I’m in Nuremberg and I just got back from eating dumplings in the woods (not a euphemism), so there’s only a sliver of blogging time available. I recommend checking out my German friends at Being Hunted (as mentioned here several times, a huge influence on this blog) and their rewind to the Kate Moss tee leak of 2004 and the line sheets it was taken from are worth revisiting. That whole incident preempts the blog boom of 2005. As an apology for my slackness, I’ve accompanied this with a photo of Guru and Heather B from a 20-year old Spin piece. Was this some kind of official Champion photoshoot? Champion jersey dresses, tees and backgrounds, plus an GFS hat on Guru’s head captures the era nicely. I want to know more about this.
Recycled material from the hard drive today, with a Tyson-centric theme incited by talk of Roy Jones Jr. scheming a bout with Kimbo Slice, thus devaluing boxing to the point where it might as well involve kangaroos like a 1950s British fairground. If I had my way, the majority of posts here would involve Kid Dynamite anyway. ‘Spin’s January 1991 meeting between LL Cool J (on the back of ‘Mama Said Knock You Out’) and a post Douglas-defeat Tyson is excellent. The “Neither of them have ever heard of Morrissey” line in the intro is a nice start and the topics discussed are pleasantly incendiary, linking boxing and hip-hop and scattering it with a few choice bits of trivia along the way. It’s a bit like classic ‘Source’ meets ‘Playboy’ in terms of content. The ‘Wild, Wild Haircut Craze’ piece from a 1989 ‘Ebony’ uses Mike’s ‘Killer 1’ cut as the starting point to talk step-up flattops and “channel cuts.” The images of Tyson (wearing a Fila track top) and Ali, Tyson being congratulated by Eddie Murphy (who’s at a career point between the mild flop of ‘Another 48 Hours’ and the resurrection that was ‘Boomerang’) and an older shot of Mike proving that espadrilles are for players if you’re built like a brick shithouse and wear a chunky anklet with them. TOMS wearers are still bellends though.
Nothing to see here today. You’d be far better off heading to Papermag if you haven’t already and reading ‘An Oral History of X-Girl’ with contributions from Sofia Coppola, Kim Gordon, Eli Bonerz, Chloë Sevigny and Daisy von Furth. Can you imagine having Lyor Cohen as a babysitter? This is a comprehensive piece of streetwear history in an era and industry where womens’ gear is an afterthought and whatever crappy brand puts Kate Upton on gets the blog hits. The world needs another X-Girl — extra points to that brand for the clean Mike Mills-designed logo. To assume it was just a girly variant on X-Large would be far, far, off the mark. Prior to X-Girl, von Furth was writing for ‘Spin’ and the above Lollapalooza ’92 related piece from that magazine displays a proto (albeit significantly sluttier) X-Girl aesthetic at work.
That conversational piece answered a few questions about a brand that fascinated me before it vanished to Japan and seemed to become semi-mainstream like its male counterpart (it still makes my mind boggle that there was still an X-Large store off Carnaby Street until around 2006). It’s nice to see something with a little more mystique out ther too, like gardener-centric brand Sassafras who don’t make a replica of my grandad’s “gardening tie” (now that’s swagger), but make good gear that’s elusive on these shores and pretty much everywhere else. Their heather grey t-shirt is particularly direct, though I suspect it would be worn by an audience of less-than-greenfingered “crafted” gear fanboys. Now everyone’s shifting from parka fetishes to foodie inclinations, is horticulture the next sub-cultural exodus for the WordPressing and Instagramming masses? (Image taken from Doo-Bop)
Not from Japan, but appropriately otaku, Style Warrior making a Mighty Ethnicz t-shirt isn’t entirely unexpected but the execution’s very good. Mighty Ethnicz’s 2 Live Crew affiliations, 8+ year (excluding the Newtrament days) went from UK rap’s early era to that point when we all wanted to sound like Pete Rock or Muggs. The Bodé tribute character, complete with a star, machine gun, name chain, big shoes and fat laces is a good one and the tee’s available to pre-order right here. By the time I was utterly infatuated with rap, these guys, London Posse and the Brotherhood always seemed to deliver the antidote to fast raps about goblins and swords over corner shop Bomb Squad knockoffs.
