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...