R.I.P. DENNIS, BOOTS, UNRELEASED SHOES & WARRIORS

Taken from outdoorsmagic.com last summer – more German off-road footwear. Not sure if this Meindl AIR-ACTIVE boot is just a demo version to display technology, but it looks amazing – the ‘Hollowman’ of hikers.

You know what? This could be broken down into 5 smaller blog posts, but a little voice has given the order to lump them into one composite entry. Trawling through the hard drive a few pictures cropped up that seemed pretty bloggable.

1. FUCK A REMAKE


Slowly but surely, this site seems to be turning into a film one, and that’s no bad thing, and there’s few better subject matters than Walter Hill’s ‘The Warriors’. Even as a Tony Scott superfan who even enjoyed ‘Domino; to some degree (‘Top Gun’ however is, and was, garbage) the notion of him helming a remake is a depressing one, though obsessed as I was with the Scott Glenn 1987 ‘Man on Fire’ (weird that in the book Creasy’s death was faked, leading to 4 follow-up novels) as a kid because it contained people getting shot in the face, I have to concede Tony made a better job of it.

My optimism for his interpretation of Yurick’s tale of a gang on the run is still nil. It didn’t help that Walter Hill himself attempted to sabotage his own film with his ‘director’s cut’ a few years back- a reverse Ridley Scott if you will, making the film into complete crap. You all know about the Furies and Turnbull ACs, but how about the Hurricanes, Boppers, Hi-Hats, Electric Eliminators, Savage Huns, Moon Runners, Saracens, Satans Mothers, Jones Street Boys and Van Cortlandt Rangers (not to be mistaken for the Van Buren Boys)? I’d love to know what The Xylophones mentioned in the original script looked like. Sol Yurick’s 1965 novel is pretty good but like ‘Man on Fire’ dramatically different to the final film.

Despite all these attempts to sully a childhood favourite, Tomer Hanuka’s new ‘The Warriors’ print for Alamo captures all I love about the film – I’m a fan of Tomer’s work, and he captures the relentless pursuit perfectly. Letterforms, movement, the grim surroundings – it’s all there, and smartly composed. You can see Tomer’s design process here, and buy the print here.

2. SHELVED GOODNESS

The Nike Moire was a sorely underrated shoe – now Nike are firing on several cylinders when it comes to new performance product, but in 2006, we kidded ourselves that some tat was a future cult classic – the Moire was the exception – shit, it even had Steve Jobs trading in his New Balances, as the Free/Sock Dart styling was iPod compatible. It deserves to be revered. 2006 was also the year when the Air Max 360 came out looking like something from a youthful sports footwear fanatic’s exercise book doodles. These Nike Moire Max 360 unreleased prototypes from 2006/2007 seemed to be part of a Nike iD Laser experiment and some play to coincide with the ‘One Time Only’ hybrid fun…note the Laser etchings on the Air unit and even the outsole.

Alongside the 180/Mowabb mashup shelved circa. 2004 and ACG Zoom Salbis Mid GTX these could’ve been huge – nothing says 2006 like a Nike Moire Max 360. Given the current Air Attack creations this shoe could fit in with ease…

As an extra bonus, Nike seemed to create a ‘Sopranos’ Dunk as part of the Laser research. Was this part of the HBO hookup that led to an etched AF1 in ‘Entourage’?

3. STAIN REMOVAL

LVC plus Filson has caused one hell of a mess in a matter of months. We might be too cool to complain about denim bleed on footwear, but this is invading the peripheral vision. All suggestions on how to get the stains out of canvas, bar a total re-dye are welcome. Some would say it adds character – I say it just looks shit. Distressing should occur over time. This is just negligence on my part and proof I deserve little more than a string Umbro backpack until I can learn how to look after things properly. Give me a solution and I’ll reward you with some of the unwanted promo tat that’s building up in my personal space.

