NEDS, BAPE, MURO & MORE MAGAZINES
I grew up watching teen gang-related films. Some were credible and some of my favourites (the Sean Penn ‘Bad Boys’ being a strong example) were downright daft. Whether it was ‘Boulevard Nights’ or ‘Quadrophenia,’ there’s been a fair degree of melodrama. The best examples are coming-of-age creations, but too often there’s too much lofty talk and angst. I always found being a teen in a provincial town to be bollockings in the classroom, boredom, the occasional contraband amusement and senseless blasts of depressingly memorable brutality delivered with a casual ferocity. That’s what Peter Mullan manages to capture with ‘NEDS’—a final entry in the unofficial trilogy of masterful misery he started with 1997’s ‘Orphans’—and it’s underpinned with a strong narrative
Most things in the 1970s looked grim, but Glasgow looks notably dreary, meaning teenage kicks give way to teenage stabbings, bottlings and teenage paving slabs to the head. There’s a curious mix of surreal flourishes and total realism at work here too. First timer Conor McCarron’s performance as John is a hard-faced evolving study in simmering rage—one of the best performances in years, while Mullan is a repulsive drunken father with a deathwish who brings an extra depth and deftly avoids the self-pitying pitfalls of hard life cliché. From recognisable menace to dreamlike oddity, ‘NEDS’ is a masterpiece. It’s not about using the accuracy of the wardrobe’s team aptitude for obtaining synthetic fabrics of the era as a selling point – this is truthful, terrifying cinema.
The scene of a fatalistic two-fisted knifing spree to eerie electronics alone confers a viewing. Scottish period gang cinema is hardly a subgenre, but this impresses as much as Gillies MacKinnon’s ‘Small Faces’ did back in 1996 – that in itself was a poorly promoted film, dropping in the opiate haze of the excellent ‘Trainspotting’ and with a more deliberate pace compared to Danny Boyle’s kinetic approach. There’s room in my heart for this solemn, joyless treatment of teen war as well as the gleeful silliness of Kim Chapiron’s ‘Dog Pound.’
What’s up with folk gloating about the BAPE situation at the moment? The streetwear industry owes much of its existence to the house that Nigo built and many would do well to have taken tips from BAPE’s plus points rather than biting the more lurid elements. I would sold vital organs to have laid my hands on an ‘APE SHALL NEVER KILL APE’ tee. James Lavelle seemed to have the hookup, but £50 for a tee if and when one cropped up made it out of my league. Prior to that, does anyone remember the BAPE windbreaker in ‘The Face’ circa 1994, with a gloating write up that indicated this would never be in your personal possession?
It was a tiered acquisition mission—after succeeding in identifying the item, where on earth were you meant to obtain it from? And when you found the fabled spot, would it time with a drop date? And thus, a legend was born – western influences honed, gloriously repackaged and sold back to us in a fetishistic style we could never match. Shawn Mortensen’s fabled shot of Biggie in a borrowed BAPE camo or the short-lived Gimme 5 Very Ape spinoff were a huge inspiration to me. Best of all, on laying your hands on some BAPE apparel, the thickness of material, tiny two-sided tab and build with shrink resistance in mind seemed to justify the hunt. Every brand could learn a lot from BAPE’s approach to marketing and product. The majority seem to imitate the more obvious elements of the company’s output.
This article is very interesting indeed.
DJ MURO x AVIREX x STAX MA-1
DJ Muro isn’t just one of the greatest DJs on the planet—he’s the man behind some of the most bugged-out collaborations on the planet. I’ve bored of most double and triple acts, but Muro and King Inc. (plus SAVAGE! too) has maintained my interest by creating the sort of thing that would blow my mind on a Tokyo visit as I attempt to understand how it came into fruition. I’m loving the latest creation—the resurrection of Avirex outerwear in conjunction with Muro and, just because two partners isn’t enough, Memphis soul kingpins Stax. It looks like the imagery of the Memphis Sound has been applied to an MA-1 style design. After the North Face x SAVAGE! pieces, Muro x UCS x Porter 7 inch box and SAVAGE! x Carhartt x Stüssy Active Jacket, this is another unexpected creation that’s up there with the A Tribe Called Quest x Gravis x X-Large output in the XXX stakes.
MORE MAGAZINES IN LONDON
The new ‘GQ’ is a marked improvement on recent issues and the rare interview opportunity with Dick Gregory makes March’s issue very necessary. But with the new issue comes some significant news—I welcome any new spot for magazines in London, and around February 21st, Condé Nast Publications are opening Condé Nast Worldwide News—a store located in Vogue House on London’s St George Street promises 130 different Condé Nast titles from 25 countries. Designed by Ab Rogers to display the magazines like a museum in a carefully lit white and yellow environment, I’m looking forward to seeing the output. More technical types can browse digital editions on some wall-mounted iPads and hopefully it’ll sell Vogue Nippon at a more reasonable price than the usual £17 fee. But I doubt it.