Category Archives: General Nonsense

RESELL

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What’s the situation with these (scrapped?) Supreme x Nas images? Looks like a photo shoot that should have happened a long, long time ago and something that could cause a hype situation if it appears on cotton sometime soon. There’s a lot of rappers out there who don’t look at home in that kind of gear — they’re on that Karmaloop trolleydash non-steez or (insert Zumiez stocked brand here) surprise box anti-swagger. Nas looks at home in it.

The ad above is another late 1990s Small Earth ad (I posted a sumo wrestler in XIs one here a couple of years back) dating back to 1998. French-made adi, a selection of Jordans and a handful of cult 1985-era Nikes were worth money to Grand Rapids, Michigans buy and resell to Japan enterprise. Chuck Vander Hoek and his business partner capitalised on the Japanese kids coming into their vintage clothing stores to set up this targeted business — some OG American resellers. Anyone shifting their Hawaiis to them for $63 was probably jumping for joy. If only they knew…

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I never got down with the whole toy thing because I’m old, every release was more expensive than I ever anticipated and because some dickhead decided to call them things like “urban vinyl” to justify being over the age of 11 and still buying action figures. That doesn’t stop me needing the new life-size Medicom Gizmo, complete with puffballs of potential mayhem caused by a clumsy Corey Feldman. I still kick myself that I never got hold of the Medicom Bride of Chucky era Good Guy doll replica, so despite the $300+ price tag (nostalgia is an expensive industry), I need Medicom’s latest foray into the Mogwai species in my life. Gizmo is the pet I always wanted and ownership doesn’t mean the fear of having a dubious stereotype knock at the door to claim him back, or the potential annihilation of my hometown.

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Bobbito Garcia’s Where’d You Get Those? is the greatest book on sports footwear ever written by a long, long way. There’s a few books on the topic en route, but nothing touches this 2003 tome’s authority and sense of actually being there and hoarding AF1s at least a decade ahead of the majority. By cutting off at 1987 (bar his section on slept-on classics) to avoid the influx of gimmickry that dropped in the years that followed. The Where’d You Get Those? 10th Anniversary Edition drops in November after being out of print for a few years and it looks like Bobbito has wisely avoided any temptation to go beyond the cutoff year for this one. However, that proposed cover, is an abomination compared to Brent Rollins’ masterful work on the original release.

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A while ago I wrote an interview with the mind behind SOTech. It’s pretty detailed and worth reason if you’re inclined toward military gear and tired of milspec’s misuse of late. My eagle eyed partner-in-hype Charlie Morgan spotted the SOT-BLK gear crop up in Union — the fruits of SOTech’s work with Rob Abeyta Jr (who has a military background and is who I would want on my side in a brawl situation) — with the near-invincible baggage that’s created for battle conditions is tweaked slightly for everyday use. If you’re going to protect your blank Moleskine and copy of Monocle you never got past page 17 on, it’s good to know that if those parachutes drop en masse, your MacBook will be protected during the subsequent fight for freedom. The SOT-BLK Mactac bag is a tweak on a design originally created post 2008 Mumbai attacks for anti terrorism gear to be kept in a single bag. It’ll be interesting to see how the recent moves to get the U.S. military share a single camo pattern affects contractors and manufacturers, but this is perfect baggage for the disorganised and accident prone. Built to survive the world’s worst and ideal if you wake up and you’re the last living blogger on the planet.

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While I keep hunting the rest of this W)Taps GRIND shoot, I recommend listening to this William Friedkin interview, where he discusses throwing out some Basquiat paintings, meeting Darby Crash and naming Sorcerer after Miles Davis’ 1967 album (which is also discussed in his fine memoir, The Friedkin Connection). Sorcerer is a slow burner, but that exposition and slow-burn tension pays off, so it’s good to hear that one of the most underrated films of the 1970s (a notorious flop) is coming to Blu-ray in remastered form. Friedkin’s approach to audio is something deserving of more than the current bare-bones, half-arsed DVD release. Despite his reputation for rages on set, Friedkin’s opinions, co-signs and evident passion for the craft are admirable.

WINNER

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It’s a film-related blog entry today rather than the usual clothing/shoe/rap babble. As a child of the video rental and regional late night movie selection, Michael Winner has long been a figure of fascination to me. Later in his lifetime, Winner trolled the nation by using his News of the World column to moan about Boots screwing up his negatives while getting a second set of photographs developed, and bragged about his lavish lifestyle with a remorselessness and regularity that was presumably tongue-in-cheek, but his film career had substantial share of moments, despite his reputation for hackery. Winner’s Death Wish trilogy had a huge impact on me, installing a love of the vigilante b-movie that I’ve never quite shaken. While I got my hands on Glickenhaus’ The Executioner and Lustig’s Vigilante (both referenced here a great deal), the first Death Wish eluded me for decades, with only Death Wish 2 screened on UK TV (in which Charlie looks at his most stylish in the beanie and sweatshirt combo) and part 3 being my video store rental of choice for its all out stupidity.

