Whilst regrettably I am unable to do any updates beyond simple posts like this, until I sort out a new computer, I felt compelled to write something on this last day of the decade (assuming you agree it is and not in 365 days or so time).
What a decade. I gained dual nationality, got married, had two children and bought my own business. I also spent a lot of time at a keyboard.
I have been working on the rift-trooper/rthq website for some ten years now. I may be so bold as to claim that I was one of the first, if not the first, to lay the foundations/template for what was to become in later years "hype" sites. I have enjoyed correspondence with people all over the world who have shared some and many of my interests. It has been a pleasure to discover new products, artists, subcultures and more through this website, but most of all the during this time I have been thrilled to make some wonderful friends.
It has been fascinating to watch the movement of "underground" brands, cultures and artists to a wider spectrum; the "overground". The co-opting of the underground by big brands has lead to some interesting projects and in the early days a real wow factor. Cynical and the obvious exploitation of these avenues has made these projects everyday occurrences as many blogs reveal on a near hourly basis. Perhaps I'm hardly breaking new ground with this analysis, but it has been something I have been in the postion to see happen from the start. What I found even more intriguing during the last decade was how incredibly slow many brands and PR agencies were to grab the opportunity that the blogger and enthusiast offered. It was the more forward thinking and cutting edge that seized this opportunity early on with me.
The "independent" store has been a focus of my posts through the years. It has been great to see so many young businesses develop. It has also been sad to see many start then find that being an independent retailer is a very tough game. The UK High Street is a a homogeneous bore. Independents of all walks of life are the only things that give commercial centres any character and I would wish all those out the best of luck with their ventures.
Toys, trainers and T shirts have been a big focus over the years. I feel honoured that I continue to help with Sneaker Freaker having the odd article here and there accepted over the years. My piece on my eldest Son's birth and the interview with Tory Orzeck (done with Collie) will remain highlights. I look forward to contributing more in 2010. It has been great to see Mark SBTG leap from posting his early customs on the site to seeing him now in the big league with his own brand and his collaborations with the likes of Nike. The explosion of the limited edition and sneaker culture has been huge. After all this time I seem to have found my favourite shoe; funny it should be a the plain old Converse Ox.
I remain a passionate toy collector, now focused on James Jarvis and BxH pieces. However, it has been exciting to share the news of various releases and even participate in running competitions with the likes of Coarse Toys, Plastic Particles and adFunture. Being able to speak with and interview (in albeit the most amateur of ways) the artists and people behind these companies has been a nerd joy. The feeling of finally getting a figure I have been fiending is still a thrill and there are a few out there that continue to elude me (seeking a Great One, Pagoda Kun and Hensery if you have one to sell), whilst I also keenly await new releases from my two favourites.
I may no longer wear many printed Ts (I'm too old now) I have loved being able to share the many designs people have done and nabbed some great ones on the way. My box logo (Tokion and OG) Supreme remain favourites, along with my Peter Sellers one. The Rodney Dangerfield one by Stash is another all time favourite from this decade. The one that got away was the Supreme Woody Allen one, but perhaps one day will be mine. Of course I can't forget the one and only T I did with my great friend Sol from Figurepunk.
Whilst the idea of a news section is no longer of relevance to me, I hope that those who may have stumbled upon this site or have continued to check it (and I thank you for your dedication) try and pursue their passions with the depth they deserve. Dig deeper, find out more about who is behind what you enjoy. Explore the history of things, find out where they came from. Be a nerd. See you on the other side...
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Sunday, 11 October 2009
The Midcentury fair at Bristol's Paintworkds was an interesting event. Some exceptional pieces pn display, but my wallet remained closed as rennovations must be done before new furnishings are bought. Still, some inspirational pieces on display that have given me some ideas how I want to do my new study.
Sunday, 27 September 2009
Both from 2003, these flyers are wonderful souvenirs on their own. The 3rd Gardener exhibition by Michael Lau was held by Maharishi with the flyer showing all the figures up to the latest at the time (Hardy in headstand mode). The other was for a Medicom exhibition at the Bape Galllery. The Medicom flyer is a Bearbrick/Kubrick box unassembled, which is a wonderful idea.
