy Ralph Lauren interview that’s actually picked from a conversation from the out-of-print, but pretty good (get your Amazon Marketplace on and you’ll find it for a penny plus P&P) ‘Fashion: The Inside Story’ by Barberalee Diamonstein on Rizzoli from October 1985. Mark “Search all issues” and bookend your terms with speech marks to stumble across gem after gem. Considering the excellent Rolling Stone magazine archive cost around £40, that New York Magazine hands it over like this for nada is a major bonus. You want more? Hunt down Craig Unger’s ‘Attitude’ article from July 1982, Unger’s ‘The Lower East Side: There Goes the Neighborhood’ piece from May 1984, ‘Prep-School Gangsters’ by Nancy Jo Sales from December 1996 and ‘Hard-Core Kids’ by Peter Blauner from May 1986.

But the absolute best part of a trawl is Anna Wintour’s work as then-fashion editor of New York Magazine between 1981 and 1983. There’s a lot of reasons why she commands such respect, but look to the ‘New York, New York’ shoot from March 1982 to see Ali, Dondi White and Zephyr getting involved – also note the use of a bike courier in the same shoot – prescient of the current editorial clichés used in efforts to look edgy. Go article hunting right now, right here.

But I’m conscious I’m dwelling on the old, so here’s a new concept – retrospective offsetting. To counteract the old stuff revisited, here’s some newness that gets me hyped:


I heard about this method of promoting the excellent Arc’teryx Veilance line at Capsule earlier this year. Conceptually a GORE-TEX envelope sounds like something Ghostface would mention in a lyric back when he spat lines like “Meet the black Boy George, dusted on my honeymoon/Bitch like my wife, she popped my Ghostface balloon.” As a result I needed to own this. Steve Mann kindly gave me one of these oddball promo artifacts. That the envelope inside it tough to remove is irrelevant – this is one of the best pieces of PR ephemera this year, and when the year is out, you’ll all be cock jocking Veilance. Trust me on that one.


Australia should, with that hazy, slightly sweaty atmosphere that comes built in with any motion picture shot in any of the country’s suburbs, churn out some brilliant crime films, but bar ‘Chopper’ and the deeply disturbing but necessary ‘The Boys’ (hunt it down if you can stomach it), the curse of the knockabout Guy Ritchie twattisms meant films like ‘Two Hands’ and ‘The Hard Word’ fell short despite their potential. Post ‘Underbelly’ there should have been a new breed of flicks. With good buzz after a Sundance showing last Summer, the Melbourne-based ‘Animal Kingdom’ looks intelligent, beautifully shot and deadly serious. This full-length trailer is slickly edited, culminates with a nice matter-of-fact typeface and uses Air Supply’s ‘I’m All Out Of Love’ to winning effect. do we have a potential classic on our hands?


Nike seem intent on getting you excited with their new releases if you got bored to tears with the Air Max 1 tsunami (Patta are the exception to that boredom) – the SFB Mid Boot is a more crowdpleasing use of the military technology the brand’s been pushing and it’s another Free soled classic in the making. Is it getting a UK release? Apparently not. This is to the Revaderchi what the Wildedge was to the Wildwood, even if, wisely, it steers clear of anything corny like ‘Air Revaderchi 2010’, it’s an update of both versions of the whimsically titled ACG release. Ace.


Busy, busy, busy…that means rushed blog entries like this one – apologies.

Prison films carry a certain miserable appeal. That’s what can attract a film goer to the cinematic classics -‘Penitentiary’, ‘Bad Boys’, ‘American Me’, ‘McVicar’, ‘A Prophet’ (nice sweatshirt – shame about the throat-slitting obligations) ‘Midnight Express’, ‘Riot in Cell Block No. 9’, ‘Short Eyes’, ‘Carindarou’, ‘Runaway Train’ or searing texts like George Jackson’s ‘Soledad Brother’ and Edward Bunker’s ‘Animal Factory.’ I’ve pondered just how much of a weak prisoner I’d be, and whether I’d get Beecher’d into obliged Aryan Brotherhood membership. Not a good look. As a result I’d rather stay on the outside.

After ‘Oz’ ended on a madcap low-note (at least Tom Fontana had the honesty to concede he’d just run out of offbeat killing methods) with Shakespeare performed behind bars using real knives, there’s been an opening for some trashy jail madness, yet only Walter Hill’s repeatedly shelved ‘Undisputed’ really delivered at b-movie level. Sean Penn delivered in ‘Bad Boys’ but the true daddy was Alan Clarke’s ‘Scum’ – after Gus Van Sant had a go at his masterpiece ‘Elephant’, Nick Love caused shock with a half-decent film reworking Clarke’s ‘The Firm’ it looks like we’re going juvey again when his brutal look at British borstal life gets an unofficial remake from Doublegoose wearing ‘Sheitan’ director Kim Chapiron via ”Dog Pound’ – it looks pretty good.

