I’m late to the party again, but I only just realised that two Read And Destroy tributes are on the market and both are excellent. After the RAD event a few months ago, there seemed to be a new wave of nostalgia for the legendary skate magazine (shouts to the team behind the recently launched Free Skateboard Magazine after Sidewalk’s recent demise — DIY efficiency in effect). Two shirts coincide and compliment that goodwill for the scene’s most iconic publication; Dear Skating is a love letter label that remakes the much-missed or impossible to find tees from a golden era of street skating, like Gonz’s Israel design from Video Days, with a vintage wash, and they’ve made an homage to the shirt that was advertised in the magazine that’s available now in stores like Flatspot and Native. if you’re looking for a tribute with a twist, Fergus Purcell and Sofia Maria’s male wing of the excellent Aries brand has created the RADER hybrid of RAD and Thrasher to take it one louder. It’s a fusion that works (was Skate Action the Transworld to RAD’s Thrasher, or is that bit of a reach?) and it unifies two of the greats. Slam Jam and Palace have got the Aries homage in stock. One of the forums created a DAD version for the skate fathers out there a few years back, but sadly, I couldn’t find a picture. Memories make for good gear.
I’ve been transcribing too much this week so text here will be at a minimum tonight (though you can click here for a one-hour conversation about shoes with my friend Gary Aspden). When it doubt, revisit Thrasher for those ads that had me primed to spend on gear I couldn’t find and send cheques for sticker packs that never arrived. With the Fuct book imminent, it’s worth following up this post of post World Industries ads for the brand with even more examples from 1995-1997. Now, for all the skulls and cod-Satanic imagery, streetwear wants to be your buddy and the presentation is lookbook-based. The print ad is well and truly extinct. It’s a testament to Brunetti’s marketing savvy that he nailed ads back in the day and makes your look book look like the afterthought it is in 2013 too. Those brands that looked like they wanted to smash your face in drew me in like the lamp junkie crane flies I’ve been slaughtering en masse during these sticky summer nights. I wish I wasn’t so addicted to retrospect sometimes, because it reminds me of companies making an effort and makes me prematurely cynical. Now there’s an epidemic of retweets, #weouthere selfies and that 100 emoji from blokes at brands.
I’m busy on some other things, so here’s twenty Stüssy ads from between 1989 and 1991. Some are pretty familiar, but there’s a couple of lesser-seen ones in the mix. Please excuse my brevity today: my time management at the weekend is of a very, very poor quality. These ads remind me of a time when I would have cut off my little finger like a character from a Kinji Fukasaku film for a Stüssy sweatshirt. Anyway, normal service will resume again soon. Apologies for the low, low word count. I’ll make it up to you with other stuff and strange collaboration projects that are on the horizon.
Seeing as it’s already midnight I’m just going to post that Daft Punk promo. I’m just fucking with you. There should be some kind of cut-off or late adoption aggregator that stops people posting the same goddamn thing just to get those page views from getting free shoes or press trips. I like all the people who call Daft Punk EDM now though, because the EDM term really reminds me of 1996’s perpetually delayed VHS embarrassment Vibrations (“Their love erupted from the electronic underground”) where the cool guy from Twin Peaks loses his hands, performs as a masked performing robot character (like Thomas and Guy-Manuel) called Cyberstorm, culminating in the best depiction of live dance music ever. I hate people that sneer about films being so bad they’re good, but Vibrations is like 1983’s Joysticks in that it feels like it was made as a parody of a craze cash-in and bears no resemblance to a human experience. Viewing it is like a sweaty flu dream — it could break into hardcore porn at any minute or descend into Nic Roeg-esque insanity. But back to Daft Punk, today I got retweeted by Paul Williams — as a Phantom of the Paradise, Smokey and the Bandit and Bugsy Malone fan, that was awesome. To hear that Williams is working on the new album made a lot of sense, because we all know that Swan, and not Cyberstorm, was the true mask inspiration.
