Tag Archives: idea books



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.



(Mike Tyson on the hotel room phone in Jordan IIIs circa 1989.)

I’m back from Canada and I can barely see because of the jetlag. The human body is pathetic. So pathetic that I thought it was Saturday yesterday and forgot to update this blog. I can’t say much about my Arc’teryx visit other than that witnessing the factory process upped my appreciation of the brand’s output and that I know more about GORE-TEX taping now than I knew last Wednesday. As a fiend for those Gore membranes in a jacket or shoe, it was borderline Wonka-like to see the processes, even though GORE-TEX itself, minus the shell or lining, is just an anonymous white sheet.

I’d wondered about the jacket Michael Jordan (not a stranger to bizarre sartorial choices) wore on his September 1991 ‘Saturday Night Live’ appearance — a strange green quilted design, but the little Tinker Hatfield piece in the new US ‘GQ’ solves that mystery. “At one point I pushed for a less sporty sub-brand called Jordan Beyond. When Michael did SNL in ’91, he wore a Jordan beyond quilted green jacket. But I couldn’t make it happen. I’ve still got some samples, including a basketball shoe that was perforated like a wingtip.”

Jordan Beyond sounds like the genesis of the XI dress shoe concept and what the contemporary models are working with but it certainly seems to be a little at odds with the Jordan VI aesthetic. One day, I’m sure the ‘Jordan Beyond’ boxset, reproducing that unwearable jacket, will make an appearance. If the JB line had taken off, I’m sure it would have dated badly, but it doesn’t sound too far from the Cole Haan LunarGrand strategy, and I like to think it would have included a suit made of marl grey fleece with giant shoulders and Mike’s pleated dress pant, polo and wingtip steez in the mix too.

IDEA Books‘ mailout is the best out there and some of the oddities they obtain are phenomenal. As well as showcasing a Panini Fiorucci sticker album you’re unlikely to ever see a again, earlier this year they got hold of Vincent Alan W’s (a frequent photographic documenter of gay African-American crews), ‘The Bangy Book/New Yorker Street Boys’ — a compilation of Vincent’s 1988 era snaps of the Bangy/Banjee phenomenon, where hypermasculine goonwear and the “homeboy” look of the time betrayed stereotypes of sexuality (hence the Banjee part of the ball in the seminal ‘Paris is Burning’). The nudity’s going to alienate, but I can’t help but think that Banjee infiltrated hip-hop again during the last decade, resulting in contemporary hip-hop’s mess of big tongued shoes and couture cues. A rarity worthy or reappraisal, just because there’s not enough imagery of this movement around.

(Images lifted from the IDEA Books scans.)

On that 1980’s New York topic, the Leica Bruce Davidson video was cool (and I think I’ve broken down the impact ‘Subway’ had on me in installing a healthy fear of NYC on here before)
but I’d never seen this Bruce Davidson Q&A from last year at the Strand bookstore. Worth 52 minutes of your life.