DUTCH MASTERS



I’m slipping in life. I missed this video of Riff-Raff and Harmony Korine playing basketball over a month ago and I only just saw the Kickstarter page for the Dust & Grooves book. Both are significant additions to the internet.

Being involved in retail (though it’s not secret that my heart lies in marketing and communications), I know it’s ruthless — a world ruled by a handful of innovative spots and a ton of copycats who are perpetrating. I’m not sure whether rules regarding perpetrating and biting were overruled a few years ago but it seems to be the case. My brothers at Patta aka the Dutch Masters are the realest dudes in the business as well as longtime supporters of my crap and the recent temporary downtime for the store proves that goodwill and being legit doesn’t make you bulletproof. It’s rare to meet dudes who walk it like they talk it, but Edson, Lee, Tim and Gee and the rest of the team are those guys — definitely a rare breed.

While we wait for the physical store to return, this MC Theater video of ‘The Patta Story’ is anecdote central, even if some tales are lost in translation, taking it back to the Fat Beats and grey import era (and you know, in your heart of hearts, that grey import was the most interesting part of Euro trainer retail — now those electronic and real-world shelves are exactly the same, give or take a few release dates). They had Parra on some design duties, they made the Air Max their own (who else was going to notice the power of the mini forefoot swoosh?) and put out a mixtape with Non Phixion rapping about New Balance and Spot-bilt over the ‘Run’ instrumental. That’s deep. Even when it’s not open, it’s still my favourite store. After a friend mentioned an encounter with a buyer who hadn’t heard of Sal Barbier, I fear the industry is being assailed by corny “all the shoes but not a clue” type folks – it’s that snapback and AM1 goldrush, yo. But that’s transient nonsense and Patta is forever.

Here’s the obligatory “Look what arrived in the post!” addition to this post — salutes to my friends at Nike for these 2012 iterations of the Hyperdunk. As the worlds of shoe and gadgets clash, it makes these visually incredible with the Flywire strands (originally called Magwire, fact fans), but incredibly hard to wear for casual use. But having messed around with the shoes with the Nike+ Training system I’m keen to use them for lounge workout use with the iPhone and improve my hapless jump height to make myself less of a failure as a man. I saw this version in LA recently and this WLF GRY/FRBRRY-DYNMC BL seems to be some NRG spin on the WBF version that dropped recently with some fancy extra packaging. I like this shoe.

If you haven’t read Paul Gorman’s ‘The Look: Adventures in Rock and Pop Fashion’ you should have done, because it’s the best book on music and fashion ever written and Gorman has dedicated a whole book to a living legend who was one of the subjects of that book — Tommy Roberts and pioneering his Mr Freedom (not to be mistaken for the Mister Freedom vintage empire, though I always assumed that Christophe Loiron and Tommy Roberts were inspired by William Klein’s film of the same name) store. I’m only a few pages into it, but the cover is proof that Jeremy Scott wasn’t the first to get playful with winged shoes and Roberts ran one of the first clothing brands to collaborate with Disney (in a curiously sexualized way) back in 1969. All with an interest in clothes and the culture of clobber should pick this one up. This and ‘Dream Suits: The Wonderful World of Nudie Cohn’ by Mairi MacKenzie are superior documents of the relationship between a musician and the clothes that define them.

DAMAGE

This is a pretty unfocused bout of blogging that would be better off on Tumblr, but it can stay on WordPress for the time being. I wasn’t aware of the ads above and below — 1984’s duck camo Chuck Taylors from an Olympic year when a pattern on an All Star got its own advertisement and the 1971 ad for their camo duck hunting parka (I never knew they made hunting gear), complete with some J Peterman style writing (“Your quarry’s doomed. You see it, but it won’t see much of you”) from a time when camo was for hunters, soldiers and crazed loners rather than aspiring blog-dandies.