You know what was better than any lookbook or careful photoshoot? Old skate magazine ads. I frequently cite fact as a vast inspiration on me and Erik’s Rizzoli tome will be proof of how good much depth the brand has and how good he is as an artist, but here’s some ads to pass the time. Back when the brand was World Industries affiliated I remember the more sexualized stuff in Big Brother (plus a superb Absolut parody) but after Erik split from Rocco, the ads from mid-1993 took the step of calling World Industries out for using fuct designs. Then, in late 1993, the next wave of ads kicked off in Thrasher, starting with that list of fuct’s favorite things. I remain a huge fan of Steve Rocco’s copywriting, but that fact Profanity is Profit ad, with the slick look and mass of labels, plus the dealers only and kids only contact details? Classic. Here’s a selection of fuct ads from late 1993 to early 1996 that includes sister brand Dorothys Fortress too.
Just as some sites seem to have fostered Kitty Genovese syndrome on a global scale, with hordes more likely to whip out the phone to film before they’ll ever call for help, I’ve long felt that social media has a tendency to sustain grieving to the point where it simply becomes crocodile tears. If it’s not a death, it’s a birthday of a dead person, then the anniversary of that death and I felt that I’d become a little hardened to all that. After all, how can you feel real sadness for the passing of somebody you never met? Then Adam Yauch died and I felt guilty for being so cynical, because — trite as it sounds — it genuinely felt like I’d lost a mentor.
This blog can’t be neatly summarised, but I can assure you that at nearly every level, there’s some Beastie Boys influence — despite MCA’s admirable achievements as an individual, I’m afraid that I see the trio as one. Instead I treat the Beastie Boys as a leaping trinity of differently pitched sounds operating in unison. I can’t pin down the people who visit here either, but I know — from comments on skate and clothing entries in particular — that the Beastie Boys had a vast impact on them. The Beastie Boys were a conduit for pretty much every sub-cultural element I’ve ever taken an interest in. Lee Perry, John Holmes, Spike Jonze, Minor Threat, Slayer, Ben Davis (see above for evidence of that brand’s impact on me), adidas Campus, PUMA Clydes and all the rest were all interconnected by Ad-Rock, MCA and Mike D’s joyous brain farts of cultural references. Let them decipher it rather than offer a simplified path — those that get it will get it eventually. ‘Grand Royal’ magazine’s frequent journalistic gems opened my eyes to the joys of self-indulgent long form writing, Todd James’ Brooklyn Dust logo is still one of my favourites, the talk of deadstock shoe sourcing (and we’ll forgive them for inadvertently spawning the crappy Sneaker Pimps) and Mike D’s involvement in X-Large is a pivotal moment in street wear.
A fair chunk of the industry I work in is the byproduct of something that the Beastie Boys contributed to significantly and I know, from Russ at Unorthodox Styles’ office on my first job interview there, that they’d made a mark on him too. So I kind of owe them for providing me with a source of income and as a founder member, Yauch can take a fair amount of that gratitude from me. If you operate in the street wear realm at any level, you’ve got to doth a snapback to the man — think back to the X-Fuct era, Nigo doing his homework by studying X-Large’s ape preoccupation (which went full circle when Ad-Rock wore Very Ape and the crew wore and collaborated with Bathing Ape) and MCA wearing a Supreme coach jacket to meet the Dalai Lama. They embraced the internet pretty early on too (I can remember thinking X-Large shunning paper catalogues for a website wasn’t going to catch on — turns out I was wrong). All that and I haven’t even mentioned the music.
