Monday, March 30, 2009

Bloke and Coke’s best bands in the ’09

MC Enormous and the Prophets of Pies
Think you know old-skool hip-hop? Think again. Straight out of somewhere so rural it doesn’t have any sort of bus service or sewage system, “En” has dedicated his life to recreating the 1980s. Obviously not the real ’80s of epidemic-level unemployment, mass heroin addiction and mulleted maniacs glassing each other in fun pubs, but an idealised version with Duran Duran and the A-Team making music together and people going to work on Texas Instruments calculators.
Stand-out track: I Pity the Fool (Who Spots My Privileged Background)
Key lyric: “One to the two, I’m the illest sixth former, let me have a stroke of your pink legwarmer” (Betamax in Puffball Skirt)

Three girls, one giant super-ego and six horrendous parents living out their fantasies through the non-talent of their despicable progeny. That’s Bananarumba. After meeting on the set of Emu’s World for the Txt Gnrtn, Daisy, Marie-Jo and La Boheme decided to form their own girl group, “totally for the next century”. Thanks to their sickening proximity to the Brits School, the trio soon wowed their peers with their grime-step rendition of I’m Putting on the Top Hat. “It was like, so wicked, but watch this space,” said La Boheme in some predictable appropriation of ghetto-speak that has filtered through to them via 1Xtra. This summer they tour, in the vain – and utterly laughable – hope they will achieve a fraction of the stardom of Girls Aloud or Shampoo.
Stand-out track: I Luv U, But Don’t Like Your H8r Girlfren’!
Key lyric: “We been seeing each other, but you ain’t made a move, stick on the boombox and enter my groove” (Face-Buck)

The Six Thousand Douchebags
Forget Arcade Fire, this is the real deal. Or it would be if we weren’t so wowed by their to-die-for uniforms. Designed by New York fashion guru Keyguard Lock-Removalle, each jacket plays a single note of Psycho Killer when you tie up the top button. The result is a cacophony of total, unadulterated toss. Click here to listen to their exclusive 6Music session.
Stand-out track: Dazed, Confused and Desperate For Some Sort of Non-Addictive Heroin Substitute Which if You Were Caught With Wouldn’t Mean You Went To Jail
Key lyric: “You love it, when I sing, when I love, when I gather leaves and grow a stupid beard like some inbred redneck from my home town – the very same home town I disowned when I got my pad in Williamsburg” (Not Me, I’m Urban)

Friday, March 27, 2009

This Volkswagon car park looks like something you’d find in Star Wars – if they were any cars in it. Which there aren’t

Obviously, something as technically beautiful as this could only be in Germany. And it is, at the Autostadt car storage centre next to the Volkswagon plant in Wolfsburg in fact. Somewhere – probably in the West Midlands – there is a British version, which only opens once a week and is staffed by a jobsworth from Sutton Coldfield with a cleft palate.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Vice magazine’s feature on brogues is both great, because it showcases one of the most respected London shoe-sellers, and worrying, as it’s further proof that the once-mulleted fashion quilts are now wearing stuff I like. Can’t they just go back to trucker’s caps and beards?

I’m not sure how I feel about this. However, the interview with a bloke called “Fred the Shoe”, by Douglas Hart* is ten times more relevant than anything else you can read about men’s clothing in the fashion press this month. Apart, perhaps, from the clothes pages in Monocle which make me want to be a half-Japanese/half-Swiss graphic designer with a pristine, never-opened collection of Veja pumps.

* I don’t actually know who Douglas Hart is, but as he’s not introduced in the standfirst I think I’m supposed to. Maybe he’s on telly…

Douglas Hart (r): “I think, perhaps, this shop is an existential exercise with the idea of the shoe as a constant ‘sun’ in one’s own private universe?”
Fred the Shoe (l): “You gonna buy anything?”

Friday, March 20, 2009

Are these men specialist cleaners on the London Underground or some sort of horrendous, trendy circus troupe?

Thankfully, the lack of body paint, luminous leotards and faces-agog beauts covering their eyes proves that these chaps are in fact, cleaners. But what cleaners. If the lady who comes round your office washing up the cups and plates you’re too important to clean is the regular army, these fellas are the SAS. And the most elite, live-for-ten-days-in-the-desert-without-water part of the SAS too.

Westminster, like Canary Wharf is one of the new generation of Tube stations that is bathed in light no matter how far you descend into it. However, all those window ledges and trendy exposed air vents do get a bit dusty, which is why every year a group of cleaners spend eight weeks cleaning it. Using abseils.

Wonder if they like it when people tell them that they’ve missed a bit just as they’ve put away all their equipment? I’ll have to find out.

More from the ace Going Underground blog

Of course, every part of the Underground network gets cleaned regularly, but always after the rest of us have gone home, as the pictures below show.

See the rest at Time magazine

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ivy League heaven: real Mad Men, students with style and lovely, lovely loafers. A lesson in cool

Sometime in the late 1960s, Japanese photographer Teruyoshi Hayashida visited the prestigious universities of the USA’s east coast. Not to study or to try and meet well-bred WASP ladies with loose morals (though this would be good enough reason alone), but to document the clothes that the students wore.

And what clothes. Tapered, rolled-up chinos, indigo jeans, beautiful button-down shirts, Peter Storm-like cagoules, tweed jackets and Bass Weejun penny loafers. For anyone who’s ever thought of themselves as a mod or casual – or just into their clobber – this is it, our year zero.

Last year I interviewed London’s John Simons, the man who coined the term “Harrington jacket” and the owner of Britain’s oldest (and best) mod/Ivy League shop. He told me that what we know as “preppy” first surfaced in America during the early part of the 20th Century as an imitation of the British Savile Row look. It then started to develop into a style of its own that was more relaxed than its more stuffy counterpart across the Atlantic.

The look wasn’t confined to colleges either. On Wall St and Madison Avenue, chinos and loafers were regarded as a weekend item. Instead, three-button jackets, flat-fronted trousers, wing tips (brogues), tie-clips and hats ruled the roost, all worn with the same elan as the more casual campus look. And everyone smoked.

Sadly, today’s Americans have largely ditched this timeless get-up for pre-faded, shapeless jeans, horrendous space-age trainers and multi-buttoned cheapo suits – usually to hide their over-generous girths. Mr Hayshida would not approve.

More here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Shoreditch 2009 or Soviet Russia in the 1980s? You decide

Him: “I have grown my bushy mullet in tribute to long-regarded warrior of socialism, Derek Hatton.“
Her: “Do you think we’ll get in Dazed if I snog Peaches Geldof?”

Stripy girl: “When I’m alone I worry about whether we’ll ever get to see the tractor mines of Perm.”
Her mate: “Jesus, I am like, sooo sick of dubstep. Is someone going to put on some psychobilly? Even if I don’t actually know what it is.”

Unseen partygoer:
“I command you to put on some stirring marching music, I need to feel the pain of Mother Russia in the Great Patriotic War.”
Blonde lad who’s hogging the ghetto blaster: “Fuck off Boris, I’ve got an MP3 of We’ve Priced The Locals Out of London’s new bootmash. Seriously, it’s amazing.”

Girl (R):
“Let us dance to cement our love for state socialism.”
Girl (L): “Yeah, but who’d win in a fight between Mr T and like, a baboon? Or Chuck Norris.”