Even though ‘Scum’ takes paternal status by wielding an iron bar and yelling, it’s not the greatest prison flick ever made. That honour goes to John Hillcoat’s ‘Ghosts of the Civil Dead’ – a cerebral, searing, naturalistic near-futureshock that makes the penal system look utterly hellish and totally hopeless. Neoliberal capitalism, the outlook of colonial administrators like Arthur Philip, primal instinct versus mechanical coercion and the (correct) notion that prison systems can further criminalize institutions’ denizens doesn’t make for a lot of laughs either. Other Aussie jail films ‘Stir’ and ‘Everynight, Everynight’ (with ‘…Civil Dead’s David Field in the lead) are hardly fun, but this is next level. Rage turns to murder, and evidently taking a note from one of Norman Mailer’s key “Doh!” (though I’m sure I heard hims say it Homer-style when Rip Torn cracked him on the head with a hammer) moments – the whole Gary Gilmore saga. ‘…Civil Dead’ pulls few punches, but if you can stomach the unrelentingly grim tone, you’ll emerge impressed. Officially Oz-made, this is the original ‘Oz’ – I’ve never seen it admitted, but the clinical, experimental tone of Levinson and Fontana’s fictional criminal housing, and the back story focus owes a debt to this movie.

Some Bad Seeds on the soundtrack and a truly demented Nick Cave performance may well have given this film some extra mileage beyond VHS purgatory, but with the mild popularity of Hillcoat’s ‘The Road’ (too miserable to sit through – well executed but better on paper) and ‘The Proposition’ this still doesn’t exist in digital form beyond a comprehensive but tough to track down Australian DVD. This website is pretty exhaustive too, dating back to 2005 but promising a rerelease. This film will affect you with regards to a deeply contentious topic without concluding with a Hollywood liberal crawling through pipes of shit to topless freedom. Evan English, one of the film’s writers recently wrote an account of the Cannes guerilla marketing for the movie in May 1988 that puts most calculated, hapless attempts at a “viral” to shame.

On asking Evan about a potential release, I got a polite email, “You have obviously seen the website availability page which lays out the intentions. As those ideas have developed and the work of likely contributors reviewed, it becomes increasingly obvious to me I want to do something with this (dvd, book, website) that significantly adds to the film. Mot a making of with some puff, but a solid review of the politics of incarceration and the trends therein.

The problem is this is independent filmmaking (and this answers your question: with the release of ‘The Road’ and ‘The Proposition’ a few years back, why does this masterpiece remain a cult film. Were there distribution or global licensing issues from day one?).

All the work on the film – intellectual to mundane – is done by me. That’s it, me. It’s twenty years after and it’s wonderful it’s alive , but it’s hard work. There have been many offers over time, but I have high standards…”

Evan says, “Believe” and having had similar feedback regarding other personal favourites ‘The Decline of Western Civilization’ , ‘Style Wars’ and ‘Ladies & Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains’ (well, 2 out of 3 ain’t bad) I’m inclined to trust him. Hunt it down in the meantime, but please…don’t have nightmares.

From the extras from that release, here’s an interview with soundtrack composer for the film, Blixa Bargeld. 0:35 seconds in is cool personified…

On a lighter note, lest we forget, this SNL skit with Jerry Seinfeld in Oswald State Pententionary should’ve been a DVD extra in the final series boxset. Jerry was also cast in the show in an unbilled role as the video shop clerk Biohazard’s Evan Seinfeld (no relation) battered to end up in prison.


The rap game is the WWF, we inside these steel cages/Outrageous things staged on real stages takin’ pictures with the long faces” Royce Da 5’9

Heavily tattooed with ink spreading from his (red)neck to his hands, JellyRoll, not to be mistaken with the producer of the same name, a shaven-headed white 300 plus pound behemoth sits behind the desk of a mock office scene, flippantly answering a call while hollering out his opponent in a thick southern accent. Oktaine a smaller-framed upstart, who speaks in a curious infliction of crip-talk, terms that sound curious from a caucasian character – particularly one from a reportedly rich family – and street level Memphis slang is the subject of his rant, having dissed him in a YouTube video days previous. While this looks like it could lead to a suplex, we’re talking hip-hop – not wrestling, though inferred physical assaults make up much of the conversation.

Another melanin-free man mountain, fellow Tennessean Haystak is a frequent topic of discussion – the Nashville-based MC who squashed a rivalry with onetime Timbaland associate Bubba Sparxxx , (himself not your average scrawny, pallid MC, attempting to conceal evident insecurities with colour by playing the outrageous class clown as has been the case beyond the region) dropped his own video on the subjects at hand, steaming drunk on a sofa, cackling and hollering out G-Unit and seemingly anyone else in the vicinity. Haystak is something of a local phenomenon – with a career going back over a decade and once signed to Def Jam South, whiteness is a frequent topic – the ‘Crazy White Boys’ C.W.B. crew talk sounds a little eerie given the region’s history.

As an outsider, it’s a curious to see as the ‘Banging in Little Rock‘ documentary, but whereas there was some evident play-slanging on display among the real-deal bangers, white rap seems to have evolved in the south as more than a cash-in with the obligatory post Marshall honky, into something more significant. After all, if you’re still stuck off the realness, while Oktaine’s bank balance is a topic-of-discussion, poverty might be spread across the nation, but folk down here, regardless of colour, know all about being poor, broke and while JellyRoll’s frame betrays it, hungry.