Just when you worry that graffiti has become a carefully placed bunch of stencils depicting David Cameron bumming Bin Laden or something or a hapless Coca-Cola mural for the Olympics, it’s refreshing to see a different kind of Olympic runner out there competing in the 91 mile Bedford-Brighton race. I haven’t seen this much damage on trains stopping in my town and I’m assuming that it’s a mission to get some extra fame while First Capital Connect (or Thameslink to people that still call Snickers bars “Marathons”) is full of imbeciles with picnic bags, dithering at the ticket barriers and clogging the left side of escalators across London. Salutes to SLANG and company for their work and the KCRUSH tributes. I haven’t seen a train like this in a few years, but then again, I don’t get out much.

Greece’s Giorgos Lanthimos makes gloriously odd films with amazing posters. ‘Dogtooth’s was a masterpiece and ‘Alps’s eccentric look at the grieving process has an equally beautiful promotional design too.

The Trilogy Tapes keeps on bringing it — the R Kelly Devo design by Nick Relph for Hot Chip they sold last year was one of the best t-shirts ever, they recently linked to a Gherkin Records t-shirt — a superior piece of house-related merchandise — and the ‘2012’ design they just upped on the blog looks good too. Still willfully obtuse in their taped output, Will Bankhead is a don.

Like some curious crossover of the kind of thing I up here and something a lot more professional, my friends at Nike Basketball and Nike Sportswear let me work with them (salutes to Leo, Nate and Chad) to amass some content to celebrate the last 20 years of shoe designs. I think there seems to be a hunger for content that might have been confined to a handful of nerds (like me) a few years ago these days — possibly down to a volume of content aggregation/unnecessary middleman sites. So far there’s been Force 180 Lows, Huarache Flights and Raids. Raids are a shoe dear to my heart and the shoe originally known as the Air Jack was accompanied by some amazing 1991 questionnaires with inner city kids (“FAVOURITE GROUP: BRAND NUBIAN”) and the original VHS pitch tape somewhere. For the oddballs who stress out over these things, there’s no Jordans in the official top 20 because they’re a brand of their own nowadays and suddenly stopping including them post-1998 would be odd. Check them out here. Wilson Smith, Tinker Hatfield, Aaron Cooper, Mark Smith, Tracy Teague and Eric Avar had stories for days.

LIBERTIES

There’s a special place in hell reserved for people wandering around saying “Trill” and “We out here”. Especially hipst… actually, let’s be more direct — whiteys. Unless you’re Haystak or Lil Wyte or something. Self hating hipsterdom of the Homer Simpson “It’s funny ‘cos it’s true! We’re so lame!” kind is equally jarring, but honestly, the only rap nostalgia I’m interested in is a restoration of the days when melanin-deficient rap nerds got a “What do you know about hip-hop?” reaction to any attempts to spark a chat about Rap-A-Lot. I used to enjoy the vicarious thrill of listening to X-Clan, King Sun, Ice Cube, Public Enemy, Geto Boys and Brand Nubian just because they didn’t seem to want me listening to them. They weren’t retweeting my endorsement — rappers were taking my international money order for fan club membership or merchandise and sending me nothing because I was a white rap fan and I didn’t deserve it.

It was a poorly kept secret that we were the ones funding the industry by making up a lion’s share of music purchases, but nobody seemed to cut us any slack — we were honkys, crackers, goofy dudes or cops with amplified caucasian dweebiness on album interludes. We kind of knew our place. Even MC Serch sometimes sounded so disappointed at being white that he’d berate white devils too. Somewhere down the line, the pet white characters like that white dwarf in Too Much Trouble, Miilkbone and Knucklehedz gave way to a post-Eminem world where wild liberties are taken, kids that aren’t Paul Wall have fronts, people actually debate whether it’s cool for white people to say “nigga” (some people even think it’s cool if Gwyneth Paltrow does), hug rap replaced thug rap and even the gooniest goons seem to want to interact on social media, not helped by a climate of dickriding where rappers and hip-hop personality on Twitter “reacting” to stuff is a big deal and everything has to be “addressed”.