From seeing the Beastie Boys get vilified on the cover of ‘The Sun’ when they toured with Madonna, I found myself festooning crudely drawn characters with equally poorly rendered VW logos at the age of 9 in every notebook at school. The Beastie Boys had strippers and the press said that they made fun of disabled kids. As a kid myself, that seemed funny. Just as the charts were riddled with comedy raps, the contents of ‘Licence to Ill’ seemed to fit in perfectly (and in retrospect, given the boys’ misunderstood self-parody, satires like ‘No Sleep Til Bedtime’ were doubly weak). Then they vanished for a minute after cropping up in a Sky Movies classic, ‘Tougher Than Leather’ (despite being regarded as a flop, an album that helped cement my love of hip-hop way more than ‘Raising Hell’ did — I know a few other rap nerds that feel the same). After ads cropped up in the specialist press and ‘Smash Hits’ alike, ‘Paul’s Boutique’ seemed to hit with a thud, despite the deserved good will it amassed later down the line. I especially like the revelation in the articles below that the Beastie Boys horror-comedy film they were meant to make with Russell and Rick — ‘Scared Stupid’— which was going to be followed up by a ‘To Catch a Thief’ remake starring Oran’ Juice Jones was deaded when Molly Ringwald talked Ad-Rock out of making it because it might harm his acting credibility.
My blood boiled when 3rd Bass took potshots at them (“Screaming ‘Hey Ladies’? Why bother?”) at the close of ‘Sons of 3rd Bass’ (Whiteboys calling whiteboys “devils” always confused me). Then the Beastie Boys owned the decade that followed and taught me that being unpleasant to ladies wasn’t that cool, growing up publicly. Not a lot of bands can do that and while the whole instrumental jam and comedy ‘Country Mike’ material never did anything for me, you had to respect the willingness to experiment. Plus they proved to we rap-loving crackers that just being your damn self and getting whiteboy wasted was the key to longevity, rather than haplessly trying to be “down”, and that through a few degrees of separation, pretty much everything was hip-hop in one way or another. I still kind of blame them for inadvertently creating Limp Bizkit and co, but despite that charmless mutant offspring misinterpreting what went before, the good far outweighs the bad.
Skipping from talk of skin colour, how many rap groups from the early 1980s are still together and more importantly, how many would you still pay to see? That’s the real mark of the Beastie Boys’ achievement. Some argued that forty-somethings spitting fly gibberish over distorted drums might have started to lose its appeal as an MP3, but live they could still crush it. Plus, they really seemed to be friends offstage — this was no marriage of convenience, which makes Adam’s passing all the more heartbreaking.
At a push, if I had to pick, MCA was the best rapper of the trio — as with the equally missed Guru, it’s mostly the voice, with those gruff tones counteracting the nasal nerdery at work. I’m particularly fond of his insanely stoned delivery on an early demo of ‘Car Thief’. Yauch’s film work (not dissimilar to George Harrison’s work with Handmade) with Oscilloscope Laboratories is significant too in supporting great output — ‘Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot’, directed by Adam, was strong. This is just a scraping of what MCA achieved too — it’s the art of turning music, art, clothing, film, sport and print into one big playroom, but somehow adding integrity into the mix too. Nobody else will ever match that, but even a handful of lessons learnt are enough to keep things moving.
Goodbye Adam Yauch — cheers for everything.
The images below are taken from this ‘Spin’ article from 1998 that’s a must-read.
Here’s the whole of ‘Tougher Than Leather’ in all its trashy glory. MCA just jeers and pulls some faces when he’s off the stage, but that doesn’t stop the Beastie Boys cameos from being excellent.
Whenever I’m busy elsewhere, that’s when this blog degenerates into a load of late 1980’s or early 1990’s magazine content thefts to tide me over. This is no exception. I’ve been lost in the Thrasher archives, where covers between 1981 and 1988 seem to be accompanied by the actual content of the issue too. I took that as an opportunity to post every Stüssy ad I could. Then after stealing the images from the Thrasher.com site, I realised that the good folks of Skately.com had already done it for their tremendous ad archive, but I decided to throw them up here regardless. The Stüssy ads are something that had a huge effect on me growing up, depicting something different to the surf mag-centric ads that went before and introducing me to the brand through an aspirational existence rather than guiding my eyes towards any actual apparel. The marketing might have looked lo-fi, but it’s clear that Shawn Stüssy wasn’t just inspired by the logos of some high fashion empires, but studied the power of their marketing too. It might explain the homage to Bruce Weber – the man who defined both Ralph and Calvin’s idealised worldviews — in early 1990’s campaigns, and Juergen Teller’s involvement with the brand that decade assisted in bringing street and high fashion worlds together.
