Tag Archives: tattoos



Apologies for the lack of updates during the week — I was at the launch of the new Superfly in Madrid with Nike and didn’t get much time to do much research on anything. It was good to get some interview time with Mark Parker to discuss HTM, football design and other related things — that conversation should be up on a certain magazine’s website pretty soon. It was also good to see what Nike is planning with its top-tier think tank when it comes to football design — previous attempts from every brand to cross football and lifestyle on the footwear front have been variable, but the prototype of the Nike Free Mercurial Superfly HTM looked very good up close. That project has come a long way since the days of fruitlessly rushing to Footpatrol at the weekend after a Being Hunted heads up to grab some Presto Roams or Terra Humaras with the three-letter premium. Then again, a lot’s changed since then — I never thought I’d get the opportunity to work in that particular field back then, because I was buying shoes with Jobseeker’s Allowance and a pit of credit card debt.

If you’re interested in the incredible attire on some of Britain’s street-level elite back in the day (and I’m assuming that you’ve already got a vague interest in hip-hop), join the UK Hip-Hop Archives Project group on Facebook and check out the collection of Martin Jones’ (Goldie’s former manager during his graffiti/b-boy years of 1984-1989) incredible photographs that are currently being scanned. A 1987 picture of Trans-Atlantic Federation era 3D wearing Nike Air Safaris and a Mercedes pendant (the only other celebrity I’ve seen in Safaris beyond Pos and the Biz) is just one of the current highlights. Go get involved.


(Image by Martin Jones, taken from the UK Hip-Hop Archives Project page)

An interesting looking biography of Ol’ Dirty Bastard is on its way late this year. The Dirty Version: On Stage, in the Studio, and in the Streets with Ol’ Dirty Bastard by Buddha Monk and Mickey Hess drops via HarperCollins in December. With Buddha Monk being a Brooklyn Zoo member, he should have some extra insight on the ODB myth. Buddha’s been doing the rounds with some tales of misbehaviour that indicate that this could be a potential classic for rap trivia obsessives. With a North Star member cut his genitals off, it’s been a bad month for Wu affiliates, but this should readdress the balance (speaking of obscure Wu family, whatever happened to the brilliantly named Ancient Coins?).


I don’t know whether this is real, some kind of Jimmy Kimmel prank or a viral for a movie, but Miami rapper Stitches (who’s apparently just 18 years old) has some of the most insane face ink to date — stitches on the mouth and an AK on the cheek (plus a startling amount of Instagram followers). Pinhead hurling Johnson’s Baby Powder around, guns being wielded and a shouty mixtape with a cover that doesn’t live up to the visuals in the video are just part of his initial assault. Snitches might get stitches, but Stitches preaches a no-ratting rule, as the No Snitching Is My Statement title testifies. It takes a lot to make me bat an eyelid when it comes to rap, but this had me doing a full Roger Moore eyebrow.


Every time my commitment wavers with regards to anything, I look to the berserkers who carved Slayer onto their skin for inspiration. Unwavering in their dedication, not led by trends and keen to go one louder than a mere tee with deodorant stained pits, the lack of curves in Slayer’s logo letterforms really lend themselves to sharp objects and skin. This is what separates metal fans from the H&M bought pre-faded replica.

This blog entry has been hindered by my escalating addiction to Hypebeast’s Essentials section and the wild comments it attracts. Good to see Mr. Masta Lee from Patta in there too, repping for Lexdray, a brand that makes bags with so many pockets and secret compartments that those of us without a sense of direction are liable to get lost in their own baggage during the packing process. I want to see a book of the images by the end of the year, provided that they include the talkback remarks too. S95s, MacBooks, firearms, Goyard goods and lots of Supreme box logos have all featured, but the layout, with the rollover crosses for extra detail, is impeccable. It sates a certain hypelust for details and gives keyboard Conans something else to vent about.

