Inspiration comes from some strange places. Residing relatively near Northampton, I had no idea that their museum held an enviable stash of sports footwear artifacts on display. I knew they had some in the museum and that there was a related event in early 2011, but I assumed it would be obvious releases for the easily excitable. Personally speaking, I have zero interest in seeing anything from the last 20 years on display anywhere, and the fruits of some presumed eBay activity here (if you sift through the battered nondescript runners in the mix) is better than most cynically compiled shoe expos. It’s all about the hi-top adidas (what is that Forum/Concord looking thing above?) they’re holding, including — seemingly out of nowhere — a Forum Hi box that displays the staggering late 1980s Foot Locker price of the shoe ($120), but no actual Forum His (I came across this Flickr account while hunting for Forum facts), plus some pioneeringly patent leather Made in France Concords (a shoe I’ve always loved and have extra affection for because they were the first store description I ever wrote for CT). There’s 1974 Jack Purcells, made two years after the Converse acquisition of the license from Goodrich as well as other oddball brand offerings. Sauntering in there and coming face to face with a pair of Nike Alohas would give me Stendhal syndrome. It’s a logical supplement to the region’s documentation of their legacy of shoemaking (as displayed in this beautiful set of late 19th and early 20th century factory shots), but I really slept on the Northampton Museum shoe stash.
On vaguely related topic, check out this Juan Epstein with Chi Ali where he briefly mentions his enviable shoe stash as a shorty and the Combat Jack show with Raekwon, where the Snow Beach garments are discussed.
Shouts to Steven Vogel who seems to have solidified his long relationship with FC St. Pauli with the Streetcore line. Many stabs at football culture as a trend statement are the worst thing ever, but St Pauli isn’t your average kind of club. I’m conscious of being John Thompson’s football fan on ‘The Fast Show’ whenever I even play with football culture, but Mr. Vogel has worked well with the team’s already enviable array of skull and crossbones festooned merchandise for one of the few skull printed shirts to not make you want to scratch your eyeballs. He hasn’t just sourced the first black blank he saw either. Craig and the A Number of Names squad’s anon* sweatshirt on a Camber blank brings back a set in sleeved, puffy, US-made, body side paneled silhouette that resurrects the jock fit of a 1996 sweat from Slam, Bond or Dr Jives.
Idea Books is one of the few email newsletters worth wasting thumb energy on when it shows up on your phone. Their Bowie-related acquisitions presumably always find a buyer at a high-profile brand to justify the cost. I’ve seen a few pages from a similar publication on a Bowie message board a few years back, but beyond the crotch shots and shiftlessness, this David Bowie Fan Club publication from 1973 is full of strange imagery that’s rarely seen anywhere else and the Idea crew are correct in commenting on how awesome the logo for Bowie and Tony DeFries’ MainMan company was. “Happy Hologram” is some pharmaceutical grade yayo copywriting. They’ve also uncovered a rare ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ poster that uses a tagline I’m more familiar with as an accompaniment the shot that’s also used as the ‘Low’ cover art. Go to their site and subscribe to their newsletter immediately, because what they spotlight doesn’t crop up on Amazon Marketplace too often.
Idea also had a KLF ‘Fuck the Millennium’ kit from their Barbican show back in 1997 that sold out before they even needed to talk it up. As eBooks go, JMR Higgs’ ‘Chaos Magic Music Money’ is a great history of pretty much everything that inspired, parallels or echoes the KLF attitude. Immaculately researched, just as Bill Drummond’s ’45’ held back on delivering a comprehensive history of their exploits, Higgs’ book is a mass of tangents that, like the subject matter, makes its own sense. A linear history would erode the mystique and miss the point, while authorization would be even further from the Ford Galaxie tracks and defeat the object entirely. The author is a master of controlled digression and you should reward his hard work and talent by spending £4.54 on his work.