Busy tonight (but never too busy to update this blog, albeit briefly). I think Frank Bruno and the sadly departed George Francis was one of British boxing’s great partnerships. As a kid, I was always looking at the gear that celebrities and athletes wore — around this time, if we want to create a Rocky-esque contrasting training montage in our minds, I’m sure Mike Tyson was pacing the streets of Vegas at the same unholy hours in grey NB 996s. Continue reading HYPEBEASTS IN TRAINING
James Hyman is the guy who resisted the voices telling him to get rid of his magazine collection. I’ve been weak and thrown away my favourites and, contrary to tech prophets, never seen the content that’s slowly fading from my memory, like a paperback on the windowsill, anywhere online. As a testament to Hyman’s hoarder mentality, his archive contains 450 crates and 52,004 issues of 2,448 unique publications. There’s titles in there that the internet doesn’t even mention once. I could spend a long, long, long time just browsing old Sources and Faces to bring some colour back to those eroded psychological snapshots. Check out the Hyman Archive right here (and I’m not just saying that because I’m quoted at the start of the video.
Kelefah Sanneh’s profile of Daniel ‘Dapper Dan’ Day in this week’s New Yorker (complete with a Louis Vuitton ad on the back cover) is tremendous. It places what Dan created in a greater context, discussing the (il)legalities of his work, talking to Tyson, breaking down the infamous ‘Alpo Coat’ with the gun pocket, the connection between the audacious hustler outfits and Africa, the previously undocumented part of his career where he bootlegged Timberland and Guess, Fat Joe’s status as a longtime customer and how Floyd Mayweather Jr. still works with him. It’s the reason magazines are important and it’s tremendous that they gave it 8 pages — a story that needed to be told given the position it deserved. The Man Who Dressed Hip-Hop is up there with some of the great articles on the subject. Go buy it if you’re trapped outside their paywall (Calvin Tomkins’ When Punk Becomes Art piece is good too). It’s a shame that the blogsphere lacks the attention span or reverence to put out something this comprehensive that celebrates a figure whose contribution to the streetwear and high-end collision that causes queues today. Hyman’s horde is proof that print still has an aura and depth, and this is proof that print is still extremely relevant.
While we’re on the subject of entrepreneurial New Yorkers who inadvertently spawned strains of hip-hop fashion that built empires, it’s worth (air)brushing up on Phade of Shirt Kings (who’s putting out a book next month) and his work via this 6 minute documentary. Dues are being paid and it’s better late than never.
Fast-forwarding to hip-hop style in 2013, Gunplay’s Allhiphop weed-addled post-house arrest video shows him wearing a Supreme-style tee that’s Tumblr fake in its brazen knockoff status. I don’t now who Specials are, but I know that’s not a Terry Hall or Jerry Dammers collab right there. Even that bellend from Made in Essex buys his own stuff from the store. The expression on Gunplay’s face indicates that he probably doesn’t know what it says anyway. Homages of homages are weak— like when Bobby Davro used to parody Smashy and Nicey on Rock With Laughter (I’m glad he smashed his face open for that one). Does anyone else remember the glut of fake Supreme tees in TK Maxx circa 2003 with the box logos on the back? Smedium Exploited shirts next to the Full Circle garms, plus knockoff Bounty Hunter and Recon. I’ve always wanted to know where they came from.
Finally, shouts to Jian from Four Pins for the shout in this interview right here. I like how haunted menswear blogging is by the realisation that it’s just an ordered cluster of natural shouldered jackets, denim, leather accessories, technical runners, NATO straps and factory tours. It tries to skip from menswear to fashion but then it’s all lost like Marcus Brody at the fair in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. It’s like getting upset because other people like wearing trousers. As long as men wear stuff, then menswear will probably be quite a popular thing.
I find that if I look too far into how facile my lifestyle is, I find myself staring into the abyss and realize that every aspect of my existence is an irrelevance. So to all the worriers — just keep posting lookbooks and don’t think about it too much. I read about some guy going crazy from studying quantum mechanics because it rendered all he knew irrelevant and I heard talk of post-menswear can do that too. Just wear your gear and accept that the post-apocalypse world will not require stylists, writers or curators.