While the talk on ‘Stak is that his career has been hindered by betrayal and a jealously of other whiteys, Oktaine, whose work thus far has cancelled out the lyrical flair with some downright odd promos and tinny sound, promises a Gucci Mane guest spot, which for obvious legal reasons at present is implausible. Jelly however, has just signed to Lil’ Wyte’s Wyte Muzik imprint. Allied with 3-6 Mafia and signed to Hypnotize Minds, Wyte’s built up a vast fanbase, and beyond the pill-popping preoccupation, he’s got some genuine skills and vision – more than a pet cracker cash-in, he’s benefited from 3-6’s ascent, and after Juicy and Paul advised him, given the current state of the industry, to start a label himself while remaining with them, Wyte Muzik came to fruition. It looks like JellyRoll is allied with the right man.

This all seems to be part of whole scene off the usual radar – that radar being one fuelled by frequently viewed, constantly refreshed, tricked-out WordPress setups. That just adds to the fun. And what became of the oft-lampooned Florida native White Dawg? He was last heard in 2007 sampling Richard Marx records. Bubba’s ‘Deliverance’ remains one of rap’s most underrated LPs and he seems to exist in a certain limbo at present- hopefully he’ll have the same luck as the recently Grand Hustled Killer Mike. Where N*E*R*D’s boy Lee Harvey went is anyone’s guess, and the Lil’ Jon and Organised Noise affiliated Po’ White Trash & the Trailer Park Symphony are M.I.A. too. Rappers have been acting like wrestlers in WWF’s heyday with that flash video trash talking for a minute, but when they look like wrestlers too, you know things have gone pleasantly full-circle. It’s enough to jumpstart a while blog post on wrestling and rap.

Ignore the John Cena and Insane Clown affiliations for a minute. If you were fixated with the pre-fight hollering with the lurid logo in the background, mouthy managers to the side, or better still, with the short promo videos, back when the World Wrestling realm of sports entertainment could be confused with a wildlife foundation, and yearn for the pre-WWE subplots and presentation, rap took the mantle. It doesn’t matter whether it’s white boys obscure beyond their locale, Jansporters, Rapidshare rappers, big guns, also-rans or former stars…the dignity of a one-on-one conversation has been superseded by the video address. Rap beef is part and parcel – there’s no point recounting the classics – just know that now, a once obscure war like that between Bone Thugs and 3-6 Mafia (was the Memphis altercation captured by Sacha Jenkins in February 1995’s Vibe the instigator there? Good Terry Richardson shots in that short piece too) would be followed by the masses with traded video threats of violence.

Don’t pretend you don’t love rap beef in 2010. Fanboys and girls, hipsters still haw-hawing at the dumber side of the scene, purists, NYC project rap disciples, occasional blog glimpsers, the barely interested – you love to see some static. Now it’s not just rumours of Q-tip catching an eye jammy. You can watch it unfold. In a post-50 world, where Curtis made warring his marketing tool from feigning innocence over his rapper robbing debut onwards, the rise of 50 Cent very nearly coincided with the rise of YouTube – alright, his fourth LP, ‘Curtis’ ties in with the site’s debut. From then on? Open season, Vimeo, OnSmash, World Star Hip Hop and 50’s beef-heavy This Is 50 made outlets to watch rappers, producers, managers, DJs…everyone talking shit. Curtis was the Vince McMahon of the industry.

In recent years, beyond the webcam, flipcam and phone camera made it even easier to upload some bravado and bad attitude. Forget some beatboxing cornball talking elements to you – we may as well announce that YouTube is one of hip-hop’s main elements. Even the most luddite acts who still feel the internet is borderline herb territory are on there – the “I don’t even care about y’all bloggers but I’ma do this video anyway” brigade are out to boost flagging sales an amass views. It’s a beautiful thing.

In case you were already enraged by this sentiment, here’s another one to rub that wound – most of these videos have been more memorable than the records around them. That’s not to say hip-hop is in a dark place right now – it’s not – if you’ll trawl through the ephemera a digital democracy has unearthed, you’ll still find classics. Studio/frontroom/street videos just make things more fun.

The last few years have dredged up some iconic lo-fi moments – a petulant J-Hood dragging his D-Block chain then regretting it, Tru-Life keen to show how he wasn’t broke by showing you around a rented penthouse, 50 recruiting an ultra gully supergroup of sorts – Bang Bang Boogie to badmouth Fat Joe, Juelz getting his London hood pass revoked, Soulja Boy appearing online to address haters with a new facial tattoo, someone new holding a piece of Yung Berg’s jewellery for the camera, Benzino waving a gun around with a stern look and much more. 2009 was a golden year for beef onscreen – masterpieces included 50 apparently rushed to hospital after being injured by the wackness of Joey’s latest album and Chopper aka. Young City’s now legendary World Star address.

Ah yes. The Chopper monologue. Evidently under the impression he was a boss on the Ric Flair “My shoes cost more than your house!” level, former Da Band member Chopper seemed to have borrowed one of Flair’s suits for an online address on March 9th, 2009. With shoulders on some zoot suit, David Byrne ‘Stop Making Sense’ levels, feedback retribution was swift, unmerciful (“OLE “PATRICK EWING SITTING ON THE BENCH INJURED” SUIT HAVING A** BOI”) and glorious. Classic material. One of the best hip-hop moments of recent years, and it was in e-feedback form. Attempted opulence gone wrong. Consider this a celebration of its one-year anniversary.