That self-assured aesthetic had me preoccupied in ‘Thrasher’s from 1987 to 1988 (the selection below ran between 1986 to 1988) when I used to get issues of that and ‘Transworld Skateboarding’ (inferior but way thicker during the skate boom) a month late for 75p in a St Neots skate shop/toy store. It didn’t matter that they were old, because it still felt progressive in my hometown. Those Metro Attitude Lows (there were a lot of adidas shoes in those shots) in the ads that I believe were shot by Shawn himself, with Ron Leighton shooting the 1986 images, felt naturalistic, whether it was some Laguna Beach looking individuals, the StüYork Tribe, with some familiar faces, or a cameo from Fishbone’s Chris Dowd. When I went to hunt it down round my way, I just found bootleg pendants alongside knockoff swoosh jewelry in a High Street store. That wasn’t even close to the magic realm those ads sold me. There’s too much in those ‘Thrasher’ back issues.
On early 1990’s trips to London I used to gaze at the mysterious Stüssy tape in stores like Bond. What was on it? Skate footage? I never had the money to pick it up and I had a concern that it might be one of those NTSC tapes that wouldn’t play on a UK player. Released in June 1992, Stüssy Vol #1 packaging promised “A Phat Phunky Loose collage of how we’re Livin’…C-Y-A” My fears about whether it would play were wrong – directed by the late, great James Lebon, it was pretty UK-centric down to the roll call of UK stockists at the end. Some are still going, while others are long gone. There’s plenty of pioneers in the building and it extended that desire to get that tribal existence into moving pictures. Profiling and posing to a Ronin records soundtrack in an assortment of hats looks appealing. Shouts to Roark74 for upping it onto YouTube.
On the mystery tape front, found footage flicks are usually an excuse for a Poundland budget and wooden attempts at acting natural. For every ‘Troll Hunter’ there’s a hundred post-‘Blair Witch Project’ trips to a murder house that’s not worth your energy. Even ‘Cannibal Holocaust’ — the daddy of them all — is barely watchable, despite being a cult favourite. Killing animals for shock factor is some low bahaviour. Still, at least that movie at least projected some doom. Lost tapes and faux haunting or exorcism documentations are a a curious phenomenon that are often much more cynical and pointless than that hated-on slew of post ‘Saw’ Achilles tendon slashers.
I’m interested in ‘V/H/S’ though, turning found footage into an anthology horror flick with a wraparound story. My love of Amicus productions, ‘Creepshow’ and ‘Grim Prairie Stories’ means I need to watch any multiple story horror, but the fact it’s helmed by young directors, including Joe Swanberg (and I have to concede that I haven’t enjoyed any of his films yet, despite their frequent sex scenes) and David Bruckner (whose ‘The Signal’ wasn’t as good as I expected it to be) gives it a contemporary point of difference. Despite my misgivings with the young directors and their earlier work, the time limitations of the anthology should minimise tedium, and I trust the critics who’ve been giving it a good buzz. Plus the promo posters (see below) were intriguing. With so much nostalgia in this blog entry it’s nice to report that one segment of the film is apparently entirely Skype conversation based and with BloodyDisgusting.com‘s Brad Miska as a producer, it’s evidently a very 21st century bunch of horror stories, despite the obsolete format it’s themed around.
I was slow with the ‘Thrasher’ archive and I was slow with the DJ History’s ‘Catch the Beat: The Best of Soul Underground 1987-91’ book. The culture of fanzine compilation is a beautiful thing — so much isn’t electronically retained and opinions then as opposed to today’s altered history as spread by nostalgia junkies like me and their second-hand smoke creates a culture of misinformation. It’s better to hear it from the paper sources for whom ad money loss wasn’t necessarily a concern. Tim Westwood in shades and the revelation that, “His favourite records are Rammel Zee, Be Bop (Sic) and Spoonie Gee, Spoonie’s Rap” is excellent, but there’s plenty more gold in those pages.