I haven’t seen anybody break out an Acer netbook yet, but it’s good to see that there are still some BlackBerry users out there — can people really type as fast without keys as they could with them? The sole thing stopping me from grabbing an iPhone is the way in which it would hinder my copywriting missions on the move. Typing anything substantial on my iPad is like trying to play a concerto on the FAO Schwartz floor piano. Scale that down and I can barely tap beyond the perimeters of a text message length before tapping out entirely. RIM fell off in a major way, but the vinegar faces of concentration on my friends, once so deft on the tactile keys of their Bolds, as they try to Instagram a wacky dog they just saw with an accompanying witticism puts me off entirely.

Eureka’s Blu-ray release of Alex Cox’s ‘Repo Man’ is further proof of their commitment to cult, and their newly remastered edition of the film ports some US special edition details over, but also includes the near mythical TV version, shorn of all swearing (like the legendary ITV ‘Robocop’ edit) as well. It’s such a sweary and peculiar film, that it’s perplexing that anybody would think to clip its wings to the point where “Melon farmer” would work as a suitable insult (word to Charles Bronson in ‘Mr. Majestyk’ though, because he’s one bad melon farmer). Just as Criterion block us when it comes to regional limitations, this is a Europe-only release, but at least Eureka had the good grace to put up a nifty little screen when it comes to failed loads for global ‘Repo Man’ fans.

While we’re talking 1984 punk attitude, this old ‘South Bank Show’ on Malcolm McLaren as his ‘Duck Rock’ phase went classical/R&B with ‘Fans’ is worth an hour of your time. The irritated interviews with Steve Jones and the beautiful Annabella Lwin, juxtaposed with remorseless quotable from Malcolm makes it classic, plus it reminded me of just how odd his solo work was, as he sauntered from zeitgeist to zeitgeist, letting the last movement burn as he threw himself into the next big thing.

Trying to remind myself of the joys of vinyl during a central London record shop visit, a costly Red Ninja promo in Reckless had me wondering what became of the mysterious Red Ninja? He was an act who had brief cult fame at my school with the dancehall and hip-hop fans alike. Red Ninja and Kobalt 60 were part of the soundtrack to a Fila F-13 and faux Chipie era in my hometown. I had no idea that there was a Red Ninja video, with a £100 budget that had a brief outing on ‘Dance Energy.’ Raggamuffin British hip-hop with dance moves stays winning.

Oh, and shouts to SAS and the Eurogang movement for the shout out on their ‘Tiffy’ freestyle. It took me back to days amassing CDRs of Dipset mixtapes. Props to Mega for that one.

Before the new issue of Oi Polloi’s excellent Pica~Post arrives, this interview with Shinya Hasegawa of Brooklyn-made Batten Sportswear, a former Woolrich Woolen Mills man who assisted Daiki Suzuki and has Woolrich chambray curtains in his home is worth a read. He namechecks the pioneering GERRY brand, as founded by Gerry Cunningham, rucksack and tent pioneer (read more about him here). Their ’70’s ads were amazing in terms of imagery and copywriting. Several who worked for GERRY spawned their own brands, including co-founder Dale Johnson, who went on to found DIY goose-down brand, Frostline. Somebody needs to bring the art of the homemade goose-down jacket kit back.

Lifted from a 1950 ‘LIFE’ feature, this image of a tattooed human skin, removed from the body (purported to have belonged to a gangster) by Dr. Sei-ichi Fukushi and put on display is both grotesque and amazing. the work looks amazing though. Knuckles and neck pieces are everywhere now, but at that point in time, it was a truly outsider artform and a mark of commitment. This picture makes me a little uncomfortable, but I’d like to see an exhibition of Fukushi’s supposed acquisitions.


Making light of Channel 4’s ‘Street Summer’ season is like shooting beatboxers in a barrel, so it would be too obvious to lampoon their Superdry-friendly mix of parkour, BMX, making music with your mouth and dripping stencils. It is what it is, “urban” culture zip-filed up into some kind of rapping, dancing expression of da ‘yoof. If you expected a three-hour Money Boss Players documentary, a JA character study or a celebration of Hypnotize Minds, then you were being wildly optimistic. Still, it’s curious that T4’s ‘Inside SBTV: From Bedroom to Boardroom’ and some of BBC Two’s ‘No Hats, No Trainers’ felt like superior attempts at the same subject matter.