Why a slightly edited Death Wish 2 was deemed acceptable over the other two remains a mystery — with its gratuitous duo of rapes and sleazier atmosphere (Larry Fishburne’s bad guy ‘Cutter’is significantly more vocal than Jeff Goldblum’s ‘Freak #1’ in the first film). The Death Wish films were sheer exploitation, but all my favourite films of the era can be summed up succinctly with those two words. Michael Winner (alongside Frank Henenlotter and seemingly every alleyway scene in every NYC film between 1979 and 1987) had me assuming that on a brief trip to New York, you’d have a switchblade pulled out on you by a garishly dressed, sunglasses, jive talking, ragtag, multiracial gang before you’d even exited JFK. How was I to know that Death Wish 3 wasn’t even filmed in Brownsville? It was shot in London, as Bombin’ would later educate me, with Brim being spoken to by Michael Winner as if he was a toddler halfway through that classic hip-hop documentary. Brim was right about the film’s negative portrayals, but Death Wish 3 is still my flu bed flick of choice — starve a cold, feed a fever and treat both with exposure to Charlie blasting perps via bazookas and Gatling guns.

Beyond Charlie Bronson shooting fleeing perps, Winner’s early works — after a start shooting random documentaries and teen craze cash-ins — with Oliver Reed, like the moddish The System and I’ll Never Forget What’s’isname bear a certain Britishness and mild subversiveness (the latter got into some censor issues for its use of the word “fucking” while the former had Nicolas Roeg on cinematography) shine among the unfunny comedies (which he’d later echo with 1990’s slapstick monstrosity Bullseye!). The Nightcomers with Marlon Brando is nigh-on unwatchable, but as a lead up to The Turn of the Screw it seemed to preempt the wave of horror flick prequels by a few years. Winner evidently had a knack for westerns — Lawman is pleasantly vicious in a post Wild Bunch kind of way and Chato’s Way brings Charles Bronson to the fore for a superior First Blood style revenge scramble.

The Mechanic is a lean, muscular movie that, as the remake proved in its anaemia, has that 1972 grit that comes as standard and is tough to replicate. The Big Sleep with Robert Mitchum in the lead isn’t nearly as bad as its reputation indicates, but Winner’s final non-Bronson standout is 1977’s The Sentinel (which you can watch here) that sits alongside The Omen as a grand, star-studded spectacle that goes further than Tod Browning’s vengeful misfits by casting real life people with deformities as denizens of hell, but has some Christopher Walken and Sarandon weirdness, and genuinely disturbing goings on.

Worthy of mention just for its blend of soap opera style production values and performance with random bursts of phenomenally poor taste, 1984 home invasion thriller Scream For Help (available to watch here) also has John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin (after Jimmy Page, who scored Death Wish 2 couldn’t do it) on soundtrack duties. No matter how much time passes, Winner’s later work like Dirty Weekend and Parting Shots remain unwatchable. He was no Ken Russell, but the eclecticism of his work (some might cruelly call it hackery and argue that it had a constant in its mediocrity) meant Winner’s work is deserving of attention. Even more bizarrely, he was lined up to direct Captain America back when Cannon had the rights in 1984 (which eventually ended up being made by Albert Pyun and released in 1990 with JD Salinger’s son Matt as the lead). This incident, as recounted by Jim Shooter from that period casts a dark shadow on the whole thing though. Still, they don’t make them like Michael any more and, given the tidal wave of appalling January film burials hitting the cinema over the last few weeks, it’s a good time to reevaluate Winner’s contribution to the industry. Right wing, reactionary, sexist and condescending traits are bad things at a dinner party but good when you’re panning for scuzzy b-movie gold.

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I’m still waiting to see that Bad Brains documentary, A Band in D.C. (which seems to have annoyed Darryl Jenifer), but in the meantime, the Afro-Punk documentary from 2003 is up on YouTube in its entirety. It’s a solid depiction of racial identity in a realm perceived as whiteboy central.



Because there wasn’t enough imagery in this entry, here’s two ads for tiger stripe camouflage from around 1969, when the Vietnam conflict had somehow sold it to outdoors types as a hunting aid.

