Monthly Archives: August 2011


Before I continue, Mr. Russ Bengston gave me another opportunity to bait purists with a top 50 Running Shoes list for Complex this week. It’s cut down from a list of 700 that I compiled over a couple of days, and is a curious mix of obscure tech, proper performance and poser shoes. That’s because I don’t run and just like the way shoes look. I’m sure the appointment of the Air Max 1 at number one will infuriate anyone who likes their sports footwear a little rustic, but it’s just one fool’s opinion. I’m disappointed in myself for forgetting the New Balance 997 — that was a dickhead move. Running footwear is a broad church — I almost felt I was larking around with something that’s borderline religion to many. Hopefully I won’t be at the receiving end of some kind of footwear version of a fatwa. You can see the list right here — get that click through forefinger ready. I think I’m officially all top-50’d out for the remainder of 2011.

Over the last few days I’ve seen extremes of design. There’s been remarkable showcases of the cutting-edge, but there’s also been a disturbing example of man’s inhumanity to pixels. In the quest to get that elusive nextness, I don’t think there’s two better examples of forward-thought showcased over the last couple of days than Errolson Hugh or Terius Nash. Like Conroy at Arc’teyx Veilance, Errolson is unashamedly futuristic with his vision of modular, protective functionality. Not to the point where he’ll have you bedecked in Ripley’s bitch-battling exo-skeleton, but in a quest to help the wearer interact with their clobber.

Errolson’s Stone Island Shadow Project presentation is tremendous, with the PARSEQ GRID (Proof Augment Resist Skin Equip) application channeling the spirit of Osti in a progressive antidote to the sea of handsewn-fetish photoshoots. Side entry pocket tees to prevent a BlackBerry from taking a death dive into the toilet bowl? Now that’s everyday performance.

The Dream is music’s equivalent of the Modular Down Vest. I was disappointed that Terius cheated on Christina Milian, feeling that the fat-necked Love King may have sailed too close to the sun like the Icarus of Blu-ray R&B, but he constantly delivers (go check out ‘Florida University’ from his last album for the most melodically long-winded “fuck you” in music history). Even when Terius calls his album ‘1977’, he’s incapable of taking a nostalgia trip. It’s all heartbreak, unexpected Pharrell MC skills, blog-complaints, codeine slurs, rock-outs, grunts and spacey synths around that amazing voice. Frank needs to fall back and The Weekend might have the fly packaging, but Terius owns his genre. His first album as Terius is a free download too, with some bronzed-out sleeve art that’s hood-lavish.

These gentlemen are making the threads and the sonics to listen to while donning those forward-thinking fabrics.

Just to bring you back to earth, Game’s “digital book” has a cover so poor that it defies belief. The image, the Comic Sans, the crude placement — this couldn’t look less like an officially sanctioned piece of work if it tried, with an aesthetic that defies digital. It looks like the hastily prepared pamphlet of a teacher trying to be down or an 11 year-old’s class project on gangster rap rather than the making of a solid LP that just knocked ‘Watch the Throne’ out its gold seat in the Billboard charts. Jay-Z had that Microsoft money and the elaborate dust jacket. This looks like it was knocked up on an Acorn Electron. Damn. If it wasn’t for Weezy’s half-arsed performance in jester trousers, this would have been clowned a little harder as the oddest misstep since Dr. Dre got his sci-fi Fonz on with a smedium leather in the ‘Kush’ video.

Non super-scientifical but still necessary, the khaki brown Albam sweatshirt looks tremendous. Albam’s work-in-progress to make the definitive crewneck sweat is a noble mission, and that gym key/stash pocket is another example of added function that works. I’ve noticed more and more good sweatshirts from Japanese (but I still find purchasing XLs a little soul-destroying) brands carrying unnecessary prints of seemingly non-existent sporting teams and fictional-sounding platoons that remind me of the finest moment in middle-class comedy courtesy of Armstrong & Miller: “I hate random things written on clothes — it’s just pointless.”