But their two-hour ‘How Hip Hop Changed the World’ was a wasted opportunity. It’s not a case of naivety and nerdery, angrily fist waving at a lack of Beatnuts — it was just a weak offering that seemed to be cobbled together by the same minds behind ‘Street Summer’s infamous commercial. Idris Elba waved his arms around and swaggered like Danny Dyer on a roof somewhere, Nas was deadpan and dull, plenty of UK acts got excited, people were filmed in the act of racking their memory banks and historically it flitted around like some Burroughs-esqe cut-and-paste hallucination. People spinning on their head! Mike Skinner! Ronald Reagan looking impressed! Diddy being wealthy! The Sugarhill Gang! Weetabix men! A clip from a Wu-Tang Video!

‘How Hip Hop Changed the World’ was simply another ‘I Love…’ nostalgia show that felt curiously dated, like the sort of thing you might catch at 3:15am on a freeview music channel in a drunken haze and it displayed a curious regression — 1999’s ‘The Hip-Hop Years’ attempted a history and failed with a simplistic delivery, but it was more watchable than friday night’s offering. As if to highlight the inferior nature of Channel 4’s latest failure, adverts looked culled from YouTube and plenty of footage from 1987’s BBC Open Space documentary ‘Bad Meaning Good’ and 1984’s ‘Beat This! A Hip-Hop History’ was used. The latter efforts were excellent, and while hip-hop culture operated in a smaller space for documentation, how on earth is hip-hop still being treated as some kind of fly-by-night gimmick in terms of documentation?

The truth of the matter is that hip-hop needs something akin to the ten-part Ken Burns treatment. An adaptation of Dan Charnas’s ‘The Big Payback’ would be fascinating. Some would say that it’s still too immature and others claim that it regressed…that it doesn’t respect itself enough to warrant a serious documentation, but that would be erroneous. Contemporary “urban” culture being treated as some kind of bad musical where folks dance out their grievances in dayglo clothing is part of the problem — depictions of the inner-cities are wildly at odds with the realities, and a multi billion-dollar business that seems to have permeated everything is still being summarised in a 1-minute moving tableaux of twattery.

Forget $299 books retreading the flawed steps of ‘Hip Hop Immortals’ or the equally messy ‘Hip Hop Immortals: We Got Your Kids’ and ‘Rhyme & Reason’ documentaries. The culture got more complicated and the depictions got dumber. How on earth does an expert in Tudor history end up on Newsnight in lieu of any of the young journalists who could have offered some valuable insight without resorting to a Mr. Starkey-friendly “white voice”? How did Channel 4 go from screening Henry Chalfont’s masterful ‘Style Wars’ in 1984 to 120 minutes of unstructured stating-the-bloody-obvious 27 years later? This was a valuable opportunity to celebrate something remarkable squandered.

While we’re ranting, what’s up with the 5D culture of factory-tour videos? If your brand needs to show me the manufacturing process in order for me to appreciate it, then I want nothing to do with it. The provenance of a garment or item seems to be superseding whether it’s actually very good. Making something in the UK and describing it down to the strand of cotton doesn’t necessarily make it better than anything else. Production line shots, earnest images of men in aprons, occasional blur and a SBTRKT or Beirut soundtrack are becoming a formula — if your documentation of handcrafts feels formulaic and clinical, then you’ve missed your own point.