As is the case with high-end brands and formerly snooty stores wanting to be buddies all of a sudden, I’m not sure I’m comfortable with rap’s acceptance of me. I’m assuming that the NPR intern kid is white (posisbly even fictional) and there he is dismissing Public Enemy — that would have been a beatdown in 1988 (not that I’m advocating one and it’s kind of quaint that kids still want to be music journalists). Now it’s just a low-level viral ticking off. And how did you just get on the Trill talk when UGK said it 24 years ago (20 if we’re talking Jive records)? “We out here” is strictly for white teed characters in the background of WSHH videos. Revoke those passes people — hip-hop needs to start getting intimidating again. The music’s still on point but some folks need to be kept in check.

Anyway, everyone knows the only white dude hip-hop allows is Phil Collins.

If you spotted the mysterious artwork for Pasolini’s ‘Trilogy of Life Criterion Blu-ray set doing the rounds this week, which may or may not be a fake, because its origins are mysterious, you’ll have spotted the homage to Basquiat in there. Whatever the origins, it’s a lot cooler than Swizz Beatz shouting about “That Basquiat Life!!!!!” on Twitter. Is a disfranchised, heroin addled existence something to add multiple exclamation marks to? How about, “That Mark Rothko Life!!!!!”

I maintain that Long Beach’s Proper don’t get their due for breaking from the collaborative norm just before a hype communication infrastructure was in place. Their ASICS GT II used speckles when they were still cool and applied military grade ripstop long before everyone else did. In a ‘Sneaker Freaker’ interview in 2005, they talked about a Gel Lyte III they were working on (seemingly coinciding with the model’s reintroduction). And then, nothing. This Knicks-colour version of the shoe is one of the great lost collaborations and it even has a phantom-like quality, thanks to some wonky Photoshopping. If this shoe had come out, I would have lost my mind and I still think it holds up, despite the slew of makeups that have dropped since.

DRESSERS

The entire casual subculture is coated with at least three layers of wish-they-were-there, which makes it hard to get to the core of kids dressing sharp to beat each other to a pulp during home and away games. It’s open to dimwitted exploitation and the majority clad in Sergio Tacchini and Lois just look like they’re off to a 1980s themed office party, with as much credibility as a bunch of Daves blacked up in afro wigs en route to Carwash. Most documentaries about it are atrocious and the majority of the books charting it are ‘ard nut div lit of the Kate Kray’s ‘Hard Bastards’ school of writing. Part the sea of professional northerners and Danny Dyer-isms (when even Alan Clarke’s attempt to document a lifestyle ends up heavy-handed, you know it’s never going to be easy to tell this story) and a fascinating sub-culture’s there, Stanley knife in hand and clad in the sportswear of the wealthy. It’s just most books on it are crap — Phil Thornton’s ‘Casuals’ did a noble job, ’80s Casuals’ was a great scrapbook of amassed gear and ‘The End’ compendium is necessary for a view at the time rather than retrospect and rose-tinted dust-up anecdotes.

I’m still waiting to pick up the definitive book on the topic, but it’s never going to happen, much as hip-hop books are a mixed bag — too many regional scenes and too many stories to tell without denting egos. As a half-Scot (my temperamental side is inherited from my mum’s side) I feel a selective sense of patriotism and having heard the horror stories of the country’s firms (my only key reference points to the older, more brutal days there are Gillies MacKinnon’s teen gang classic ‘Small Faces’ and John Motson announcing, “The scene is so typically Scottish” during a goalpost dismantling pitch invasion after Scotland’s 1977 victory over England), I was open to being educated. ‘Dressers’ delivers stories from a Motherwell fans’ perspective over 280 pages, with plenty of skirmish stories that are a solid Jock-centric sequel to Thornton’s mass of beatings and close calls, but there’s also hundreds of images, a ton of clippings and lots of shoes and clobber (ZX 280s and Seb Coe Impacts are beautiful objects) in charting the culture of the Dresser and the scourge of the Saturday Service. Just as it’s the law that Irvine Welsh had to have a quote on anything about smack a few years back, ‘Dressers’ comes complete with endorsement after endorsement, but thankfully, not a word from Nick Love.

