Tag Archives: futura 2000

SIGUE SIGUE FUTURA

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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.

CONTENTS UNDER PRESSURE

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Anybody who sat up too late watching ITV in the mid to late 1990s will have encountered Club Nation. Sweaty clubbers, artist profiles and a segment on something loosely connected to dance music made up each episode’s contents. You may have woken up with a start to some hard trance after dropping off waiting for sleazy Davina McCall/Claudia Winkleman-fronted dating show God’s Gift (which managed to have not one, but two, celebrity sex cases on voiceover duties, when Stuart Hall was superseded by Jimmy Savile). I can vividly recall tuning in while in a state of some inebriation to randomly see my older brother on the dance floor at Bagley’s and I can also remember being smacked out my stupor by the coverage of 1997’s Contents Under Pressure exhibition at the Tramshed in London. This Stash, Futura and Lee show was something I wished I could attend, but being located in Nottingham with sporadic internet access, I was well and truly out of the loop. I grabbed the Mo’ Wax Arts exhibition booklet from Selectadisc though. While some of the pieces on display weren’t necessarily the artists’ finest work, Contents Under Pressure was something that seemed to set a precedent for elevating graffiti at the time (Haze’s Iconograffiti show a couple of years earlier from the same crew was another important moment too). There isn’t too much imagery of the exhibition online, but this episode of Club Nation includes four minutes on location at the Tramshed (skip ahead to 3:58, unless you really like the sight of hair gel and gurning), which makes it a nice bit of subcultural London history.



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THAI FOOD

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There are plenty of better things to be doing instead of reading this blog. You could watch the first three parts of Noisey’s There Will Be Quiet — The Story of Judge documentary, or you could read Paul Gorman’s blog and get excited about the fact he’s following up a retrospective of The Face with a biography of Malcolm McLaren that releases next year. A few interesting Futura 2000 oddities have emerged on YouTube too — after seeing his work on the opening credits of Spike Lee’s 1983 film school debut, Joe’s Bed-Stuy Barbershop I wondered what other film projects he’d worked on. Dale Cooper from Mo Wax Please (who also upped this RAMM:ΣLL:ZΣΣ interview) uploaded the painted opening credits of 1983’s In the King of Prussia — a film by Emile de Antonio (who co-directed the excellent Underground about the Weathermen Underground Organisation) that depicts the trial of the admirably ballsy “Plowshares Eight” in a hastily shot, ultra-real way using the real participants and the real court transcripts. I have no idea what the provenance of this short video, entitled “Thaifood in Thailand” and uploaded by BUILDESTROY, was — is it part of something bigger? Was it a short shot for TV? But with a 1990-era Futura, Daze, Doze and Toxic, plus a handful of soundbites on the state of the scene 25 years ago.

RECOMMENDED READING

My time management is weak this evening, so this is a blog update for the sake of blog updates. I had something to throw up here, but an embargo deaded that plan. There’s plenty on the internet at the moment that’s better than this blog. First up, this Wall Street Journal piece entitled ‘Made Better in Japan‘ is very good — it did the rounds the other day, but the talk of Spanish napkins at a tapas bar, baristas barred from foamers or espressos due to inexperience and Hitoshi Tsujimoto of the Real McCoy’s owning around 100 Warhols makes it amazing. My friend (and one of the reasons I have the job I have now) Mr. Chris Aylen’s Trash Filter site has an excellent interview with Futura 2000 to coincide with his ‘Expansions’ show in Paris. It feels like a well-executed sequel to the old Spine Magazine (I really, really miss that site) interviews from the early ’00s that made me want to enter this whole miserable subculture in the first place. Now it’s considered remarkable to offer up content that could be in print online, but back in 2000, Spine was doing that. I think a proliferation of cornballs (and in a preemptive answer to any “Was that aimed at me?” emails or Tweets, yes it was) dumbed things down to the point where it seemed novel to offer real writing. Salutes to Spine and props to Chris for resurrecting that style on Trash Filter.

On the Futura subject, was I the last to notice his work in Heavy D & the Boyz’ ‘Now That We Found Love’ video from 1991? I knew Lee Quinones was involved, but Ernie Paniccioli’s snapshot of Lenny with some video vixens on set and watching the video again reveals a substantial input from him too. I’m also late to the party in studying Steven Hagar’s (who wrote ‘Hip-Hop: The Illustrated History of Break Dancing, Rap Music and Graffiti‘ which trounces David Toop’s revered ‘Rap Attack’ and ‘Art After Midnight‘ on the East Village art and music scenes) blog, which contains some fine hip-hop trivia. Mr. Hagar is selling both those long out-of-print tomes as ebooks for $2.99, and they’re worth your time. What’s even better, is THE ENTIRE FUCKING SCRIPT TO ‘BEAT STREET’ FROM WHEN IT WAS CALLED ‘LOOKING FOR THE PERFECT BEAT.’ That’s the script Hagar sold that was altered significantly, resulting in the much-loved but tacky cinematic rap classic. I’m assuming that might be of interest to a few of my fellow nerds out there.