I had a wander round Jacket Required in London. I can’t remember much, but I enjoyed myself. My favourite item was a velvet jacket from Sk8thing and Nigo’s Human Made line depicting a Toddy Cat (aka. the Asian Palm Civet — the creature that defecates the berries that make Kopi Lawak coffee) enjoying a brew. It’s a very expensive item, but like the varsity jacket with a hotdog across the back, Nigo seems to have restored his aptitude for awesome again, building on the URSUS styles to go completely crazy with these surreal, self-indulgent vintage style. I like the Carhartt camo pieces as part of the archive line that are dropping soon too — definite crowd pleasers, and the contemporary buttons on the recent heritage-style stuff have been ridded in favour or something a little more olde world.

Picture from Thursday’s NOWNESS feature.

Rest in peace KASE 2 TFP. I mourned his passing a little too early on Twitter this week, but the one-armed, letter camouflaging, King of Styyyyyyyyyyyle has passed away. I know Goldie painted with Kaze, but did I dream up the footage of a starstruck Goldie meeting KASE 2 back in the 1980s? Was it from the ‘Zulu Dawn’ footage pulled down from YouTube? My love for the ‘Beastmaster’ scene in ‘Style Wars’ has been expounded upon here before, but this legend deserves a celebration.

Linking to that Canon 5D remark, you’re likely to see an influx of tattoo-centric videos soon, but ignoring a lot I’m really enjoying VBS’s Tattoo Age. In a fantastic coincidence (and one that will no doubt cheer up the homie Nick Schonberger, just as VBS started teasing the Grime episodes, Grime Daily started showing their ‘Tattoo Watch’ episodes. In the latter, there’s no talk of technique, just lots of madcap meanings or none-at-all, but the UFO chest piece is awesome.


It’s no fun being a Dario Argento or Alejandro Jodorowsky fan. Take Dario as an example—when the Italian film industry was in full swing and when Fox stumped up some cash, he produced stunning visuals. You don’t watch an Argento film for the acting or plot. Without the financial support you get budget dreck like ‘Mother of Tears’ and ‘Giallo.’ Watching ‘Inferno’ in Blu-ray drove that point home.

While the Argento fan has to traverse various cuts and versions of their favourite films for full satisfaction, they’re spoon-fed compared to Jodorowsky’s disciples. Another master stylist, Alejandro’s films—past and future—have been mired in nonsense. This is a filmmaker who offers tantalising visions but then lets the fans down (rarely intentionally) with the regularity of a deadbeat dad. The argument with Allen Klein (over a proposed remake of ‘The Story of O’) left ‘El Topo’ and ‘The Holy Mountain’ in bootleg purgatory until their official release in 2007.

While ‘El Topo’ remains readily available, the Tartan edition of ‘The Holy Mountain’ has been deleted, fetching unholy prices on eBay and Amazon, as is the box set from the same year. Then the cheap but excellent Anchor Bay DVD of 1989’s ‘Santa Sangre’ was pulled around a year later. We fans weren’t mad though, because while ‘The Sons of El Topo’ never got beyond pitch and pre-production stage in 1996, he had a gangster film called ‘King Shot,’ co-produced by David Lynch set for a 2010 release…until Jodorowsky revealed that it was shitcanned due to funding issues in late 2009. Like I said, it’s no fun being a Jodorowsky fan, yet we all know that despite the infrequency of his films—often down to his lack of compromise—there’s a potential classic locked in sketchpads and notebooks.

I’ve never been a fan of 1990’s ‘the Rainbow Thief,’ but it’s still more interesting than many subsequent films and Tarsem’s ‘The Fall’ may have been Jodorowsky-lite, but had it been more commercially successful, it could have jump-started new Jodorowsky projects. The great man’s actually a prolific Twitterer (albeit in Spanish) and he’s claiming that ‘CainAbel’ —a film using elements of the ‘Sons of El Topo’ screenplay—is going to happen. I’ll believe it when I see a trailer.