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GRIEVANCES

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Festivus is with us again, which usually calls for a Frank Costanza-esque airing of grievances. For a couple of years I ran some kind of hastily compiled list of things I hated the most — largely compiled from my Twitter feed and exceeding anything of any real importance — in the preceding year. But then the last one did the Twitter and Tumblr rounds and the kind of people that the semi-concealed clumsy subliminals were aimed at were strangely excited about it, oblivious to the fact I wasn’t too keen on them. So I can’t be bothered to do another one. Hate’s too easy too and at this time of year I can barely muster the bile — there’s too much misery out there in the news, so a bunch of poorly built home truths is a distasteful addition. Especially when the world ends tomorrow.

I would have included: People who dress head to toe in hyped apparel mocking people dressed similarly by calling them “Hypebeasts”, people that believe dickriding in Instagram comments is the fast track to success, people that describe their WordPress as an “online magazine,” the death of mystique by brands and stores asking their legion of fans how they’re doing on a Monday morning like a talkative taxi driver, people that start editorial-led projects who can’t photograph, write, style, design or offer any form of Teflon business plan and are subsequently surplus to requirements, any form of middle person who simply slows down the communication and cash chain, people that ask you to follow them on social media, people that write “RT” after Tweets, people that fill Facebook with links to fictional motivational quotes that no great mind of the 20th century ever said, people that want you to phone them back to discuss what they could have emailed you in a single (easier to dismiss) sentence, people that think you’ve turned into a prima donna because you don’t feel like working for them for free, people that get so angry about mediocre sports footwear they wouldn’t be into if it wasn’t hyped up that they call everyone a reseller and make you like resellers way more than “sneakerheads”, people that put a full stop in front of an @ response so they can broadcast a conversation to everyone, nothing being allowed to be “quite good” any more because it has to be a classic or else it’s a crushing letdown, PR companies paid to represent a brand they know or care nothing about excitedly sharing links to sites barely rehashing press releases because said PR company gave them the shoes/jeans/t-shirt/hate (delete as applicable), blogs posting exactly what a bigger blog has posted and expecting anyone (bar the aforementioned PR company) to care, anyone who still clings onto “selling out” as a negative, a Benjamin Button in a snapback world of such regressed adulthood that any normal activity that isn’t prancing around getting hyped over complete crap is deemed “grown man shit”, multiple recaps of launch parties laden with exactly the same fucking people where any right-minded person would have zero aspiration to attend, tiny credits that nobody ever clicks through for the provider of content for an entire post on a blog complete with a click-through gallery of every image (thus eliminating any reason to ever visit the source site), that secret project that somebody heavy handedly alludes to over a period of time that nearly always turns out to be crushingly mediocre, the people that announce to the world pre or just post New Year that “This is my year” and then do absolutely nothing except Tweet turgid guff, people that think they’re being “hated on” or “trolled” and spend much of their time explaining this but are actually just hateful wankers who bring it on themselves and cry themselves to sleep (hopefully), people that call Supreme “Preme,” paranoid people that assume that this blog post is about them (word to Carly Simon), people that think they’re curating things because they take pictures of free stuff and anybody that doesn’t realise that most brands they’re all over are no better than that HYPE streetwear Dave brand.

Aaaaaand, breathe.

Now sneering at menswear and influencer culture is easily available (and more articulately executed) elsewhere, there’s little call for it here at this moment in time, plus Keef said it better than I ever could too. Salutes to everybody who just gets on with it and will quietly make powermoves in 2013. Anyway, how can I be angry while that Estelle Hanania portrait of Giorgio Moroder from the excellent feature on him in ‘PIG Quarterly’ (thank you, Sofarok) exists? Can’t do it. It’s also hard to be angry after BKRW put me onto Yan Morvan’s French gang photography that’s the subject of a new book (‘Gangs Story’), videos and an exhibition soon.

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GANG 80

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WISH LIST

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With Christmas fast approaching, it’s time to reflect on those less fortunate than ourselves. As a result, I’m reflecting on the tragic younger form of me in 1985 and in 1994, when I requested amazing things I never got. On the back of a TV showing of ‘First Blood’ and the release of ‘Rambo: First Blood Part II’ everybody wanted a Rambo-style knife and sewing kit for mending yourself post self-surgery in the wild while on the run for knocking a policeman out a helicopter with a well-aimed rock. When novelty stores started cashing in by selling badly made weapons with a compass at the end of the handle and an enclosed wire that was meant to cut down trees, but everybody knew was for garroting enemies, everyone suddenly decided they needed one and we got on that camo hype early. I was denied one, but my brother was allowed a “survival knife” which he subsequently ruined while away at camp while throwing it at a tree to show off (or so he claims – maybe he killed a man and had to dispose of the weapon). Not only did it not stick in the tree, but the self igniting matches are alleged to have somehow lit themselves in the process and melted the handle. And that was that.