4. GERMAN BOOTS

I’m not sure whether to admire or shake my head at the lack of trend-level promo push for adidas’ best release this year. Even the excellent microsite seems woefully underexposed. Having spotted some casual footwear in old catalogues that stands alongside whatever heritage brand is compromising dignity for a piece of the current workwear action, they put out 1,978 pairs of the Super Trekking boot, made in Germany. It’s a great design and a nice little project. More like this please…

5. GOODBYE, DENNIS

There’s plenty of Dennis Hopper talk after his passing, and it’s a shame that folk are forgetting his best role – (okay, tied with Frank Booth) Freck in ‘River’s Edge’. After seeing Hopper in one bad film after another – a 2005 ‘The Crow’ sequel making the Super Mario misstep seem minor, I’d become a non-believer prior to his death. That was foolish. As with the passing of Norman Mailer, who’d tussled with Rip Torn in his time, I’d also sided with Torn in his feud with Hopper. Churlish. Very churlish.

You want more underrated Hopper turns? How about the psycho-for-hire era performance as the crazed Lieutenant ‘Lefty’ Enright in the underrated (yeah, I said it) ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2’ or as the dad in ‘Rumble Fish’ or as Sponson in Altman’s ‘OC & Stiggs’. Then there’s his title role in 1976’s ‘Mad Dog Morgan’, an insanely violent Australian outback with an exiled Hopper, coked-up, drunk-as-a-sailor doing what he did best. Hunt it down, and check the behind-the-scenes below…

PROCLUB HEAVY WEIGHT

The quest for the perfect plain tee continues. It’s a quest that’s doomed from the start. Some are too thin…others feel constrictively thick (as a young ‘un, a Karl Kani shirt was purchased that could literally stand, phantom-like, if positioned correctly) – the expensive repro brands for a whitey are out the budget. Fil Menange make cotton-spun works of art, but still, art that’s going to end up with ‘pits like the Turin Shroud after a single summer in rotation, and all the Mitchum Smart & Solid in the world can’t save them. No luck finding treats like deadstock Oneitas with reinforced collars. Since this piece was upped, there’s been at least 4 voyages to the States, and pickings have been slim. Quality and quantity are the key factors. Naturally, fit is fairly important too.

As every bellend deems themselves enough of a tastemaker to air their dull fashion picks openly, it’s nice to champion something that appears to be legacy-free. Made in the USA but defiantly no-frills. In 2001, when Uniqlo made its first appearance on these shores it was pitched as the tee spot. All colours, low, low prices. a crewnecked spectrum. That seems to have fizzled out in favour of plastic packaging and prints, plus those fits aren’t what they used to be. Just as there’s denim-specific stores, how about a t-shirt retailer in the same vein? All brands, all plain – no logos. Japanese, US , UK and Portugese efforts…all colours, from slimfit to knee length, XS to XXXXXXXXL. Who doesn’t like a crispy tee on their back? Hanes Beefy has been the pick in recent years, but they get boxy fast – if you’re paying some ludicrous markup on them as imports, they’re far from perfect. If you pick a colour it fades after 2 washes too. Time for the ProClub Heavy Weight.

Pre-shrunk, meaning they keep their shape without becoming belly tops after a handful of spin cycles, and clocking in at 6.5oz where Beefy manages 6.1oz, ProClub’s not some heritage line. That logo is ugly, but it’s still one hell of a shirt. Luxe-T make a heavy shirt that’s soft too if you’re in the market for something more sub-sub-sub-substantial. Is there much of a ‘Club backstory? Not really. The site doesn’t reveal a lot about the brand other than their ‘Comfort & Style’ mantra, and apparently they’re California’s bestselling plain tee.

The ProClub Heavy Weight isn’t too long and is loose enough without compromising the dignity of anyone over the age of 20 – their Tall Tee is popular too, spitting in the eye of the new generation of moody sartorially focused folks. If you’re looking for an undershirt, fall back – the Heavy Weight will just make you look like you’re gaining pounds, but for external wear, they’re a strong hot weather pick – not heavy enough to prove constrictive. The downside is you’ll need to bulk bay from the ‘Bay to grab some beyond the USA. The pick of 20 colours is a positive though. Hanes’s bruiser is being put on hiatus in favour of these bad boys. The anti-heritage movement is in full motherfucking effect.