Jian, Jon Moy and the Four Pins squad do an excellent job of writing in a learned snarky manner that I respect, making it one of the rare sites on its chosen subjects that I return to (I tell everyone else that I do, but I don’t). I hope it spawns a new wave of blogging on shoes, clothes and related matters, because most people are still covering stuff as if they’re describing it to their grandparents. In an age of unauthoritative authorities, Four Pins is one of the few voices that’s on point. /enddickriding
26 hours late with the blog update. Sorry, I was on the phone to a faraway land. Seeing as this site is a receptacle for pictures of Mike Tyson (and this Peter Rosenberg interview is excellent — especially when he blames sour diesel for some of his capers and Teddy Atlas putting a gun to his head, because Teddy, as this interview attests is not a man to cross) the small image above of Mike running some running in the dark circa 1988, wearing some New Balances is a personal favourite. If we’re going to stay nostalgic this evening, I have to mention the Clothes Show hip-hop fashion in Bristol clip that Mr. Glenn Kitson brought to my attention before Christmas. I remember my mum calling me downstairs to watch this while she was ironing on a Sunday evening back in 1990. Kids with Jordan Vs and C&A denims, is one thing, but Brenton and Clinton eschewing baggy street style for some Kool G Rap and Polo esque executive realness, with Clinton’s suede jacket being a strong look and Brenton’s camel coat preempting Kanye’s Margiela number by 23 years. A Foot Locker Limited Edition tag on the Filas, Brizzy’s own Fi-Lo Paul ‘Fila’ Rogers in with the hat, shirt and hikers, a brief glimpse of the suede Champion footwear that Ewing and Pony man Roberto Mueller apparently had a hand in, and some chap trying to front in those shitty LA Gear MVP Jordan IV knockoffs are all part of a rare snapshot of a time when people flossed in beaten shoes and fake Chipie.
When every piece of sports footwear territory has been covered already, it’s interesting to see how things are developing. When no idea’s original, we’re hunting for things to reissue. A Jumpman becomes a swoosh and servers melt down on a Jordan III, the Undefeated Dunk I always wanted that originally appeared as 48 pairs reappears on Saturday and last weekend mita dropped the Air Max 95 neon (the best running shoe ever) in its Prototype form. There’s something about fiending for a co.jp AM95 that makes me feel I’ve gone full circle (or regressed, like Benjamin Button), but I’m sure the taxes on its delivery will slap me out of that euphoria. What’s so special about a black tongue on an AM95? It was featured in a Boon AM95 Q&A with designer Sergio Lozano as an early sample. Salutes to Japanese fanboys for bringing that back. I know it won’t have p.s.i. pressure markings, but I can deal with that. Nike need to drop more prototypes — remember the Air Trainer 1 First Take based on Tinker’s early AT1 sketches that weren’t possible to manufacture in 1987? And did I dream it or did an alternate Air Raid in a similar vein drop in the early 2000s? Anyway, here’s a picture of Sergio with the shoe that had hardcore fans hyped.
As a product of the video shop days, there was no way I was going to miss this. REWIND THIS! is a documentary about the power of the tape in putting b-movies on the same shelf as big budget films. Provided there was gore on the back and a lurid cover, the rental store was a democratic place where I could be equally as excited about Conan the Barbarian and Deathstalker, despite the latter’s crappiness once I got it home. I’m looking forward to Adjust Your Tracking too, which documents a contemporary VHS obsession. Were it not for the video format, I would have not seen that Clothes Show clip again, or Phase2 and Daze on a Melbourne TV show (The Factory) in 1988.
It’s alway good to see London spots in Japanese magazine, so seeing Good Hood and The Hideout in Clutch was a good look. What’s even better is that they’ve given Rich from The Hideout a comedy shouty speech bubble, which is nearly as good as getting slandered by some wild nickname in the Rugged Museum at the back/front of Free & Easy like labeling a man with a tiny noggin “Mr Little Head” in an issue a few years ago.