I wanted a pager because rappers always had them, name checked them and made them seem important. The fact I only needed to get hold of about two people who were glued to their Super NES anyway was irrelevant and after coming close to getting hold of a Motorola numerical pager that would involve elaborate number codes and some premium price to contact me, the plan was dropped. Looking at ads like the ones above, you can’s blame me for willing Santa to gift me the goods though, can you? The brilliantly-named Knifeco also made the more expensive and even more terrifying Survivor model that was like a grown-up version of the Survival Knife Kit. In 2012, the “Answering machine for your pocket” is totally redundant and I’d be arrested and face a custodial sentence if I marched around with Knifeco’s handiwork in a sheath (though I want this official version). There’s still part of me that wants to receive both of them on the 25th of December, just for some closure, but it’s safe to say that the ads are better than the actual items. They don’t do ads like this any more. What can I link this talk of bowie hunting knives to?

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Putting together the Christmas list, there’s plenty that’s due to drop after the big day. If we fast forward over a year, Mike Tyson’s autobiography has a publication date of the 22nd of May, 2014, but to tide us over, ‘The Undisputed Truth’ by Mike Tyson and Paul Sloman (presumably based on the Broadway show) is released on the 16th of July 2013 and yes, there’s an audio book of it too. Hopefully there’ll be an audio book of the autobiography too. I’m also saddened to see that the ‘David Bowie Is’ book doesn’t come out until a couple of weeks before the exhibition of over 300 items picked from Bowie’s art, outfits and objects that the book ties in with starts at the V&A museum (sponsored by Gucci). Seeing as the majority of men’s fashion editors appear to have just noticed that mid 1970s David Bowie looks awesome, despite the rest of the world knowing this several years prior, this exhibit and book should give them more to copy a little too late, thus defeating the object of Bowie’s masterful re appropriation and ability to stay ahead of the curve.

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Image taken from this Flickr account.

Mr. Matt Collett upped a link to a Flickr collection of Nike archive visit images from a few years bacon Facebook and it opened up a whole can of nerdery for me. We’ve all seen the Mag, the Batman boots made from Air Trainer SCs and the Batman Jordans created specially for films, but even on a trip to those fabled vaults recently I didn’t spot the ‘Jurassic Park’ raptor shoes (and I’m not talking newcomer slang for a particular pair of VIIs) there. In Donald Katz’s ‘Just Do It’ it mentions these models as an inspiration on the Air Carnivore because they were supposedly loosely related to, “…a shoe that Tinker Hatfield had worked on for the people running around inside some of the animal costumes in Jurassic Park (Tinker called those shoes Air Dinos and had since encouraged an “Animalistic” design motif).”

Oliver Hutton’s Flickr account is excellent and worth checking out, but is this image of an object credited to the Hulk, the mysterious “Air Dino”? Was it created for motion capture of raptor actors (inadvertent double rhyme) in the original ‘Jurassic Park’? I know there’s a few Beaverton-based boffins who can help me out here and the gift of weirdo knowledge would be gratefully received this Christmas.

CANINE CLOTHING

After a visit to Discover Dogs this weekend, there’s no way this blog wasn’t going to be dog related. Adding to the jacket talk a few weeks ago, the Dunhill design above is a contender — well, it would be if it wasn’t pretty morally reprehensible — because it’s such a dizzyingly flamboyant creation. Oran’ Juice Jones’ thirty-seven hundred-dollar lynx coat (that spared his wayward partner and her lover a bullet) is a significant sounding piece of fur, but this? This Cam’ron-esque creation is the next level. If you’ve been Tweeting, Instagramming or Facebooking your supposed “swag” levels, please don’t approach me unless you’re wearing this or you’ll be a walking letdown. A Siberian Wolf Coat had performance qualities too — weather-defying wolfed properties. I’m not too sure that it’s “most distinguished” in its looks though. Going on some chart I found online and taking the guinea down to the pound, I think 19 guineas circa 1910 translates as around £9,500 in today’s money. That’s about 6 times as much as Jones’ fur. This coat is mind-boggling.

Vietnam war Snoopy patches are another current preoccupation. At base level, there’s no real mystery to the iconic beagle’s appearance on patches across infantries and roles in the conflict — with Snoopy just nine years old when the war began, throughout the 1960s, Peanuts merchandise and imagery was everywhere, making Snoopy a strong representation of the U.S.A. Plus, flying a plane against the Red Baron in October 1965, Snoopy had seen some conflict himself. Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz had fought in WWII (as a machine gun operator) but never took a life himself and was anti-war in his opinions — the airborne Snoopy could be seen as a reaction to the realities of battle (the siege of Plei Mei occurred a few days after that first strip ran). By the end of the war, the WWI fantasy Peanut plots seemed to come to an end.

