Thursday, 14 August 2008

Word Up

"...I was, hot steppin in my Nike Air sneaker/You didn't know I was an emcee beater?.."

Cornelia Renz

A friend of mine recently returned from a trip to Berlin. I met him for a drink on Brick Lane, and he told me what it was like there. "The whole city is just like a giant shoreditch...but better". My first thoughts were that being like Shoreditch could not be a good thing, and that surely he meant that being better meant it was even more pretentious. In fact, he told me, it was not. In Shoreditch everyone is trying to be someone or something they are not, constantly trying to trump the next guy on who's jeans are tighter, who's hairstyle is more bohemian, and who's New Era hat looks more out of place with the rest of their charity shop outfit than the next. According to my friend this was not so true of Berlin. "Its still all pretty underground over there...people are a lot more friendly and open to each others style and creativity". Either way, I'm not sure if the labels of 'underground' or 'a giant shoreditch' lend any credibility to anything, other than the guarantee of finding at least something in the haystack of self-appreciation that goes a little further than simply stroking its own ego.

Cornelia Renz is one Bavarian artist out of Berlin who fits such a description. Her work is inspired by her Catholic upbringing, and show a comic style reflective of carnivalesque, nightmarish medieval wall panels and the Mexican Day of Death. Check out more of Renz' huge and beautiful works at the Goff+Rosenthal website.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Word Up

"...Cos you can feel it in your throat/I'm bout to let my mind float/get your third eye poked/fuck game, I assemble dope-ness/a nigga thats, fresh as the 'fess/studied this rap shit, no need to mic test..."

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

The Birdsnest

So 2008 is supposedly the year of the Dunk. I was born in the year of the rat, one year before the birth of this shoe, and 22 years later we find ourselves in the year of the Olympics, and quite rightly Nike have released a series dedicated to the games. While the American B-Ballers are hoping to re-create the success of the Dream Team, here in the UK we're hoping to snap up a couple of medals in sailing, rowing, and maybe even archery! The glory is endless. However, I've been keeping my eyes peeled for new and exciting dunk colour ways this year, and although there's been an endless supply of releases, I haven't been totally convinced by the creativity behind some of the design. This Dunk Hi Supreme however might just go some way to resolving that. Not because of its supposed "feng Shui" inspired octagonal colour detail, which to my mind seems a little misplaced on an all black shoe, and looks quite untidy, but because of the materials chosen. Simple, solid and bold.

Perhaps even better than the Hi Supreme is the all white Quickstrike's, also available in the four other colours of the Olympic ring logo. They have a luxe finish which is just extra fresh for summer, with the quilted leather on the side panels and heel really giving the simple white on white classic an extra dimension and feeling of quality. You may not find an all white shiny shoe the most exciting dunk release this year, but trust me, when it comes to a classic shoe, sometimes its the classic colour ways that rep it to the fullest. (get em here)

Then again, you could always cop the Olympic Gold Edition's. You mugs.

Word Up

" the white folks who watched he was a revoloutionary thug/and to the black folks he was just a crazy nigga..."

"Now I'm Sitting on The Couch Thinking WHO'S HOUSE IS THIS?"

I love looking through old family photos, especially ones on my mum's side, because the aunties and uncles, cousins and grandparents are always so mysterious looking, even as children. The photo's even smell old, like your grandma's fur coat, warm and musky. And the eyes that stare back at you seem to tell so many half told stories. At family gatherings the mutterings of older cousins do little to lift the sepia toned muddle of fact and immigrant aspiration. And so eventually you begin to lose interest in the meaning behind the photo, the story or the facts. The mystery behind the eyes of those children is only mystery to you, and no one else. To your mates, its just one ugly looking old baby, not the baker or the butcher, gambler or mafioso. Those old photos are so stilted, so far withdrawn from their reality they look strange to us now, in the age of the camera phone and the web cam, where every moment is a photo opportunity. They are so carefully arranged, with a stiffness, and rarely display any backdrop other than that of the photographers studio.

We are so submerged and bombarded with images of ourselves and our surroundings that we begin to create a sense of celebrity within ourselves. I recently watched a documentary on how Football has changed since the 1950's. They did this by specifically comparing two matches, an FA Cup final from the 1950's, and the FA Cup final from two years ago. When a player scored a goal in the present day his reaction was a well rehearsed act, so aware of the hundreds of cameras pointed in his direction. In contrast the goal scorer of the 1950's leapt and bounded with complete inhibited joy, like an eleven year old schoolgirl playing netball. His internal sense of his own captured image was zero, despite being a famous footballer of the time.

We all do it. At Christmas or birthdays when your dad or your girlfriend whips out the camera for a quick snap. We immediately, and a lot less subtly than we lead ourselves to believe, switch into model mode. We all remember that one photo of ourselves where everyone told you they reckoned you looked like James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, and bam! you're tilting you're head at just the angle to set off that slight eyebrow arch, and when the pictures come back from Boots you look like you'd spent the whole night auditioning for a Bollywood movie.

And so it was to my great amusement that I recently unearthed this ridiculous picture of myself as a toddler. I stared and stared at it, thinking who's house is this? My rapper pout towards the camera, the tricycle, the zebra print, the woman behind me lifting the baby, the greenness of the trees through the open window. This was a photo taken without preparation or rehearsal. There was no "everybody say cheese..". Yet some how it looks completely unreal, so stilted and strange. I looked at myself in that photo and saw the same look in my face I'd seen in those old pictures of my family, that sense of mystery in my eyes. I realised later that the woman behind me was my babysitter, a friend of my parents, and a bit of an 80's lesbian. So perhaps the face I pull in photos now is in fact not me trying to look like James Dean. Perhaps its just the face of a child that says "listen, the tricycle is cool but if the lesbian tries throwing me out of the window too I won't be pleased".

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Ben G Amsterdam

Dunk Hi from 'Gentelman's Pack'-Ben G Amsterdam. Nice as hell. Got that winter thugalicious flavour. Easy jet tickets just to cop these would let the kicks pay for themself. Check out the rest of the pack here.