This would make a hell of a documentary, but when it comes to clean living in difficult circumstances, our Celtic brethren put in work, and if you’re not inspired by the masses of bad hair, beer cans held aloft and clobber worn for clobbering time, I can’t do much for you. Crucially, the first 139 pages house a remarkable amount of information for any scholar of working class sub-cultures. It might only deal with one particular scene, that a small town squad managed to develop the reputation that the sons of Motherwell managed to accrue is a significant feat. It’s also noteworthy that the book is slickly laid out in hardback format rather than bearing the aura of mate’s mate with the desktop publishing software. You can buy ‘Dressers’ here and it’s a project worth supporting.

Going off at a macabre tangent (this is some rushed blogging), as a kid I was deeply disturbed by an image of Otis Redding being pulled from the water post plane crash. He looked peaceful, but as an Otis fan, it was a peculiar sight I couldn’t quite shake. Here’s where I drop a disclaimer — this isn’t Rotten or some gore forum and I apologise if you’re disturbed by the below image, but I imagine in these Worldstar, trade-a-death-video-with-your-boss, corpses-in-the-Daily-Mail days, you can stomach an image of a dead body, but is this picture of Otis Redding strapped to his chair from a ‘Jet’ feature just after the accident one of the oddest and most haunting pictures ever?

CLOTHES

Another MacBook is unleashing the spinning wheel, so I’m using an Acer that doesn’t have PhotoShop and doesn’t seem to want to accept the card from my camera. So you can make do with over stylised, untrustworthy Instagram shots with the filters that make terrible things look acceptable. I’m grateful that as yet, no magic haze has made writing look much better, though we hobbyist copywriters were hit by nobody actually reading anything over two sentences any more and people trying to tell us to write with Google in mind, so I think we’re all equally screwed by social media in 2012. I visited Jacket Required on Friday and got to wander around a tradeshow devoid of men who look like Zucchero and the guy from Nightcrawlers wielding multiple Wrangler and Superdry goodie bags. There were plenty of beige and camo things on display, plus lots of people seemed to be doing animal printed Y’OH-alikes without Kara’s reference points, but highlights came from Wood Wood’s technical-looking, sporty stuff, Our Legacy’s athletic pieces and Soulland’s Versace faux house of Soulland style sweats.

Lots of colour, lots of embroidery and a look of diffusion line that should set of something in the head of multiple generations who grew up desperate to amass labels. Soulland make beautiful, brilliant clothes and Silas Adler just gets it – I would have thought this brand was amazing for collaborating with Jacob Holdt a few years back, but for continually evolving, surely it’s due to blow up imminently? The orange sweat in particular had me bugging out the most. The blogs are about to go wild for technical apparel (which only a handful of factories in the world can execute properly) and food, but these sweats hit the sweet spot between older brother wear nostalgia and simply being bold and brilliant and confident in those tonal embroideries. US men’s magazines are all over Scandinavia at the moment, but they make it sound like little more than blonde women, slicked back hair, beards and rolled up pants, which I suppose it is, but additionally the clothing coming out of there leaves your heritage brand sprawling by evolving into the perfect mix of basics, avant-garde and detail.

What also had me hyped (though it wasn’t necessarily on display) was the UK-made Palace gear. Being a non-skater doofus who still wears the shirts, I was accosted with regards to the source of my Palace shirt during my recent NYC holiday and the brand seems to have gathered hype at an alarming rate. It couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch either. See those eBay prices for the Chanel tribute sweats? The way the Trail Blazers snapback is everywhere and how the afterthought New York Giants tee became a bestseller? Crazy. Now the brand has been bootlegged multiple times, people seem to think the comedy surf line is a fake too, but they’re mistaken. British made shirts (are we allowed to use that term “cut and sew” with its visions of gun print tee brands switching to preppy chambrays and chinos really badly?), jackets, plus trousers and other stuff is a nice expansion of the Palace brand and a nice Tango slap to anyone who thought it was just about bolshy screenprints. That’s’s something to look forward to over the next month.