I’m all about this forced tattoo design, with shades of Dipset from ‘Santa Sangre’

Something more set in stone is that ‘Santa Sangre’ comes to DVD again and debuts on Blu-ray this month. Just in case you’ve never seen it, this is the best Jodorowsky film. Accept no arguments to the contrary. The screenplay by Alejandro, Roberto Leoni and Dario’s brother Claudio Argento adds some meat to the gristle and screeching bloodshed of the film. It’s visually flawless, innovative and utterly unsettling. I was captivated by a 1990 review in the long-defunct ‘Fear’ magazine which dwelled on the style and violence throughout, and it’s a frequently imitated work that’s willfully peculiar yet still retains a linear narrative to complement the set pieces forcefully tattooed on my psyche.

On Blu-ray it should be the definitive presentation of the film, and the promise of a 1990 British documentary on the director, a brand-new 90 minute documentary on the film’s production and a feature on Cárdenas Hernández—a serial killer and big influence on the film, after Alejandro apparently bumped into him back in the day—is tantalising.

There’s plenty of unofficial and official releases from over the year and given the film’s hard-to-classify content, I’ve lost a few to lending, solely because a verbalised synposis might put me into an asylum, so this release is a New Year’s blessing…over the years its been interesting to see how distributors (both legal and illegal) depicted the mania within on disc and tape artwork. The latest gives the bare minimum away—taking  it back to the original US VHS cover, but other examples have dwelled on the lunacy. Track this film down.


…or entertainment’s getting more extreme. Possibly a mix of the two. Having had my psyche fist-fucked by ‘A Serbian Film’ a few weeks back (incidentally, in terms of performances and cinematography the film is excellent. That’s what makes it so effective), I’ve been aware that perhaps I do have limitations when it comes to cinema. I hate to be the “that scene” man—but to describe what showed me that I have limits like some ultraviolent version of Clarence Odbody, proving that decades of cinematic carnage haven’t left me so emotionally dead that I can’t be offended—on this blog would land me in trouble. Just know that you’ll emerge from a viewing feeling wrong. Very, very wrong.

Reading the ‘Crossed’ sequel, the Garth Ennis-free ‘Crossed: Family Values’, I’ve found myself a little shocked too. here’s the thing though—it’s a horror story, so its job is to horrify me. Like some ungodly mix of ‘The War Zone’ s incest theme, ‘Wise Blood’s southern gothic and Romero’s ‘The Crazies’, whereas ‘The Walking Dead’ is getting an AMC television outing, this won’t. Ever. The third issue culminates with unspeakable scenes to match the madness Srdjan Spasojevic brought to the screen. It really does take it there. Again, it’s curiously refreshing to find out that my moral core is operational.

Years ago, my benchmark for disturbing funnybook status was Miracleman #15. Kid Miracleman’s destruction of London and Miracleman’s solution to the problem at the comic’s conclusion messed with my head for years. Alan Moore went all out, and John Totleben’s artwork was as close to Bosch’s depiction of hell as ever resided in my polybagged stack. I found myself returning to the issue to gawp, yet 22 years on, I’m left trying to forget the events that David Lapham and Javier Barrano have conjured up. Like I said, I’m getting old. Both books do their job remarkably well. Still no sign of the ’80s ‘Miracleman’ reprints. i wouldn’t want to direct you to a link to each issue as a CBZ download or ‘owt like that…

A couple of spreads stand out. There’s nothing like a heavily detailed scene of horror to take me back to a misspent childhood. After my media diet of the last month or so, ‘Miracleman’s armless mother figure seems almost quaint.

This week has been all about stroke books. Not that kind. We’re talking letterforms and the history of letter design. Revisiting Ian Lynam’s fine ‘Parallel Strokes’ for typeface insight, and finally delving into the 2005 UK translation of Gerrit Noordzij’s 1985 essay, ‘The Stroke’, breaking down the qualities of letters, it’s been interesting to look beyond the explicit meanings of each word and letter in an attempt to understand the design and spacing that makes up the paragraphs of drivel I pump out on the regular. A fair proportion goes sailing way above my oversized cranium, but I’m enjoying the pretty pictures in Noorddzij’s book regardless.