And some recent holiday snaps on the homie Maxime’s Sang Bleu blog of the visit to the SA headquarters just off LA’s Skidrow. For a couple of Euro left coast rap disciples it felt like a pilgrimage. Too much good stuff. Go check the site.

NICE BEACH, FRAZETTA AND STING ’88

Dave Tompkins is good. Really good. It’s worrying that the ability to edit blog posts and online content to your heart’s content could make writers complacent. The fear of editorial rejections and the finality of submitting to print is a fair motivator to improve your written word. Current hip-hop writing isn’t up to scratch – it’s all top 10s in bite size controversy-heavy morsels or a link-heavy sentence above a Sendspace link. I need more.

I haven’t peeped the new Vibe format, but using their site as a barometer, I imagine the “black Rolling Stone” elements of the magazine’s heyday have vanished – those lengthy features on white hillbilly gangbangers, or hefty prison visit chats. Dave Tompkins’s work isn’t some SEO-friendly nugget of facts and release dates. He’s been eclipsing other writers with splattergun bullets of facts, history and a real reverence for hip-hop culture for years now, somehow contextualising it, bringing together the sci-fi and street level in those final few paragraphs in Rap Pages, URB and Big Daddy. His Paul C article is a pinnacle piece.

You understand then, why the notion of Tompkins writing a book on the history of the vocoder created a buzz to match that of the speech synthesising subject matter. Chances are you don’t write like Dave. I suck by comparison, but I don’t let it get me down any more. Dave’s 1994 review of the debut Artifacts LP for Rap Pages opens with, “Too often unsung and un-MCeed are the masters of markers and aerosol-ballers with the gall.

My own, more sycophantic review of the same album (neatly sidestepping the 5 dull tracks on it), my first for SpineMagazine back in early 2000 is a leaden affair, opening with “‘Between a Rock and a Hard Place’ is one of those rare LP’s where everything is tight- the lyrics, the production and even the cover design.” Yeah, go Gary. Draw ’em in on the first sentence. Jesus. That’s why Dave Tompkins writes incredible books like ‘How to Wreck a Nice Beach’ (“How to recognise speech” misheard via the vocoder) while I jot down notes about sneakers. We know our places.

While I’d been holding out for the rumoured Tuff Crew book he was reportedly penning, ‘How to Wreck…’ delivers. It’s as visually arresting as it is linguistically lavish – old flyers, notes, military pamphlets, customised cassettes, machinery, ads and specially penned portraits of key personnel in the instrument’s lifespan. A scholar like the author could’ve left it wilfully clinical – nothing but words and the occasional diagram, and it would’ve worked somehow. Yet this is a hardback trove of information, written with the man’s usual hyper-factual flair as the warfare and political roots give way to overrated Brit-rockers, soul music filtered, Cylons and the Auto-Tune plague. Then there’s the fainting, the poisoning and the electrocutions. These things can make a man light-headed. Oh, and you’ll develop a new respect for Donnie Wahlberg.

As one who got giddy not at Kurt’s guitar but by local boy Mr. Troutman’s robo-gear in Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year, this has made my year. I’m not flicking pages to reinforce what’s already filed in the cranium – I’m reading to be enlightened, and Dave Tompkins is an educator who lets the machine do the talking this time around, imbuing it with a real humanity. One of the best music-related books in a long, long time. Speaking of Spine – check the homie Zaid’s review here.

Check Dave Tompkins’s 1995 graffiti-themed editorial from URB below. A work-of-art in itself. Taken from the excellent ‘Press Rewind If I Haven’t…’ blog.

