Tag Archives: ego trip


It’s a scattershot blogging day because I’m feeling particularly unfocused. In an effort to avoid revisiting 2010, the first fortnight of 2011 has passed in a curious blur of meetings, follow-ups and forgotten follow-ups. The byproduct is that I’ve done far less than planned. So it’s a good thing that I’m not one of those tits who spent New Year’s Day merrily declaring that “2011 is my year!” and other such doomed boasts. At least the Criterion release of Brian De Palma’s ‘Blow Out’ is something to look forward to. Since the fanboy boom for creating fictional Criterion fan art (as seen here), I can pretty much anticipate what a sleeve might look like, and ‘Blow Out’ is no exception, but it captures the film’s feel, from that studio to Travolta’s sense of isolation in a severe situation. And if that wasn’t enough, go check Criterion’s alarmingly talented real-deal designer, Sam Smyth’s self-designed posters for his top 10 films of last year.

My friends Grace and Al have executed some strong film work that appeared this week. I’m linking rather than embedding to avoid this turning into some kind of clip show, and while I love zombies but couldn’t give a flying fuck about bikes, the mini-velodrome is very impressive indeed. There’s good scope for a pretty spectacular accident too. I always wanted to work on film, but it requires a level of patience that leaves me agitated. On a cinematic subject, Korea seems to know how to pump out vicious thrillers with flair. Kim Ji Woon’s ‘I Saw the Devil’ is a tremendous-looking film that forgoes logic and common sense in favour of a succession of brutal set pieces that mix and match horror, action and drama.

Choi Min Sik’s psycho might be one of the best serial killer characters of any film, with a remorseless, unhinged performance that’s at odds with his blank-faced pursuer, and after ‘Oldboy’ and ‘The Chaser’ I can’t help but note that Korean cinema favours a bludgeoning as preferred mode-of-carnage. Running at nearly 150 minutes (with some severe cuts), I loved this beautiful-looking but thoroughly dumb slab of very, very vicious fun. The clip below isn’t for sensitive souls (and it’ll probably last about another 24 hours on YouTube, but it’s a fight set piece to match the ‘Oldboy’s corridor and claw hammer fun. What happens when a friendly taxi driver picks up a serial killer when —out of sheer coincidence—there’s already a psychopath in the back seat? Stabby, well-shot mayhem commences…

It’s tradeshow season, so expect more XXXXXXXXX action than Soho in its sleazy heyday. Will someone unleash the next shit that drags the industry out of its current mire in Milan, Berlin or Paris? One relic of last year is this Fox news piece on Camo fabric production at Michigan’s Duro Textiles from last summer. I’ve been thinking about technical materials, and while I’ve yet to hear any solid proof of MultiCam’s effectiveness in current conflict, TenCate have got some amazing technologies in their roster—Armourtex is a serious application and Defender M’s long-established self extinguishing properties minimise burns. I heard tales of infrared eluding, bloodstain-absorbing lunacy in the labs of those fishing for military contracts. if market shellsuits circa. 1990 had an element of Defender M in the fabric mix, those apocryphal tales of badly dressed folk being seriously scorched wouldn’t exist. Camo production looks oddly hypnotic…

I’m convinced that hip-hop dumbed down by at least 20% this week. Gucci’s celebration of frozen dairy treats placed across his face for life was a dimwitted highlight, but Worldstar’s user-submitted gems are upping the goonery. Who exactly is The President, with his Jeezy and Rick Ross-alike delivery? He’s made several appearances on there, but his Twitter follow game is weak. “The President Buys A Building In TX, Counts 50K In Cash On Iphone In Response TO Haters + Pulls Out 713 Motorizing Custom Made Bentley & Diamond Flooded WhiteHouse Chain [User Submitted]” might be the funniest of all the video titles thus far. Where’s the logic in such audacious displays? Did anybody care enough to hate in the first place?

Worldstar’s payola-led business model creates its own rap realm that’s confined to the site. The President’s gimmick appears to be that he’s supposed to be a rich man who decided to rhyme on some Ted DiBiase shit, but his impending Jim Jones collaboration might get him coverage that isn’t sandwiched between crackheads getting walloped and J-Hood freestyles. If the President was keener to reassert how much cash he’s got, he’d make like Homer Simpson in his lottery fantasy (“Look closer, Lenny!”) and have himself gold-plated. It’s funny to see gutter-sounding folk like grimy whiteboy of the moment, Action Bronson operating on the other end of the scale— with superior results—at the moment too. Thank god for the launch of ego trip’s egotripland.com—it’s in its early stages at the moment, but those blogs have the potential to amaze. Edan and Daryl Jenifer haven’t commenced yet, but Dave Tompkins is already on the case, with an excellent Full Force piece.