This rush of research was instigated by my good friend Mr. BJ Betts releasing his ‘Street Shop Lettering Version 4.0’ font guide, with flash and accompanying booklet. He might look thugged-out, but Mr. Betts has ludicrous skills with lettering. It got a first look at The Reference Council courtesy of my buddy Nick Schonberger. There’s more tattoos than ever out there, and the warm weather brought it out in force. Bad lettering is a fucking plague, and Betts has the solution.

Michael Corrente’s film ‘Loosies’, set for release in 2011 looks set to have lots of soul-searching, NYC underground settings, and, best of all, a cast that includes Vincent Gallo, Joe Pantoliano and William Forsythe. If that causes you no joy whatsoever, I suggest you exit this blog immediately. It’s worth mentioning at this juncture, that I still can’t understand the excitement around ‘The Wackness’. Ben Kingsley certainly didn’t deserve a Razzle for it, but it’s an overrated nostalgia trip regardless. Please god, let ‘Loosies’ bring back the spirit of Toback’s ‘Fingers’…

There’s a lot of sites with a jacket fetish that seem so clueless that they make for car crash reading. The One-upmanship Journal isn’t one of them. Crazy knowledge fused with a clobber fixation makes it the best out there on the topic, and the recent entry on One True Saxon resonated in a major way. The brand doesn’t hold much weight now for substance, you need to head on to Garbstore, where former OTS mainman Ian Paley moved to, but as the One-upmanship entry points out, it was a brand well ahead of its time. I recall a serious case of sweatshirt envy at a raglan sweatshirt with the dog logo on the sleeve while living in Nottingham a decade ago.

The lowkey collaborations, the web presentations and that camo application made it a pioneering brand back in the early ’00s. I recently found a pair of the old OTS shoes that harked back to classic Clarks (is this the Rufus model?). They’ve seen much better days, but these Wallabee remixes were, I believe, made in the Padmore & Barnes factory just prior to its 2003 shutdown on shoe production. The camo suede collar is infinitely superior to any dimwitted, garish Clarks Originals makeups that seem to do the blog round regularly. These were dirt cheap in the sales before the brand seemed to go to the dogs to some degree. Happy days…


Magazines are my lifeblood, but lately things have been a little lean. A combination of internet information overload and the general demise of the magazine racks have meant slim pickings for printheads lately. On the formally glossy side, what was once heaving with ad-revenue now feels like a pallid pamphlet next to its glory days. For no good reason, grot for gimps like Zoo (which actually has my selection of shoes in it this week if you’re in a shoplifting mood but I wouldn’t bother – it’s shit), Nuts and worst of all, Front, are stunting with bolstered circulations. It’s not fair, but then, as my old man used to say, life’s not fair. But I’m still panning for gold when it comes to publications. We must be due a new Fantastic Man any time now, though maybe their attention is on the women’s spinoff, The Gentlewoman.

There’s no end of style publications pimping pretence and tits-out anti-glamour, but as reads, (bar the old guard and Lurve) they’re a transient, fleeting experience. I need some substance in my life. The last seven days have been, compared to preceding months, relatively bountiful, with new issues of three favourites quietly dropping. Independent, bloody-minded and each pushing the aesthetic and vision of their respective editors, some in wilful lo-fi as the antidote to Monocle’s €90 soap trays and one as plush but dense with content as ever. They all warrant a browse and your support…not out of sympathy, but because they’re all very, very good.


Tattooist, hip-hop connoisseur, writer, font fiend and editor-in-chief of Sang Bleu, Maxime Buechi is evidently a man in love with print, and the publication (still thick enough to fend off the heftiest assailant if you’re subject to a sneak attack outside an arty bookshop on copping a copy) goes from strength-to-strength. Still playing with the medium, the usual fashion, fetish, body mods and philosophy leanings as heavyweight as the journal’s physical form are present alongside a lot of ink and skin. This is what can’t be translated to a computer screen sufficiently, though the blog is excellent.

