It’s a brief update day, due to my own shitty management of workloads. I was very flattered that Mr. John Gotty who runs one of my favourite websites: the Smoking Section (and incidentally, he has a smoking habit that gives him the kind of voice that earns respect — I feel I’d be at least 33% more successful in life if I had Gotty’s voice) asked me to contribute to his Summer Madness section recently, and he upped my picks of anything I wanted for the supposed warmer months ahead. Somehow I managed to put Terrence Malick and Trae the Truth in the mix.

While I frequently rail against the dangers of blogwear, with an increasing amount of folk dressed like they’re playing a wacky nerd character in an ’80s shitcom who gets asked out for a dare by a beautiful classmate, I am deeply grateful that the internet has put me in contact with a whole host of fellow rap oddballs — whether it’s John in Nashville, Frank the Butcher in Boston or Masta Lee in Amsterdam. The universal language of hip-hop and footwear obsessiveness is a powerful thing. Check it out here and if you don’t have TSS in your RSS, then you’re a dumbass. Gotty and his team run a tight ship, and unlike many of the quick-fix music bloggers, my dude can write smartly, offering some fresh perspective that doesn’t cling, white knuckled, to the back of the latest Tweet-fuelled, out-of-control bandwagon.

I’m pretty bored with the sports footwear realm because it’s so stale. Somehow, overexposure has even sapped the joy out of the Jordan III — my favourite sneaker ever until 2011. It was nice to finally lay my hands on a couple of shoes that have divided opinion thus far. We had the bizarre experience of dinner with Swizz Beatz and Tim Westwood last night (thanks Reebok), and spoke to Swizz again today – nice guy (anybody who produces ‘Banned From TV’, ‘Money, Cash, Hoes’ and ‘Blow Your Mind’ is a legend).

I love sneakers that piss people off and I definitely co-sign the Kamikaze III — the fact Swizz talked to us about analytics intelligently for five minutes as well as informing us that he’s on a remix of Meek Mil’s ‘Ima Boss’ that drops soon was an indicator that he’s not your average rap dude. I also got my hands on Muska’s new Skytop III which also seems to be causing some talkback rumbles — “It’s just a Jordan/Huarache/Presto mix” they shout. So what’s the fucking problem there? That’s an awesome mix. At least it’s not a Vans copy. If anyone wants to wet the bed over skate brands using Nike inspiration, they might want to bear in mind that many of their favourite indie skate sneaker brands started with some “homages” to the Jordan I. Tech beats more baked rubber.

Want to know what’s really offensive? Sneakers that are made to look like Red Wings, Danners or Trickers, because the designers and product line managers themselves are “over”™ sneakers. Fuck off and become a cobbler and let some fans with imagination and passion have your job. Catering to the anti-sneaker market is a self-defeating move — go innovate.

If you haven’t visited lately, John’s Swoosh Page — which I believe is one of the first and best resources of its kind — is set to go offline soon just closed. John’s site has been invaluable to me in terms of information over the years, hosted since the early ’00s as part of the mysterious Trizera Ventures, with links to some running club pages too. John H Wallace III is a pioneer in the field, and as I understand, the listing project commenced around the mid ’90s, before there was even a live. The first time I ever typed in “sneakers” or “nike” into Lycos many, many years ago, John’s handiwork appeared.

Things have definitely changed, but I loved the almost-rustic look of John’s site, staying defiantly 1.0 in a world of Flash, CSS and constant contact. While it was rarely updated in recent years, a constant news feed is an irrelevance next to true passion, operating in blissful disinterest of the retro movement and all who joined the party. John even upped the image I swaggerjacked below — a snapshot of  on 13/06/1996 (just over fifteen years ago). Thank you for the shared information John…

“Over”™ things is a registered trademark of people who arrived too late in the first place everywhere.

0 thoughts on “SMOKING

  1. I Can’t tell you enough how much i enjoy your writing, it challenges me to do better and be better. You make very valid point’s and I also share in your frustration with the over saturation of footwear over the last couple of years. Checked out John’s page which was unknown to me until now and sadly i only have two days to look over the site before it’s gone. Which reminded me of staying up late to study for finals trying to cram as much information as i could in little time. Keep up the good work, i rarely post on any blogs but felt the need to after reading this piece. Peace.

    1. Jonas, that’s pretty fucking humbling. Thank you for the feedback sir. I’m concerned you could break your mind with information overload – I recommend downloading the spreadsheets from there to minimise on headaches…