Friday, 18 September 2009
Could this be the greatest Australian band of all time? Clearly the kings of pub rock, Barnsy et al had an amazing arsenal of songs. Whilst at times the lyrics remain simplistic, and there are elements of dubious cod reggae, they are forgiven when the moments of brilliant story telling or a feeling is conveyed that wonderfully captures a time and place in 70/80s Australia. Who else was singing about shorn offs and robbing the TAB or sappers round Khe Sanh?
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
I love waiting to see what Supreme manage to get their name on each season. By teaming with some well established American names there have been some real winners over the last few years, especially with Maglite, Masterlock and Zippo. But this Buck knife is something else. I am by no means a "knife nut" and have no desire to collect them but the quality is something else. It is very weighty and the locking mechanism confidently secures the blade in place. It feels like a proper piece of kit rather than a frivellous novelty item. Dare I say it (and it is approaching blasphemy) but I think just a plain Buck knife would be better and less "cluttered". Still as a Supreme collectable, it is up there with the best they have done.
Sunday, 13 September 2009
Sunday, 6 September 2009
Thursday, 3 September 2009
The Kun collection grew a bit bigger today with the arrival of Kaws Kun. I didn't think I would ever get my hands on this beauty. Made in Japan with Medicom/Original Fake it has a very different feel to standard Kuns. The paint work is glossy and there is a lot more give in the articulation. The base of the neck of Kaws is more visceral than expected and a funny touch. This sees me needing an original Skull Kun, Screwbiter and a Secret Base DX Skull Kun to complete the set (excluding Venom, and store exclusive colourways and the giant Skull Kun). I think realistically the DX Kun will prove the least elusive and financially realistic. The hunt continues!
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
Tuesday, 18 August 2009
Saturday, 15 August 2009
Monday, 10 August 2009
The latest addition to the BxH family goes back to its Kid Hunter/breakfast cereal roots. Kid Bounch bares a striking resemblance to the Smurf nemesis Gargamel. He is smaller than both the Captain and Kid Hunter. The figure doesn't seem to be articulated and I'm not going to try too hard to check least I break it. The only markings on the figure are the BxH logo under the foot; no serial numbers or country of manufacture. Surely BxH have enough new figures now to warrant another series of mini figs?
Sunday, 9 August 2009
These may be my favourite books ever. Both clearly labours of love by their respective authors, they provide a visual and written history of two long established American novelty and toy companies. Wham O have produced many major toys including Slip N Slide and the Frisbee. Life of the Party is a visual treat, with page after page of wonderful photos illustrating the wonderful pranks and tricks the Adams company has made over the years. I had forgotten how much I loved these practical jokes whilst growing up and it has sparked my magpie instinct to start collecting them again.
Wednesday, 5 August 2009
Tuesday, 4 August 2009
In all the years I have been to Selfridges I have never visited their foodhall until last Saturday. I was prompted after hearing over their PA that Willie Harcourt-Cooze was their promoting his chocolate. I keen fan of his 72% I made my way there and was thrilled to have a nice chat with him and snaffle a awesome truffle he made. Also in the foodhall is a wonderful selection of (processed) foods from around the world. I was particularly impressed by their Australian selection - its like I have an epicurian double.
Damien Hirst's Marylebone store is one of the most "robust" stores I have ever been to. It seem strange to describe a store in such a way but from the door handles to the fixtures and fittings it is incredibly solid. Where no expense has been spared no restraint has been put on some of the prices, not that there aren't one or two more affoardable items.
Saturday, 25 July 2009
I p[icked up these this week, with Ad Boy being the stand out find, It is a wonderful book with page after page of advertising characters from over the decades, with only a handful familiar to me as it is an American book. This American aesthetic is very attractive to me and I find it nostalgic despite it not being part of my history; perhaps its a conditioned response.
The ephemera book is a series academic work aimed at librarians. I have had a brief skim through but need to spend a bit more time on this one.
A great article about St Albans based glasses shop Retrospecs. The Black brand glasses they stock are really tempting for getting my Micheal Caine steez on.
Monday, 13 July 2009
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Saturday, 4 July 2009
Thanks to Sol for putting me onto this. Whilst apparently originally written for a general audience (albeit Japanese), this translated cultural thesis is not as light reading as the "packaging" suggests. IIf you have a grounding in philosophy or have studied post modernism etc you might find it easier going than I have. It has been most rewarding though and has made me reflect on my own pursuits and "narratives".
Friday, 26 June 2009
Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton have exceeded my expectations with their latest creation. What may well be a shaggy dog tale, the thoroughly enjoyable story is escalating in its creepiness and macabre comedic horror. Oscar Lomax may well be the face of all those who have ever outbid you on eBay.