On a Bodé note, I recently found a picture of a Ninja Turtle that Mark Bodé sketched for me in 1991.
I’m on holiday, so I’m taking a holiday from even attempting to make anything in this blog entry particularly cohesive. I forgot it was Wednesday, so I’m just chucking the contents of the tabs on Chrome and what’s in my Gmail up here — I hope it’s sufficient. Anyway, you shouldn’t even be here — you should be on Egotripland reading this piece on the making of the ‘Lil’ Ghetto Boy’ video.
One of the most interesting things I’m currently looking at is Will Robson-Scott (the man behind the lens on ‘Crack & Shine’ 1 and 2) and James Pearson-Howes’s ‘Top Deck’ project with Mother and London clothing brand Utile (all London everything) of images shot from the top deck of London buses. Having spent more hours than I’d liked to have spent gawping from double deckers down at London, the traffic choked leisurely pace has given me some interesting perspectives of the city and the behaviour of those who dwell in it. It’s a shame that I’m usually too irate to appreciate them, but Will and James’s images should resonate with any of us who aren’t stupid or rich enough to attempt to navigate it by car.
Launching as an exhibition downstairs at Mother (Leonard Street) on Thursday and being printed and collated in a newspaper format, ‘Top Deck’ celebrates a ubiquitous but oft-squandered view. Two years of dreary journeys documented is proof that we take our surroundings for granted and if I didn’t only use buses over the underground in a hapless attempt to save time, meaning I’m too agitated to relax and just absorb the overhead view. At least the Routemaster (and the new reworking of it) offers more scope to get lost in a flight of fantasy than the curious tension — of wild-eyed fidgeting loners, screwfacing women having to stand with a pushchair and sweating fare dodgers — that’s present on each and every bendy bus. Go grab the publication here or attend the exhibition and grab it while you’re there, but make sure to check out the tie-in Tumblr.
What could be more British than staring from a bus? How about a mug made to commemorate a UK hip-hop favourite? Like a ‘Fat Lace’ joke made physical, the ‘Serve Tea Then Murder’ mug from Style Warrior sees the makers of tie-in Brit rap merchandise with the nod from the referenced artists and labels shift from cotton to glazed ceramics. It started as forum banter, but now Style Warrior is taking pre-orders on them. Brilliantly at odds with the po-faced, harder than hardcore content of the record, the 1991 Music of Life release provides the no-nonsense imagery and lettering here. Consume enough caffeine from it and you too can be a No Sleep Nigel. While plenty of Britcore releases leave me a little cold in 2012, creations like this hot drink receptacle remind me of the kind of mad merchandise I’ve seen in Tokyo hip-hop outlets over the years.
In fact, the quest for the Sophnet Nike ACG Mt. Fuji jacket from ’07 in an XL led me to hero and all-round nice guy, DJ Muro’s King Inc. site and its Diggermart pages again. But I’ve blogged about them a couple of times before. What caught my eye was the bizarre key charm from Lil ‘ Limo in association with Muro and for Warp Magazine’s birthday last year. ‘Sesame Street’s Elmo in multiple colours with a ‘King of Diggin’ tape and 45 attached? Why the fuck not? Only in Tokyo could something like this exist, yet it sits alongside the Elmo that Raekwon cradled for Supreme, or Agallah’s ‘Crookie Monster’ as a strange piece of Jim Henson hip-hop tie-in. Anyone else remember the official Cookie Monster DJ Muro sweat with the crazed creature munching on vinyl. Nobody got quite as sick with the hip-hop imports as Japan did, and I’m preoccupied with the footage — from the ‘Wild Style’ tour to that eye opening 1994 Yo! episode where Fab 5 Freddy returned and did his awkward language barrier thing to look at amazing record stores, and beyond.
While we’re talking YouTube videos, every Onyx video between 1992 and 2002 is on there as a compilation in cleaned-up quality, plus the Bad Brains CBGB show from Christmas Eve, 1982 in better quality than the hundredth generation VHS look of most hardcore show documents from that era.
And for the sake of it, here’s a Shawn Stüssy interview from ‘Spin’s December 1991 issue. It’s not the most enlightening feature, but it was available and this blog entry’s lacking, so I upped it.