Everything’s a preview these days. We know what’s coming out years in advance, and in the age of Instagram, everyone’s a secret agent. No idea’s original and nothing’s particularly surprising. That doesn’t stop 2012 from shaping up to be an interesting year — ignore the Mayan killjoys predicting our collective demise, because there’s some good stuff on the horizon. Here’s some stuff I’m feeling that may or may not drop this year. Usually when I attempt these things, 25% is good, 25% turns out shitty and the other 50% never happens. That Herno Laminar sub-brand, taking Herno’s old world outerwear and giving it some Errolson-aided progression, the Jordan IV black/cement/grey colourway’s return, Sarah Silverman (who I’ve loved since she played Kramer’s girlfriend) naked onscreen in ‘Take This Waltz’, and maybe, just maybe, the much-touted Neville Brody and Kez Glozier magazine project, ‘THE NEW BRITISH’ are guaranteed to instigate buzz of one kind or another, but I decided to list 12 other impending things that could be good:
1. KING LOUIE’S ‘DOPE AND SHRIMP’
Blog favourites keep on blowing up, and Chicago’s King Louie’s mix of gangsterism, sleep-deprived wooziness and sci-fi production is cold enough go huge, after 5 years of local cultdom. Man Up Band Up Remix’ is still effective and LoKey’s production is strong. His ‘Work Something’ video appeared then vanished from YouTube early this week. The ‘Dope and Shrimp’ album drops this month, and it comes out on Lawless Inc, which is co-owned by former Kanye manager John Monopoly. The cover art, as premiered on Fake Shore Drive last summer unites both shrimp and dope in an almost Daniel Johnston or Seth Putnam way, really sold the project to me.
2. ‘CROSSED: BADLANDS’
Comic books can be dull, but when some Garth Ennis is involved, ultraviolence and a certain sense of despair that he’s honed since the ‘Crisis’ days are guaranteed. This time he’s created an even bigger crisis – he first ‘Crossed’ series was a black-hearted complement to the zombie epidemic across popular media when it debuted in 2008. These infected are closer to the madness of Romero’s ‘The Crazies’ than Romero’s zombies, and they’re the kind to forcefully fornicate and bludgeon you with a human appendage rather than simply eating you alive. So is it murder porn for trenchcoated comic book guys? Not really — it occasionally offends, but Ennis is in control of an uncontrollable scenario. The follow-up series’ sans Ennis have become progressively worse, so his return for ‘Badlands’ is a welcome one. Issue #0 is fairly unremarkable, but my hopes are still high —it’s ‘The Walking Dead’ on angel dust, and while I’ve heard rumours, I doubt it can be tethered enough to become a TV series or film. The French method of promoting ‘Crossed’ is particularly impressive. I don’t think they’d get away with that in the UK.
3. T-SHIRT PARTY’S RETURN
The original T-Shirt Party was fun, with Stan Still dropping 52 shirts with accompanying videos over one year. I never thought he’d make the final stretch, but he did it. Mine shrunk fast, so I need more. Thankfully, in an act of masochism, he’s starting the project up again after a year out. There was something very British about the project, without resorting to the obvious, despite little diversions like the excellent Lisa Bonet design. Those raised on an era of yoof TV know what time it is. The last one started around February/March 2009, but I’m not 100% sure if it’s 52 designs again. I hope it is. And I hope there’s a Chris Eubank design in the mix this time.
4. CAROL CHRISTIAN POE DOES SHOE FITTINGS WITH A HAMMER
I like the madness of Carol Christian
Poe’s Poell’s designs for men and women. Alas, I could never wear any of it, but for utter innovation, he can’t be stopped. Luxury fabrics, a you’ll-get-it-when-you-get-it approach to fashion in a seasonally regimented world and more ideas in a single garment than anyone else makes C.C.P. creations something special. At its most accessible, it’s like H.R. Giger meets Massimo Osti and this cryptic little video that appeared on the Carol Christian Poe Poell website with a wedge heeled shoe that fits by being beaten with a hammer is some brutalist elegance — I hope it catches on and we have to beat the shit out of our footwear before we can leave the house in it. Custom high-end violence.