This isn’t a co-sign of self-important video bloggers talking about rap-related subject matters. Nor does it tolerate the creeping tedium of the reaction video. But the trawl for anything with “disses” “goes at” or “addresses rumors” that’s rap-related is the current addiction round these parts. Hopefully 2010 will usher in at least a couple of classics. Extra points for anyone suffering post-upload jitters and pulling their outburst down, leaving a “this video has been removed by the user” where bravado was once broadcasted. It’s the new drunk text.

One day, maybe a rap video will hit these heights:

MCs have been hollering out WWF superstars for a minute. As a bonus for reaching this far in this rambling blog entry, here’s some of the greatest lines for the top 10 brawlers (Nas’s Iron Sheik line is excluded – it’s a given and it’s included in this video here, and the Ruff Ryders WWE track is too obvious ):


Ric’s the most hip-hop of all wrestlers – ostentatious and a born baller, his trademark “Wooo” makes him extra quotable. He did try to sue T.I. for performing his trademark walk in the ‘Front Back’ video, but it got squashed.

Wooo! Ric Flair on ’em

Young Dro ft. Lil Cali ‘Ric Flair’

5 for 22 I’m like, Wooo! Ric Flair

Cam’Ron ft. Vado ‘Ric Flair’

Shittin’ on niggas from the top when I get there/So gangster but so smooth like Ric Flair

Curtains ‘That’s How It Is’

Cartier is my wrist-wear (I can do dat)/My bank account similar to Ric Flair’s (I can do dat)

Lil’ Flip feat. Juvenile & Skip ‘I Can Do Dat’ (Remix)

You know me – I ain’t even gon’ sweat her/Ric Flair stay jumpin’ off the dresser

Young Jeezy feat. U.S.D.A. ‘Cold Summer’


Yep, Randy released his own rap album, but who cares? Lil’ Wayne is evidently a big fan, referencing the manic onetime king a couple of times.

I’m Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Bob Backlund/Paul Akin, ha ha, who they think they car jackin?

Cam’Ron feat. Hell Rell, J.R. Writer & Jim Jones ‘Get ‘Em Daddy (Remix)

And I’ma go so opposite of soft/Off the richter/ Hector Camacho Man Randy Savage/Above status, quo, flow, so, pro

Lil’ Wayne feat. Jay-Z ‘Mr. Carter’

I am hotter than the Sunday after Saturday/I swear I’m a savage like Lil Webbie and Randy

Lil’ Wayne feat. Busta Rhymes ‘La La’

Running away from the habit cause they average/Me and Maj just gots more rap than Randy Savage

Da King & I ‘Flip Da Script’


Scheming Ted might be the greatest of all WWF characters. The hand wringing in particular fired young imaginations – DiBiase might be one of the best performers in and outside the ring. Frequent namechecks are a testament to this.

40. cals with broke safeties/Just try to rob me/Million dollar man, Ted DiBiase

Lil’ Wayne feat. Mack Maine ‘Money in the Bank’

Runnin from the paparazzi/I’m a million dollar nigga like DiBiase

Messy Marv ‘I Don’t Dance’

And I make sure, when I say so/It’s Jay Rock and Weezy, need I say more/Clothesline the beat, Ted DiBiase flow

Jay Rock feat. Lil’ Wayne ‘All My Life’

Dig what I’m sayin yo? D-I-C-E/Shove a mic in your mouth, like Ted DiBiase

The Roots feat. Dice Raw ‘Ain’t Sayin’ Nothing New’

Watch me, you can catch it live on the Hitachi/Poppin shit like a Nazi, iced out like DiBiase

Big Pun ‘It’s So Hard’

Ha Ha – Blood DiBiase/Skully, beef and broccolis

Cam’Ron feat. Hell Rell ‘Y’all Can’t Live His Life’

Million Dollar Man baby, Ted DiBiase/Catch me sippin’ on some Hen, maybe Courvoisier

Lil’ Wayne Feat. Big Tymers ‘Tha Block Is Hot’


So what if he became a crackhead? In his heyday, Jake was the ultimate. His snake-in-a-bag antics inspired the greatest of all wrestling punchlines, courtesy of Fabolous.

In any event it’s fake like wrestling/Get em like Jake The Snake on mescalines

MF Doom ‘Gazillion Ear’

Cubs come to paper chase, I’ve dealt with major cake/Ever since Jake the Snake, all I rocked was Bathing Apes

J.R. Writer & Juelz Santana ‘ Get Used To This’

Yeah, I’m back, fresh off of hatecation/I let the haters take a break/Now I’ma let it out the bag like Jake the Snake

Fabolous from Maino’s ‘Hi Haters'(Remix)


Nemesis of Jake the Snake, Ravishing Rick Rude was, like Rick Martel, Mr. Perfect and Rocker Shawn Michaels, ultra-cocky.