Plus Dave taught me that the 1979 film ‘Zoo zéro’ combines Klaus Kinski with a vocoder.

www.howtowreckanicebeach.com

BARELY-RELATED MATTERS

Having missed out on missing the increasingly prolific Danny Trejo (I’ve been a fan since he was fighting in ‘Runaway Train’ and getting offed in ‘The Hidden’ ) by a few seconds in Los Angeles last week, and blown away as I was by the signed machete Estevan Oriol had in his office, I’ve been following the controversies leading up to the new ‘Machete’ movie – Trejo is that dude. If you’ve read Eddie Bunker’s ‘Mr. Blue’ you know he’s no joke. Now Robert Rodriguez has announced he’s making a live-action version of Frank Frazetta’s ‘Fire And Ice’ alongside Ralph Bakshi. Serious news – Robert generally seems to deliver on his announcements, and this could be the ultimate Frank tribute.

Props to FirehouseSoundDK for upping some (too) brief footage of the great Conroy Smith, don of the digital age, performing ‘Dangerous’ at Sting ’88 a week or so ago. It’s been the soundtrack to this warm weekend. Apparently he’s currently incarcerated on drug charges. Stay up, Conroy.

THE UNFILMED SCENE FROM KORINE’S ‘KIDS’

Though it’s a sledgehammer moral tale, ‘Kids’ was the one to grab a pirate copy of before its eventual official UK DVD and VHS release in 1999. Remember the swiftly made up distributor (Shining Excalibur Films) made to make some scrilla for Miramax despite mounting controversy, including some extensive Daily Mail coverage? Freeze framing some Supreme and Zoo York (note the same same blink-an-you’ll-miss-the-box-logo frames in the ‘Supreme: Downtown New York Skate Culture’ book)? Folk Implosion’s minor hit with a track that wasn’t in the actual film? The lack of Fat Beats endorsed classics on the soundtrack – and who was Lo-Down, contributing the mysterious ‘Mad Fright Night’? Wanting a Shorty’s tee as much as any of the aforementioned skate brands? Classic movie. Seeing Rosario for the first time? It needs a double disc reissue with commentary.

There’s evidently a lot of stories behind that film. It’s notable just how linear that narrative was. Harmony must’ve made some compromises. ‘Gummo’ took it further, but just as Larry Clark’s brilliantly grim adaptation of Eddie Little’s ‘Another Day in Paradise'(good to see Vincent Kartheiser getting his long deserved dues in ‘Mad Men’ – Natasha Gregson Wagner deserves hers) warrants reappraisal, folk still sleep on the delirious masterpiece that is ‘Julien Donkey-Boy’. It’s still odd that ‘Ken Park’ still remains unreleased in the UK after 8 years following Clark’s punch up with the distributor.

‘Mister Lonely’ was hard work, but nothing was as hard-to-enjoy as Clark’s crappy ‘Teenage Caveman’ remake – though you need to see his short film ‘Impaled’ from the ‘Destricted’ anthology, the anti-porn porno, and an expose of the clinical nature of today’s digitally filmed cheap thrills. Larry’s still flirting with the mainstream – he’s attached to a ‘Mona Lisa’ remake for 2011 at the moment, though that’s subject to change. And Harmony? He just seems to get odder.

Ti West’s ‘House Of The Devil’ was a noble attempt to emulate the video chills a generation grew up with, but Harmony Korine’s ‘Trash Humpers’ is the stuff of nightmares. A shrieking, murderous, distorted act of transgressive art, it gets the look of a discarded VHS depicting freeform oddities just right. That Korine dabbled with the idea of leaving it on a roadside is a testament to his welcome indulgence at a time when we’re assailed with calculated viral campaigns to bring the independent approach to the big screen. The notion of a “found film” is a strong one, but you can’t blame the director for sending it to the festivals. The trailer is appropriately disturbing, and those lo-fi, home edit fonts are always a winner.

It’s interesting that the following part of Korine’s ‘Kids’ script was never filmed – it’s a curious flashback scene that would throw the feel of the film in a major way. Maybe that’s what the writer wanted. It’s best that it was never included, and occurs just after the amassed teens hurl abuse at the gay couple in Washington Square Park. It’s not dissimilar to the carnage that opens Romano Scavolini’s deranged ‘Nightmare In a Damaged Brain.’ From heavy-handed social realism to pseudo-slasher – that’s quite a leap. R.I.P. Harold Hunter and Justin Pierce.