Further proof that Tumblr can be used for good rather than mere self-indulgence arrives in the shape of the Essayist (“Aggregated long-form essays from the world’s best writers & publications”), which is a trove of amazing writing across all subjects—Natasha Vargas-Cooper’s ‘Hard Core’ is a personal pick of the selection, but it’s well worth diving in. The Documentarian (“Aggregating unknown documentaries and free video content to broaden yo’ fuckin’ horizons”) is a sister site to improve your year. The incredibly grim 1985 BBC2 40 Minutes entry on ‘The Outcasts’ biker gang is all types of awesome.


It’s too easy to look to the past – this site is riddled with retro tendencies, riffing on the olden days. In an ideal world, it would be riddled with teched-out madness,  future shocks and the new shit, but there’s some stuff that needs to reappear, whether it’s a look at a career, a new presentation of a lost classic or a deeper delve through past glories for a brand. From a spot of speed pondering, 11 things that seem very necessary came to light. There’s a ton more worthy of mention, but here’s what seems pertinent at time-of-blogging…


It’s curious that John Cassavetes’ body-of-work has been given a beautiful treatment by Criterion and Optimum, and that his name is on the lips of anyone talking indie opuses. As an actor (‘The Dirty Dozen’, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and ‘The Fury’ spring to mind) he had a serious presence, but as a director, he fathered so many styles, to quote Malice, he should’ve been handing out cigars left, right and centre. From an experiential point-of-view, everyone should watch his entire directorial output.

You’ve got to love those naturalistic performances from Falk, Rowlands and Gazzara – while the kid in ‘Gloria’ is the worst child actor ever, John could generally get a great turn in his movies. ‘The Killing of a Chinese Bookie’, his interpretation of a noirish gangster thriller is a claustrophobic, deliberately paced, gruelling experience – Gazzara as Cosmo is terrific, and the anti-glamour of his plight makes it essential viewing. Bo Harwood was a sound engineer and the man responsible for the raw “scores” for ‘A Woman Under the Influence’, ‘The Killing…’ and ‘Opening Night’ – the curious distorted electro stomp that launches ‘…Chinese Bookie’ is one of the greatest musical moments in ’70s cinema, yet it remains mystery music. Thankfully Nick Cassavetes seemed to ditch a 1997 plan for a remake. Bo Harwood talked about releasing a CD of this music with accompanying notes here, but after that…nothing.


Not necessarily a bring-back, but without getting dumb enough to assume that Mike Tyson’s strange Italian ‘Dancing With the Stars’ appearance looking a little less rotund means he could ever re-enter the ring, it would be nice to see him take a reader through his life and career. Recent tragedy might have set things back a little, but he sent a proposal for his autobiography to five publishers this time last year, leading to a presumed bidding war. Post documentary, and after the popularity of Agassi’s effort, this is a classic in the making. Books like ‘Fire & Fear’ were lacking…the world needs a great Tyson book – ideally an official one.


The Weaver Hi is set for a release later this year, and while teaming with Liam Gallagher’s deeply shitty Pretty Green label means Clarks Originals loses some luster, the plaintoe version of the Wallabee is an inevitability. That should earn back some points. But how about the brand digs a little deeper? The truly barmy Deep Country boot, heavy on the crepe, and the Padmore, with its formalised plaintoe look would be a welcome resurrection too – a pipe dream of course, because as the name suggests, an Asian-made Padmore, regardless of accuracy, would make no sense.


If you were savvy or lucky enough to get talked around by a comic shop staffer in 1990 into grabbing the perfect bound Eclipse reissues, you know that Alan Moore’s work on ‘Miracleman’ is phenomenal, matching ‘Watchmen’ and ‘From Hell’ – evoking a glorious ’80s era of UK comics. If you weren’t that fortunate, you’ve been deprived of a masterpiece – eBay and Amazon Marketplace prices are daft at present. The reason? A tangled legal mess that seemed to embroil every imprint in the industry with rights issues left, right and centre. Marvel got the rights, announcing this last Summer. Rumour has it, a monthly issue-by-issue reprint could happen. Alan Moore has pledged his profits will go to the character’s creator (originally ‘Marvelman’) – 94 year old Brit-funnybook legend Mick Anglo.