Splitting issue 5 into two books – one matt, one glossy in the paper stock stakes, with a paper slipcase, this edition feels less fussy in terms of supplements and fold-outs but doesn’t compromise on content. Providing an uncompromising but accessible entry to a realm that’s got scant regard for new jacks or fly-by-nights, there’s a handful of great tattoo publications out there, but by remaining resolutely hardcore but broad-minded, this still gets the vote for being the best magazine on the market right now. £24 isn’t cheap, but taking into account the work behind this glorious mass of colour flash, black and white photography taken globally, custom typefaces and a great standard of writing, this isn’t a cheap one to publish. Good to see the homie Bert Krak repping Brooklyn’s Smith Street Tattoo too. Taking into account the burgeoning number of side project publications from the house of Sang Bleu, you should feel pretty lazy too.



Odd to think that Loaded was once a solid publication – and that’s not the folly of youth…maybe a touch of folly, but it’s better than the state of that rag now. James Brown’s Jack project was an admirable riposte to the then-state of men’s magazines, and it was a shame it lasted less than 2 years. Since then, The Idler’s touched on similar themes in an intelligent way, The Chap just feels like a smug in-joke, and the standard of GQ (where Manzine Kevin Braddock contributes regularly) and Esquire is patchy but much improved. There’s been a gap in the male market for the celebration of the mundane, hugely significant and the flights-of-fancy that the male psyche frequently follows. Enter the increasingly superb Manzine.

Small dog appreciation? Hand dryers? Ralph Steadman? Ginger cake? Lighthearted Monocle-baiting? Curry powder pictorials? Attractive female hairdressers? Recruiting a dream team of contributors, many with hefty job titles, possibly from the Condé Nast canteen, but all excellent, Braddock has created something great. Don’t let the 32 pages fool you – there’s a lot on offer here, and it’s earnest rather than whimsical – what could have descended into an ironic trip up its own rear is propelled by a wide-eyed excitement and some actual journalism. This just gets better and better, and for £2.50, it’s a necessity.



The Northampton-based magazine that’s got no less a genius than Alan Moore at the helm, Dodgem Logic is an odd prospect indeed. At its worst, this periodical feels like the handouts at an organic cafe run by a middle class collective who eye you with suspicion for being with ‘the man”, all pig-faced cartoon coppers, anti council rants and anti fast food rhetoric, but that’s a minor. Like Manzine, Dodgem Logic is harking back to a period of print press that’s been and gone without getting stuck in the nostalgia trap. In this case, Mr. Moore’s harking back to underground press, and having covered the debut issue here before, it’s still pretty decent – naturally, you can dress it up all you like with burlesque kink but the man in charge is the real draw here.

His essay on anarchy is a solid supplement to his work, he promises an extra 24 pages for an extra pound (with an accompanying  cost hop from £2.50 to £3.50) as of next month and he wrote and drew an accompanying XXX comic that doesn’t match Lost Girls in the eroticism stakes – it’s an altogether more knockabout affair where space helmeted dick people pleasure proto-fascist nymphos. It’s not Moore’s best by a long shot, but it is, according to the blurb, “The first and only comic book that Alan Moore has ever both written and drawn himself, for fairly obvious reasons.” That alone justifies picking this up.



Folk can argue about his politics all they like – the liberator/dictator argument pertaining to South America has raged all my lifetime, but I find Edwin Valero’s fandom of Venezuelan president for life, Hugo Chávez, kind of enduring. as a fan of bad sporting tattoos, and having been introduced to the bestselling ‘Chavecito‘ (‘Little Chávez’) toy when Edwin waved a Chávez doll after a victory over Honmo nearly three years ago, I was in awe of his decision to really go to town and get some Hugo ink early last year. On the arm? Not visible enough.

Mike Tyson* may expressed interest in a Chávez  piece to sit alongside his Che portrait, but even he, with his questionable thought process when it comes to going under the needle, would have baulked at a full Venezuela flag in red, blue and yellow, ‘Venezuela de Verdad‘ (‘True Venezuela’) in script above it, and, requiring explanation, or possibly guessable, given the imagery behind it, his friend and idol’s mugshot across the chest. It’s safe to say that Edwin Valero really likes Hugo Chávez.