Unofficially, Snoopy found himself in helicopters over unsecured zones, giving war-opponent Jane Fonda the finger, drinking heavily, dancing (my favourite Snoopy imagery), urinating, patrolling, flying a syringe, dodging missiles, in Joe Cool mode and rollerskating. His flying ace attire features prominently and the heaviness of the situation the wearers were in makes these a presumed spot of light relief at a time of hopelessness. There was actually an Operation Snoopy in Vietnam, based around a device that sniffed out the enemy (developed in 1965) by picking up on effluents unique to humans. That started in a noisy backpack form for foot-based missions but, because of the noise emitted from it (not useful against an enemy skilled in stealthier forms of combat), it was operated from a helicopter for sniffer patrols — the Operation Snoopy patch features Snoopy with a propeller on his flying hat (you can see it as an accompaniment to this essay). Even Supreme played with the Vietnam Snoopy concept this season with the unlicensed “sitting Snoopy” pin design on a hat. This boonie hat right here is still the ultimate hat with Snoopy on it.

KNIVES & CHOPSTICKS

While there’s a frighteningly comprehensive movie firearms database, there’s no decent movie knife database and it’s a shame. I’m currently researching some classic cinematic blades for another project and while this Wiki was set up, it never really took off. I’ve noticed that people take knives as seriously as I take other things and why not? They’re beautiful, tactile items, provided they’re not sticking out your body. I never knew that Rutger Hauer’s switchblade in ‘The Hitcher’ was a custom Jeff Harkins Triton or that Emilio Estevez wields an extremely rare Bali Song butterfly knife during one of my favourite scenes in my favourite movie (check the thread here).

My two favourite knives, wielded by two genuinely scary characters, but unique enough to become an extension of the villain themselves, is the Night Slasher from ‘Cobra’s spiked knuckleduster knife (custom-made by Herman Schneider and later stolen, but seemingly turning up in ‘New Jack City’ 5 years later), a weapon so awesome it made me like the movie, despite the rest of it being dire and ‘Geraldine’ as wielded by Alan Arkin’s sleazy Harry Roat in 1967’s ‘Wait Until Dark.’ Geraldine is a gravity knife set inside a small statue of a woman, made in Italy as part of a run of 5 for the movie. Roat’s goth-beatnik look, with the sunglasses and leather jacket (in fact there’s a few great coats in the film on the villains), plus that final leap, makes him a memorable protagonist, but it’s Geraldine that really sets him apart from other bad guys. I can’t buy an official replica of Geraldine to keep as multiples in the cutlery drawer, but you can buy a Night Slasher repro.

It’s the switchblades that inspire the most dedication though, with this forum thread pretty much covering every screen blade to ever pop out with a satisfying click — it’s good to know what Polanski slashed Jack’s nose with in ‘Chinatown’ (a Rizzuto copy apparently), but oAROWANAo’s multi-part ‘Switchblades in the Movies’ series on YouTube is insane, covering the weapon’s appearance in movies between 1920 and 2009…89 years of slashy cameos, from backstabbing sneaks to cocaine testing from its tip. There’s a certain beauty to this device and its presence onscreen as silencer, negotiator and executioner is unbeatable.

Oscar from 1992 blogging Educated Community ‘zine covers reminded me of the couple off later issues I have in black bags somewhere. The whole New York for a Japanese visitor demographic was pretty unique and while it never came back after a #15/#16 double issue. Salutes to Yuka Iwakoshi (former X-Girl manager), Atsuko Tanaka, Hiroyuki Hatakeyama & Masaki Matsui Inada for putting in the work and documenting something genuinely interesting before the variations on a theme and global community aura deaded that aspirational downtown clubhouse mystique and made everyone feel involved. This site is promising an archive book and it’s something I’m keen to see — the fanzine’s end in 2005 feels timely, with the blog rising at that point as the new mode of education. Still, what made noise between 1999 and 2005 seems to be slowly disappearing from the internet as hosting bills aren’t paid and Google finds new ways to put the last week’s content at the forefront of a search.

Mr Chris Law sent me this video of the story of the Rip City Black Flag skateboard that fascinated me when I saw it in ‘Skateboard’ magazine a few years after that original release. The wrongly screened bars and the spray paint solution is amazing. As David Markey’s ‘We Got Power’ gets an official UK release in January, there seems to be a brief tie-in, with Jordan Schwartz involved in both the board and the book. The 1984 ‘Thrasher’ ads were pleasantly low-key and lo-fi — a Hosoi and Black Flag crossover is nice moment as bluesy misery sludge meets the aerial master’s long-haired kamikaze look.

