Tag Archives: 1989

ACID

Having grown up in the era when acid house was the devil, as news reports juxtaposed angry locals, aggy police and furious anti-drug campaigners with footage of people just having an incredibly good time. Nearly every cop or hospital show was capitalising on a moral panic too, but even as a kid I wasn’t entirely convinced by the scare stories (shouts to the policeman who visited our school with a terrifying tale of a young women who ate grass by a road after eating “space cakes”). YouTube uploads of illegal parties circa 1989, scattered with NAF NAF, stripe tees and curtain haircuts are a great viewing experience. Everyone’s trying to play the cheap sportswear hedonism card right now with brand collaborations and campaigns, but you can’t beat the real thing. Where did I put that Vicks Vaporub?

RAIN

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Back in summer 1996, an Oasis shoot in Arena Homme+ by Peter Robathan showed that, long before Liam did the cod-mod Pretty Green thing, he had a lot of style when it came to outerwear, while Noel has always understood the power of a good coat. Rain was rooted in the north’s inclement weather and the duality of the siblings. Liam opted for Lefthand, Donna Karan and Hugo while Noel gravitated towards Polo Sport and Kenzo. 20 years on, this Ralph (“coat £165 by Polo Sport Ralph Lauren”) is still a highlight. Trips to Bicester to get this one that Christmas yielded nothing. Continue reading RAIN

CRUZ CONTROL

You know what’s more useful than listening to another wearying roundtable about hype, collaborations or other streetwear-related matters? Listening to someone who has made it in that world who’s willing to discuss it on record. A lot of industry kingpins move in silence or were raised in an analogue world, so it’s strictly soundbites, and Eddie Cruz — the man behind Union LA, Stüssy LA/Las Vegas, Undefeated and Supreme LA — doesn’t tend to dwell on the past. Continue reading CRUZ CONTROL

FUND A BOOK

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It’s good to be busy this early in the year, but it’s also a problem when it comes to giving this blog an update with any weight to it. I’m distracted by Oscar screeners too. Still, there’s a few things worth calling out here — Kickstarter has a couple of interesting book projects coming to a close, and the Jay Adams book could be good. That’s because it’s a expanded version of a fairly sought-after, decent publication I’ve thumbed through, but never owned, created in association with Osiris a year or so after Dogtown and Z-Boys was released. Whatever your opinion of Mr. Adams’ antics during his earlier life (and if you’re inclined to dismiss the darker points of your other anti-heroes, it’s best to pipe down), Adams is an undeniable legend whose influence on several subcultures was substantial (try saying that after a meth binge) and few skaters deserve a substantial documentation to the extent that he does, and this promises to be definitive, so it’s worth getting involved in this campaign to get it published. David Hackett and the team’s tribute to the patron saint of all things gnarly is definitely something to look forward to this year.

GRAFFITI

The painstaking creation of Robert Alva and Robert Reiling’s (aka WISK and RELAX) The History of Los Angeles Graffiti Art Volume 1, 1983-1988, which came with accompanying DVDs, was something to admire. That book was released almost a decade ago, and now part two is being put together — The History of Los Angeles Graffiti Art Volume 2, 1989-1994 brings the history lesson to nearly 1,000 pages. This edition is a 458-page follow-up with a more sober, stylish looking cover. With so much emphasis on the east coast’s writers, it’s good to see this kind of labour-of-love taking making an appearance. Freeway pieces and blockbusters truly take shape around this time, and with the first book fetching some big Amazon Marketplace money, $45 could prove to be a good deal.

Just in case that book gives you a hankering to get up, take heed of this 1970s anti-graffiti video uploaded a couple of years back by ProperGanderSaul. Pledges of love sprayed in broad daylight, block capital slurs, daring climbs onto signs, anti-principal marker pen insults and some throwback gang name…it’s all here.

TALL TEES

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And lo, Kanye dropped an A.P.C. collection and for a few brief minutes, my Twitter timeline forgot about the legalisation of homicide toward young black males who’ve committed the crime of sauntering. Where’s the inflammatory raps (shouts to Jeezy though)? People love the 1992 shoes, but they seem less keen on retroing the righteousness that drew me to hip-hop in the first place. No compilation mixtures? No 15 minute coast-unifying posse tracks? Not a solitary Zimmerman threat on MP3? Wow. I guess those headphone deals get nulled if anyone starts calling for destruction. Rappers can hop on an instrumental and add a fake-freestyle verse to a hit in a couple of hours but can’t react to that case? These are strange days. Maybe hip-hop needs to spawn a reactionary sub-culture against itself.

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On the A.P.C. front that collection brings back the plain white tee as the Hip-Hop t-shirt and it’s a borderline tall tee too. That’s not to say the tall tee ever went away. Under Rick Owens, it blacked out and scooped, but now the tall tee has gone white on us again – Storm Shadow to previous seasons’ Snake Eyes in the urban ninjitsu stakes. Tall tees were always a big look, so I look forward to the legions of clone brands and individuals pushing that look hard this summer. Kanye makes this stuff look good and I respect the commitment to fleece and cotton basics as well as the indulgences in fit that will make it a troubling wear if you’re not Kanye West. After ‘Ye pointed out that J-Kwon’s Tipsy was good, will that reappraisal of fun club music reach the finger-snapping lows of seven years ago when Dem Franchize Boyz had hits? When Dem Franchise Boyz – qualified to be reviewing plain t-shirts on the strength of 2004’s White Tee – reviewed white tees in Vibe magazine all those summers ago it was one of the last great fashion features in a hip-hop magazine, dismissing transparent shirts, luxurious fabrics and packets in favour of Finish Line talls in 5XL. I once tried a white shirt roundup on here, but this feature was always far better…

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I forgot to include these 1989 New York Subway ads in my Guardian Angels blog from last week. I like the whole “Come back on the trains! You won’t get murdered!” sentiment of it, plus the amusing approach to graffiti in the copy.

