Ah, 1999. Mo’ Wax releases were unlistenable with nice covers, denim was expensive and had Tippex style ‘E’s on the pockets, wallets had chains and Nikes looked like HR Giger designed them. Anyone else remember LEVEL magazine? It seemed to survive from 1999 until 2000, and represented a little Brighton-based moment in UK publishing to complement The Face. Back then I felt that print was on the wane, but I was unaware of the implosion that would leave W.H. Smiths barren bar the trashier mags and the style publications with ad-spend sugar daddies. To go visit the cornershop and grab a magazine with Nigo in it back when English language quasi-otaku antics were seemingly confined to an online Illuminati was surprising and I became a regular reader until LEVEL came to an abrupt end in November 2000 — it’s a shame on a number of levels, not least because the worlds of art, fashion and music it promoted collided in grander style the following year.
Now if I saw a magazine with Shepard Fairey’s work on, I’d be unlikely to even browse it, but back in August 2000 it was genuinely dizzying to see a reference staring me from the shelf. George P. Pelecanos profiles before ‘The Wire’ became the Johnny-come-lately liberal newspaper TV show of choice? Nice. Of course, nothing from the year 2000 can come away looking entirely fresh – Psycho Cowboy Brand garms, “electronica” scored first-gen Playstation games and skate shoes a mile wide were never destined to age well — but the layout is certainly not some over designed attempt to out-Neville Brody the pages and LEVEL came off like the smartest millennial Channel 4 youth show that never was and a less breathless ‘Grand Royal’. I lost my copies to overzealous parents during a move, so shouts to Nikolai of another of 2000’s heroes — Rift Trooper HQ — for hooking me up with some back issues last summer. But nobody told me that LEVEL still exists in online form until I spotted this online (there’s another nice little tribute here too).
Everyone’s a bloody “online magazine” but barely anybody normal I know owns an iPad yet. I still think there’s mileage for something in the vein of LEVEL or France’s Clark from these shores.
I’m a late adopter, yo. Nobody told me that there’s a Patta TV show either. Well, not exactly, but Tim and Mr. Lee Stuart’s presence on Amsterdam-based LetitrainTV (shouts to Gee for hipping me to the site’s existence) makes it very Patta-affiliated indeed. Tim visiting Smit-Cruyff — a pioneering European sports store that broke plenty of brands in Holland — is informative and talk of Prodigy’s autobiography, Eli Porter and running shoes makes this well worth a watch, because these chaps know what the fuck they’re talking about. Best of all, somebody’s kindly subtitled the whole thing too. I love LetitrainTV.
Remember when we were a laughing at that wacky Charlie Sheen earlier this year? Yeah, me neither. But watching Penelope Spheeris’s forgotten masterpiece, ‘The Boys Next Door’ which seems to be ignored when Spheeris talk skips from 1983’s ‘Suburbia’ to 1988’s ‘The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years’ and then ‘Wayne’s World’, I remembered what a powerful screen presence he is. It also reminded me that Maxwell Caulfield — last seen in ‘Emmerdale’ of all places — can be a remarkable actor, who gets to go psycho in this tale of two buddies who go killing for something to do. George Clinton on soundtrack duties, shades of ‘Badlands’ in that aimless malevolence and a genuinely foreboding atmosphere makes this the brooding brother of the Brat Pack flicks of the same year (1985) and the cold-blooded precursor to Tim Hunter’s ‘River’s Edge’ — Crispin Glover actually screen tested for Sheen’s role in ‘The Boys Next Door’ but according to Spheeris, he was deemed “too psychotic”. I need to see that screen test. The opening credits alone indicate that we’re not in John Hughes or Cameron Crowe territory.