Everyone tweets about how hard done they are in the office. It’s not like they’re working all hours in a hospital ward of terminally ill kids. Most of the time the culprits are just writing shit presentations on shit brands. I like watching people when they enjoy their work, and this Boiler Room footage of Lunice at Notting Hill Carnival depicts someone having a fuckload of fun. I wish I could conjure up this kind of enthusiasm regularly. Just watching him is infectious.


Before bothering with anything here, I recommend reading this ‘Vanity Fair’ profile of agnès b. She had the workwear reappropriation thing going on when the first store opened in 1975 and was crossing over fashion and graffiti with her gallery space in 1984. That’s some early adopting.

Having just spent the last half an hour hunting for a bootleg copy of a remake of a 1973 tv-movie and coveting a reissued pair of shoes from 1985, I’m aware of how much of my pop-cultural diet, and indeed the world around me, is stuck in the past. We don’t fixate on the new. We certainly fixate on the next, but that’s not necessarily progressive, just a movement or artifact that’s reproduced 1:1 to fill a gap before we’re onto the next slice of past that’s superfluous yet very necessary. I’m not too troubled by the absence of space cars. I’m alarmed at things I felt were borderline contemporary being deemed “old school” but that’s part of the ageing process, where we’re two steps from being embarrassing dad despite our best efforts to stay “down.” I’m curious to know why we like to recycle old movements though — this blog is defiantly steeped in ancient and unnecessary things because I still can’t shake off those preoccupations.

Simon Reynolds was evidently troubled enough to study the subject over 430 pages in ‘Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to the Past.’ Reading Reynolds’s earlier ‘Bring the Noise’ anthology, wherein it’s fun to watch his evolution from an overly-verbose — albeit very talented — young writer into a real master of his craft, dropping in the head-scratchers when they just seem like the correct thing to do, without intruding on the prose’s enviable flow.

In those pieces he’s preoccupied with the post-punksters and the fluid robo-funk over a decade later and throughout ‘Rip It Up and Start Again’ he recalls a youth spent trailing that next thing at a time when those rose-tinted spectacles have painted every release an act of sonic evolution.

Reynolds talks as a father in his latest work, finally left behind by the digital movement zip filing what he’s spent years amassing, yet during his study he singles out the original curators and reissuers who were looking back in the archives when a perceived golden era of 1960s music was in effect. He argues that punk’s finest moments were rock n’ roll throwbacks rather than an absolute shock-of-the-new. He bemoans the boxsets that gather dust as they delve too far into what was meant to gather dust.

‘Retromania’ is a remarkable work — part history, part personal account without the infuriating Hornby-isms that can usher in and one of the finest attempts to pin down the reasons for the relentless tractor beam pull of regression. Reynolds argues that some dance music is the last forward movement musically, yet by their own live-for-the-moment hedonism the scenes burn out rapidly in a bass-heavy implosion of internal conflict, fickle audience and closed venues. Then they’re deemed “old school” within 60 months and are just another dewy-eyed part of the nostalgia machine.

I’m inclined to think that the ageing rocabillies with their cans of Tennants around my way are right. The 1950s are the best place to regress to — at least a vision of the 1950s that I’ve been sold back to by Japanese repro masters – with the typography, the hair, the denim, the tattoos, the white tees, the footwear and the rest. I haven’t got the energy to fight the onset of terminal nostalgia for scenes in which I was barely present. It gets us all eventually.

I am a fan of John Frankenheimer’s ‘The Island of Dr. Moreau’ from 1996. I love it. It’s totally underrated and a rare moment where the visibly troubled shoot affords the film an appropriate level of derangement. After all, a film where hybrid human-animals dwell, led by an overweight, painted, cross-dressing Marlon Brando, should be a little messed up, right? I love Fairuza Balk too, and her appearance makes it even better. It’s a truly dark little film, and Thewlis’s expression is that of a man keen to get off the set, which sits well in a film where he’s keen to exit an island of monsters. Monsters…a bratty Val Kilmer before he got fat and got that karmic industry payback…Brando recieving store robbery details from Woolworths on his radio headset during rehearsals…it’s all one and the same. Brando’s mini sidekick (played by a pre ‘Austin Powers’ Verne Troyer alone is enough to love this ‘…Dr. Moreau’. I don’t think Richard Stanley’s adaptation could have matched the madness, yet I can concede that it’s not to all tastes.

