Once again, this blog’s looking like it’s on the Nike payroll. It isn’t. But this has been Nike’s week. I just got back from Los Angeles and the whole Nike MAG madness superseded any hype I’ve seen before. I watched people applaud a shoe on a stage — it was truly odd. Fabolous was at the MAG launch too, leaving early with a glum-face and unnecessary entourage, but the strangest image I captured is the one above. It’s a self-portrait. A self-portrait in a vast green screen room at Universal Studios, where RED cameras filmed us and projected us onto a screen, placing us in a CGI Hill Valley setting. To add to the sense of strange, I’m talking to Gee from Patta while wearing a t-shirt that’s turning transparent like Marty’s hand when he starts to disappear from time, Matt from Nicekicks and Jeff from High Snobiety are kneeling down and hastily blogging in the virtual land and ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy screenwriter Bob Gale is in the shot too (he also wrote ‘Trespass’). I don’t know who the skinny guy with the ill WhatsApp stance is though. I think that picture sums up the trip quite nicely. A while back, while preparing a piece for Complex.com, I struggled to find any imagery of Doc Brown’s Vandals. At the Montalbán I spotted them in a display case. While they were labeled as Marty’s Bruins, I’m guessing they were the Doc’s, but I was always sure that he wore cut-down yellow versions with a yellow swoosh, rather than these red ones with what looked like camo branding. Either way, they looked amazing.
And that ends me babbling about that trip, now I’ve upped this Tinker Hatfield interview. On that Nike topic, I have no idea why the nubuck-toed takes on the Air Trainer SC II were released in similar colours before these way, way better Quickstrike versions dropped. The teal is reinstated, the sail cloth detailing seems more accurate, the Velcro is fluffier and crucially, they’re made of real leather. I seem to have actually taken to buying shoes again after several years of freeloading — it’s refreshing. Literally flattening them after their first wear using a flatbed seat while business class balling was a fail though. Thankfully, leather is more forgiving than the plastic imitation and they’ve returned to life. The SC II was a good shoe to combine with the late, great George Carlin’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame during a singular idle moment on the trip. This was a shoe I obsessed over more than any Jordan as a kid and this is a standard that all retros should live up to — Bo still knows, yo. Even if I’m over the age to wear these without looking a little bit “special.”
Continuing that childish preoccupation, I am obsessed with the acronym-tastic ‘F.E.D.S.’ and ‘Don Diva’ magazines. As with my frequent Worldstar visits, my aim isn’t to look down at, laugh at or degrade anybody, but simply to see some things that boggle my mind. With ‘F.E.D.S.’ (Finally Every Dimension of the Streets) and its imitators like Allhood Publications, ‘A.S.I.S.’ (Artists, Streets, Info, Style), F.E.L.O.N. (From Every Level Of Neighborhoods) and ‘Don Diva’, my fascination with aspects of criminal mindsets is sated by the hefty profiles of serious offenders that make these publications hip-hop’s take on the true crime rags that are inexplicably popular with the elderly.
Typos for days (one entire ‘Don Diva’ article, written in the first-person uses lower case ‘i’s throughout to jarring effect, and “through” is repeatedly written as “threw”), pixellated low res jpeg imagery, sex advice (“Finger Popping 2.0”), questionable-looking legal features and frequent moments where the editorial staff feel the urge to denounce criminality to avoid trouble and stay on the shelf are all secondary to those features on the individuals deified as folk heroes on the mixtapes clogging up your hard drive. ‘F.E.D.S.’ and its copyists appeal to that part of your brain that will merrily watch three-hours of ‘Gangland’ or BET’s ‘American Gangster.’ I got strange looks while avidly reading these magazines in the hotel lobby, but now I’m up to speed on the Treacherous Zoe Pound and NYC and Baltimore’s outlaw dirt bike crews. Why don’t UK newsagents stock these magazines any more? I’ll take this over the label-jocking higher-profile hip-hop media. XXL hasn’t been the same since Elliott, regardless of the excess of Interscope in there during his tenure, though I’m feeling ‘Respect’s current direction. And what happened to mighty ‘Murder Dog’?
I’ve been craving some kinetic action with a spot of innovation ever since ‘I Saw the Devil’ last year but nothing’s delivered in the required volume. ‘The Horde’ came close, but ‘The Raid’ looks like a classic. This Indonesian thriller stars the awesome Iko Uwais (who starred in the sporadically fun ‘Merentau’) and his Pencak Silat martial arts skills. This time he brings it with guns and knives too. That double head shot at 1:03 in the trailer? Insane. This special thank-you recorded for North Carolina’s ActionFest is amazing too, including a head-battering shown more slickly in the redband edit. Check the official blog here. A Welshman directing Indonesian action films could be the plot for a film in itself.