Telly is sitting away on the cement benches under the tree. He is talking to Misha.

MISHA
How can you hang out with Casper? He’s such a jerk.

TELLY
You think so?

MISHA
Yeah. I’ve always hated that kid. He used to eat glue in like seventh grade.

TELLY
He still does.

MISHA
I hate ’em.

TELLY
It’s not his fault. He had a hard life.

MISHA
Yeah?

TELLY
You’ve heard the stories right?

MISHA
No.

EXT. NEW YORK SIDEWALK – DAY

Back in time. Casper is a little boy, age 11. He is walking down the sidewalk with a lunch box and a “Casper the Friendly Ghost” T-shirt. He is wearing his hat on backwards.

Music accompanies this entire episode.

TELLY (V.O.)
Well, one day Casper had a stomachache and he got permission from his teacher to leave school early and go home.

Casper walks up to a nice middle-class home, it could be in Queens or Brooklyn, it doesn’t matter. He pulls out a key and opens the door. He enters his home.

INT. CASPER’S HOUSE – DAY

The house is dark. Plastic on all the furniture. A velvet picture of Christ is hanging on the wall in the hallway. Very simple and plain, a generic adobe.

Casper enters his house and flips on a lightswitch.

TELLY (V.O.)
So he walks into his house and hears some strange noises.

The sounds of his mother screaming from upstairs.

CASPER’S MOM
(screaming from upstairs)
Get away! Get away! Help! You monster! Please help!

Casper puts his lunch box down and walks to the first stair to listen to his mother’s screams.

TELLY (V.O.)
The noises were coming from upstairs. In his parents room.

Casper’s mom continues to scream from upstairs.

TELLY (V.O.)
So, this freaked the hell out of Casper. He was just a little kid and he wasn’t sure what to do.

Casper moves off the step and runs into the kitchen.

TELLY (V.O.)
So he ran and got a big knife. The same knife his pops used to cut the turkey on Thanksgiving with.

He opens a drawer full of silverware and pulls out a humongous glistening knife. He picks it up, and it shines on his face.

As his mother screams he looks up at the ceiling with the knife in his hand.

CASPER’S MOM
(screaming from upstairs)
Stop! Please stop! Oooh help!

Casper runs up the stairs, he is holding the knife straight out.

TELLY (V.O.)
So he heard his mom’s screams, and knew that she was in trouble. It sounded like she was getting ready to be killed. Like someone was kicking her in the head.

Casper runs down the hall and opens the door to his parents room.

What he sees is very shocking. His face becomes extremely animated.

Casper’s mom is on the bed. She is completely naked except for a pair of bright red high heel shoes. In between her legs is a man wearing all black, including a black ski mask and motorcycle boots. He is having sex with Casper’s mom. He has her arms pinned down on the bed. He is grunting like a pig.

Casper watches for a moment in awe.

MAN IN BLACK
Bitch. You fuckin bitch. Fuckin bitch. Slutty whore.

The man in black slaps Casper’s mom hard on her naked ass.

CASPER’S MOM
(screaming)
No! Stop! Get off me!

She is struggling to get loose.

TELLY (V.O.)
So Casper opened the door and he saw some big guy with a ski mask fucking his mother. What a sight for an 11 year old kid.

Casper runs up to the bed. He climbs on top of the bed with the big knife in the air, all the while the man in black is having sex with his mother. And they don’t even notice Casper at first.

TELLY (V.O.)
And he goes and jumps on his parent’s bed. And for a second he just looks and watches.

Casper takes his knife and starts stabbing the guy in black, over and over. His mother is kicking and trying to stop him. All the while, she is screaming outrageously and blood is pouring out.

TELLY (V.O.)
And you know. Casper loved his mom, he didn’t want anything to happen to her. So he started stabbing this guy, over and over. But it was a mistake.

Casper’s mom is kicking Casper as he stabs the man.

Casper is biting his tongue as he stabs the man.

The man falls off the bed and onto the floor.