The Don Taylor adaptation from 1977 is a little less out there, but 1933’s ‘Island of Lost Souls’ is a genuinely eerie little film based on the same book that preempts the censorious film code of the era. If my mind is working correctly it’s sampled on the first House of Pain LP, with the vivisection lab on Moreau’s being the inspiration for the band’s name. Criterion are putting out a special edition with tremendous covert art that includes (among other extras) Devo’s The  ‘Complete Truth About Devo-lution’ movie that includes ‘Jocko Homo’ with its “Are we not men?” line taken from ‘Island of Lost Souls’. I recall Oingo Boingo referencing the film too on ‘No Spill Blood’ but it could have been a more general ‘…Dr. Moreau’ reference to H.G. Wells’s novel.


Ah, 1999. Mo’ Wax releases were unlistenable with nice covers, denim was expensive and had Tippex style ‘E’s on the pockets, wallets had chains and Nikes looked like HR Giger designed them. Anyone else remember LEVEL magazine? It seemed to survive from 1999 until 2000, and represented a little Brighton-based moment in UK publishing to complement The Face. Back then I felt that print was on the wane, but I was unaware of the implosion that would leave W.H. Smiths barren bar the trashier mags and the style publications with ad-spend sugar daddies. To go visit the cornershop and grab a magazine with Nigo in it back when English language quasi-otaku antics were seemingly confined to an online Illuminati was surprising and I became a regular reader until LEVEL came to an abrupt end in November 2000 — it’s a shame on a number of levels, not least because the worlds of art, fashion and music it promoted collided in grander style the following year.

Now if I saw a magazine with Shepard Fairey’s work on, I’d be unlikely to even browse it, but back in August 2000 it was genuinely dizzying to see a reference staring me from the shelf. George P. Pelecanos profiles before ‘The Wire’ became the Johnny-come-lately liberal newspaper TV show of choice? Nice. Of course, nothing from the year 2000 can come away looking entirely fresh – Psycho Cowboy Brand garms, “electronica” scored first-gen Playstation games and skate shoes a mile wide were never destined to age well — but the layout is certainly not some over designed attempt to out-Neville Brody the pages and LEVEL came off like the smartest millennial Channel 4 youth show that never was and a less breathless ‘Grand Royal’. I lost my copies to overzealous parents during a move, so shouts to Nikolai of another of 2000’s heroes — Rift Trooper HQ — for hooking me up with some back issues last summer. But nobody told me that LEVEL still exists in online form until I spotted this online (there’s another nice little tribute here too).

Everyone’s a bloody “online magazine” but barely anybody normal I know owns an iPad yet. I still think there’s mileage for something in the vein of LEVEL or France’s Clark from these shores.

I’m a late adopter, yo. Nobody told me that there’s a Patta TV show either. Well, not exactly, but Tim and Mr. Lee Stuart’s presence on Amsterdam-based LetitrainTV (shouts to Gee for hipping me to the site’s existence) makes it very Patta-affiliated indeed. Tim visiting Smit-Cruyff — a pioneering European sports store that broke plenty of brands in Holland — is informative and talk of Prodigy’s autobiography, Eli Porter and running shoes makes this well worth a watch, because these chaps know what the fuck they’re talking about. Best of all, somebody’s kindly subtitled the whole thing too. I love LetitrainTV.