If you know central London, you know that Camissa & Son does the best sandwich in the area at a good price. My friends at Slam City know that and they’ve contributed that recommendation to Vans’ Syndicate newspaper, ‘These Days’. I’m on Syndicate’s dick because it always gets things right. That LXVI stuff? I’m not convinced yet, but Syndicate’s packaging, risky choice of collaborators and hard-core approach to distribution is always appreciated. Their paper (supplied to me by Mr Charles Morgan) reminds me of Berlin’s fine ‘Aspekt Ratio’ in its broadsheet execution, but the lengthy Jason Dill and Anthony Van Engelen interview, guide to making your own tattoo machine, W(Taps’ TET on his first Vans (a pair of Sk8 His), an Ice-T interview (bringing the whole $YNDICATE thing full circle), chat with skate ‘zine legend Gary Scott Davis and a Mike Hill Alien Workshop design retrospective are all tremendous. I know creating a tangible piece of print media is this year’s equivalent of the dull video lookbook and teaser, but this is absorbing, passionate content that should resonate with multiple generations.

Lots of people hate Byron Crawford, but you can’t deny that his musings are the perfect antidote to a world where everybody’s toadying with hip-hop so they don’t get locked out the listening party. He’s just put out a Kindle book, ‘Mindset of a Champion: Your Favorite Rapper’s Least Favorite Book’ charting his rise from proto-blogger to-day jobber and internet, sorry, internets, star. It reads like one vast, sprawling, semi-proofed blog entry, but it’s a fun read. Crawford has a knack for capturing mundanity that matches his appetite for controversy (“KRS-One himself has never been on crack, as far as I know. he’s just crack-ish. he used to be homeless. He’s know for making off the wall statements.”) and there’s tales of rap board wars, talkbacks and hip-hop journalism that justify the £2 outlay within just a couple of chapters.

This interview with Brent Rollins is excellent. Like me, he wishes he came up with the UNDFTD logo, but unlike me, he’s a design genius and it’s revealed that he’s the Jordan IV and orange sock dude on the ‘Do the Right Thing’ poster. On a Complex-related note, this rant from the perspective of some chisel toe shoes is also worth your time.

The Kate Uptons of this world will come and go, but people will still get excited about Kate Moss. Yayo footage couldn’t stop her and neither can any number of sket upstarts. There’s a whole book about her called ‘Kate: the Kate Moss Book’ dropping in November via Rizzoli delivering a full retrospective of her career thus far. Jefferson Hack and Jess Hallett editing, plus an $85 pricetag and 368 pages indicates that it might be pretttttttty good.

DAD MUSIC

It’s that time of the year where I honour my father’s memory with an unnecessarily detailed blog post. Everything spirals from formative experiences and I have some curious memories with regards to my dad’s record collection — it wasn’t especially expansive and punk didn’t seem to operate in his dojo, yet the lettering, photos and promises as to the sonic delights in those black grooves had a vast effect on me. I’d sit and stare at the covers for hours, obsessing over the liner notes and imagining the films they soundtracked, losing my mind when I spotted a picture disc. I was pretty much banned from using the record player because of my clumsy pre-pubescent hands and their scope for snapping a needle, so I’d have to call my dad over to cue up ‘Flash’ on Queen’s ‘Greatest Hits’ or Michael Jackson’s ‘Human Nature’.

I’m not sure I ever really witnessed my dad listen to any of his records either — as I gathered, some were bargain bin come ups and others were unwanted gifts, but over the years since he passed, I’ve made the effort to at least listen to each one in its entirety. Sometimes, the cover art surpassed the album, sometimes the instrumental jams were intolerable, but there were plenty of strong moments that helped me understand how they ended up in a wooden cupboard alongside a yellowing stack of replacement LP sleeves and a PUMA box of photos. So I decided to turn today’s blog entry into a tribute to that disperate pile of black and whiter than white music that somehow seems to have leached into my psyche to influence my own tastes, both musically and visually. If anyone’s wondering why I’ve got Status Quo on my iTunes, here’s your answer. I wonder if kids will trawl their old mans’ MP3 horde with the same curiosity?