Casper’s mom is going totally nuts. She is completely naked, with blood all over her body. There is blood all over the sheets. His mom is clawing her face in complete hysterics.

CASPER’S MOM
You fuck!!! It’s your father!!! We were playing a game you fuck!!! That’s your father!!! We were just playing!!!

Casper looks very confused as he looks at his naked mother. He has the knife in his hand, and a little blood on his T-shirt and cheek.

Casper’s mom continues to yell at him.

CASPER’S MOM
Casper, you fucker!!! Oh, my god!!! Help me God!!!

Casper looks at his mother, then he looks at the dead guy on the floor. He bends down and takes off the mask. It’s his father.

CASPER
(calmly)
That’s my dad.

CASPER’S MOM
(crying)
You fuck. You killed your father!

TELLY (V.O.)
So Casper killed his father. He came home with a stomachache and ended up murdering his pops. It was a very embarrassing thing.

EXT. WASHINGTON SQUARE PARK – ON A CEMENT BENCH – DAY

Telly is in the same spot talking to Misha.

TELLY
So that’s why Casper is how he is.

MISHA
Oh god. That’s horrible.

A quick shot of Casper smoking a blunt and laughing with his friends.

TELLY
Yep.

MISHA
Holy shit. That’s all true?

TELLY
No. I was just kidding.

MISHA
(outraged)
What?!

TELLY
I lied. His dad is still alive. He works for the post office.

MORE DOCUMENTATION DONE WELL

This is belated blogging because of a certain Icelandic volcano ruining everyone’s fun. Last week’s nasty bit of anti-PR seemed to cause a little buzz, which is odd, because I wrote it in about 20 minutes and was too ashamed to mention it was up until the following day. Break your balls with something that offers more substance than just a mean-spirited outburst and you go balsa wood on the page views. Strange. Still, you’ve got to up something, and this entry is trying to minimise the rant factor, and because of jet lag constraints, it’ll be light on words too. For some, there’s a get out if inspiration never materializes – plunder another site’s lookbook jpegs? LIFE’s archive shots? An obvious movie poster homage?

For me, being a Criterion dickrider of some magnitude, any interesting Criterion DVD/Blu-ray on the way is fair game for this site. Especially when they’re working through Terry Zwigoff’s catalogue – elegant, beautifully executed, loving. enlightening looks at two subjects in the shape of 1985’s ‘Louie Bluie’ and 1995’s ‘Crumb’ – if you haven’t seen ‘Crumb’ then you’re a tool. And you’re 25% more of a dick if you grabbed the Supreme pieces but aren’t familiar with the often disturbing but absorbing portrayal of Robert Crumb’s deeply peculiar mid ’90s home life. Criterion are dropping remastered discs of both films this August. Were the 50 minutes of ‘Crumb’ out-takes on the last US Special Edition DVD release?

The release of ‘Louie Bluie’ is the best news though, with this film, with Zwigoff getting his Les Blank on and offering a study of artist, musician, poet and eccentric Howard Armstrong who passed away in 2003 at a decent age. It’s a brilliant film that’s been hard to get hold of up to now. It’s curious to see a film switch from tape-to-taped, bit torrented limbo to suddenly laying your hands of a smartly packaged digital outing for a documentary. This duo will be getting grabbed alongside the recent ‘Milton Glaser: To Inform and Delight’ disc.

Also related and recommended, is the more recent PBS documentary on Armstrong, ‘Sweet Old Song’ – and seeing as we incurred Les Blank’s name, ‘Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe’ just because this is a pro Herzog zone – it isn’t the best of Blank’s work, but it does involve the boiling and eating of a shoe by a man who never fails to entertain. Check the video here.

www.criterion.com

THE PR GOLDRUSH

I don’t want to knock anyone’s “hustle” but some of you fashion PR folk are terrible. Really, really excruciating. It’s nothing personal. Some of my best friends are in PR – there’s some great ones out there, and it’s not necessarily you…well, sometimes it is…but it’s more your writing. I thought in 2010 you’d be greeting me by hologram or video messaging, but guess what? You still have to communicate using the written word. The press release is still a core component of the industry, beyond a list of contacts you pretend to like. My colleague Mr. Tom Scott described it as “The PR Goldrush.” He’s right – where there’s cluelessness, there’s cash. The blog explosion and relevance of online (though curiously many still favour pulped trees, “I saw some great shoes in Super Super! I need to get them!“) has been tougher to quantify.