Sunday, 14 June 2009
I have long lamented the demise of the video arcade, but in Japan they live on. This is a wonderful account of Japanese arcades and their patrons. The book covers the genres of games and speaks with key players, both literally and those involved in the industry. Topics include UFO machines (claw grabbers), photo machines, shoot em ups (aka shmups), fighting games, and more. I was particularly interested to read about the machines that require special playing cards to be used.
Mostly DVDs today. Some more scrabble letters for our craft inventory. The Gameboy game was a serendipitous find as I was only thinking about this exact title on my way in. I was thinking what a dud it must have been and any poor sod who was given it must have been gutted. Of course I had to buy it and even at 30p I feel robbed yet elated that my suspicions were confirmed.
Saturday, 13 June 2009
I went and visited the Banksy exhibition at the Bristol Museum today. What a contrast to the rainy Sunday only a few weeks ago when we visited the museum and waltzed in that the exhibition drew a huge crowd and the wait is just under an hour to get in. I definitely felt it was worth the wait and as a huge fan of Bristol Museum I was keen to see how the exhibition had been set up.
This is a superbly put together exhibition, in so far as the gallery feels like it has been taken over and the production values and arrangement of the artwork/installations has been well thought out. The artist’s works are collected in two galleries and the main foyer, but also interspersed throughout the galleries’ collection. This is the clever part about the exhibition and says far more about the willingness of the directors of the museum to take a gamble than what the artist delivers. The viewer must search out the paintings that have been scattered throughout, some more obvious than others. In doing so it makes you look at all the museum has to offer. This in turn makes you see that Bristol Museum holds a wealth of the beautiful, bizarre and fascinating. It also shows that it holds key pieces that reflect on social times and propaganda far more effectively than Banksy’s works.
Banksy uses the space to deliver his characteristic satirical works. I feel that whilst many work at the level of a cartoon they fail to deliver beyond that. The topics dealt with are already in the minds of those that would be viewing (this is a Stuff White People Like affair if ever there was one). Bristol has a far from savoury history yet no more is mentioned about the slave trade than a quip in the (very funny) pamphlet that accompanies the exhibition. Politicians as monkeys are obvious targets. Banksy demonstrates ingenuity and wit in his work yet he needs to reassess his targets if he is to achieve any gravitas. So whilst installations addressing food, surveillance, cosmetics, fur and consumerism rise a smile they feel no more than that. Issues dealing with the police are unlikely to trouble any of the museum’s patrons and I dare say many would feel that there should be more police on the streets.
Bristol Museum have scored a wonderful PR success with this exhibition and whoever thought of putting Banksy’s pieces throughout the museum should be congratulated for their bravery and more importantly for the correct assumption it will make visitors explore throughout. Thoroughly recommended at all times, this exhibition is well worth it for a reassessment of the museum alone.
Monday, 8 June 2009
Popbitch might not seem the likeliest of places to hear about a book but I took a punt and was rewarded handsomely. This is a great humerous boys own style yarn. If you enjoy Flashman, Mark Gattiss, Tom Sharpe, Rob Grant etc then I think this would appeal.
Wednesday, 3 June 2009
I can't walk past a discount bookshop. I was in luck today with this find at £3. It covers all the usual suspects and covers the subject matter clearly and concisely there is a great graphical timeline that puts the different design movements/periods in context. Its interesting to see how references to online shopping are somewhat outdated (it was published in 2001). Whilst I doubt it will ever make future volumes I would love Dr Melfi's preferred seat of choice, the Cosmo by Outer Limits.
Sunday, 24 May 2009
It was back in August of last year that word of Malcolm McLaren's Supreme collaboration first came to my attention, and it has been with some excitiement that I awaited its debut. Its exciting to see he has drawn on the Buffalo/Hobo period, which is hardly surprising considering this is a Supreme project. The shoes are an inspired production!
Sunday, 10 May 2009
I was keen to get back into a bit of videogaming but the games need to be quick and the sort you can dip into when time permits. The Gameboy Advance fits the bill perfectly, especially those models that incorporate Gameboy backwards compatability. Its been a while since I've had a Gameboy, the first Advance model was my last back in 2002. When I spotted this NES edition I was smitten. An out dated machine paying homage to another outdated machine; anachronistic perfection!