DIRE STRAITS ‘ALCHEMY: DIRE STRAITS LIVE’ (1984)

It’s not cool to like Dire Straits, but they’re great. They might be the group that represent the dawn of the soulless zillion selling CD era, back when ‘Tomorrow’s World’ said that they were indestructible, but if you don’t like ‘Walk of Life’ or Mark Knopfler’s ‘Local Hero’ theme, you’re a dick. I remember them taking years to deliver a follow-up album post ‘Money For Nothing’ that was terrible, but Knopfler’s headband seemed like the coolest thing ever, back in the day. ‘Alchemy’ had cover art by Brett Whiteley, that cut the Mishima portrait stuff out, but I’m sure it had a hidden Disney character on there. The live jams went on for ages — ‘Romeo and Juliet’ seemed to last about 3 hours. Unfiltered dad rock. I apologise if that read like a Patrick Bateman rant.

FREEEZ ‘SOUTHERN FREEEZ’ (1981)

We had jazz funk in the house too. This album still sounds pretty good in a fleck jacket wine bar kind of way, but crucially, Freeez went on to have a 1983 hit with ‘IOU’ which had an amazing video laden with breakdancing, popping and BMXs. I was extremely proud that my dad had an album that was almost hip-hop back then. The b-boying in that video was way better than the out-of-place popping in King’s ‘Love and Pride’.

BROTHERS JOHNSON ‘LOOK OUT FOR #1′ (1976)

“Thunder Thumbs” and “Lightnin’ Licks” (who played bass on ‘Thriller’) had such amazing attire on the cover to this album that I had to listen to it. It wasn’t the disco album I assumed it was, rather some real funk. Later, when Brand Nubian, the Hoodratz and Grand Puba sampled tracks from this album, I assumed that my dad’s stash was a hotbed of valuable breaks. I was mistaken.

STATUS QUO ‘IF YOU CAN’T STAND THE HEAT’ (1978)

Status Quo were already on their eleventh album in 1978 and this sounded exactly like you’d expect it to sound. My dad denied ownership, claiming it was mum’s, but she claimed otherwise. The case remains unresolved, but I was obsessed with the corner cutaway that revealed an image of a burning match. I love this album cover, but I can’t remember the music, other that recalling that it contained a track called ‘Long Legged Linda’ which I imagine was quite saucy in a lumpen, power chord kind of way.

THIRD WORLD ‘JOURNEY TO ADDIS’ (1978)

My dad liked reggae. I’m sure he told me a story about going to see Sizzla in the early 2000s in the British Virgin Islands, but having to leave early because a man stood up and started preaching against the white man. He also really liked Sean Paul and exercised on a rowing machine while listening to ‘Like Glue’ and ‘Gimme the Light’ — a pretty amazing way to work out. This Third World album had a cool cover and they were super musical — it was also the first place I ever heard a cover of ‘Now That We’ve Found Love’.

AVERAGE WHITE BAND ‘AWB’ (1974)

Funky white Scotsmen in flared trousers. I honestly only liked this because there was a naked lady on the cover and ‘Pick Up the Pieces’ was in ‘Superman II’. When Premier flipped Average White Band samples, I pretended I loved this album all along.

PAUL SIMON ‘ONE TRICK PONY’ (1980)

Paul Simon can’t write bad songs. This was my introduction to singer/songwiters and I never associated Paul with the guy who made me cry at the end of ‘Watership Down’ and it’s a tie-in with a really miserable film where Paul wears a baseball cap and gets messed around by Rip Torn a lot. For years I wondered what the film was like, and on seeing it around Christmas in 1986 or 1987, it bored me, despite a cool concept of a faded folk star eclipsed by the punk boom. ‘Jonah’ is a great track, which seems to be about the titular folk star’s plight. I was obsessed with the font here and would gawp at it for prolonged periods. My dad liked ‘Graceland’ but never heard him mention this album once. Blatantly a gift.