Remember when we were a laughing at that wacky Charlie Sheen earlier this year? Yeah, me neither. But watching Penelope Spheeris’s forgotten masterpiece, ‘The Boys Next Door’ which seems to be ignored when Spheeris talk skips from 1983’s ‘Suburbia’ to 1988’s ‘The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years’ and then ‘Wayne’s World’, I remembered what a powerful screen presence he is. It also reminded me that Maxwell Caulfield — last seen in ‘Emmerdale’ of all places — can be a remarkable actor, who gets to go psycho in this tale of two buddies who go killing for something to do. George Clinton on soundtrack duties, shades of ‘Badlands’ in that aimless malevolence and a genuinely foreboding atmosphere makes this the brooding brother of the Brat Pack flicks of the same year (1985) and the cold-blooded precursor to Tim Hunter’s ‘River’s Edge’ — Crispin Glover actually screen tested for Sheen’s role in ‘The Boys Next Door’ but according to Spheeris, he was deemed “too psychotic”. I need to see that screen test. The opening credits alone indicate that we’re not in John Hughes or Cameron Crowe territory.


I’ve watched some crap this week. The ‘Conan the Barbarian’ redux was far-from-entertaining and lacked the lead, script and score that gave the 1982 version such presence while ‘The Devil’s Double’ was neither trashy nor truthful enough to be of any point whatsoever. If you can’t make anything out of barbarians or psychotic dictator’s sons what kind of filmmaker are you? Still, I hope that the box office dirty bomb that ‘Conan…’ and ‘Fright Night’ activated wipes this relentless trend for remakes out.

Still, I was heartened to hear that the rumours of Rodney Dangerfield appearing in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Killing’ back in 1956 — the heist film that’s been homaged time and time again —- were actually true. I heard the bug-eyed king of the self-deprecating one-liner was an onlooker in an uncredited role, but I’d never been able to spot him. So I assumed it was apocryphal — after all, two of my heroes crossing paths is a significant thing that must have been too good to be true. Someone once told me that Antipodean folk-hero Alf Stewart from ‘Home & Away’ was in ‘Abba the Movie’ and it turned out to be bullshit. As a result, I approach these early sightings with the same skepticism we approach yokels claiming to have seen alien transport. That was until Criterion upped this excellent Chuck Stephens essay a couple of days ago, taking the reader through ‘The Killing’s cast — from the lead to supporting roles, the narrator, and including a still of Mr. Dangerfield in full onlooker mode, peering over a shoulder at a an impromptu bout of race track fisticuffs. This is easily my favourite uncredited cameo of all time since Robert Duvall sat on a swing in the 1978 ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’.

On a similar subject, the New Yorker is talking up a spot of beef between another deified director and Mr. Sean Penn, with Sean claiming that the ‘Tree of Life’ script never made an accurate leap to the screen when Terrence Malick directed it, and reinforcing the popular consensus that the film is anaemic in the narrative department. I’ve got a lot of time for ‘Milk’ but I preferred the Penn that starred in awesome films like ‘Bad Boys’ and ‘At Close Range’ (with an excellent Walken turn too — I never realised how based on a true story it actually was). Having grown up gawping at the ‘Bad Boys’ VHS sleeve with a vivid illustration of Penn sat on another teenager and about to drive a shiv into his neck, this crappy US-poster makes this 1983 teen prison flick look like ‘Beat Street’ — what’s up with that covered lettering?

I’ve long tried to stop this blog straying too far into retro territory by implementing a retro offset section when I feel I’m a little too lost in rose-tinted Cazal territory. Simon Reynolds’s excellent new book ‘Retromania’ takes on that issue head on and explores our fetish for the past. He’s especially taken with the early to mid 1960s’ work of André Courrèges, who brought a defiant futurism to women’s fashion, and — according to Reynolds — represents one of the last stands against reverse thinking before the 1960s (thought by so many to be the progressive decade) began to look back. I love this LIFE profile of Courrèges from their May 21st, 1965 edition, entitled ‘The Lord of the Space Ladies’ (referencing the 1964 ‘Space Age’ collection) where he spits some superior soundbites, steeped in progression (“Le Corbusier is my only master. If I had the guts, I would leave it all today to become an architect”) and is pictured playing Basque pelota in some court sport whites. In stark contrast, his silver, intergalactic creations for the Munich Olympics were eccentric and amazing too.

