Tag Archives: mike vallely

RAT BONES

powellsweatpants

Most skate-centric attire from the late 1980s is best left as a neon memory. By the time brands were creating apparel specifically for it, they seemed to be too late. But with a current obsession with sweatpants (or tracksuit bottoms as we Brits more commonly call them, though blog-induced Americanisms are killing traditional terms) and plastic goth imagery and long-sleeve tee repeat prints, I’m surprised that there hasn’t been a renaissance of the Powell Peralta sweatpant collection from 1987-1989. Going beyond the Rat Bones wheel imagery and building on the skeleton characters that defined the company’s graphics since Ray “Bones” Rodriguez’s board (which really seemed to have a profound impact on W(Taps too) and took it back to the Dogtown era’s intimidating imagery, these creations seemed to coincide with some metal related merchandise in a similar vein. Powell must have made a killing from chucking a print on Discus Athletics blanks — I was obsessed with these things for several years and repelled by their £39 price tag when they were on sale in my hometown’s scattering of skate stores (some being a little more opportunist than others).

Thanks to the Thrasher archives, we can see Jim Thiebaud and Mike Vallely wearing their pairs with pride. After the Animal Chin, Skeleton Handplants, and Cab Bats, and Rat Bones (the object of my affection) editions, the leg bone variation would appear in catalogues nearer the decade’s end. By the time I had sufficient birthday funds open for a pair, Christian Slater (and Mike McGill as his skate double) wore the Bag O’ Bones ones in Gleaming the Cube while scouting for pools by bribing a plane pilot, they were played out. I suspect older skaters at the time knew they were pretty terrible all along.

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demobones

Am I the only person impressed by the fact that the Pump Fury was created by the man who designed the M1500, M574, M996 and M997 for New Balance?

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Salutes to Mr. Steve Bryden (who was integral in giving me my career break) for putting his book out. Caps: One Size Fits All is all about the cap’s place in popular culture and there’s some great archive imagery in the mix too. I have a short contribution in there, but the best stuff is the conversations with folks like Mister Mort and Brian Procell plus brief histories of hats like the Coca-Cola Long-Bill. Have there been any books specifically dedicated to baseball caps and similar headwear before? Any 192-page book that includes a picture of Arthur Scargill rocking a United Mine Workers of America hat as well as a concept sketch of the Nike Tailwind running cap is worth your time. I look like I’m robbing to fund a habit when I throw one on, but I have a deep respect for the cap and its cultural roots. Amazon says it drops at the end of next month, but it also has it in stock. Amazon is clearly confused. Anyway, go support a man who knows what the fuck he’s talking about.

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Seeing as we’re discussing armprints on tees, I like the après-ski look of St. Moritz Supersoft‘s output because it reminds me of Campri or EPMD breaking out the Hobie Alpine garms. It also taps into the current reoccupation with absurd levels of logos better than many.

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‘DEATHBOWL TO DOWNTOWN’S DVD EXTRAS

When you grab a documentary on DVD you expect great extras as standard. Plexifilm’s ‘Style Wars’ remains a pinnacle. You’d be forgiven for assuming that excised interview segments removed for the sake of brevity, supporting information, galleries, where-are-they-nows and all that other good stuff should come as standard, but if you saw Revolver’s atrocious  ‘Beautiful Losers’ release, bare-bones and inexplicably pitched as a skate movie, you’ll soon realise just how spoilt you’ve been. Likewise, their ‘Tyson’ disc was devoid of extras too, despite thirty plus hours of interviews compressed into ninety minutes and even the forthcoming apology/cash-in by way of double disc is just a rehash of existing fight footage. The moral? Lower those expectations beyond the main feature.

Superb UK skate exploration ‘Rolling Through The Decades’ was two hours already, but the extra forty minutes provided answers to any questions raised, and on the announcement that Coan Nichols and Rick Charnoski’s ‘Deathbowl To Downtown’ was due out as a digital disc there was a certain excitement. Especially in the UK which was, despite vocalising frustrations, omitted from the film’s screening schedule. Now this exploration of New York’s skate history is available to buy, curiously, there’s been little global distribution (in the meantime, buy a copy from www.deathbowltodowntown.com) or fleshing out of the extras beyond cryptic talk of two discs and the nifty accompanying fanzine-style booklet. This ambiguity could prevent purchase, so it’s time to take a quick tour of the mysterious second disc.

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