HERBIE HANCOCK ‘SUNLIGHT’ (1978)

Proto electro from the master. Herbie’s glasses and collars on the cover are immense and this is pretty underrated. I’m not sure if this was a success or why my dad had this and the ‘I Thought It Was You’ 12″ but it sets the seeds for ‘Rockit’ and the picture of Herbie with his keyboard setup on the sleeve is amazing. Dilla sampled this album for one of the tracks on ‘Fantastic Vol. 2′. I’m not enough of a Slum Village fan to find out the track title though.

VARIOUS ARTISTS ‘THE STORY OF THE BLUES’ (1968)

Keep your white man reinterpretations, because Paul Oliver’s masterful compilation tied in with a book I’ve never read but contained recordings by Blind Lemon Jefferson, Leadbelly and Black Bob. There’s even some depressingly unknown artists on here, plus praise songs by Fra-Fra Tribesmen that go right back to the origins of blues (I recommend Robert Palmer’s ‘Deep Blues’ for an equally deep insight into the music’s roots). Thanks to this compilation, I was able to silence friends’ fathers who tried to tell me that Clapton was god with my liner note researched nuggets of knowledge.

SANTANA ‘INNER SECRETS’ (1978)

This album is pretty weak. I was always freaked out when Carlos returned with the Latin sound, because on the basis of this album, I assumed they were just another dull rock group. When I look at that cover, I always imagine the group accusing Mr. Santana of not being as good as he used to be, but this was my introduction to the Santana font (on which there’s an excessively lengthy post somewhere else on this blog).

On a wildly different note, Monday’s Nike European Innovation Summit included a little exhibit I worked on for Nike Basketball entitled, ’20 Designs That Changed the Game’ with interviews with the likes of Tinker Hatfield and Eric Avar, sketches and ads, plus OG shoes. Salutes to Nate and Chad for letting me get involved. I also got to sit opposite Carl Lewis and Sir Charles Barkley. Carl was rocking the reflective Team USA Windrunner, so I had to capture it with a flash (apologies for the picture quality).

BONES

Note: Obviously this was written before it was revealed that Saville was a manipulative nonce. There was that clip from a Nolan Sisters documentary that was a tad seedy at this point, a strange comment with Louis Theroux and some David Icke forum rumours about him getting up to no good at a Jersey childrens’ home. Plus those necrophilia rumours.

“I spend a lot of time in the stacks in the libraries, looking at these stacks of unreadable masterpieces that men devoted their lives to, standing on the shoulders of geniuses before them — Bertrand Russell, ‘Principia Mathematica’ and all these things — who will read those? How will they change society? How do they really factor into things? Me? I was able to contribute with a lot of tricks. Those tricks now have names and those tricks factor into what everybody else does. In a very meaningful way I have helped create a vocabulary by which this community communicates. I mean you’ll hear people chat and listen to how skaters talk and the words and expressions…things that we created, it’s our language, but it’s also physical and it helps define us as individuals and how we fit within that framework and it helps define our community itself. And so, when I look and think of the contribution of all these geniuses and the smell and the browning paper of these dusty books that no one will read I think I am so rich in that what I have done has meaning.”
Rodney Mullen, ‘Bones Brigade: An Autobiography’

I really enjoyed Stacy Peralta’s ‘Bones Brigade: An Autobiography’. I enjoyed it so much, that not even a Fred Durst appearance could curb my enthusiasm (in fact, his memories of ‘Thrasher’ previews for ‘Animal Chin’ made my forget about his rapping). Skate folk love gossip and trivia almost as much as hip-hop fans do, so there’s bound to be some people who’ll complain that Peralta’s film only skims a pivotal moment in time, but there’s a humanity to his portraits of Hawk, Caballero, Mullen, Mountain and McGill, with plenty of introspect, tales of crumbling under competition conditions and a lot of footage that should resonate with anybody who grew up in the 1980s. This one won’t make for a Hollywood adaptation a la ‘Lords of Dogtown’ but it’s a tale that must be told, covering the vert to street switch, two craze periods for skateboarding, a golden era of graphics and plenty more. 110 minutes felt a little skimpy toward the film’s climax, but deleted scenes on a DVD are more or less guaranteed. The highlights of the film are tales of CR Stecyk’s lunatic copywriting and creative concepts, Rodney Mullen’s sensitive, intricate recollections of self and family imposed pressures and Lance Mountain breaking down at the end under the false impression that he doesn’t deserve the success he attained.