It’s interesting that Supreme referenced Courrèges as early as 1995 in Suprème ads and logos (with the lettering frequently misunderstood as a Macy’s homage), possibly to represent their future-proofed vision, complimented by that box logo in contrast to the more garish skate and street wear of the time, treating their tight-knit team and employees like a Weber Calvin Klein shoot was something different. I’ve never known whether that B&W treatment was linked to the brief controversy over box stickers stuck to Calvin Klein ads that’s referenced on the much-faked and still-imitated Kate Moss t-shirt. Courrèges remains legendary.

As I age and lose touch, I’m clinging on, white-knuckled to some semblance of the new before I lapse into a permanent “everything’s shit” mode and the gradual Benjamin Button style reversal back to a happier ideal of years past that’s historically rewritten to make even the most mundane releases look definitive. That’s why I have to shout out Nick Bam —my advisor on all matters of waviness — for putting me onto Nakim’s ‘Swervin’ remix. I can’t stop listening to it and those visuals are some budget brilliance.

Shouts to team Leisure on the launch of their site, offering month-long online explorations of a chosen topic, seemingly in retort to the insubstantial canapès of Tumblr and the blank-eyed global spread of the low-attention epidemic. There’s plenty of content on the new site that’s relevant to my interests, dwelling on psychedelia until the 15th of September. This piece on Ricky Kasso (a longtime personal preoccupation — see also Anthony Jacques Broussard and James Vance) is fun.


I’ll level with you — I’m rushing this one because I want to watch ‘The Devil’s Double’.

Looking around trade shows, everyone’s a bloody king of clobber these days, but it’s all so serious. You can tell the amount of knowledge that’s been Googled as opposed to what’s innate. I don’t know much about clothing, but I’m sure that you couldn’t engage in a conversation about anything beyond surface level, and that’s what’s missing. You can pull in the names, but the fun’s not there. That’s because you need to know what you’re talking about before you can drop the stern face. Clothes and the aura they carry — perceptions of wealth, cultural capital and a lot, lot more that a flattering, costly bit of cotton can convey — are daft, so they deserve to be displayed with a bit of humour. That’s what’s lacking in the homogenized realm of menswear retail. If you can’t see the humour in two men dressed in Norse, slim-fit beige on the bottom half and a Supreme box cap looking down on the All Saints and Superdry clad clones then you’re probably part of the problem.

But I digress.

Clothes are fucking funny but few seem to display them as anything more than something to give it the Aryan blue-steel for a photoshoot over. How can you take shoots that inadvertently look like the Style Council’s ‘Long Hot Summer’ video seriously? Give me Oi Polloi’s Deck Out any day. It’s good to see that Manchester’s city centre mayhem last week didn’t harm this northern retail institution, but they’ve dropped some interesting bits and pieces lately. How many menswear retailers put out not just one, but two fine publications? Incidentally, that’s real-world paper ones made from the flat stuff sourced from pulped trees rather than a mass of pixels.

‘The Rig Out’ just got even better (and when I find Glenn “Laine Kitsu” Kitson in his lair, I’ll crow about how good it is here) and the Deck Out spinoff, ‘Pica~Post’. Issue number two of the latter just dropped, with the title: ‘Ralph’s Motors and Seaside Selvedge’. There’s a Japanese excursion in there, a really fucking good Polo Trekking jacket, another Norse Projects and Oi Polloi project, Ralph’s motors and a Cottonopolis history. I love those write ups (I believe the young upstarts from Proper Mag are involved), the handwritten “asides” and the fact the whole thing just knows its shit to the point where it can be this playful. It costs 2p plus postage and packing, thumbing its nose at our inexplicable acceptance of the £20 twenty minute read.

You can like orange parkas a lot and still be the life and soul of the party. Don’t let the dullards tell you otherwise.

The Cottonopolis range looks good too. Named after the cotton mill empire that Manchester was at the epicentre of in the 19th century, that element of fun balanced with immaculate presentation crops up again with the Whillans Parka in the collection, named after Lancashire legend Don “The Villain” Whillans. I’ve long associated climbing with a certain passive beardiness despite the hardships involved, but Lancashire climbing legend Don was apparently no slouch when it came to fisticuffs. The excellent book ‘Invisible on Everest’ briefly mentions Don’s type — a breed of working class climber who was a stark contrast to the intrepid toffs from earlier in the century — but his achievements were significant, inspiring some technologies, being the first to conquer some Himalayan trails, walloping bus conductors and enjoying a drink or two. But Whillans’s skills as a climber shone through and the pictures of him taking on some Yorkshire grindstone in a shirt with rolled sleeves and a flat cap are astonishing.