5. MOVIES WITH SOME 1970’S GRIT?
I know very little about ‘Drift’ or ‘Duke,’ but I know that the former — a true story of Jimmy and Andy Fisher becoming surf entrepreneurs in Australia circa. 1972 and getting mixed up with bikies and drug dealers and the latter — with two dysfunctional brothers cleaning up the streets with one pretending to be John Wayne and the other pretending to be a cop, sound like the kind of 1970’s films I’d fixate over as a kid. Surf action? Morally ambiguous vigilante heroes? At least the concepts are intriguing. ‘Drift’s marketing materials are significantly shittier in appearance than ‘Duke’s, but it’ll be interesting to see a trailer for either film some time soon.
6. MORE ‘THRASHER’
As a kid I had ‘Thrasher’ covers coating the wall, and now that the magazine’s 30 year anniversary is up, the ‘Thrasher: Maximum Rad: the Iconic Covers of Thrasher’ book on Universe that’s set for a February release gathers them all and adds anecdotes and information about each image. There’s been a few ‘Thrasher’ books before, but every cover in one place is an appealing proposition. A fair proportion of those images remain mind-boggling, and the amount of bones broken in imitating as part of the quest to get a cover one day must be in the billions. John Gibson’s May 1985 pipe cover stays amazing.
7. LIGHT UP NIKE RUNNERS?
Trawling the patents, there’s a technology logged that I haven’t seen in action yet. As a kid I sketched weird light-up shoes in the back of exercise books, but the reality of the situation was those atrocious L.A. Gear Lights for kids. So I put that one on the backburner, because shoes that illuminate was more liable to look like the rope lights on the DJ booth at a relative’s wedding reception than something even remotely futuristic. Seeing the Air MAG with its charged lighting had me pondering as to whether a design for night running could carry a more subtle sense of illumination. “Article of Footwear Incorporating Illuminable Strands” is some sci-fi sounding footwear that seems to keep the light-up stuff looking Flywire-esque on those illustrations. And I don’t even know how a “Fluid-Filled Bladder for Footwear & Other Applications” works, but I’m into it. Will they ever come out? I have no idea.
8. MORE COURTNEY LOVE YOUTUBE COMMENTS
Courtney Love is good for soundbites, but she’s especially good on a name dropping spree as shellylovelace on YouTube. I only clocked the quoted comment here, which somehow links Courtney, Martha Stewart, Jodorowsky and Yoko Ono while looking for images of Phil Spector’s khaki shirt, studded wristband, sunglasses and presumably, a concealed firearm outfit in the studio with John Lennon. Watching John and Yoko on the Dick Cavett show from a link on the Featured Videos section, I came across this mini-anecdotal gem. I think there’s probably more to come, and the most recent made unfavourable comparisons between Nickelback’s lead singer and Dave Grohl. Courtney and the internet is a winning combination.
9. STONE ISLAND’S 30th ANNIVERSARY
Some brands are so progressive that even when they’re being retrospective, they’re still far ahead of the rest. It’s Stone Island’s 30th birthday this year and hopefully that means anniversary releases old and new, plus that rumoured book project. Some brand book projects are a crushing letdown on their release, stylised, but offering little new information or the product archive listings that the geeks want. Stone Island could put out something on the ‘DPM – Disruptive Pattern Material’ level that fellow obsessive Hardy Blechman created. Hopefully they will. Let’s hope the presentation is as innovative as the content.
10. CRITERION DOES HOLLIS FRAMPTON JUSTICE
Hollis Frampton, deep thinker, photographer, digital experimenter and filmmaker always struck me as a solemn kind of chap, but I’ve always found his work abstract but fairly accessible. While his work could easily have fallen into the frivolous pitfalls that make so many artists slip into self-parody, his work seems stuctured with reasonings that, in the mind of Frampton, seem utterly reasonable. And he was eloquent enough to make me feel dumb for dismissing a lemon artfully shot in the shadows. The slow burning of (nostalgia) is oddly engrossing and I love the ‘Screening Room’ footage with him (“Without wanting at least to sound pretentious…”) chatting very, very seriously at a time when people could smoke in television studios. Criterion have compiled and restored his body of work into high-definition digital, and are putting it out in April.
