Tag Archives: berlin

FOR YOU TO KNOW. MORE.

beinghuntedmagazine

Have we discussed the Polo-centric American Layers podcast here before? It’s on its 37th episode and the chat with Dallas Penn is perfect for you young and old heads looking to join the dots on the subject of street style and reappropriation. On the topic of education, BEINGHUNTED has spread further offline with the debut of Jörg Haas’ magazine of the same name. If you’ve spent any time here, you know that I was pretty much moved to write on these topics because of BEINGHUNTED 16 years ago. In addition to an essay on Japan’s cultural differences and a piece on emotional data, there’s a trip into Jörg’s expansive archives that includes Supreme jeans with that red tab device homage, a UNION tee, BAPE on a ONEITA blank, a piggy bank themed on Zaius’ boy Galen and a fleece Carhartt zip hoodie from 1994 that I’ve never seen before. According to the editor’s letter at the start, it took a month to put together, as opposed to the day it took to bring the site to life in 1999. Support the originator and don’t sleep on Berlin’s contribution to this thing of ours.

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SCHOOLED

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There’s a lot of people whose worlds peaked when Bizarre Love Triangle released. They’ll talk of nothing but defunct Manchester nightclubs and daydream about Hooky’s low slung bass. They’ll sail of a wave of revisionist history that crashes in their heroes fake DJing at a student union, and get angry at any whippersnapper who dares to comment on their teen idols, positively or negatively. Dancefloor veterans telling you, “You weren’t there maaaaan!” But beyond the angry old men, most of the music is still fantastic, and the art direction on those Factory releases is magnificent. Peter Saville is name checked repeatedly with good reason — not only is his work memorable from a graphic standpoint, but there’s a thought process at word that makes him an interesting interview subject. Saville spoke with Lou Stoppard at SHOWStudio recently, and they’ve upped a 99 minute uncut version of the conversation. Every second of Power, Corruption & Lies or Closer is still essential, and much of what Saville has got to say has something to give to a new generation — his pro-research sentiment about the epiphany of realising the amount he never knew (mentioned around the 45 minute mark), and the subsequent bliss of stumbling upon the vastness of context is a call to learn, rather than the actions of a time-frozen curmudgeon. Everyone with a new brand making homages of homages who wants to be around in 24 months might benefit from listening — even if it’s just for 12 minutes.



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This Canadian documentary from 1993 has just appeared on YouTube via Barnaby Marshall. 10-20: Berlin provides some rare footage of the first Cycle Messenger World Championships that took place in Germany. William Gibson makes an appearance, on the back of his novel Virtual Light being based around a courier in a post-earthquake SF, and there’s also a brief chat with Futura 2000 (who was once a messenger himself). Despite the early 1990s Real World style presentation, there’s some superb soundbites in it.

STACKS

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I’m late to this one and I only ran into it trying to get hold of a copy of Ice-T Shot Me in the Face (if anybody has a copy of that book for sale, holler). I’ve long railed against lame shoe-dude apparel (bar Stüssy AM95, Dead Stock and OG CT tees) and the misconception that being into trainers is necessarily connected to style nowadays, but this 2007 image by the aforementioned book’s Montreal-based publisher Paul Labonté called Rubber Bands and a Shoebox (which, as part of a 2008 exhibition, probably isn’t a reference to this track by Ya Boy, who completely confused me by changing his name recently) is a Tumblr classic (which can be summoned by typing in cash and shoebox on Google Images) that benefits from filling a box that could contain some obscure AF1 His from 1992 or some Raids with stacks rather than some new packaging. Paul Labonté’s work is something I’ve been a fan of for a while now (as Paul 107, he wrote 2003’s excellent All City: the Book About Taking Space and he directed the video to Azelia Banks 212 too, plus this Black Atlass video) and the photo has been put on a long-sleeve t-shirt from Desfois/SOMETIMES that just started shipping. You can also grab the 2010 Photographs Inspired by the Rap Music That Once Inspired Me book from here and an enamel badge made with fellow Montreal man, JJJJound’s Justin R. Saunders, bearing the stuffed box image. Very well executed.

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On the subject of graffiti and beautiful presentation, burning down the house, Norman Behrendt’s study of Berlin writers, looks incredible, studying the participants, the process and the spaces. That camo-like U-bahn seat pattern cover is incredible.

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burning down the house, photobook

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burning down the house, photobook

BONES

Note: Obviously this was written before it was revealed that Saville was a manipulative nonce. There was that clip from a Nolan Sisters documentary that was a tad seedy at this point, a strange comment with Louis Theroux and some David Icke forum rumours about him getting up to no good at a Jersey childrens’ home. Plus those necrophilia rumours.