Don passed away in 1985, but it’s likely he might have approved of the Whillans Parka. It’s Manchester-made with some style cues from the 1970s – when Don beat his demons with some epic feats — and there’s no messing about with this one. Especially in red. Whillans would doubtless have had no time for fancy types, but this shade of red wouldn’t have left you sprawled on the floor courtesy of a well-weathered fist. You might have seen a lot of outerwear along these lines lately, but bear in mind that Oi Polloi were pissing out parkas while you were still wearing full-zip hoodies festooned with gaudy prints of firearms all over them. Nice coat, great concept and a pleasantly robust antidote to the overly-precious fun vacuum that the industry perpetuates. This is themed gear, shorn of twattery.

Check out the new ‘Pica~Post’ here and a great Don Whillans article here.


Making light of Channel 4’s ‘Street Summer’ season is like shooting beatboxers in a barrel, so it would be too obvious to lampoon their Superdry-friendly mix of parkour, BMX, making music with your mouth and dripping stencils. It is what it is, “urban” culture zip-filed up into some kind of rapping, dancing expression of da ‘yoof. If you expected a three-hour Money Boss Players documentary, a JA character study or a celebration of Hypnotize Minds, then you were being wildly optimistic. Still, it’s curious that T4’s ‘Inside SBTV: From Bedroom to Boardroom’ and some of BBC Two’s ‘No Hats, No Trainers’ felt like superior attempts at the same subject matter.

But their two-hour ‘How Hip Hop Changed the World’ was a wasted opportunity. It’s not a case of naivety and nerdery, angrily fist waving at a lack of Beatnuts — it was just a weak offering that seemed to be cobbled together by the same minds behind ‘Street Summer’s infamous commercial. Idris Elba waved his arms around and swaggered like Danny Dyer on a roof somewhere, Nas was deadpan and dull, plenty of UK acts got excited, people were filmed in the act of racking their memory banks and historically it flitted around like some Burroughs-esqe cut-and-paste hallucination. People spinning on their head! Mike Skinner! Ronald Reagan looking impressed! Diddy being wealthy! The Sugarhill Gang! Weetabix men! A clip from a Wu-Tang Video!

‘How Hip Hop Changed the World’ was simply another ‘I Love…’ nostalgia show that felt curiously dated, like the sort of thing you might catch at 3:15am on a freeview music channel in a drunken haze and it displayed a curious regression — 1999’s ‘The Hip-Hop Years’ attempted a history and failed with a simplistic delivery, but it was more watchable than friday night’s offering. As if to highlight the inferior nature of Channel 4’s latest failure, adverts looked culled from YouTube and plenty of footage from 1987’s BBC Open Space documentary ‘Bad Meaning Good’ and 1984’s ‘Beat This! A Hip-Hop History’ was used. The latter efforts were excellent, and while hip-hop culture operated in a smaller space for documentation, how on earth is hip-hop still being treated as some kind of fly-by-night gimmick in terms of documentation?

The truth of the matter is that hip-hop needs something akin to the ten-part Ken Burns treatment. An adaptation of Dan Charnas’s ‘The Big Payback’ would be fascinating. Some would say that it’s still too immature and others claim that it regressed…that it doesn’t respect itself enough to warrant a serious documentation, but that would be erroneous. Contemporary “urban” culture being treated as some kind of bad musical where folks dance out their grievances in dayglo clothing is part of the problem — depictions of the inner-cities are wildly at odds with the realities, and a multi billion-dollar business that seems to have permeated everything is still being summarised in a 1-minute moving tableaux of twattery.