Now that a decent burger is as ubiquitous in central London as a Starbucks and that for a few hours there was an In-N-Out on these shores, I’ll stop moaning about a dearth of the ultimate foodstuff. I don’t care about a lack of reservations or that everywhere is manned by mustachioed men in scoop neck tees with hand tattoos, just as long as their burgers are good. So what about the ramen? I wanted an Ippudo in London, but it looks like their spot’s being covered on the tonkotsu front. For years I yearned for bowls of pale fat-flecked cholesterol for lunch but could only find other ramen variants. Nagomi did a decent version but booking and peculiar opening hours put me off. Then a restaurant that called itself Tonkotsu opened up, but a Japanese friend recommended somewhere else for a non-porky variant having been disappointed by their noodles.

I’ve had my eye on Bone Daddies on Peter Street (opposite Supreme, to create an axis of food and noodle hype) since ex-Nobu head chef Ross Shonhan displayed an obvious enthusiasm for tonkotsu in this interview. It didn’t disappoint (and was half price for the opening weekend too), with that salty complexity in the broth and an egg that was boiled properly rather than neglected until it’s white and beige (Shonhan understands the importance of the egg to a good bowl or ramen. As time goes on, that bowl should get better and better (Bone Daddies had barely been open longer than the 20 hour pork bone boil when I visited). The killer application (figuratively and literally) was the extra pipette of pork fat I added to mine for 50p. All dishes should come with the pipette option. When I fall to the ground, clutching my chest, you can blame the tonkotsu and that greasy, clinically applied optional extra, but I regret nothing.

MOCKERY

Happy Halloween. I just realized that I shot my bolt on that theme in a few posts over the last few weeks that had a horror theme, so all I can offer is this, my dream Halloween outfit — occasionally forgotten R&B boy band Hi-Five (with whom Mobb Deep’s Prodigy spat his first recorded verse on the ‘Boyz N the Hood’ soundtrack as Lord T) from the cover of February 1992’s ‘Black Beat’ in the purple blazer, luridly patterned tie, tailored shorts, White Sox hat, white socks and Persian Air Max Big Windows. Of course, the outfit would require four matching cohorts (I’m sure Nick Schonberger would be down with the look) for full effect, but this was the most spectacular colour match I ever saw, creating its own sports-formality style in the process. 20 years on, I still marvel at the stylist’s handiwork.

It’s a good time to be down with the moc-toes. Firstly, Padmore & Barnes officially relaunched, with a tremendous gallery in the history section, with a Wallee’d out Jim Dale enjoying a cigarette while in Ireland for the filming of 1969’s ‘Lock Up Your Daughters’. As I understand, the shoes are being hand stitched by some skilled folk in Portugal from their homes. Secondly, Al Fingers’ ‘Clarks in Jamaica’ book is released in a couple of weeks. This book’s been given plenty of coverage elsewhere, but the images up on the One Love Books website at the moment are pretty spectacular. Old ads and a genuine historical analysis of how Clarks hit the island with a vengeance makes this an essential. Closer to home, there’s a second Clarks book dropping next year — Mark Palmer’s ‘Made to Last: the Story of Britain’s Best-Known Shoe Firm’ is an official history of Clarks that covers the birth of the company as a rug-makers in 1825, how slippers from rug offcuts became a shoe business, the rise of overseas manufacture in the 1980s and the shareholder and family split of the 1990s. From Quaker values to a Jamaican must-have, the Clarks tale is a curious one. Hopefully Palmer’s book will have a foreword by Dennis Coles himself when it drops in April 2013.

If you still need an excuse to buy the ‘Ideas From Massimo Osti’ book (even if supplies seemed to get depleted fast), I think the inserts with Osti’s soundbites and the multicolored Tela Stella ‘Linea Uomo Sport’ image are worth the RRP alone. The galleries of gloves, hats, bags and shoes are equally ridiculous. I may deliberately break one of my legs so I can take the time out to read the book in its entirety.

On the Halloween subject, film buff and the man who made Pazuzu haunt my psyche to the present day, William Friedkin (whose sole dud in my opinion, is ‘The Guardian’ — I can even tolerate ‘Jade’ with David Caruso), just dropped a top 10 Criterion films list that’s worth reading. I also noticed that somebody uploaded 1984’s ‘Terror in the Aisles’ documentary onto YouTube — it’s just a ton of horror film clips with Nancy Allen and Donald Pleasance hamming it up in a cinema, but this film was my childhood checklist for what I needed to see. For well over a decade I hunted the film where a cockroach sets a woman’s hair alight (‘Bugs’ from 1975) and when I found it, it was atrocious. It sold ‘the Exorcist’ and, oddly, ‘Ms. 45 (where Zoë Tamerlis completely ruins a Halloween party by dressing as a sexy nun, then shooting all the men there) to me in a major way though and contributed to my warped mind. Worst. Halloween party. Ever.