Plenty sprang up to usurp bewildered old guard, bamboozling them with magical talk of blogs and the relevance of so Now folk can gauge reach, and look at the success rate analytically. That’s a good thing. Just because you got your client on 5 blogs doesn’t mean the job is done. Click throughs and pageviews could be miniscule. Personal bugbear – being told what the next big site/magazine/celebrity is. Jeeeeeez. Don’t try to kid a kidder, yo. In fact, some PR folks with finite follower amounts on social media sites might want to downplay that – it’s like a being 50 stone dietician – a bad advert for your business. Getting all 21st century and pestering folks with a Twitter account following “tastemakers”? Please, please don’t sully the brand paying your rent with 800 follows and 12 followers.

Who isn’t helping on press or consulting for a brand these days? Ask the person next to you now – they’re “working on some projects“….even the dog is doing it too. There’s money to be made.I’m regularly assailed by mails with attached paragraphs of nonsense. STEP YOUR COPY GAME UP. Seriously – a couple of brief paragraphs. That’s all I need. So what instigated this tirade? A press release that opens with, “THE BEAT GOES ON! SIMBOL OF THE HOGAN REBEL SPIRIT…

Umm…way to represent your piss-poor footwear. Lately I’ve been trying to learn the noble art of copy writing for press releases. It’s tough. This blog isn’t a hotbed of brevity…in fact, I take pleasure in unrestrained ramblings here. There’s no one to answer to. No money’s changed hands. There’s no client to answer to. When I’m freelancing, it’s a whole ‘nother story. And I’m a rookie in the public relations game. Still, I’ve found myself in the curious position of being sent press releases I’ve written – the circle of hype completed. Isn’t the ability to hurl a press release together part of PR 101 after demonstrating a knack for feigning interest? Get those main points summarised in the first two lines, and convey the tone you’d like to see the product mentioned in. Earn your stripes. I heard interns are getting their own interns. It doesn’t fill me with confidence.

Please don’t open with, “You’re probably familiar with...” – don’t presume anything. Stop being smug. Stop re-Tweeting a mention of your brands in even the most tawdry, barely seen outlets. Save that for the clippings pile, whether it’s physical or a zip file of screen grabs. Don’t give a ’90s running silhouette to a bunch of ageing b-boys for photo opps – learn some context and at least project some reverence for the pieces you’re shilling.

Don’t try to dissuade me from requesting pieces outside the crappy pieces you’ve picked – at least I’m showing interest in your represented brand. Don’t change dates in press releases to ensure inclusion. Keep your agency blogs updated. I know you’ve swaggerjacked a contact list from folk too daft to blind carbon copy, but at least be subtle about it. Don’t bookend a release in nonsense – leave the “Introducing the splendiferous…” bullshit for Don King or Keith Murray. Go easy on those exclamation marks. Don’t just appear as an e-stalker on Twitter and Facebook like some piss-poor phantom or stray dog.

Good fashion PR is an artform – conveying a brand’s brilliance infectiously and applying your own personality to your advantage without resorting to the dreaded nervous chuckle on exiting a conversational comfort zone, isn’t an easy role. Especially when you’ve got to deal with jumped up, freeloading shits like me. “But wait! Your blog is riddled with typos. How can you be criticising copy writing?” Because I’m representing me. And he’s an indiscriminating client.

STUSSY & NARDCORE…

While it’ll be a cold day in hell before I ever pick up a book called ‘Cult Streetwear’ (they seem to have put an ‘l’ in where they surely meant to add an ‘n’) but there’s glimmers of hope from some big brands that it hasn’t all gone to shit. I won’t lie – some recent questionable releases, and the Letraset-style use of Shawn’s handwriting had me losing faith in Stussy a little this season, but the Brits came and knocked it out the park via the Cassette Playa hookup, and lately, while the tees aren’t necessarily my thing, Tyrone Lebon’s Stussy Deluxe x Greensleeves video is very good indeed.