Homer Simpson once said, “There’s only two kinds of guys who wear Hawaiian shirts: gay guys and big fat party animals.” I think the Engineered Garments Hula Girl Popover Shirt sidesteps Homer’s theory, provided you smoke like a chimney and have a big fucking quiff. It would look good on big fat party animals too if they could fit into EG designs.
“So, okay, okay, okay, y’all can’t fuck with me, no way/Jose or Héctor Camacho/Tech blows and watch yo’ chest close and tacos”
Juelz Santana, Diplomats ‘Gangsta Music’
“And I’ma go so opposite of soft/Off the richter, Héctor Camacho Man Randy Savage/Above status, quo, flow, so, pro”
Lil’ Wayne ‘Mr Carter’
Farewell, Héctor Camacho. You were my kind of fighter. Seemingly boxing forever, Puerto Rico’s own macho man and king of the reverse rat tail ‘do gave not one single fuck. Six losses in 30 years of professional bouts, mastering some bizarre modes of pre-fight mindfuckery, defeating Julian Solís, Ray Mancini, Vinny Pazienza and Julio César Chávez, plus aging incarnations of Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Durán, plus all manner of wild behaviour outside the ring, including getting his dick tattooed and whipping it out for Playgirl when he was pushing 50, burgling an electronics store while high on ecstasy and starring in a Latin reality show, where women compete to date Macho (‘It’s Macho Time’) all added to the legend. You can’t deny Héctor didn’t push it to the limit. Slain by a mystery assailant, he’ll be missed. With his shift to Islam after his own controversies it’s unlikely that Héctor Camacho Jr’s boxing career will be as storied as his father’s, but those hip-hop name checks (including a Cam’ron line on the ‘S.D.E’ album) keep the legacy alive.
Ed Davis’s The Heavy Mental site is one of my favourite places to lurk. The interviews and original work on the site are relevant to my interests and he seems to have myriad affiliated projects on the go and on the low, whether it’s participation in Ralph Bakshi screenings, these patches and tees (that reaper design is serious) and affiliations with Sydney’s excellent Supply store (10 years old this year). Because Ed can design very well indeed, his new S.O.H. collection is looking good too, steeped in thrash and doom imagery and letterforms, with the Southern Lord references (word to Sunn O))))) and Voivod logo homage for a shirt with Supply. S.O.H. launches with four designs and a lookbook titles ‘Expendable Youth’ with blunts, fireworks, firearms and Jeff Fotocar behind the camera. Fuct has a lot to answer for, in the best possible way — between these designs and Julian Consuegra’s Stray Rats, with its hardcore frame of reference, Erik’s uncompromising attitude is present, but the vision is the creators’ own. It’s rare that I get hyped about tee designs beyond the usual suspects, but these are great. Between Ed’s work and Perks & Mini’s designs, Australia does it better than the majority. There’s more pages to that lookbook too and I have no idea where these are dropping, nor can I find a website, but I’m sure a launch is imminent. I admire the vagueness. Most people have teased their tees to death by this point and dropped two Vimeos already.
A few Nike curiosities from the 1987 era below — Bucks player Sidney Moncrief promoting the mysterious Nike Rugby Union designs that seem like a response to the bolder Polo, Coca-Cola and adidas apparel creations around that time. That colour blocking and abundance of embroidered detail makes these interesting and the Bengals’ “Boomer” Esiason mean-mugging in Lycra to plug the recently released Air Windrunner is part of the same restrained campaign that ditches the shouty Futura Extra Bold of the time for a more gentile approach. If you want it bolder, then the cheesy Nike Apparel ad from the same era that’s pushing bicycle-wear via a campy-attired courier. The approach to clothing at this point in time lacked the confidence of the footwear, though an appearance from Agassi in one of the campaign shots hints at a brighter future, both literally and figuratively.