GOONERY

See that guy up there? He’s the guy who’ll have his iPhone out next time you’re on the floor amid a flurry of feet cracking your ribs and eye sockets. It’s his Kubrickian vision that masterfully frames a blonde lady getting a flying plate to the head in this WSHH entry. In a masterfully meta moment, the director himself becomes the star, going from narrator (“Oh shit! Oh shit! Worldstar Hip-Hop!”) to the focus of the camera itself. It’s a near Brechtian, brutal allegory of Vietnam’s violent legacy, played out in a Toronto-based Vietnamese restaurant. And it’s a lot more coherent than ‘Prometheus.’

You can blame the WSHH shriekers for making the good Samaritan an extinct breed and allude that it’s symptomatic of a societal sickness on a grander scale and while everybody got a comment in regarding Lil’ Reese’s savage,disgusting on-camera assault, in a world where everybody enjoys a vicarious hit of ignorance from behind a screen, we’re all culpable. You want ratchet? You want goonery? Reese’s antics delivered. There you go. If somebody’s got a correctional officer past, then “realness” becomes a concern, but if a rapper talks about beatdowns and bitches, and delivers on those lyrics, it’s another concern. Make up your damned minds.

Dr Dre beat up Dee Barnes, Pepa says that Treach was prone to physical attacks and Flavor Flav is always in the mix. They’re lucky their grandest misdemeanors seemed to occur when cameras were shoulder mounted. A noisy woman on a bus gets an uppercut from a man and it’s a comedy viral. 17-year-old rappers talking about guns seems to shock people unaware that Nas was a teenager when he went to hell for snuffing Jesus, Prodigy was 17 when ‘Hit it From the Back’ dropped and Illegal were pretty much fetuses when they were threatening to shoot Kris Kross in the gut. Rap’s been just as aggressive for a long, long time. People just rapped a little fancier and didn’t live their lives in a room full of cameras.

While we’re lapsing into nostalgia, R.I.P. to pioneering Nottingham rapper K.I.D. K.I.D. was a talented guy as this blog entry attests, and having spent some time in that city, I can confirm it’s a place that loves hip-hop like few other cities do. If you thought US rap, despite the kind of predilection for mourning that Boris Johnson would berate, can be a little dismissive of its early legends on their passing or at a time of crisis, our scene is so niche (and pebbled with at least 97% dreck) that a Kold Sweat legend like Lloyd McDevitt’s gets even less coverage. This and Mike Allen’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis are both very sad. The impending ‘NG83’ Nottingham/UK b-boy documentary looks extremely promising and a year on, talk of a screening in Notts as part of an event dedicated to K.I.D indicate that it’s complete and fully funded.

Because it’s Halloween, I’m into ‘Return of the Living Dead’ all over again. That film’s the apex of comedy-horror, with some genuinely terrifying moments and some great little touches courtesy of that pesky 245 Trioxin® like that cheap but subtle moving butterfly warning of what’s to come. If you’ve never seen it, break it out next week to celebrate. Then watch ‘More Brains! A Return to the Living Dead’ documentary. Afterwards. if you’re still obsessed, track down Christian Sellers and Gary Smart’s ‘the Complete History of the Return of the Living Dead’ book if you can get it at a price that isn’t the wild Amazon Marketplace asking amount. The notion of Tobe Hooper, a patchy director with more misfires than classics in his repertoire, directing the film as originally planned and in 3D, is truly scary. He wouldn’t have come close to what Dan O’ Bannon delivered. Maybe O’Bannon would have had to get hands on like Spielberg supposedly did with ‘Poltergeist.’ This pre-shoot industry press ad shows just how close we came to getting a lesser product.

Remember when your mum scoffed at the price of shoes? The old, “They should run by themselves for that kind of money” maternal quip was rife and you sure as hell didn’t get the Nike Air editions of any model either — non-Air if you were lucky. Wouldn’t you have liked to wield this as a pamphlet in your pocket to justify owning a pair of Jordan 2s in miniature? I wish my mum had picked this up when it came out in August 1987.