It brought back memories of the hard-to-find 1992 World Tribe VHS, filmed by Tyrone’s uncle, the legendary James Lebon. That family atmosphere extends to the use of Clash members’ and Mr. Don Letts’ children in the video – a nice extension of the spirit of the recent Buffalo family shots in the Neville Brody designed Homme+. It’s the best re-up of Stussy’s original appeal in a while, and a more thoughtful use of the Clash than the recent Supreme tees too, harking back to a time when a cap with that surname in a familiar script was the stuff of daydreams. I think I should’ve had more faith in Stussy as a brand in 2010.

The video’s up there with the well-chosen Jaime Hernandez tees from last winter in terms of intelligent collaboration. While Tyrone’s video harks back to a time when to be affiliated with a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend in the London Chapter would’ve been an honour, the Hernandez tees, steeped in ‘Love & Rockets’ were defiantly left coast, channeling that LA skate-punk atmosphere that arguably birthed streetwear as it relates to cotton and screenprints. Don’t write the Hernandez brothers off as bookish art-kids – they were deeply involved in the ‘Nardcore’ (Oxnard represent!) scene, where Sims team riders and future White Sox pitchers made some hedonistic punk rock – some has aged well…some less so, but the heavily detailed aesthetic of those sleeves still packs a punch.

Dr. Know had some Hernandez art, but off all the albums of the era, 1983’s ‘Don’t Be Mistaken’ by Agression still feels fresh. It’s ripe for a proper remastering. Agression seemed to fall through some gaps, and should’ve been bigger – this 1983 LP brought the group’s live intensity to the turntable with relative ease, but as a onetime comic book disciple, it let my favoured cultures collide in a way that validated my geekdom – was that controversy-baiting ‘SS’ a Kiss-homage? Surf Nazi styling? An early example of credible skate-rock, the Glen E. Friedman cover shot is classic, while Jaime Hernandez’s skeleton rendition of the band was strong too. Word to the Better Youth Organization. Rather than being a mere funnybook tribute, Jaime’s Stussy work was steeped in the subcultural nucleus of the brand. Would this be a good time to revisit 1988’s ‘Comic Book Confidential’ too? A great documentary that throws back to the days when we got very po-faced (“It’s NOT a comic! It’s a graphic novel!”) about the artform…

On a barely-related note, the Supreme book is good, but if you paid over the odds for a slipcase version I feel bad for you son. Can anyone else verify that Levi’s tried to sue Supreme for using a logo in a red rectangle a few years back, assuming the Kruger homage was a bite of the Red Tab Device?

Shouts to Chris and the hip-hop OCD crew at Diggers With Gratitude for being obsessive enough to get in touch with Boston’s deeply underrated (hope they get Orangeman to reissue his LP too) T.D.S. Mob for a ‘Treacherous, Devastating, Supreme’ package on vinyl and CD. There’s room in my heart for some golden age rareness as well as Drumma boy productions, and favouring these new-fangled CDs, Chris and the boys hooked me up with the CD/DVD package.

The 7 audio tracks are hard as hell – that it takes a predominantly UK-based team to recognise greatness is both depressing and deeply heartening – some of these artists should’ve broken out beyond regional appeal, but DWG projects aren’t another bootleg operation – they’re executed in conjunction with the artists themselves, who I imagine are a little perplexed when they get an email from the team, announcing their intentions. the DVD has a couple of effective videos from 1989 and 1990, some live footage and video magazine chatter, and in the stills section is that the mythical ‘adidas Tree’ that’s mentioned in this essay? With some occasional gear from local brand Reebok, the 3-stripes is prominent across the videos – adidas should be celebrating this heritage – motherfuck N-Dubz and that Hudson character. Dead the downloading for a minute and invest.