11. THE RETURN OF MASS APPEAL
Having spent a substantial amount of my life hunting down issues of ‘Mass Appeal’ from Tower Records (R.I.P.) during London, Edinburgh and Birmingham trips, and it being one of the few graf publications that warranted more than a cursory read for a toy like me, I was sad to see it disappear in 2008, after becoming increasingly elusive, but still being extremely readable (one of the last issues I read had a good piece on the Decepticons and another fine R.A. the Rugged Man movie feature). Before the ailing days and before publisher Patrick Elasik tragically passed, ‘Mass Appeal’ was my pre-blog information carrier, and offered some of the best cover design of any magazine. The homie Russ Bengston’s shoe column was excellent too. Four years on, the website indicates it’s coming back. Good. There’s unfinished business to attend to and room in the market for ‘Mass Appeal’ to step back into the arena.
12. ADAPTIVE CAMO
I’m not a man of science by any means, but reading this month’s ‘Popular Science’ there was some mind-boggling talk about camouflage that can be customised to your surroundings, with the material containing a display that can be made to adjust to your location for accurate concealment, as well as thermal and radar suppression capabilities for some state-of-the-art sneaking. That sounds like ‘Predator’ in real-life, right?
Special Operation Apps are already developing applications, like CamoScience that can work with site-specific Photographic Camouflage. According to the blurb, the CamoScience app “uses augmented reality to test and create images in real time in the field.” Snap your locale on your iPhone and make it a “wallpaper” on what you’re wearing, or the vehicle you’re in? That sounds outlandish, but K. Dominic Cincotti’s patent contains a diagram of a six-layer “Multispectral Adaptive” technology that looks complicated. This, and quick change deception camo concepts make those battle pattern jackets in your wardrobe look pedestrian.
This third pick of a character that shaped my childhood, and in a roundabout way of which they’re pleasantly oblivious landed me in the “career” where I currently dwell came about through unpleasant circumstances; the death of Sinisa Eglia last week, the man who made Airwalk good prior to its crumble into the cut-price phantom zone.
I loved Airwalk for a few years – even the colourways were influential but in line with Syd Field’s ‘Screenplay’ which espouses a dated formula, his paradigm rings true for this fallen brand –in the beginning, it’s 1986, and Bill Mann starts a shoe company. Plot Point 1 sees Sinisa recruited from a skatepark. Plot Point 2 sees the brand flourish, implementing the young man’s ideas before the company changes tact after Mann leaves. The ending is the shoes entering the mid ’90s as the official shoe of ‘The Next Karate Kid’… Someone needs to make an Airwalk documentary.
I never got to meet Sinisa, but Mr. Wood at Sneaker Freaker confirmed that he was quite a character, and his interview for the magazine remains a fascinating cautionary tale for startups everywhere, shoe-orientated or otherwise.
Growing up, I noticed Jerry Hurtado aka. Skatemaster Tate’s name seemed to crop up an awful lot. Whether it was through music, or as his moniker suggests, skating, Tate seemed to drift through left coast subcultures, with the ease that he displayed when he was drifting through traffic on his ever-present longboard.
As a disclaimer, I’m prejudiced toward longboards. Tate and Andy Kessler (RIP) are an exception – too often, they’re transporting a lean character in bootcut denim, Quicksilver sneakers and wraparound shades who undoubtedly hi-fives after blitzing “brewskis” and date rapes girls with noserings to a scratched CD of whalesong. As a second disclaimer, should you go YouTubing, please do not judge me on the basis of the Skatemaster’s atrocious ‘Justice To The Bass’ with The Concrete Crew – I’m fully aware it makes ‘Rico Suave’ sound like Nasir Jones by comparison. Instead, we should take a look at the man’s other achievements.