Crime figure, rhyme spitter, his gun spit too/Call ’em Sex Pistols, ravishing, nigga, I’m Rick Rude

Ghostface Killah feat. Capadonna, Method Man, Raekwon, Sun God & Trife Da God ‘Paisley Darts’


Bionic elbowing, elder statesman of pro-wrestling, and thief of Hacksaw Jim Duggan’s battle cry, not even polka dots on a leotard could kill Dusty’s career.

Time to drop these bows, like Dusty Rhodes/Then I yell hooo

Outkast ‘Southernplayalisticcadillacmuzik’

Cuz I was down before the hype like Dusty Rhodes and Bob Backlund/Bruno Sammartino, Stan Staziak/Now The Rock and Stone Cold are my favorite maniacs

LL Cool J feat. DMX, Method Man & Redman ‘Fuhgidabowdit’


Walking into the ring to Morris Day and The Time, wielding a macaw, recording ‘The Piledriver‘ on the same album that Vince McMahon sung ‘Stand Back‘ on, and rocking a mean pair of shades, you can’t hate Koko, and Joe Crack was right to namecheck him.

Beware like Koko, yo I’m not a slow boat/Got so much dough I va-cate in Acapulco

Fat Joe ‘Flow Joe’


A high flying Fijian wrestler who once had a mammoth coke habit should be the subject of many more punchlines. He still re-enters the ring on occasion despite being 66 years old.

So come on light the buddha/Check your honey while I scoop her/The Superfly, Jimmy Fly Snuka rips the roof off

Redman ‘Blow Your Mind’


The philandering ‘Thunder in Paradise’ star gets a lot of namechecks.

My president is black, rolls golden charms/Twenty-two inch rims like Hulk Hogan’s arms

Young Jeezy feat. Nas ‘My President’


Cast as the villiain, his furious role in the Cyndi Lauper ‘Goonies R Good Enough’ promo, and star turn in John Carpenters classic ‘They Live’ twinned with faux Scottish heritage makes Roddy the man.

I might get it, hit it, split it but yo I’ll never wife her/I’m Rowdy Roddy Piper, but when she can’t decipher

Cam’Ron feat. Byrd Lady & Skitzo ‘Cookies ‘N Apple Juice’

We Rowdy like Roddy, probably robbin your stash/Catch a body like Charlie up North, stashin knives up my ass

Big Punisher ‘Leather Face’


Magazines are my lifeblood, but lately things have been a little lean. A combination of internet information overload and the general demise of the magazine racks have meant slim pickings for printheads lately. On the formally glossy side, what was once heaving with ad-revenue now feels like a pallid pamphlet next to its glory days. For no good reason, grot for gimps like Zoo (which actually has my selection of shoes in it this week if you’re in a shoplifting mood but I wouldn’t bother – it’s shit), Nuts and worst of all, Front, are stunting with bolstered circulations. It’s not fair, but then, as my old man used to say, life’s not fair. But I’m still panning for gold when it comes to publications. We must be due a new Fantastic Man any time now, though maybe their attention is on the women’s spinoff, The Gentlewoman.

There’s no end of style publications pimping pretence and tits-out anti-glamour, but as reads, (bar the old guard and Lurve) they’re a transient, fleeting experience. I need some substance in my life. The last seven days have been, compared to preceding months, relatively bountiful, with new issues of three favourites quietly dropping. Independent, bloody-minded and each pushing the aesthetic and vision of their respective editors, some in wilful lo-fi as the antidote to Monocle’s €90 soap trays and one as plush but dense with content as ever. They all warrant a browse and your support…not out of sympathy, but because they’re all very, very good.


Tattooist, hip-hop connoisseur, writer, font fiend and editor-in-chief of Sang Bleu, Maxime Buechi is evidently a man in love with print, and the publication (still thick enough to fend off the heftiest assailant if you’re subject to a sneak attack outside an arty bookshop on copping a copy) goes from strength-to-strength. Still playing with the medium, the usual fashion, fetish, body mods and philosophy leanings as heavyweight as the journal’s physical form are present alongside a lot of ink and skin. This is what can’t be translated to a computer screen sufficiently, though the blog is excellent.

Splitting issue 5 into two books – one matt, one glossy in the paper stock stakes, with a paper slipcase, this edition feels less fussy in terms of supplements and fold-outs but doesn’t compromise on content. Providing an uncompromising but accessible entry to a realm that’s got scant regard for new jacks or fly-by-nights, there’s a handful of great tattoo publications out there, but by remaining resolutely hardcore but broad-minded, this still gets the vote for being the best magazine on the market right now. £24 isn’t cheap, but taking into account the work behind this glorious mass of colour flash, black and white photography taken globally, custom typefaces and a great standard of writing, this isn’t a cheap one to publish. Good to see the homie Bert Krak repping Brooklyn’s Smith Street Tattoo too. Taking into account the burgeoning number of side project publications from the house of Sang Bleu, you should feel pretty lazy too.


