To some, Sigue Sigue Sputnik were one of those press-inflated flops of the 1980s, billed as the new thing — a glam sci-fi band with a loose dystopian dress code and apocalyptic Droog-like art direction, but incapable of maintaining the momentum of their Giorgio Moroder produced breakthrough. I think they were one of the great acts of that moment — a post Generation X creation who made a record that defines its era and maintained a mystique that had me fascinated. The sense of swindle and piss-taking that pervaded their work had some serious marketing dollars behind it. That promo extended to a 1986 MTV takeover called Sputnik Network Television that user result has upped onto YouTube. Presented by Tony James, who introduces Peter Gabriel videos, interviews shadowy record execs and Jennifer Gray, quizzes a spaniel and takes phone calls a young Futura 2000 is art guest, painting throughout in bike courier attire. Lenny gets a lot of screen time, mentioning his Fila boycott, but citing the brand as, “Sort of a street Gucci of 1986,” and expressing embarrassment at his Clash-produced solo single. A fantastic time capsule of its era that — as Lenny’s mention of his t-shirt line indicates — sows the seeds for plenty of interesting things that followed.
This Jodeci VH1 biopic might be the best news of the day — a Jodeci flick and a full Ric Flair documentary? An amazing time to be alive, contrary to those apocalyptic headlines. If that rising ocean and those missiles can hold off for a couple of years, that would be ideal. I’m also very excited about the impending issue #1 of TTTISM magazine from the Sang Bleu stable. Maxime Plescia-Büchi is a friend and role model — a man so prolific that he’s put together an entire supplementary publication to an existing rollout, a complete apparel range and even changed his name since I saw him last. And that isn’t even his day job. On an unrelated note, big up Hezakya Starr for upping this 1993 news piece on the sagging, baggy denim boom — big jeans will be back soon (note: bootcut and baggy are two different things), and this is a reminder as to haw voluminous things got back in the day. Switching to unrelated mode again, a couple of cool Larry Clark interviews have appeared online too, including one where Clark talks about an impending retirement from films to drive around Europe in a Bentley and another one for French news — I post a lot of Larry interviews on here, and most tell the same tales and ask the same questions, but he is a character who will forever prove fascinating to me.
It’s almost a never forgive action that I had no idea that ESPO and REAS’s one-minute Style Wars the Musical short (which, for a moment a while back, I thought was actually a trailer for a full off-Broadway musical) was online via its production company, ApK. This video (on a slightly faraway screen in the Street Market 2 recreation) was one of the highlights of a trip to the Art in the Streets show at MoCa LA back in 2011 — now I want to see a full version of Skeme and his mum’s big number. There have been a lot of magnificent tributes to this iconic documentary throughout the years, but this is one of the very best.
The only way to keep moving during the first murky weeks of January is to find things to look forward to. 2017 always sounded like a futuristic year to me — The Running Man was set then, 30 years ago when it seemed like an infinity away — but it’s surprisingly mundane thus far. That said, the events of 2016 seem to have put the building blocks in place for something appropriately dystopian. As ever, I’m glancing back and getting a little retrospective and the impending Ryan McGinley The Kids Were Alright, which arrives as a book and exhibition (by Rizzoli and at Denver’s Museum of Contemporary Art respectively) next month. 1998 to 2003 lower Manhattan life seems to be the central subject, with McGinley in an intimate role to capture the everyday antics of that world’s key figures. Expect equal parts optimism and nihilism. Continue reading RYAN
I’m fascinated by how some prices stay static — or, in some cases, are less than they were 30 years ago — while some have hyper inflated beyond the relative value of the pound or dollar. I’ve seen reissued adidas shoes with an RRP of less than they were in sports shops 25 years ago and I’ve seen Air Jordans from 1988 and 1989 with a 2016 price tag that’s more in line with inflation (the Air Jordan V was 90 pounds in 1990, which is the equivalent of roughly 200 pounds now), but the quality of materials – despite some romanticism regarding quality the first time around on some things — and disorienting dip from less than original RRP around 2006 on some retro releases to twice the amount a decade later, throws logic to the wayside. Since Fila got sold into multiple licensing deals, its early prestige was sullied. In 1984, the brand’s velour warm-up suits were selling at 268 dollars — over 600 dollars in today’s money. Now they can be bought for under 150 if you’re looking to dress like Roger Moore in A View to a Kill. Of course, the manufacturing wouldn’t come close to the Italian brand’s heyday, but any example of inflation reverse on that scale should dead any premium expectations.
Completely unrelated, but well worth watching, the conversation below is worth an hour of your time. As part of Harmony Korine’s Shadows and Loops show at his birthplace of Nashville’s Frist Center for the Visual Arts, he chatted with curator Mark Scala. There’s some cryptic laughter during the proceedings (and you’ll have to guess what the audience’s questions were from the answers), but, as with some lucid podcast interviews of late, there’s some good Korine trivia, like an account of his short-lived graffiti career. Part of me wants his shelved project Fight Harm to see the light of day, while the other part just wants to imagine how amazing it is.
I seem to stack up sportswear related ephemera to the point where it’s going to be the cause of my Collyer brothers style demise. There’s been plenty of curiosities that bear the swoosh or the three stripes throughout the years (foodstuffs, torches, jewellery etc), but the recent NikeLab ACRONYM Presto Mid release instigated some solid tie-in gear with the assistance of the excellent Kostas Seremetis, whose artistic vision is as prone to occasional aggression and disruption as Errolson Hugh’s design. Continue reading UNNECESSARY GREATNESS
Photo by Yamandu Roos
Three things that I’m a fan of: Patta, Futura and Converse Chuck Taylors. I figure that if I’m going to be a sellout and post campaign-related bits here, it may as well be about a project that’s true to the topics we discuss here. The new Futura Chuck II (the low/Ox editions win) drops this weekend and Patta worked with Lenny to hand write translated lyrics from Dutch singer Ramses Shaffy’s 1978 hit Laat me onto 50 tees that they’re giving away with purchases of the shoes. Continue reading A CHAT WITH FUTURA