A self-confessed yankophile, I’m not qualified to blog. I pay more attention to what’s going on in the US than I do outside the window. It’s a nasty habit. The UK has done great things to advance the cultures we celebrate (I’m loathed to use the term ‘street culture’ but I guess it’s a neat enough summary) that an off-the-dome listing wouldn’t do justice. When I look just across the Channel I see operations like Starcow and Colette, plus publications like WAD, Guillaume Le Goff’s Clark and Thomas Giorgetti’s SPRAY doing great things I get a sense that we’re slipping, but the grass is always greener. It’s too easy to assume every other country maintains a scene that’s hi-fiving, back-patting and grins all round. Whenever I’ve left Europe on anything work-related to the Far East or States, I’ve ended up privvy to some hushed backbiting of one sort of another, breaking the idyllic illusion.
But Brits like to moan. London is a hotbed of rumour and fermenting rivalry. And to be honest, I like London’s slightly misanthropic, miserabllist nature. We don’t settle for mediocrity. It’s the city rappers fear, where a severely depleted Wu Tang’s (duration dramatised for blog purposes) 7 second live set would leave them surprised when fans didn’t ask them to sign their collective scrotums, instead inciting the audience to fuck shit up. It’s a place where sartorial elegance was once our stock-in-trade. But we’ve always been cynical bastards.
Such attitudes set us up for a fall. Swaggering around with a sneer means everything the city generates must be perfect, right? Unreasonable demands follow suit. Given the current transitional time where dressing like a neon halfwit has given way to wingtip fetishism, it would be a damned shame if we never gave our homegrown industries, some of which are arguably the best on the planet, the spotlight they deserve because of snobbery, divisive spirit and daft politics, be it real world or electronic.
As a result of our habit of pulling the chair away and sniggering as soon as someone local gets off their arse and does something, my trail of thought is strictly homegrown today. London’s bricks and mortar retail scene may have crumbled like the walls of Jericho in the last 12 months or so, but the likes of Albam, Goodhood, DSM, Garbstore hold it own next to a sturdy old guard, against the homogenised menace that’s looming. Magazines like RWD, FACT, Document’s (RIP to it’s father publication) +1 and Barnzley’s Daily Terror are definitely distinctive too. And free.
www.garmsville.blogspot.com Jason Jules is a superior writer, stylist of note and someone with a comprehensive scope when it comes to clothing. These are qualities 99.9% of newly christened Sartorialist-lites lack. Jason’s blog is, as you’d expect, excellent. Informative, contextually on-point and frequently updated.
www.wah-magazine.com Sharma and team WAH (We Ain’t Hoes) keep it ladycentric and on-point. Recently relaunched, expect big things. It’s the online companion to her great fanzine, published annually. I’m still waiting to see her pay text/jpeg tribute to ‘Just Another Girl On The IRT’ though.
www.diggerswithgratitude.com Chris Aylen, Rare Dave and Sureshot can’t be stopped. And it didn’t take a Bushwick Bill style Everclear binge to make that clear either. Following a rich British tradition of taking hip-hop nerdery and running with it (see also: P Brothers: If New Yorkers are too busy to appreciate $amhill, some guys from Nottingham will work with him instead) , alongside an excellent site, their DWG vinyl imprint has been putting out legit (as in the artist sees some loot) reissues from the likes of Phil Most Chill, Main Source, Marley Marl and Godfather Don. Now that’s serious. No outlet for vinyl? The recently released ‘Lungbutters’ mix CD takes in some of the tracks, as well as bangers from the likes of Super Lover Cee and Casanova Rud. Props all round.
www.jakesalley.blogspot.com Jake is a good dude, and Slam City is nothing less than an institution (shouts to Henry, Gareth, Dan and the rest of the crew) with a vast knowledge of good things, and his blog is unpretentious goodness that makes you feel both enlightened by the enthusiastic entries and somehow in day-to-day Slam activities.
www.neilbedford.com Neil is an excellent photographer who’s done work across-the-board and has even seen his work for iD defaced by KAWS. And he needs launch his new site soon rather than leaving us hanging with a holding page.
www.wearehq.com Magdi was a key contributor to London’s sports shoe landscape with all three incarnations of Slammin’ Kicks, launched Crossover clothing (as seen on Jay-Z) and has now unleashed WeAre. Instead of a mere Blogspot, this emerged last week as a fully-formed online magazine and online store. Congrats and good luck, Fernandoposite.
www.selectism.com/columns/stevemonaghan Steve is a man who knows a fair bit about clothing and all related matters. He co-runs Sane Communications, with a roster of excellent brands, and his blog is always good, from meanderings about the mundane, to fabrics to books about highwaymen. On a US-tip, Tony Gervino’s column is also uniformly superb.
www.themartorialist.blogspot.com Laughing out loud is an overused term in the online world, most of the time you’re LOLing on MSN messenger to make some lady think you’re a light-hearted sort, this makes me LOL. But having expanded from the limitations of being a parody site, The Martorialist’s mix of southern rap Jedi talk, televisual MILFs of the past and sharp writing makes it a favourite. Plus the mind behind it appreciates ‘That’s What It Is’ by Curtains.
And for those looking to find out what’s going on in the North of England, VBS’s Donk documentary has just gone up on the site…your guess as to the appeal is as good as mine, but it’s a good watch. Good work Andy.