If whispers about Nike scheming to take it there with All Conditions Gear are true, then a balance between the old and brand new would be a beautiful thing. The 20th anniversary of the sub-brand was cool last year, but for fanboys, not enough. It’s never enough. A Tarn reissue would be great, but a Kibo High would be killer too. While it should’ve been an ACG flagship, instead it fell into the ‘Nike Hiking’ line on its introduction. One of Nike’s very best.


When it comes to talk of the rise and fall of James Lavelle’s empire and its rise and fall, laugh it up fuzzballs. Mo’ Wax collated a lifestyle that has its considerable dips and troughs but now, going on the aspirational drivel of ‘How To Make It In America’, it’s well and truly part of the mainstream. Most probably have a stack of beautifully packaged nothingness gathering dust with the Mo’ Wax logo affixed alongside the essential stuff, but visually, the label never let the consumer down. Logos, artwork, marketing – this was total obsession. Like ‘Miracleman’ there were label rights issues that caused extra complications, and several artists were, apparently, less-than-happy. REAS’s art on the overlooked ‘Now Thing’ compilation, one of the last label releases is classic material. Bankhead, Drury, Futura and the rest’s work deserves to be collated in one tome. Hope Rizzoli Editions are listening…


Criterion have been cryptically promising a Terrence Malick release for a minute, and their excellent monthly newsletter included a cartoon hint at what’s on the horizon. Could that be deciphered as ‘The Thin Red Line’ on Blu-Ray? They get the gasface for regionally coding the Blu-Ray releases, but if that cartoon translates as the Malick masterpiece – one of the greatest war movies ever made, the potential is immense. No slouches on the extras, could this Criterion version lead to the premiere of the 6 hour version and those deleted Haas. Rourke, Mortenson, Thornton, Oldman and Sheen appearances restored?


James Prince’s Rap-A-Lot empire created a blueprint for the south. If you don’t like Geto Boys, Outlaws, Big Mike and 5th Ward Boyz, you’re slipping. In Z-Ro they’ve still got a legend on the books. It’s a shame that Trae and Devin the Dude departed, but with such a spectacular back catalogue, a definitive documentary, remastered albums with bonus DVDs and more would reinforce just how hard this label changed the game. Pill and Yelawolf rep the new breed of down south spitters, but while NYC marinades in its own nostalgia, the south has been too busy progressing to take time out to chart its history beyond local common knowledge. Maybe it’s time to do that.


Super-publisher Ted Bawno’s Tweets are a necessary follow, but he recently made a more overt reference to the return of the mighty Ego Trip. Will it be online? Televisual? In print? They’ve done all three with aplomb before, but as the editorial team split to take over the industry post ’98, they could bring the magic back with ease. Lest you forget, Brent Rollins’ design, that mix of hardcore, skate and hip-hop, plus Supreme in the fashion shoots and ads before you knew what it was made for the best magazine ever made. And following that, the best book on hip-hop ever written. Note to the herbs – don’t underestimate Ego Trip.


The whole beige and cardigan thing is done. Where’s streetwear when you need it? Oh yeah, there it is – people are still making referential print tees, except now they have to have a Vimeo teaser. Where can you turn? You can look to one of the originators; Jun Takahashi for a start. Undercover seemed to go back to its roots without compromising the high-end traits of the brand and showed a flailing industry how its done. Most lines are unwearable but buoyed by e-sycophancy – Jun however, is a don. Posing himself for an ill lookbook,  you can assume that there’ll be a trickle down of what’s on display via lesser brands. Is this the return of Tokyo street circa 2000? Did things just go full circle? Bet Jun’s apecentric former partner-in-crime drops something serious too…


It’s quite clear that camouflage is back – bear in mind, if you’ve watched the new CNN/Imam Thug, it never actually went anywhere, but as maharishi sank and all-over print overkill set in, it became endemic of streetwear’s overkill. That of course, is bullshit, Camo is timeless, and while fickle types went all Americana, it kept on developing – last month ACUPAT was, as rumoured for a few years now, apparently succeeded by MultiCam as US-army issue for the next tour of Afghanistan. Even British soldiers out there get a MultiCam influenced version of DPM in Multi-Terrain Pattern as of this month too. It looks good on a version of Oakley’s Land, Sea, Air boot set for Summer and an Arc’teryx combat jacket for the LEAF line too.