Odd to think that Loaded was once a solid publication – and that’s not the folly of youth…maybe a touch of folly, but it’s better than the state of that rag now. James Brown’s Jack project was an admirable riposte to the then-state of men’s magazines, and it was a shame it lasted less than 2 years. Since then, The Idler’s touched on similar themes in an intelligent way, The Chap just feels like a smug in-joke, and the standard of GQ (where Manzine Kevin Braddock contributes regularly) and Esquire is patchy but much improved. There’s been a gap in the male market for the celebration of the mundane, hugely significant and the flights-of-fancy that the male psyche frequently follows. Enter the increasingly superb Manzine.

Small dog appreciation? Hand dryers? Ralph Steadman? Ginger cake? Lighthearted Monocle-baiting? Curry powder pictorials? Attractive female hairdressers? Recruiting a dream team of contributors, many with hefty job titles, possibly from the Condé Nast canteen, but all excellent, Braddock has created something great. Don’t let the 32 pages fool you – there’s a lot on offer here, and it’s earnest rather than whimsical – what could have descended into an ironic trip up its own rear is propelled by a wide-eyed excitement and some actual journalism. This just gets better and better, and for £2.50, it’s a necessity.


The Northampton-based magazine that’s got no less a genius than Alan Moore at the helm, Dodgem Logic is an odd prospect indeed. At its worst, this periodical feels like the handouts at an organic cafe run by a middle class collective who eye you with suspicion for being with ‘the man”, all pig-faced cartoon coppers, anti council rants and anti fast food rhetoric, but that’s a minor. Like Manzine, Dodgem Logic is harking back to a period of print press that’s been and gone without getting stuck in the nostalgia trap. In this case, Mr. Moore’s harking back to underground press, and having covered the debut issue here before, it’s still pretty decent – naturally, you can dress it up all you like with burlesque kink but the man in charge is the real draw here.

His essay on anarchy is a solid supplement to his work, he promises an extra 24 pages for an extra pound (with an accompanying  cost hop from £2.50 to £3.50) as of next month and he wrote and drew an accompanying XXX comic that doesn’t match Lost Girls in the eroticism stakes – it’s an altogether more knockabout affair where space helmeted dick people pleasure proto-fascist nymphos. It’s not Moore’s best by a long shot, but it is, according to the blurb, “The first and only comic book that Alan Moore has ever both written and drawn himself, for fairly obvious reasons.” That alone justifies picking this up.


It’s too easy to look to the past – this site is riddled with retro tendencies, riffing on the olden days. In an ideal world, it would be riddled with teched-out madness,  future shocks and the new shit, but there’s some stuff that needs to reappear, whether it’s a look at a career, a new presentation of a lost classic or a deeper delve through past glories for a brand. From a spot of speed pondering, 11 things that seem very necessary came to light. There’s a ton more worthy of mention, but here’s what seems pertinent at time-of-blogging…


It’s curious that John Cassavetes’ body-of-work has been given a beautiful treatment by Criterion and Optimum, and that his name is on the lips of anyone talking indie opuses. As an actor (‘The Dirty Dozen’, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘The Fury’ spring to mind) he had a serious presence, but as a director, he fathered so many styles, to quote Malice, he should’ve been handing out cigars left, right and centre. From an experiential point-of-view, everyone should watch his entire directorial output.

You’ve got to love those naturalistic performances from Falk, Rowlands and Gazzara – while the kid in ‘Gloria’ is the worst child actor ever, John could generally get a great turn in his movies. ‘The Killing of a Chinese Bookie’, his interpretation of a noirish gangster thriller is a claustrophobic, deliberately paced, gruelling experience – Gazzara as Cosmo is terrific, and the anti-glamour of his plight makes it essential viewing. Bo Harwood was a sound engineer and the man responsible for the raw “scores” for ‘A Woman Under the Influence’, ‘The Killing…’ and ‘Opening Night’ – the curious distorted electro stomp that launches ‘…Chinese Bookie’ is one of the greatest musical moments in ’70s cinema, yet it remains mystery music. Thankfully Nick Cassavetes seemed to ditch a 1997 plan for a remake. Bo Harwood talked about releasing a CD of this music with accompanying notes here, but after that…nothing.


Not necessarily a bring-back, but without getting dumb enough to assume that Mike Tyson’s strange Italian ‘Dancing With the Stars’ appearance looking a little less rotund means he could ever re-enter the ring, it would be nice to see him take a reader through his life and career. Recent tragedy might have set things back a little, but he sent a proposal for his autobiography to five publishers this time last year, leading to a presumed bidding war. Post documentary, and after the popularity of Agassi’s effort, this is a classic in the making. Books like ‘Fire & Fear’ were lacking…the world needs a great Tyson book – ideally an official one.


The Weaver Hi is set for a release later this year, and while teaming with Liam Gallagher’s deeply shitty Pretty Green label means Clarks Originals loses some luster, the plaintoe version of the Wallabee is an inevitability. That should earn back some points. But how about the brand digs a little deeper? The truly barmy Deep Country boot, heavy on the crepe, and the Padmore, with its formalised plaintoe look would be a welcome resurrection too – a pipe dream of course, because as the name suggests, an Asian-made Padmore, regardless of accuracy, would make no sense.