There’s some interesting talk of the marketing of the Bones Brigade too, and it’s fascinating to see how these personalities came together to change the industry, but Mullen’s final summary (see his excellent TED talk for an expansion of this worldview) as quoted above should stick with viewers, even if they get lost mid Rodney’s trail-of-thought., It’s a joy to celebrate legends while they’re still living. If you want a semi-definitive skate history you’re going to have to set aside at least 10 hours and play ‘Dogtown & Z-Boys’, ‘Bones Brigade: An Autobiography’, ‘Rollin Through the Decades’, ‘Stoked’, ‘The Man Who Souled the World’ and ‘Deathbowl to Downtown’ in one sitting, This documentary is an era of neon icons thoughtfully distilled. Who thought the stars of the only non-porn VHS you paused and rewound until they had a permanent static mist would wind up getting this kind of glossy treatment 25 years later?

In all honesty, there still isn’t a skate documentary that can surpass the skateboarding dog in sunglasses at 1:48 into 1976’s ‘The Magic Rolling Board’ (kudos to eDboy1955 for uploading this 16mm transfer). Skate peaked right there.



Berlin just got a pop-up Stüssy store in association with the gents at Civilist accompanied by an exhibition of German photographer and streetwear don Konsti’s work in documenting the city’s close-knit Tribe back in 1989. For years these guys had to make do with tees and sweats listing other cities, but now there’s a Stüssy Berlin collection. About time too.

After a recent post about Nike Cram shoes and another regarding Jimmy Saville’s formidable footwear collection, the impending Jimmy Saville auction is riddled with deadstock rarities. OG Pegasus, Terra T/Cs, Le Coq runners, unworn Cram Windrunners and ZX 600s are all in the mix. Jim might be fixing a posthumous wish for some fanboys out there who rarely see these things on sale.

With all the unnecessary brouhaha about Frank Ocean swinging both ways (doubly baffling, because more than a few soul stars have been gay and a handful of hip-hop pioneers are gay too), it’s fun to see that MMG members have been liberally and obliviously using the word “poof” as the sound of a genie-style magic trick being executed as per the chorus to ‘Black Magic’ where Rick Ross ditches MC Hammer during a backseat brainstorm smokeout in favour of the equally satin suited Vegas magic legend David Copperfield. Everyone’s favourite goon turned lyrical monster Gunplay even added a hashtag to it. The song could be misinterpreted as a pink pound anthem,“Pooof! There go the car! Pooof! There go the crib! Pooof! A 100 mill! Whooo! David Copperfield!” If ‘Black Magic’ blows up and goons in clubs do magical fingers at every #poof, I want to see it.

2012 and 2013 is the year are the years of missing the point by remaking Paul Verhoeven films. The mock ‘Rekall’ ads in the States for ‘Total Recall’ are pretty poor and should have been briefs for real ad agencies if the quest was to go “viral” or get attention and now it’s official that ‘Robocop’ is being remade, thanks to this OmniCorp commercial. I’m glad Hollywood is going tits up. Without bodies used as shields, Michael Ironside, rapists being shot in the genitals and ED-209 turning an employee into tomato puree, a remake of Verhoeven’s work is pointless. I hate ‘Robocop 2′ but even the ads within that film were better than this teaser.

For no reason other than because I didn’t update this blog on Wednesday (blame German Wi-Fi). here’s a couple of Nike-related ads from years ago.