I’m back from Canada and I can barely see because of the jetlag. The human body is pathetic. So pathetic that I thought it was Saturday yesterday and forgot to update this blog. I can’t say much about my Arc’teryx visit other than that witnessing the factory process upped my appreciation of the brand’s output and that I know more about GORE-TEX taping now than I knew last Wednesday. As a fiend for those Gore membranes in a jacket or shoe, it was borderline Wonka-like to see the processes, even though GORE-TEX itself, minus the shell or lining, is just an anonymous white sheet.
I’d wondered about the jacket Michael Jordan (not a stranger to bizarre sartorial choices) wore on his September 1991 ‘Saturday Night Live’ appearance — a strange green quilted design, but the little Tinker Hatfield piece in the new US ‘GQ’ solves that mystery. “At one point I pushed for a less sporty sub-brand called Jordan Beyond. When Michael did SNL in ’91, he wore a Jordan beyond quilted green jacket. But I couldn’t make it happen. I’ve still got some samples, including a basketball shoe that was perforated like a wingtip.”
Jordan Beyond sounds like the genesis of the XI dress shoe concept and what the contemporary models are working with but it certainly seems to be a little at odds with the Jordan VI aesthetic. One day, I’m sure the ‘Jordan Beyond’ boxset, reproducing that unwearable jacket, will make an appearance. If the JB line had taken off, I’m sure it would have dated badly, but it doesn’t sound too far from the Cole Haan LunarGrand strategy, and I like to think it would have included a suit made of marl grey fleece with giant shoulders and Mike’s pleated dress pant, polo and wingtip steez in the mix too.
IDEA Books‘ mailout is the best out there and some of the oddities they obtain are phenomenal. As well as showcasing a Panini Fiorucci sticker album you’re unlikely to ever see a again, earlier this year they got hold of Vincent Alan W’s (a frequent photographic documenter of gay African-American crews), ‘The Bangy Book/New Yorker Street Boys’ — a compilation of Vincent’s 1988 era snaps of the Bangy/Banjee phenomenon, where hypermasculine goonwear and the “homeboy” look of the time betrayed stereotypes of sexuality (hence the Banjee part of the ball in the seminal ‘Paris is Burning’). The nudity’s going to alienate, but I can’t help but think that Banjee infiltrated hip-hop again during the last decade, resulting in contemporary hip-hop’s mess of big tongued shoes and couture cues. A rarity worthy or reappraisal, just because there’s not enough imagery of this movement around.
(Images lifted from the IDEA Books scans.)
On that 1980’s New York topic, the Leica Bruce Davidson video was cool (and I think I’ve broken down the impact ‘Subway’ had on me in installing a healthy fear of NYC on here before)
but I’d never seen this Bruce Davidson Q&A from last year at the Strand bookstore. Worth 52 minutes of your life.
Has it really been 20 years since Koon, Powell, Wind, Briseño and Solano were acquitted, LA burned, Perry Farrell masturbated multiple times and then everybody declared war on rap and announced that everything with an f-word was “gangsta”? It led to ‘Get the Fist’ — not a pro-fisting anthem, but a charity record that’s better than Live Aid II and III’s reminder that 1989 and 2004 were dark musical times, but not as good as Springsteen and Run-DMC condemning Sun City. I remember footage of Positive K, Biz and MC Serch’s albums being sent beneath the steamroller during the storm over that crappy ‘Cop Killer’ song too.