Forget $299 books retreading the flawed steps of ‘Hip Hop Immortals’ or the equally messy ‘Hip Hop Immortals: We Got Your Kids’ and ‘Rhyme & Reason’ documentaries. The culture got more complicated and the depictions got dumber. How on earth does an expert in Tudor history end up on Newsnight in lieu of any of the young journalists who could have offered some valuable insight without resorting to a Mr. Starkey-friendly “white voice”? How did Channel 4 go from screening Henry Chalfont’s masterful ‘Style Wars’ in 1984 to 120 minutes of unstructured stating-the-bloody-obvious 27 years later? This was a valuable opportunity to celebrate something remarkable squandered.

While we’re ranting, what’s up with the 5D culture of factory-tour videos? If your brand needs to show me the manufacturing process in order for me to appreciate it, then I want nothing to do with it. The provenance of a garment or item seems to be superseding whether it’s actually very good. Making something in the UK and describing it down to the strand of cotton doesn’t necessarily make it better than anything else. Production line shots, earnest images of men in aprons, occasional blur and a SBTRKT or Beirut soundtrack are becoming a formula — if your documentation of handcrafts feels formulaic and clinical, then you’ve missed your own point.

I had a wander round Jacket Required in London. I can’t remember much, but I enjoyed myself. My favourite item was a velvet jacket from Sk8thing and Nigo’s Human Made line depicting a Toddy Cat (aka. the Asian Palm Civet — the creature that defecates the berries that make Kopi Lawak coffee) enjoying a brew. It’s a very expensive item, but like the varsity jacket with a hotdog across the back, Nigo seems to have restored his aptitude for awesome again, building on the URSUS styles to go completely crazy with these surreal, self-indulgent vintage style. I like the Carhartt camo pieces as part of the archive line that are dropping soon too — definite crowd pleasers, and the contemporary buttons on the recent heritage-style stuff have been ridded in favour or something a little more olde world.

Picture from Thursday’s NOWNESS feature.

Rest in peace KASE 2 TFP. I mourned his passing a little too early on Twitter this week, but the one-armed, letter camouflaging, King of Styyyyyyyyyyyle has passed away. I know Goldie painted with Kaze, but did I dream up the footage of a starstruck Goldie meeting KASE 2 back in the 1980s? Was it from the ‘Zulu Dawn’ footage pulled down from YouTube? My love for the ‘Beastmaster’ scene in ‘Style Wars’ has been expounded upon here before, but this legend deserves a celebration.

Linking to that Canon 5D remark, you’re likely to see an influx of tattoo-centric videos soon, but ignoring a lot I’m really enjoying VBS’s Tattoo Age. In a fantastic coincidence (and one that will no doubt cheer up the homie Nick Schonberger, just as VBS started teasing the Grime episodes, Grime Daily started showing their ‘Tattoo Watch’ episodes. In the latter, there’s no talk of technique, just lots of madcap meanings or none-at-all, but the UFO chest piece is awesome.


The last few days have had a faintly apocalyptic feel — not so much in the acts of a few kids liberating some adidas PTs, but in what it’s going to unleash in terms of a crackdown on day-to-day life. One minute you’re in the park eating a Taste the Difference sandwich with three colleagues and the next you’ll be sent sprawling by a hose blast for your unlawful gathering. Banging on the door to wake your housemates at 3am? Rubber bullet to the chest. You can thank the youth posing solemnly for phonecam glory with the bumper bag of Tesco’s Value Basmati rice for that when you’re spluttering on the floor, being booted in the ribs. There’s dissent elsewhere too.

My buddy Philip at Madbury Club (a site that makes most other sites out there look weak) stood calm in the face of being hacked and losing a wealth of excellent content a few months back and just started again. Already, Madbury’s better than the rest and he let me write some stream-of-consciousness nonsense about ‘Watch the Throne’ during a third listen. I liked that album a lot — not as much as I loved ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ (which at the halfway point turns into a monkey prison flick) in the hype that delivers stakes, so I don’t understand the backlash.