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TRANSMISSIONS

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Forgot today was blogging day. Can I just talk about the last three things I watched on YouTube? While I’m at it, I’ll plug this Tinker Hatfield feature too because there’s a few jewels in there for the nerds. I’ve been distracted by Mickey Drexler’s remarks in this Stanford appearance from late last year — I don’t subscribe to the quasi-motivational drivel that do-littles hurl all over Twitter and Facebook, but Drexler’s answer 23 minutes in regarding explosive modes of management is amazing and he offers a good excuse to use next time you swear loudly in a meeting. “Surround yourself with people that get it,” is easier said than done but it’s the key to greatness. It also means you need to recruit fellow dysfunctional oddballs.

This BBC footage of Goldie in 1989, as well as some other writers is pretty good too. It’s a shame that Dick Fontaine’s candid clips of Goldie talking about NYC trainyard and tunnel excursions have been taken down from YouTube.

For a minute I thought that a 2000 Channel 4 documentary (from Madonna Night) on her early Downtown days was a figment of my imagination, but it’s partially available online. One of the few documents of Futura 2000’s relationship with Madge, it includes a few soundbites from the man himself plus Fab Five Freddy’s entertaining attitude to her antics in the early 1980s, “I really thought Madonna was cool, but for me personally, she was not the kind of chick I would really would have wanted to get with, because a lot of my other crew had been up around her. You know what I’m saying? And that just wasn’t my steelo at the time.”

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The FUCT book for Rizzoli arrives in September, but Erik Brunetti has got his hands on an advance copy and it looks very good indeed. He’s taking pre-orders for signed copies on his site and with “streetwear”s continuing slide into just being a load of self-congratulatory thirtysomethings selling crap to kids (actually, it’s always been like that, hasn’t it?) the sense of threat that Brunetti managed to bring to the party seems more vital than ever. The fact Erik really fucking hates street art is reason enough to support his cause.

Zack De La Rocha wearing the classic Ford bite tee on a No Nirvana — a 1993 BBC Late Show special, was a great moment in streetwear on British TV. While Rage Against the Machine sure ain’t grunge (though that show was mostly bands that fell into that genre), will the current preoccupation with that scene’s industry mean an onslaught of short-sleeve tees over long-sleeves as well as plaid around the waist?

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The perfect soundtrack for that FUCT book would be Sly and the Family Stone’s classic There’s a Riot Goin’ On, with its aura of apocalypse vaguely audible beneath the good time riffing and Get On Down’s gold CD remaster comes with an embroidered take on the blood and stars American flag cover. No matter how jaded you are with fancy packaging to make you buy things you’re familiar with all of again, you’ve got to admit it looks pretty.

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COPIES OF COPIES OF COPIES

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Can somebody send me some cans of the AriZona Richard Prince Lemon Fizz collaboration from late last year please? Watching the ESPN Arnold Palmer mini-documentary, with its footage of the AriZona production line has reminded me that my aborted NYC trip meant I never got round to handing over 99 cents to get some. I have to concede that the post New Year downer is in effect and that sugary concoction looks like some much-needed sugar assistance to jumpstart my enthusiasm again.

The industry is boring, but only boring people get bored. However, I suspect the time has come for me to slowly shift from sports footwear retail (unless it’s for brands who want to pay me a decent sum to write about it) into other subjects. It’s a young man’s game and selling shoes is not something I have much of an interest in. I also suspect that not working with the damned things day in, day out would probably re-up my interest too and improve any work I’m involved in pertaining to sportswear. That doesn’t stop me feeling the urge to throw shoe-centric matters up here alongside the other stuff, because I’m too far gone (Dostoevsky’s, “It seems, in fact, that the second half of a man’s life is made up of nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half” quote is applicable here without seeming too much like tinpot intellectual showboating) on that topic. I can’t resist 1989 newspaper ads like the one above, with their ridiculous lineups, images of Eric Dressen, my childhood hero and current Epicly Later’d subject matter oozing 1988 style in the Nike Court Force for a ‘Thrasher’ shoot. If you’re interested (and I would never be able to listen to my own voice), there’s a phone conversation with me over on the Sneaker Fiends Unite podcast (shouts to Dallas Penn and Pete).

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This nonnative jacket is needed. The majority of the SS 2013 line is impressive (the pig suede Laborer Jacket is serious), but the Trooper Jacket with the overdyed treatment and Windstopper treatment reworks a military standard and makes its mark on it without getting too fussy. That pick of the purple and the button-down lapel give a basic some extra identity without getting unwearable or overdesigned. At Yen/Pound translation, it’s approximately £440. Add on taxes and shipping and that price probably doubles. I really need to wrangle a Tokyo trip somehow that’s based around a pilgrimage to Tsutaya Books and exploiting the lack of Parcelforce depot visits buying direct from the source can entail.

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After the pre-Christmas talk on here of bootleg tees and sweats, ‘Slogan T-Shirts: Cult and Culture’ by Stephanie Talbot was released last week and it explores the culture of bootleg shirts in far more authoritative detail than anything I could muster. DisneyRollerGirl (a contributor to the book) upped the piece where Barnzley breaks down how he saw the real tees, banged them out as bootlegs, then felt infuriated at seeing his idea bootlegged. Well worth a read. Seeing the Palace Versace design copied and sold in a Camden marketplace is not dissimilar — a copy of a copy that still feels like a violation.

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