SHOES

Getting some questions fired my way by my friend Mr David Hellqvist aka. The Baron, who’s running the online element of the mighty ‘Port’ magazine on the subject of sports footwear, I was left pondering what my problem is with the term “sneakerhead” and the notion of “sneaker culture” (other than the use of the term “sneaker” if you’re a Brit, which sounds as awkward as when white people say “riddim” or “swag”) — they sum up a certain mindset that I find difficult to fathom. I don’t understand how a “sneaker culture” could ever exist alone?

To me, “sneaker culture” is a form of in-breeding that feeds off itself rather than outside forces to become a big game of soggy biscuit (probably the fifth time I’ve used exactly the same circle jerk analogy on here – it hints at some kind of psychological problem). It turns something that was once affiliated with a certain level of style into moody polybagged pedantry worthy of the comic book guy from ‘The Simpsons.’ Kids get clowned for getting some fruity nickname wrong. Wore becomes “UNds’d” and bought becomes “copped.” People take a strange obsession with whether other people wear what they buy. If they can’t afford it, people weep over social media instead of finding something cheaper, different and just as good (which, if memory serves me, was the backbone of shoe hoarding back in the day). People who queue overnight for a colourway berate “Hypebeasts” for getting into stuff for some supposed wrong reason.

The minute you can be shoehorned into a top ten list of things you “sneakerheads” do, it’s probably time to get out that beige box. Shorn of sub-cultural affiliations and reasons for wearing something beyond the prestige of limited edition it’s just men staring at each other’s feet solemnly and sportswear turned into an unrelenting wish list hindered by an anxiety over what drops the following weekend. If your emotional attachments are with the shoes rather than the cultures they’re attached to, something’s gone wrong. Without the shoeboxes clogging up my everyday existence, I’d be liberated — without the music, skate and pop cultural ephemera that trips me up every morning, I’d be miserable.

Each to their own, but while I’m still disturbingly enthusiastic about trainers and the cultures they fit into, the world of the “sneakerholic” and whatever godawful exhibition, t-shirt brand or — worst of all — mainstream feature that begins with something insipid like “Watch out Imelda Marcos!” is a baffling mystery to me. There aren’t many things that begin with “Sneaker” that don’t make me want to self-harm (shouts to my buddies at Sneaker Freaker and Sneaker News though — definitely exempt from this rant), but the po-faced world it seems to have spawned in the last 24 months is something I want to keep a distance from. Salutes to everyone who just amasses boxes and appreciates shoes without having to buy the matching hat.

BOAT SHOE BEEF

I want to watch a bootleg copy of the new Ben Affleck film (no Gigli) so this is a rush job. The Timberland brand has been an organisation close to my heart since the notion of amassing £120 for a pair of boots was impossible and I had to settle for CAT. Shit, I even considered Lugz back when Erick Sermon was plugging them in jeans big enough to block out the sun and cause a global rickets crisis, but you always knew you were compromising. For all the ‘Watchdog’ talk of quality or unfounded rumours about them and their enthusiastic hip-hop market, an ad with, say, Das EFX in ‘The Source’ would have ultimately deaded the Timberland brand. I’m not mad at the way it wasn’t all up in the rap press desperately trying to be down (though I still don’t mess with the roll-tops) during my teen years. As Timberland weather approaches and their 40th birthday is impending (though the Abington Boot Company launched 60 years ago), here’s some old Timberland ads. The blocky TIMBERLAND lettering to promote the “Outdoors-Proof Boot” in 1976 shows how the brand design has evolved and the 1979 campaign with a hillbilly family in wheat workbooks that, rather curiously, depicts them as the shoe of the moonshine maker hiding from Treasury Agents, is a gem, complete with a tagline that pre-dates Stella Artois’ “Reassuringly expensive” campaign — “A whole line of fine leather boots that cost plenty, and should.” 1982 was seemingly the year that Timberland declared boat shoe beef with Sperry Top-Sider with shot after shot. Brands didn’t do subliminals back then — shots fired, man overboard! Can I still enter the 1984 sweepstakes for Black & Decker powertools? The copywriting’s pretty solid throughout the 1980’s as GORE-TEX enters the line and the Super Boot era begins. I never realised that it took until 1991 for the brand to drop proper hikers either. I love these ads.

To coincide with the exhibition that’s in Berkeley California right now (though I’m hoping to catch in Boston next April) a full mid-career retrospective book is dropping next month and it looks tremendous and curiously affordable too. The Damiani book from 2009 was substantial, but this 448 page behemoth is something I’m judging by its cover, but you know it’s going to be necessary. Here’s Berkeley Art Museum’s Lawrence Rinder (who, put the book together alongside assistant curator Dena Beard) and Jefferey Deitch talking about Barry McGee. There’s a few more videos on YouTube courtesy of BAMPFA, including an excellent slideshow created by McGee.