It’s pretty bad. The colours look felt-tipped in. Technically, it would be the worst tattoo in boxing history, were it not for the likes of Cotto, Mads Larsen or Scotland’s Ricky Burns festooning themselves in regrettable tribal crap. That’s not the point. This this piece sends a powerful rebel message that may, or may not have caused USA visa issues (though that could be his out-the-ring antics catching up with him too). That’s something interesting.

By marking himself for life, Edwin assures himself of hero patriot status back home; a real-life superhero, and embodiment of the ‘new’ Venezuela. HBO have come down on advertisers using fighters as walking billboards lately, but you can’t miss the message Edwin’s carrying. It’s a serious act of commitment. Valero’s far from the first Venezuelan fighter of note, and critics have accused Hugo of killing the country’s rich fighting heritage. To counteract this, he’s reportedly closing some golf courses for being too bourgeois to develop what he perceives the national sport to be. Valero’s convincing victory over DeMarco at the weekend proved there’s more to him than mere power, which certainly doesn’t stop haters from wanting him beaten – again, that pro-commie tattoo baits the opposition in bombastic style. A mooted light-welterweight bout with Timothy Bradley could be incredible, and the pre-fight debate should be fascinating.

South American fighters representing Cuba have been well treated by Castro. Being pro-coup can get you a mansion, as Félix Savón and Teófilo Stevenson discovered. according to ‘Sports Illustrated,’ Panama’s Roberto Duran was asked to speak to Cuba’s leader in the late ’70s and managed to blow it. I heard he lived there just pre-retirement, but the phonecall didn’t go too well,

The fighter had just had a call from General Omar Torrijos, the President of Panama, who was visiting Cuba. Fidel Castro wanted very much to meet Duran. “I told him to go ahead,” Eleta said, “but I warned him, as I always do, not to get involved in politics. I told him to be careful of what he said.”

Pledging to be discreet, Duran flew to Havana, where all went smoothly—at first. And then Castro mentioned Teofilo Stevenson, the Cuban two-time Olympic heavyweight champion. “What would you think of a fight between Stevenson and Muhammad Ali for the world title?” Castro asked.

The question didn’t sound political to Duran. “Don’t be crazy,” he said. ” Ali would kill him.”

“Adios” Fidel said.

I don’t pretend to know much on tattoo history. I’ll leave that to my friend Mr. Nick Schonberger. It’s still entertaining to see boxing working hard to reinforce itself as a sport after so many controversies, and tattooing pushed as a real artform, only for all the amassed intentions to come undone when the two mix. Riddick had his kids on his flesh, there’s no end of traditional glove motives discreetly applied, as well as the obligatory religious iconography blandly executed. Nigel Benn’s peculiar star back piece is worthy of mention too. Now no fight is complete without some ill-advised ink on display – Diego Corrales has plenty of bad work, Winky Wright’s ‘Winky’ piece is funny, Manny’s seem well-intentioned but atrocious, Barrera’s rose is atrocious, Kermit Cintrón’s dog image on his back is goofy.

The successes arise when fighters really go for broke – Archak ‘Shark Attack’ Termeliksetian’s Shark-nipple interface? Johnny Tapia’s ‘Mi Vida Loca’ Catholic chest piece? Louis Collazo’s entire torso? Incredible – it even seems to include the Kraken from ‘Clash of the Titans’ as part of a religious good/evil scene. Kessler’s tribal touches border on a failure, yet the cartoonish viking reaching around his back give him the fearsome look that was presumably the intention, but it pales next to the previous trio. For sheer attention-seeking, Edwin still takes the belt for most madcap tattoo in the sport – no mean feat.

*MMA fighter Paulo Filho has a rendition of Mike on his arm. It looks very little like Kid Dynamite, more like some racist propaganda from the Jim Crow era. However, Paulo offsets this with the ill pitbull million dollar bill stomach piece he rocked post-rehab.