“I spend a lot of time in the stacks in the libraries, looking at these stacks of unreadable masterpieces that men devoted their lives to, standing on the shoulders of geniuses before them — Bertrand Russell, ‘Principia Mathematica’ and all these things — who will read those? How will they change society? How do they really factor into things? Me? I was able to contribute with a lot of tricks. Those tricks now have names and those tricks factor into what everybody else does. In a very meaningful way I have helped create a vocabulary by which this community communicates. I mean you’ll hear people chat and listen to how skaters talk and the words and expressions…things that we created, it’s our language, but it’s also physical and it helps define us as individuals and how we fit within that framework and it helps define our community itself. And so, when I look and think of the contribution of all these geniuses and the smell and the browning paper of these dusty books that no one will read I think I am so rich in that what I have done has meaning.”
Rodney Mullen, ‘Bones Brigade: An Autobiography’

I really enjoyed Stacy Peralta’s ‘Bones Brigade: An Autobiography’. I enjoyed it so much, that not even a Fred Durst appearance could curb my enthusiasm (in fact, his memories of ‘Thrasher’ previews for ‘Animal Chin’ made my forget about his rapping). Skate folk love gossip and trivia almost as much as hip-hop fans do, so there’s bound to be some people who’ll complain that Peralta’s film only skims a pivotal moment in time, but there’s a humanity to his portraits of Hawk, Caballero, Mullen, Mountain and McGill, with plenty of introspect, tales of crumbling under competition conditions and a lot of footage that should resonate with anybody who grew up in the 1980s. This one won’t make for a Hollywood adaptation a la ‘Lords of Dogtown’ but it’s a tale that must be told, covering the vert to street switch, two craze periods for skateboarding, a golden era of graphics and plenty more. 110 minutes felt a little skimpy toward the film’s climax, but deleted scenes on a DVD are more or less guaranteed. The highlights of the film are tales of CR Stecyk’s lunatic copywriting and creative concepts, Rodney Mullen’s sensitive, intricate recollections of self and family imposed pressures and Lance Mountain breaking down at the end under the false impression that he doesn’t deserve the success he attained.

There’s some interesting talk of the marketing of the Bones Brigade too, and it’s fascinating to see how these personalities came together to change the industry, but Mullen’s final summary (see his excellent TED talk for an expansion of this worldview) as quoted above should stick with viewers, even if they get lost mid Rodney’s trail-of-thought., It’s a joy to celebrate legends while they’re still living. If you want a semi-definitive skate history you’re going to have to set aside at least 10 hours and play ‘Dogtown & Z-Boys’, ‘Bones Brigade: An Autobiography’, ‘Rollin Through the Decades’, ‘Stoked’, ‘The Man Who Souled the World’ and ‘Deathbowl to Downtown’ in one sitting, This documentary is an era of neon icons thoughtfully distilled. Who thought the stars of the only non-porn VHS you paused and rewound until they had a permanent static mist would wind up getting this kind of glossy treatment 25 years later?

In all honesty, there still isn’t a skate documentary that can surpass the skateboarding dog in sunglasses at 1:48 into 1976’s ‘The Magic Rolling Board’ (kudos to eDboy1955 for uploading this 16mm transfer). Skate peaked right there.



Berlin just got a pop-up Stüssy store in association with the gents at Civilist accompanied by an exhibition of German photographer and streetwear don Konsti’s work in documenting the city’s close-knit Tribe back in 1989. For years these guys had to make do with tees and sweats listing other cities, but now there’s a Stüssy Berlin collection. About time too.

After a recent post about Nike Cram shoes and another regarding Jimmy Saville’s formidable footwear collection, the impending Jimmy Saville auction is riddled with deadstock rarities. OG Pegasus, Terra T/Cs, Le Coq runners, unworn Cram Windrunners and ZX 600s are all in the mix. Jim might be fixing a posthumous wish for some fanboys out there who rarely see these things on sale.

With all the unnecessary brouhaha about Frank Ocean swinging both ways (doubly baffling, because more than a few soul stars have been gay and a handful of hip-hop pioneers are gay too), it’s fun to see that MMG members have been liberally and obliviously using the word “poof” as the sound of a genie-style magic trick being executed as per the chorus to ‘Black Magic’ where Rick Ross ditches MC Hammer during a backseat brainstorm smokeout in favour of the equally satin suited Vegas magic legend David Copperfield. Everyone’s favourite goon turned lyrical monster Gunplay even added a hashtag to it. The song could be misinterpreted as a pink pound anthem,“Pooof! There go the car! Pooof! There go the crib! Pooof! A 100 mill! Whooo! David Copperfield!” If ‘Black Magic’ blows up and goons in clubs do magical fingers at every #poof, I want to see it.

2012 and 2013 is the year are the years of missing the point by remaking Paul Verhoeven films. The mock ‘Rekall’ ads in the States for ‘Total Recall’ are pretty poor and should have been briefs for real ad agencies if the quest was to go “viral” or get attention and now it’s official that ‘Robocop’ is being remade, thanks to this OmniCorp commercial. I’m glad Hollywood is going tits up. Without bodies used as shields, Michael Ironside, rapists being shot in the genitals and ED-209 turning an employee into tomato puree, a remake of Verhoeven’s work is pointless. I hate ‘Robocop 2’ but even the ads within that film were better than this teaser.

For no reason other than because I didn’t update this blog on Wednesday (blame German Wi-Fi). here’s a couple of Nike-related ads from years ago.