If you were savvy or lucky enough to get talked around by a comic shop staffer in 1990 into grabbing the perfect bound Eclipse reissues, you know that Alan Moore’s work on ‘Miracleman’ is phenomenal, matching ‘Watchmen’ and ‘From Hell’ – evoking a glorious ’80s era of UK comics. If you weren’t that fortunate, you’ve been deprived of a masterpiece – eBay and Amazon Marketplace prices are daft at present. The reason? A tangled legal mess that seemed to embroil every imprint in the industry with rights issues left, right and centre. Marvel got the rights, announcing this last Summer. Rumour has it, a monthly issue-by-issue reprint could happen. Alan Moore has pledged his profits will go to the character’s creator (originally ‘Marvelman’) – 94 year old Brit-funnybook legend Mick Anglo.


If whispers about Nike scheming to take it there with All Conditions Gear are true, then a balance between the old and brand new would be a beautiful thing. The 20th anniversary of the sub-brand was cool last year, but for fanboys, not enough. It’s never enough. A Tarn reissue would be great, but a Kibo High would be killer too. While it should’ve been an ACG flagship, instead it fell into the ‘Nike Hiking’ line on its introduction. One of Nike’s very best.


When it comes to talk of the rise and fall of James Lavelle’s empire and its rise and fall, laugh it up fuzzballs. Mo’ Wax collated a lifestyle that has its considerable dips and troughs but now, going on the aspirational drivel of ‘How To Make It In America’, it’s well and truly part of the mainstream. Most probably have a stack of beautifully packaged nothingness gathering dust with the Mo’ Wax logo affixed alongside the essential stuff, but visually, the label never let the consumer down. Logos, artwork, marketing – this was total obsession. Like ‘Miracleman’ there were label rights issues that caused extra complications, and several artists were, apparently, less-than-happy. REAS’s art on the overlooked ‘Now Thing’ compilation, one of the last label releases is classic material. Bankhead, Drury, Futura and the rest’s work deserves to be collated in one tome. Hope Rizzoli Editions are listening…


Criterion have been cryptically promising a Terrence Malick release for a minute, and their excellent monthly newsletter included a cartoon hint at what’s on the horizon. Could that be deciphered as ‘The Thin Red Line’ on Blu-Ray? They get the gasface for regionally coding the Blu-Ray releases, but if that cartoon translates as the Malick masterpiece – one of the greatest war movies ever made, the potential is immense. No slouches on the extras, could this Criterion version lead to the premiere of the 6 hour version and those deleted Haas. Rourke, Mortenson, Thornton, Oldman and Sheen appearances restored?


James Prince’s Rap-A-Lot empire created a blueprint for the south. If you don’t like Geto Boys, Outlaws, Big Mike and 5th Ward Boyz, you’re slipping. In Z-Ro they’ve still got a legend on the books. It’s a shame that Trae and Devin the Dude departed, but with such a spectacular back catalogue, a definitive documentary, remastered albums with bonus DVDs and more would reinforce just how hard this label changed the game. Pill and Yelawolf rep the new breed of down south spitters, but while NYC marinades in its own nostalgia, the south has been too busy progressing to take time out to chart its history beyond local common knowledge. Maybe it’s time to do that.


Super-publisher Ted Bawno’s Tweets are a necessary follow, but he recently made a more overt reference to the return of the mighty Ego Trip. Will it be online? Televisual? In print? They’ve done all three with aplomb before, but as the editorial team split to take over the industry post ’98, they could bring the magic back with ease. Lest you forget, Brent Rollins’ design, that mix of hardcore, skate and hip-hop, plus Supreme in the fashion shoots and ads before you knew what it was made for the best magazine ever made. And following that, the best book on hip-hop ever written. Note to the herbs – don’t underestimate Ego Trip.


The whole beige and cardigan thing is done. Where’s streetwear when you need it? Oh yeah, there it is – people are still making referential print tees, except now they have to have a Vimeo teaser. Where can you turn? You can look to one of the originators; Jun Takahashi for a start. Undercover seemed to go back to its roots without compromising the high-end traits of the brand and showed a flailing industry how its done. Most lines are unwearable but buoyed by e-sycophancy – Jun however, is a don. Posing himself for an ill lookbook,  you can assume that there’ll be a trickle down of what’s on display via lesser brands. Is this the return of Tokyo street circa 2000? Did things just go full circle? Bet Jun’s apecentric former partner-in-crime drops something serious too…


It’s quite clear that camouflage is back – bear in mind, if you’ve watched the new CNN/Imam Thug, it never actually went anywhere, but as maharishi sank and all-over print overkill set in, it became endemic of streetwear’s overkill. That of course, is bullshit, Camo is timeless, and while fickle types went all Americana, it kept on developing – last month ACUPAT was, as rumoured for a few years now, apparently succeeded by MultiCam as US-army issue for the next tour of Afghanistan. Even British soldiers out there get a MultiCam influenced version of DPM in Multi-Terrain Pattern as of this month too. It looks good on a version of Oakley’s Land, Sea, Air boot set for Summer and an Arc’teryx combat jacket for the LEAF line too.


