Category Archives: Magazines/Books

SMARTER

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After the passing of INVENTORY a short while back, I was waiting for another publication to offer something a little deeper on specific brands that language barriers and laziness have prevented me from fully investigating. In 2015 I picked up issue #1 of intelligence and wasn’t bowled over by the content enough to get the next issue, but issue #3 is very good. Created as a division of the excellent HAVEN store and, like INVENTORY, Vancouver-based (most good things seem to come from Canada right now), the magazine avoids the heritage stuff and focuses on some brands that are, for the most part, pretty progressive (INVENTORY seemed to be following a similar path in the last couple of issues before its close because it had pretty much profiled every key brand that operated in the vintage and Americana-themed arena). With pieces on Christopher Nemeth’s daughters, Brain Dead, Greg Lauren (whose comic book cover artist stint, role in the Boogie Nights overdose scene and avant fashion career is a CV that fascinates me far beyond the obvious provenance of that surname) and Sasquatchfabrix’ Daisuke Yokohama, there’s some gold in those interview answers. Kiko Kostadinov’s thoughts on functionality and becoming hyper aware of design from his studies and work life thus far were an indicator that the future is in safe hands, while a KAPITAL article, scuppered by a repetitive print problem has been fixed and upped on the intelligence website. At sixteen quid, it isn’t cheap, but those hours of dialogue transcription probably didn’t come easy either.

BAGGY

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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.

RAM JAM

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It looks like we’re getting a memoir by no less a legend than ‘Ram Jam’ Rodigan via Constable this March. David Rodigan MBE is a national treasure and, from a very brief interaction with him, a very decent chap (though his contract stipulated that he couldn’t be billed as “the Gentleman Rudeboy”. Somehow managing to keep it very real but also create wild onstage personas for clashes, how exactly he rose to international fame and find favour with a Jamaican audience who have zero chill if you don’t come correct is a story I’m keen to read when My Life in Reggae releases. That he had cameos in Doctor Who (and another scene boying off Sherlock Holmes) around the same time that he was hiding his craft with Kingston’s finest just adds to the mythos. Whether he’s entering the stage dressed as Elvis to unleash a Junior Reid Crank That dubplate, rocking a turban or having a Test Match theme skit lead into a Rodigan special take on Merciless’ Ole Gallis in NYC, that taste for the theatrical adds a manic extra dimension to his work. Long may he reign.

1996

The internet just keeps spitting out gems. Kyle Lilly upped another chunk of NYC public access show Video Explosion’s coverage of a 1996 Vibe Magazine and Def Jam party. With DJ Finesse chatting with Mic Geronimo, Charles Oakley and the mighty DJ Red Alert (wearing this incredible Odd Squad promo t-shirt for a night out), plus (a grainy) umlaut-era Jaÿ-Z with Mary and Foxy live on stage (where did I leave my Nutty Professor cassette?), it captures a transitional point for hip-hop. Half a year later, Jay would command a very different status in the city.

RYAN

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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

MORE SOURCE

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When I can’t think of something interesting to put here, I always chuck up a shoe page from an old issue of The Source as a distraction. There’s a brace of yellow accented greats here that evoke an era and the Reebok Apogee DMX 2000 is the champ — you NEVER see that thing anywhere anymore despite its popularity back in early 1998. A lot of great design came out of that DMX era (which, coincidentally, corresponded with the veteran MC of the same name’s ascent), but there’s very little online that catalogues it. Maybe there is some Geocities mirror site from Japan out there, but it’s been bumped down the Google rankings by a slew of new jack crap.

BADGES

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BUNNEY’s printed content has been flawless thus far and this year’s Grey Pages hardback indicated that the brand was looking to expand that element of their output. Newspaper style edits of Derek Ridgers and Ken Russell’s work under their Selected Works banner were slim, but the latest release, The Badge takes a deep look at the history of badges over 56 pages. Coinciding with the installation at Park-ing Ginza where the Charles M. Schultz Museum, Hiroshi Fujiwara, Jun Takahashi and Tetsu Nishiyama all created their own sterling silver badge designs using early press-work techniques, this publication is something of an education in more than just adornment. Continue reading BADGES