Still, it was nice to feel like you weren’t meant to be listening to the music — authorities, parents and even the artists goading me and calling me a cracker made the experience fun. Now it wants to be your friend — it retweets you and collaborates with Katy Perry, then saunters off and reworks an Aston Martin. Hip-hop practically strokes your balls and asks how your day at work was. Things done changed. I still can’t resist the lure of the rap autobiography – DMX, Ice-T, 50 Cent, Jay-Z (a decent read beyond the lyrical deconstructions), Common and J-Zone’s efforts were decent in their own ways, but Prodigy set the standard with ‘My Infamous Life’ by talking smack as if he was never going to be released and not letting too much truth get in the way of a good yarn. That seems to have instigated some impending tomes — Lil’ Kim’s ‘The Price of Loyalty’ drops in June, ‘Bizzy By Choice, Bone By Blood’ by Bizzy Bone, ‘The Dynasty: Sex, Drugs, Murder and Hip Hop’ by Ray Benzino arrive in July, Boots Riley has one set for December and Q-Tip’s ‘Industry Rules: the World According to Q-Tip, From Linden Blvd. to El Sugundo and Beyond’ is a long way off (25th March 2014 according to Amazon). Somewhere among all those releases, RA the Rugged Man’s book might appear too.
Given his notorious inability to hold his tongue, Benzino’s book appeals to me – I want more information on the whole ‘The Source’ deal, the early Boston rap days, label issues as a result of the aforementioned ‘Cop Killer’ fallout, the CGI magic carpets and that strange documentary that was on WSHH recently, which featured an inexplicable Jay Electronica appearance banging on about Satan and the illuminati, years before he took to blasting the shit out of pheasants with Zac Goldsmith of an evening. I imagine it will probably indicate that Made Men made classic albums too, but I’m willing to overlook all that. Every rapper used to have a book, film and beverage in the offing, but many failed to materialise. I never believed ‘Zino’s book would appear, but now there’s even a cover shot as proof of life. On a biographical note, HarperCollins are reported to have obtained UK rights to Mike Tyson’s memoir and it’s apparently set for an October 2013 release — very good news indeed. Getting overeager about these things can prove humiliating though – a lot of us have been waiting for ‘Bowie: Object’ (which sounds like an even fancier version of ‘My Rugged 211’ or that Hiroshi Fujiwara ‘Personal Effects’ book, but this time, it’s a tome showcasing some of Bowie’s favourite archive artefacts), but Bowie Myths showcased a “leak” that looked questionable. It was evidently written by somebody that understands Bowie, yet predictably, it turned out to be fake and even the man himself took to Facebook (“Blinkin’ garden gnomes! Really”) to dismiss it. Between that and a hastily doctored pair of Jordan Is with the Nike SB logo on the tongue (as I understand it, that Jordan I SB for the Bones Brigade film isn’t happening), fast news travel and a hunger for information are optimum conditions for pranks.
Every meeting I’ve gone to lately seems to have talk of “a print project” thrown around in the same way they were banging on about an “online magazine” a year or so ago. Unless you’ve got an oligarch backer the high gloss approach will crash and burn and just trying to be ‘Monocle’s fashion section distilled down like weak Ribena – a sickly pink when it should be a purple, isn’t enough. I can’t say I’ve been awed by a magazine lately (though there’s been some strong content) on visuals alone in the same way that ‘Relax’ used to blow my mind frequently. Sure, it got to a point where on grabbing it from Magma, it was all plants, pastels and Mike Mills again and again (the visual angle was important, because I couldn’t understand a bloody word of that Japanese text) and then it was cancelled in 2006, but before that, it was a perfect, progressive example of magazine design — inserts, posters, stickers and those covers…inspirational in a way that ‘The Face’ once was and very little has been since…at least nothing that would leave you with change from a tenner. The adidas and Dogtown issues were tremendous and there’s still room in my life for something just as powerful. The Being Hunted crew always seemed to worship this magazine too (I’m looking forward to seeing Being Hunted 7.0), because Jorg and co know their stuff. Salutes to the LMCA archive for maintaining the covers and the YouWorkForThem squad for keeping their magazine and book visuals stored, even after they stopped selling them. Why isn’t there a ‘Relax’ retrospective book? I still believe print can change lives, but `also I believe that it’s a format that only a select few can truly succeed in.