BERLIN, JACKET PORN & OTHER STUFF

I’m unpacking from Berlin. My respect for Vans’s Syndicate line has been mentioned here an awful lot, as has my disdain for both the state of collaborations and physical retail spaces. If every footwear brand had the US/UK facilities that New Balance has as well as a top-tier project as strong as Syndicate, life would be a better and sneakers wouldn’t be as stale. Forgive the stereotyping, but the Germans are thorough. Berlin’s Firmament and Civilist went in this week, offering the antidote to Bread & Butter’s vast denim stands, chambray and Polo shorts and the popularity of Iron Fist clothing.

I love Germany’s ability to throw itself into a sub-culture with an obsessive zeal that’s almost unmatched beyond the otaku types in the far east, and their approach to skate was unhampered by the Berlin Wall before it began to fall on 9 November 1989 — they simply adapted to that existence and used the imagery, surplus and restricted landscape to forge their community. While we were swanning around in fluoro shorts and applying Rip-Grip all over our bulbous boards, East and West Berlin’s youth faced an adversity that strengthened their scene and necessitated a DIY approach. Shouts to Mr. Charles Morgan for the hookup on Civilist’s Syndicate pack — a set that leaves most other dual-label projects in the dust. The leather Chukka Low’s smartly executed, but the pin badges, military-themed Velcro badges on the bag and even the pocket tee that accompanies the set are pitch-perfect in their design.

Some people base a shoe on their favourite ironic ’80s film. Civilist opted to use the Berlin Brigade, the Allied Army unit based in West Berlin and culled from the units already in Berlin made of British and American troops as a result of post-WWII rulings. Brought together for the Berlin Wall crisis in 1961 and disbanded in 1994, the US Army’s Berlin Brigade badge, with its flaming sword, is a key identifier in this project. It’s a striking piece of imagery.

The Morganator put me onto last year’s ‘Transit: Berlin Skateboarding Retrospektive’ ‘zine too, providing some excellent background information and imagery on the scene in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Tied with an in-store exhibition, Civilist and Vans created the best thing I saw (or put on my foot) this week. Team Civilist are also the minds behind the mysterious Aspekt Ratio — a newspaper-size publication which I assumed never had a follow-up after issue #0 in early 2007.

A few years on and Aspekt Ratio #1 is out ( I think it dropped much earlier in the year), shitting on much of the print competition. I admired the preview issue for its sprawling interview pieces, but issue #1’s pieces on clubbing, Australian youth movement, the Sharpies (particularly enlightening) and interviews with Mike Mills and C.M. Talkington are very much my “thing” if that “thing” could ever be defined. I’ve seen a lot of attempts to put this thing of ours onto paper after the gradual cancellations of several key magazines that educated me during the ’80s, ’90s and early ’00s (are those rumours about the return of ‘Mass Appeal’ true?), but this is among the best thus far. Did I mention that it’s free? There’s a website (www.aspektratio.com), but don’t expect some cuddly abundance of detail on their. It’s worth the hunt.

Bravo Civilist.

I did another list for my buddies at Complex on the top 50 sneaker moments in movies – well, it’s more ’50 interesting appearances by shoes in films’ than anything comprehensive, but that wouldn’t bring in the click-throughs. I didn’t check the feedback because I assume it’s all, “You missed XXXXXXX you fucking idiot” and “This shit is lame, Complex fell off” etc. etc. Funnily enough, I couldn’t care a fuck – I’m onto the next one, though I am livid at myself for forgetting the PF Flyers in ‘The Sandlot Kids.’ Check out the list here. Shouts to Russ and Joe for getting me involved again.

Props to Mubi for risking his liberty to bring back these Patta mini-penknives that are a preview of their work with KangaROOS. Victorinox products are the promo products of kings. Shouts to team Patta for arming us.

I respect Kenneth Grange’s design savvy, with a portfolio that included trains and pens, and no signifier that they’re Kenneth’s work other than the fact each creation is very, very good. With an inspirational work ethic, the man’s a genius. In a world where you only have to change the colour of some buttons for some sycophant to bellow “GENIUS” on Twitter in the hope of earning an Retweet that doesn’t sound like much, but Kenneth Grange is the real-deal. To coincide with the ‘Making Britain Modern’ exhibition of his work at London’s Design Museum (bafflingly, the first Grange retrospective), there’s a book dropping in August too. It’s probably worth investing in.

The “I found it while I was looking for something else” argument for finding porn is shit, but it’s still used by husbands, boyfriends and sons globally, but I found the downgirlz.com (NSFW) site entirely by accident while I was working on a project on outerwear. I wasn’t complaining — not because I’m some kind of fetishist for feather filled jackets on females, but because, it was half-naked women and North Face. Then I realised that it’s a paysite and that some of the bondage content is a little creepy. Good titles though — “Betty is layered in 3 XXXL Nupste jackets” “Betty frogtied in Marmot” “Betty in Mountain Equipment Co-Op Expedition down jacket”

I had no idea that a North Face down jacket fetish actually existed but it seems I’m not worldly enough. It takes notions of jacket porn to a literal level.