The NTV (Nike TV) project was a set of short films that were used internally and at retailers circa 1986. I’d heard rumours of what it consisted of (like Michael Jordan acting as presenter), but assumed that it was long gone. Jordy of Shoezeum obtained the tapes and put some snippets of them on his Instagram account — it’s very interesting, with some ultra nerdish elements like a tannery piece on the soft performance leather they introduced that year in addition to some Sesame Street style elder/younger chatter with Jordan. Even the familiar elements on the tapes, like the dynamic ‘Men at Work’ commercial for the Air Force II (which premiered the aforementioned leather) with Buck Williams, Charles Barkley, Alvin Robertson, Moses Malone and Sidney Moncrief going at it in the gym seems to be twice as long as the version you might be familiar with (incidentally, I really want to know who directed this advertisement). That video originated from Nike veteran Bruce Fisher’s collection and he upped some smart phone footage of the AFII extended cut on YouTube.
I never noticed this compilation of Zoom Air adverts from 1997 on YouTube before — a star-studded collection of athletes in ‘Accepting Your Super Human Speed’ therapy group — that includes Gail Devers wearing the Zoom Spiridon alongside fellow endorsee Michael Johnson. 20 years later, the Spiridon seems to have found an audience again, after a spell in sale rack purgatory. On that subject, the recent boom in popularity when it comes to Errolson and the NikeLab team’s ACG reboot proves that simply resurrecting the old stuff was a smart move. When it game to marketing, the very nature of that division put it in a strange rustic-tech rocky terrain where jock boasting, Futura sloganeering and a collision of rough-hewn neon aesthetics all collided to create a fair few gems promoting some product that is probably better loved in 2017 than it was appreciated commercially on its debut. Old All Conditions Gear commercials and in-store videos were a curious bunch that included great stuff like a Shane MacGowan Sinatra cover and an eccentric Champs one that concludes with an allusion to possible sexual assault at the hands of hillbillies. Continue reading ACCEPTING YOUR SUPER HUMAN SPEED
This one is pretty rare. Given the recent hoo-ha regarding American social media reactions to Giggs’ duo of More Life appearances (our music being slandered by Americans would have stung a decade ago, but now? Less so.) and the frequently naive history lessons offered as a response from these shores, it’s worth rewinding to London Posse’s Yo! MTV Raps international edition appearance from 1993. It certainly wasn’t the first Brit-America rap crossover moment by any stretch, but I remember being impressed by this second-half section of an episode being dedicated to this nation’s capital, where a baffled Fred attempted to interview Black Radical and General Levy talked about our scene, before we had to watch a scattering of videos by Marxman, Urban Species and Honky instead of the American videos that the US audience was getting to see on their broadcast. Personally, I think that — with plenty of honourable mentions, mostly singles rather than albums — between Rodney and Bionic’s opus Gangster Chronicle (this interview was from around the time How’s Life in London? was reissued, remixed and sponsored by British Knight) and the rise of road rap, UK rap was a patchy, patchy thing. It took another 14 years or so for it to seem like it could be a actual career. Go to this blog right here and watch this encounter, filmed in Piccadilly Circus just after an IRA bomb scare for extra historical context — Rodney P espousing the importance of following the indie route and Bionic echoing the importance of that outside-the-industry approach preempts the recent business model that took Stormzy to the top by a long, long time. Back then, it seemed like a pipe dream. Now it’s the road to going gold.
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.
As discussed here multiple times, between 1990 and 1993 — and with a floating broadcast time of between 6:25 and 9:30pm from series to series — DEF II’s Dance Energy show was extremely influential to me as a town-bound kid. It provided street style sections in cities far away as well as profiles on city capitals overseas, a well-lit look at that week’s trends on the crowd of dancers in the studio sections plus some great and terrible live PAs. Naturally, we took the ability to get a quick overview of the new and next things while sitting in front of the TV eating golden drummers and oven chips for granted until “yoof” TV in such a prominent place seemed to dry up. Superb UK rave and clubland archive resource Webm8 just upped several episodes and complications on YouTube. Hiroshi Fujiwara talking Tokyo hotspots circa 1992, a brief Major Force profile, lots of UK coverage, those legendary bootleg-looking Timberland leather jackets and Joey Starr and friends rapping Paris are just part of the rare footage on display here. Continue reading MORE ENERGY
A few months ago I linked to some 1990 Foot Locker store visit footage from this Brazilian shop tour show, but the gems just keeps on coming via the frequently updated SHOP TOUR MEMORIAS – COMERCIAIS YouTube channel. While it isn’t English-language, the neon-accented treasures on show are pretty universal. Check these 1991 clips. The trip to A Sports is particularly impressive, with an examination of Mowabbs, a meeting with someone dressed like an Air Max 90 (“Hi Mr Shoe! Are you alright? Okay! What do you think about A Sports — great, no?”), plus a look at Starter jackets. There’s a shit ton of 1990/1991 clips below with lots of repetition, but if your eyes are peeled you’ll catch some gems. Best. YouTube channel. Ever. Excitable presenter babbling about sportswear during a golden era — no vlogger can come close. Even the soundtracks are excellent. Continue reading GOLDEN ERA STORE FOOTAGE
Continuing the holiday theme on here, this four year old upload of some 26 year old footage needs some shine. The Video Music Box episode filmed from Elektra’s Hard to the Left release party — an incredible promo tape of the label’s future stars — was recorded in December 1990, and DJ Iran dug the raw footage out of storage. That footage included some unedited seasonal shoutouts that features a young Apache, Dante Ross, Clark Kent, Nikki D, De La, Funk Flex, Bönz Malone (looking very sharp), Zev Love X (aka. MF Doom) and his wife, plus many many more faces. Carhartt levels were extremely high and that Heavy D & The Boyz promo jacket is powerful, but keep your eyes peeled for some other excellent garments in that crowd. Salutes to Digital Hustle Films for that one.