Page images taken from YouWorkForThem
If it’s quirky, it’s cult now. I’ve been trying to work out when cult ceased to be an appealing tag – perhaps it was the post Quentin slew of chatty, smart-Alec mob flicks that jarred each and every time. Maybe it was Rob Zombie and co’s attempts to reproduce a moment in time that was originally simply a victim of no means and a lack of professional crew. Either way, the best stuff from back in the day had an earnestness about it and a sense of strange that wasn’t synthesised. All the talk of ninjas last week had me thinking of David Carradine’s work and I still maintain that 1989’s ‘Sonny Boy’ is underrated. Alongside ‘Santa Sangre’ it offers something uncomfortable but intoxicating in a totally unrestrained approach to bloodletting and Carradine’s commitment to the film, from his cross-dressing performance to the work on the soundtrack is admirable. Cheap and memorable is a fair summary (like 1990’s unnerving ‘Luther the Geek’), but that doesn’t necessarily make it a film for all tastes — come to think of it, many will just find ‘Sonny Boy’ deeply offensive, but I guarantee you’ve not seen much like this one before. Brad Dourif has spent much of his career stumbling into curiosities like this and I’m assuming distribution issues mean it won’t ever get a proper DVD release again.
“You’re pint-sized, I’m Mike’s eyes with the gladiator tattoos on it.”
Nas, ‘Nazareth Savage’
“I freak beats, slam it like Iron Sheik/Jam like a Tec with correct techniques.”
Nas,’It Ain’t Hard to Tell’
This post is dedicated to the memory of the MacBook Pro that just passed, taking away imagery for a planned post and making me improvise with hastily cobbled together entries like this. Iron Mike‘s Instagram image of the big man stood alongside the Iron Sheik at the end of last week was — and I’m not being ironic here — one of the best pictures I’ve seen in years. This was a meeting of two of my favourite people who’ve grown up but not lost their capacity to entertain. The Sheik’s wild threats via twitter live up to his wild image of old, namechecked by Nas and authentically unhinged in a heavily rehearsed realm, and Mike Tyson is a man who seems to have emerged from the darkness, the family tragedies and the apparent catharsis of James Toback’s ‘Tyson’ documentary a changed man — less the rent-a-thug or genuinely unnerving thousand yard stare of his appearance in the Wu-Tang heavy mess of ‘Black and White’ and more of a controlled presence that seems to be in on the jokes. I’m not a Tyson apologist, but I’m a fan of his fights, his respect for boxing history and willingness to bare his soul. He’s a complicated character and the current woeful state of heavyweight bouts has me nostalgic for the Mitch Green scrap outside Dapper Dan and even contemporary Mike meltdowns like the Lennox press scrap (now that’s how you brawl at a press conference — it isn’t a real brawl unless legs get inexplicably bitten) and the threats at journos. That’s the raw side of a warrior mindset, but the Haye and Chisora dust up’s use of props was straight-up WWE behaviour.
In fact, I’d rather watch WWE than watch the aforementioned pair fight. At least I’ll respect the fighters more. Long after Mike’s 1990 WWF refereeing replacement for a Hogan and Randy Savage bout in favour of an unexpectedly victorious Buster Douglas, and several years after his wild post-jail antics seemed to be an influence on the Raw-era he was given WWE Hall of Fame status at the weekend. And it was here that two legends met. That image of them together is a classic Mike image beyond the ring — up there with his meeting with Jean-Claude Van Damme in 1991 clad in flamboyant knitwear, his late night Wheaties run in a particularly fly Fila tracksuit, ‘LIFE’ magazine ‘s shot of him in an MCM and Rolex combo, plus the entire ‘Sports Illustrated’ shoot from 1985 (note the Etonic Mirage on his feet in the pigeon coop) for the January 6, 1986 cover story (which you can read here), where a 19-year-old Kid Dynamite greets well wishers and chills with his pigeons. A hero meets a hero. I’m just surprised that when these two legends met, the universe didn’t implode in honour of them. There’s a few personal favourites below, plus a heavily watermarked picture of Webster in Air Jordan Is from the 1987 ‘Webster’ episode with the Tyson cameo.