I’ve let you down on the word count today. Two other things of interest are a UK Blu-ray release for Monte Hellman’s sparse and deeply influential road movie, ‘Two Lane Blacktop’ courtesy of EUREKA!s Masters of Cinema series. It isn’t as extensive on the extras as the Criterion DVD was, but it’s Blu-ray and you need to admire Warren Oates’s knitwear (my second favourite selection of Oates outfits after his inappropriately light suit for the dirty duty of severed noggin retrieval in Peckinpah’s ‘Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia’) as well as a beautiful scenery. ‘Drive’ proved that there’s still mileage in unnamed drivers — word to James Taylor. This 1970 ‘Rolling Stone’ article is another recommended read. I don’t own it, but I’m deeply jealous of anyone that recieved the (camera phone image retrieved from Soldiersystems.net) Arc’teryx LEAF V.I.P. pack at the SHOT shooting, hunting and outdoors trade show a few weeks back. Arc’teryx Moleskines look good, but the Cordura Brand fabric t-shirt, made from the same material that lines the Talos Halfshell jacket and the Arc’teryx LEAF GORE-TEX camo iPad cover are my kind of giveaways. Mr. Charles Morgan put me onto this action figure of firearms instructor Chris Costa that’s got a scaled down Arc’teryx Hyllus jacket (and an Arc’teryx hat on one variant) in addition to his other brand-name garments of choice.

NEW YORK MAGAZINE'S ONLINE ARCHIVE

Last year if you were short of a blog post inspiration you could just go and plunder LIFE’s image archives or go steal something from A Continuous Lean or The Selvedge Yard and add your own half-baked commentary on it. You could also up a lookbook that had been posted several times already, again, with a sprinkling of pointless opinion. But Google Books – aka. the print industry’s nemesis (don’t worry print, techno-book won’t replace pulped trees in my affections any time soon) just made blogs even easier. I plead guilty to abusing this online resource. Vibe’s up there almost in its entirety (a few holes in the mid ’90s), as is Spin, but the crown jewel is New York Magazine’s back catalogue. Shouts to Sofarok for putting me onto some pieces from the magazine’s past pages last year. It still packs a kick, with some excellent writing – the KAWS cover last year and the Dash Snow piece a few years prior were good, but over the years its been in the proximity of some zeitgeist moments by mere blocks, while we wannabes were soaking it up from a distance.

GWARIZM relevant highlights of a casual browse? A Valentines issue from February 1986 with the romantic tale of Futura 2000 and then-wife Christine Carrie, a tiny piece on Supreme from May 1994, a couple of weeks after the store opened, some coverage of the Phillies Blunt phenomenon from August 1992, a lengthy Ralph Lauren interview that’s actually picked from a conversation from the out-of-print, but pretty good (get your Amazon Marketplace on and you’ll find it for a penny plus P&P) ‘Fashion: The Inside Story’ by Barberalee Diamonstein on Rizzoli from October 1985. Mark “Search all issues” and bookend your terms with speech marks to stumble across gem after gem. Considering the excellent Rolling Stone magazine archive cost around £40, that New York Magazine hands it over like this for nada is a major bonus. You want more? Hunt down Craig Unger’s ‘Attitude’ article from July 1982, Unger’s ‘The Lower East Side: There Goes the Neighborhood’ piece from May 1984, ‘Prep-School Gangsters’ by Nancy Jo Sales from December 1996 and ‘Hard-Core Kids’ by Peter Blauner from May 1986.

But the absolute best part of a trawl is Anna Wintour’s work as then-fashion editor of New York Magazine between 1981 and 1983. There’s a lot of reasons why she commands such respect, but look to the ‘New York, New York’ shoot from March 1982 to see Ali, Dondi White and Zephyr getting involved – also note the use of a bike courier in the same shoot – prescient of the current editorial clichés used in efforts to look edgy. Go article hunting right now, right here.

But I’m conscious I’m dwelling on the old, so here’s a new concept – retrospective offsetting. To counteract the old stuff revisited, here’s some newness that gets me hyped:

ARC’TERYX VEILANCE GORE-TEX ENVELOPE

I heard about this method of promoting the excellent Arc’teryx Veilance line at Capsule earlier this year. Conceptually a GORE-TEX envelope sounds like something Ghostface would mention in a lyric back when he spat lines like “Meet the black Boy George, dusted on my honeymoon/Bitch like my wife, she popped my Ghostface balloon.” As a result I needed to own this. Steve Mann kindly gave me one of these oddball promo artifacts. That the envelope inside it tough to remove is irrelevant – this is one of the best pieces of PR ephemera this year, and when the year is out, you’ll all be cock jocking Veilance. Trust me on that one.

‘ANIMAL KINGDOM’

Australia should, with that hazy, slightly sweaty atmosphere that comes built in with any motion picture shot in any of the country’s suburbs, churn out some brilliant crime films, but bar ‘Chopper’ and the deeply disturbing but necessary ‘The Boys’ (hunt it down if you can stomach it), the curse of the knockabout Guy Ritchie twattisms meant films like ‘Two Hands’ and ‘The Hard Word’ fell short despite their potential. Post ‘Underbelly’ there should have been a new breed of flicks. With good buzz after a Sundance showing last Summer, the Melbourne-based ‘Animal Kingdom’ looks intelligent, beautifully shot and deadly serious. This full-length trailer is slickly edited, culminates with a nice matter-of-fact typeface and uses Air Supply’s ‘I’m All Out Of Love’ to winning effect. do we have a potential classic on our hands?

NIKE SFB MID BOOT

Nike seem intent on getting you excited with their new releases if you got bored to tears with the Air Max 1 tsunami (Patta are the exception to that boredom) – the SFB Mid Boot is a more crowdpleasing use of the military technology the brand’s been pushing and it’s another Free soled classic in the making. Is it getting a UK release? Apparently not. This is to the Revaderchi what the Wildedge was to the Wildwood, even if, wisely, it steers clear of anything corny like ‘Air Revaderchi 2010’, it’s an update of both versions of the whimsically titled ACG release. Ace.