(BlackBerry blogging – please allow the typos)

This year’s reading matter, bar magazines, because they don’t count for some reason – mainly because most are a lingering glance at a phone-book style grot (Purple being the best example) that I’m compelled to pick up, but rarely inclined to read for more than half an hour. Vanity Fair and Wired get full attention. The rest don’t. A lengthy commute can’t even be livened by Bruce Dickinson and company alone, and it’s rapidly become a one-man book club. Mild Asperger’s means I need to be updating this blog twice a week or the world will end, and a book has to be consumed every week. Too much non-fiction? That causes concern and indicates I’ve lost my imagination. The end result is consumption of something borderline impenetrable while on the move, making me pull vinegar faces of concentration while reading, maybe even mouthing longer words or unfamiliar names as I turn the pages. That’s why I read between carriages, offering as they do, an illusory sense of privacy beyond rush hour.

Reading prevents an enter sandman on the train, waking up gawping at the wrong stop to the amusement of co-passengers. In this zone, any book goes. Though with less personal space, the folk who looked over my shoulder while I was ploughing through ‘The End of Alice’ and ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ at the wrong times might have me pegged as a sex offender and racist (dis)respectively. I may be the only person that didn’t enjoy Hemingway’s ‘The Old Man and the Sea’ but I sure enjoyed ‘Street Gang – The Complete History of Sesame Street.’ Having only managed a paltry eight real reads in 2010, I’m slipping. All book recommendations are welcome. In the absence of the Palace Wayward’s Book Club (good to see the Palace site launch), I’m drifting this month – literary discipline is all that separates me from the Front readers sharing air with me as I write this, numbing the thumb. Those crowing about how much they read are largely, elitist scum who deserve to be dismantled in debate by real intellectuals. That wasn’t the intent with this opening paragraphs here. Honestly. It was lead-in padding to talk ‘Sesame Street’ with immunity.

‘Street Gang’ is nothing new – it’s been out in the States for a minute, but I haven’t been so gripped by a non-fiction tome since I marveled at the stealthy ways to evade announcing country-of-manufacture and the talk of Hermes in Dana Thomas’s ‘Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster’ (recommended to all you luxury goods fanboys and girls). On spotting it in an NYC Borders, it was swiftly copped and duly shouted about via Twitter. Reading like a dream feature article that just keeps on going, onetime ‘TV Guide editor Michael Davis’s does an immaculate job of maintaining the grit without so much as a scratch on the wide-eyed wonder the Children’s Television Workshop continues to spread. Of course, over a 40+ lifespan, much of the supporting cast and crew passes on, and as a grown up, it’s easier to accept than Big Bird’s faintly disturbing feathery meltdown at Mr. Hooper’s passing, but as a respectable-looking redneck wrestling fan once wept, “It’s still real to me, dammit.”

While the focus is on a marvelous social experiment of  a kid’s show, to hear that Jim Henson suffered a deep depression at the relative commercial failure of ‘The Dark Crystal’ – hopefully, before he died in 1990, he got an inkling of how heavily that flick struck a chord with so many generations down the line. Sesame Street taught me how to read, alongside the rear side of Palitoy Star Wars action figures, UK children’s TV was all static cuddly toys with names, and wild-eyed primetime TV desperados. Henson’s realm was altogether more relaxed, yet with its bin-dwelling misanthropes, buffoonish waiters and those Pointer Sister led counting lessons, there was anarchy, substance and a bonafide funk on the block. It only seemed right to learn a little more. Pop culture weirdos, nostalgics and anyone who feels they may have taken an epic  undertaking for granted needs to take a look. Why ‘Street Gang’ has, at present, not had an official UK release makes no sense.

From a book littered with tragedy alongside a hefty triumph, the fate of Northern Calloway who played David for the duration of my childhood is the most disturbing. David was that guy – the coolest cast member – everyone else seemed a little more uptight than him. This wasn’t some jive-talking tokenism – David seemed approachable provider of less-mechanical life advice. He also seemed like the right boyfriend for Maria too. Calloway’s tale is hardly a revelation – his decline has been oft-discussed but in a macabre way, I’d love to see a biopic. Incredibly talented but tormented by notions of being sidelined for his skin colour, malcontent gave way to a full bi-polar induced mental collapse, that included a crazed rampage in 1980 that he couldn’t recall engaging in. Drugs may or may not have played a part in Northern’s illness (that we still need a soap opera style cautionary device to explain a common affliction is regressive) but the warm treatment from his colleagues and oddly downplayed press coverage was notable.

Biting a co-worker, proposing to a young Street newcomer at her high school and hefty mood swings continued through the decade, and he stayed on the show until 1989. David ultimately exited to “run a farm” but Calloway’s real-life demons consumed him. While rumours of stomach cancer drifted around, Michael Davis checks the paperwork and verifies that Northern died being restrained during a psychotic episode on January 9th, 1990 at Stony Lodge Hospital. The cause of death was excited delirium syndrome, and there were no illegal drugs in his bloodstream at time of death.

Here’s Northern disco-skating in Central Park. He seems so free and easy here that a frivolous fad segment takes on a certain poignancy. Having just watched the documentary ‘8 Wheels and Some Soul Brotha Music‘ I’ve got skates on the brain. Kenny Dixon would approve.

If I killed your buzz, allow me to restore it via William Wegman’s Weimaraners baking some bread.

Hastily written (but not uploaded) using BlackBerry® from Orange