Tag Archives: 1977

SUPPLY YOUR OWN SOUNDTRACK

It’s easy to wish you were somewhere that you never were and engage in some fake nostalgia, conveniently ironing out the fact we’d probably be total victims, but late 1970s New York always looks like a culturally fertile place to be. The downside being that it was probably terrifying. After getting turned away from some fabled nightclub for being aesthetically displeasing, there’d be a kicking when you tried to hop on the hip-hop scene early in boroughs that didn’t want your culture tourism. Factor in a stifling heat wave, a blackout and the risk of David Berkowitz shooting you in the head, and it’s probably better left to the residents who were built for that shit. The Kino Library just upped some 1977 NYC footage from that summer that I’m sure I’ve seen extracts of in a variety of documentaries. Seeing as it’s silent, I recommend supplying your own soundtrack: Jimmy Sabater’s This Is Love, Rufus and Chaka Khan’s At Midnight, Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ Blank Generation or anything off Destroyer by Kiss might work well. Continue reading SUPPLY YOUR OWN SOUNDTRACK

GOOD DESIGN/BAD DESIGN

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.

HAZED

After prison films, college campus films are another of my peculiar preoccupations. It’s doubly odd to think of the rich jerks being sartorial inspirations. I favour the slobs. I still think the current brace of bellends in bow ties look like a simpleton’s imaginary friend and I’m still with Two-Bit Matthews on the state of trousers (“Hey check out their pants!”) these days. Still, I feel bad for you folk that spent big on ‘Take Ivy’, only to see a reprint turn up with English translation for next-to-nothing with an inexplicable K-Swiss endorsement…yes, the same K-Swiss that was founded a year after the book was published. You’re probably feeling like Carl Carlson did with the Stonecutters, “Well, it was a real nice secret organization we had once…” Shit happens.

Half of the biggest whiners are Ivy new-jacks anyhow, and the Film Noir Buff folk got there a long time before you did. I’ve been watching a few documentaries about the darker side of college life in the States too…honestly, the whole fraternity culture is baffling. Can’t you guys just form informal groups and get shitfaced? Does it have to be steeped in ritualistic twattery? Todd Phillips and Andrew Gurland’s ‘Frat House’ and Billy Corben’s ‘A Question of Consent’ don’t depict youths in elegant clothes wandering from lecture to lecture in a refined fashion. None of that Ivy stuff here—just braying cretins in reversed baseball headwear hi-fiving and acting the tit. It’s curious to imagine that the attire of college students was aspirational. Things have changed, as to be compared to a contemporary student is sartorial slander.

I’d like to see ‘Take Former-Polytechnic’ depicting the hungover, clipboard wielding sports science students of Hertfordshire shuffling around in G-Star t-shirts with scarves, bootcut jeans and flip-flops. Even in an institution like Oxford, I’m reliably informed that the levels of atrocious brands like Jack Wills are extensive. It’s odd to think that folk don’t actually dress like Ryan O’Neal in ‘Love Story’, Wendell Burton in ‘The Sterile Cuckoo’ or Art Garfunkel and Jack Nicholson in ‘Carnal Knowledge’s early scenes (incidentally, Jack’s “Answer me, you ball-busting, castrating, son of a cunt bitch! Is this an ultimatum or not?” line includes Hollywood’s first use of the C’ word). It looks like date-rape chic overrides the aspirational look of learned elegance in the real world’s campuses.

Those documentaries also had me digging for some hazing gone wrong b-flicks. There’s been some well-documented deaths from campus initiations—particularly in the mid to late ’70s—and in 1977, two films emerged on the topic. ‘Fraternity Row’ is set during Hell Week at a wealthy college in the 1950s. It’s surprisingly low-key, and if you’re some kind of apparel nerd, the wardrobe throughout might be of some interest. I was a little disturbed at the lack of visible breasts, ‘Louie Louie’ on the soundtrack, or general debauchery, but it you’re in the mood, it runs through some curious rituals pretty effectively. Even though it’s far from star-studded, it makes me yearn for a time when Paramount would afford the most budget of films with superb poster art like the above, but its flop status meant that it stays in non-VHS and DVD limbo. Maybe K-Swiss might show up with some sponsorship moolah.

‘The Hazing’ is also known as ‘The Curious Case of the Campus Corpse’ and is actually a half-decent b-movie based around a bad situation, hapless planning and a twist at the end that you wouldn’t see coming if I hadn’t told you there was one. Now you’ll probably just work it out. It’s all based around a hazing accident, but whereas ‘Fraternity Row’ ends on a moral note with a tragedy, this one pretty much commences with one after an excess of unnecessary near-nakedness. Both flicks really did disappear into limbo, barely amassing a cult following—more like an enthusiastic gathering, indicating that folk liked their university movies to be a little more anarchic, or at least heavy on some bloodshed.

DIGRESSIONS

Nike, your Terra line confuses me. It has done for a long time. So we know that the Terra T/C unleashed Phylon in the early ’80s and remains inexplicable un-retroed in the VNTG line, and Japan got the TERRA Rainbow. Conventional nerd lore tells us that the Terra ACG from 1991 was the only ACG Terra design, and that Terra would be reborn as a non-ACG off road running line circa. 1996 with classics like the Outback, Sertig and Ketchikan. However—people tend to forget 1992’s ACG Terra Mac or 1996’s ACG branded Terra Tor, looking a lot like the Nike Air Terra designs that would follow. Perhaps it was the Tor that passed over the Terra torch.

And getting a paragraph reflected in a pool of water is the new blogging. Odd to see something you wrote in these circumstances, but props to Stephen, Arc’teryx and team Firmament for putting this presentation together. I like Veilance jackets a lot.

Must-see TV nowadays is the done thing. You could blackout under the pressure of watching drug, sex and crime-related US imports where people do bad things, or simply act sophisticated. That teetering pile of boxsets is probably mocking how out-of-touch you are each time you pass it, like some shiny, less-bloody ‘Telltale Heart’. It’s not easy to keep up with what you’re supposed to be watching, and a fair amount of “edgy” television reeks of desperation. However—if you like John Cassavetes, jazz, awesome guest stars, effortless cool and old NYC, you should buy the boxset of forgotten pianist turned PI show ‘Johnny Staccato’. It’s as lightweight as much of the TV of 1959 and 1960 was, yet it’s hugely entertaining too, with John seemingly calling in favour after favour and making it fall in line with his characteristic quest for authenticity. It’s on sale now, and you can add it to that stack of things you’ll get round to watching when the flu comes-a-calling this winter…