But then I also don’t understand how people could be so moved by it that they Tweeted about it for 24 hours, will probably return to babbling on about it at the end of the week, collating reactions to it like the craze of filming yourself reacting to some women eating each other’s shit (an apt metaphor for something or other), then gather tearfully every August the 8th to commemorate the day that two men rapping about fancy slacks and art galleries changed their lives. If the media’s looking to point the finger at rap for Britain’s troubles, ‘Watch the Throne’ would be a shoddy scapegoat. If the youth were corrupted by this, they’d have been grabbing unpronounceable brands and priceless paintings. Anyway, ‘Ye and Jay had that scapegoat skinned a long time ago to make some luxurious driving shoes.

My favourite discovery online today was that whiny-voiced-yet-prolific mixtape maker (whose ultra-zooted ‘Ride Around Slow’ I’ve had on rotation for a while) Rich Hil has been dissing Supreme in the New York Observer. Dan Duray’s profile of the rapper ends with,

“Later in the night everyone ordered Indian food and after the five chicken tikka masalas arrived, Rich began to rail against the clothing label Supreme, which he used to wear regularly, until they started “fucking with Odd Future,” a West Coast rap group.

Now he wants to kidnap Odd Future frontman Tyler the Creator and make a music video where an attractive woman takes a duffel bag of Supreme out to the middle of the desert and burns it. He didn’t say for which song.”

That’s doubly amusing in the knowledge that Rich Hil is Tommy Hilfiger’s son. Two of my favourite clothing empires collide in those closing quotes. His output isn’t Chilly Tee level, but some of the drug dealer boasts (despite that documented bust) seem a little unnecessary given the options available. On the Hilfiger subject, I loved Diamond D’s revelation that, “Tommy Hilfiger or his brother Andy came over to the video shoot in person in a big body 600…and opened up the trunk and said ‘Back up, this is all for Puba” during the ‘Watch the Sound’ shoot in the Complex piece recently.

Rich was merrily Tweeting about Supreme until a couple of months ago too. I thought it was just kids who got into Supreme in 2008 sitting on message boards moaning that it’s “mainstream now” but it appears even the Rapidshare rappers out there are getting restless. I tried to calculate as to whether there’s a direct trajectory between how annoying a white rapper is and how many tattoos they’ve got, but Lil Wyte, Paul Wall and Yelawolf all disproved my theory with an abundance of ink. Machine Gun Kelly and Mac Miller are prone to pulling some annoying expressions, but at least white rappers have stopped trying to out psycho each other by rapping about bumming their own mums and stuff – they seem to have substituted that with game of who can amass full sleeves and a neck piece the fastest. Oh, and media coverage claiming that Rich is the best ever rapper from Connecticut are forgetting that Stezo, and — on the melanin-deficient front — Apathy, are a lot better.

This is my ‘Save the Elephant’ appeal. I’m a Nikehead. If you read this blog regularly you’ll know that. But just as that guy from GoDaddy caused trouble by shooting an elephant dead a while back, my beloved elephant print’s appeal has been slaughtered. On the Air Jordan III, it was amazing. I saw glimpses of it on Windrunners, some Airliner Cortez, Pegasus and an Air Trainer 1 from around the same time. The Air Force IV/STS worked it in nicely in 1989. Seven years later it showed up on the Air Jordan XI IE Lows in style — a nice throwback to the previous decade on a Jordan that still maintains a certain mystique.

When Supreme dropped their Dunk Low SB in October 2002, the resurrection of that pattern and reference to a 1988 aesthetic was indicative of Supreme’s knack for nailing a theme, and it seemed like a coup to fuse a Jordan aesthetic with a Dunk. How naive we were, but that duo of makeups is still classic. It’s quaint to think that seeing it on a Parisian b-boy’s custom Doublegoose seemed so unfeasibly fresh a few years back.

Chris Hall’s one-off Air Force 1 Hi makeup from 2005 and those unreleased Courir Air Flight 89 from 2003 aside, the magic’s been eroded during the last decade. Nine silhouettes (including the AJIII) carried it superbly. The last five years of abuses are proof that this classic pattern needs to be kept in a vault for outings that justify such a prestigious application. This mistreatment of a noble animal (print) must stop.