27 November 2009

Salt Lake City Sundance.

Another bit of vintage US kit, from the 70's. Sundance Products two-tone parka.
I reckon there's a chance one or two out there with similar interests will instantly recognise this, it's been on a certain online auctioneer for what seemed like an eternity, I took the punt, and I'm glad I did.
But for a bastard customs charge, which was about as welcome as a fart in a spacesuit, this was another uber bargain.
Manufactured in Salt Lake City, Utah had a mountaineering clothing and camping gear industry in the 1960s and 70s, but it was overshadowed by the industry of Colorado - the design and construction of this parka is arguably not as polished as the products of Holubar, Gerry and other Colorado companies, and Powderhorn Mountaineering from the neighbouring state Wyoming, who did this style of jacket best.
This scarcely seen parka is made of a heavy 85% polyester & 15% cotton densely woven blend that's very wind and rain resistant - in burned orange (Tomato Soup) and chocolate shades. its fully lined in a further contrasting colour which really works, has two large front pockets and two very sizable 'Napoleon' hand-warmer pockets.

26 November 2009


MOON (released on dvd Monday last) is the feature length directorial debut from commercials/ad director Duncan Jones (David Bowie's son) and it's a belter!
An independent Sci-Fi film that is a hark back to the likes of Alien, 2001, Solaris and even Blade Runner. Done properly with actual physical built sets, models and sheer graft and not relying wholly on CGI as many films tend to these days. It gives the film a realistic believable look and feel to it. (contains spoilers)
The film is set in a near future and focuses on Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) a miner for LUNAR Industries - a mining operation which is supplying Helium3 a gas which is helping reverse Earth's current environmental crisis. Nearing the end of a 3 year contract working alone with only a computer GERTY (voiced by Kevin Spacey) as his companion, he yearns and looks forward to returning home to his wife and daughter in a matter of weeks. Due to a communication problem he has lost live contact with Earth and has to rely on recorded video footage to and from home adding to his frustration and torment, totally isolated his mind is also playing tricks.

When one of the mining machines breaks down he leaves base to repair it and during another mind fuck he crashes his vehicle and suffers a blow to the head. When he comes around he finds himself back in base and being monitored by GERTY. He goes back out to investigate what happened and makes a shocking discovery when he finds his injured self still out there in the wreckage! He brings his injured self to base and starts to search for answers. When the injured Sam comes around though deteriorating rather rapidly he is (naturally) also shocked to find another version of himself at base and both are hostile towards each other as they assume the other is a clone. when GERTY explains they both have edited memories from the original Sam some sense of truth and horror starts to unravel. This is further compounded when a rescue mission is announced to repair damage and wipe out the problem, them! The two Sam's then work together to try and get answers and save one Sam and help him escape back to Earth whilst also uncovering some shocking evidence.

The film explores loneliness, sanity, humanity and emotion in equal thought provoking measures. The film is unique in style and looks dazzling, the cinematography is sublime and sticks two fingers up to the cartoonish big budget CGI fluff that is seemingly the norm these days, this is a refreshing welcome change. Sure it uses CGI (it has to) but this film utilises it rather than letting it dilute it.
For me it's on a par with the modern classics mentioned above and should rightly be looked back on as a classic in years to come.
This though of course is not possible without the sheer hard work and brilliant performance of Sam Rockwell who puts in an exhausting thoroughly demanding shift as the lone character who also has to act out a dual role and does so to absolute perfection. He pulls it off masterfully in what is a superb performance which deserves more plaudits as does the film.
Highly recommended.

25 November 2009


Cruising the cobbles, tucked in socks, blucher moccs.

24 November 2009

Old shoes?

A Couple of recent editions from my bargain browsing.
First up, Clarks x Duffer '20ANS', these are a Desert Rain model in beige - always a good colour in suede, on top of a weighty crepe sole, released around five years ago for Duffer's 20th Anniversary.
Second up, I'm made up with these for the price I paid, a rarity aswell, vintage Barrie Ltd Blucher Moccasin, hand sewn in the US, a now defunct brand, they remind me of Quoddys, Yuketens or Beans but a lesser known brand from New Haven, CT.
Those in the know over the water may know more than me, here's a little piece on the history of the brand superb quality leather uppers on a tough vibram sole, comfier than a pair of old slippers too.

21 November 2009

Liu Bolin, The Invisible Man.

Liu Bolin, 35, from Shandong, China, manages to camouflage himself in any surroundings, no matter how difficult they might be. Liu works on a single photo for up to 10 hours at a time, to make sure he gets it just right, but he achieves the right effect: sometimes passers-by don’t even realize he is there until he moves.
The talented Liu Bolin says his art is a protest against the actions of the Government, who shut down his art studio in 2005 and persecutes artists. It’s about not fitting into modern society. Despite problems with Chinese authorities, Liu’s works are appreciated at an international level.

19 November 2009


A few recent additions, all from Woolrich, first up a Railroad vest, one of the earliest garments made at the Woolrich mills in Pennsylvania. Originally made for railroaders in the late 1800s, and has been in production ever since, perfect for layering under a parka and over a nice shirt.
Also touched for a new hooded flannel shirt, heavy plaid with half button placket and button cuffs, but with a drawstring hood, and pouch pockets, maybe it's a hoody? no it's definitely a shirt, or is it a hoody? I'm sure it's a shirt.
And lastly a Woolrich Woolen Mills cap, Stormey Kromer-esque but it's made from glorious herringbone tweed, and with optional drop down 'ears' too, which, admittedly, worn that way makes me look like a bit like a Sikh (with this beard) or Arnie in Total Recall when he's got that wet towel on his napper. I have no idea where this current obsession with all things American outdoorsy is taking me, next time you see me I'll be the one who looks a bit like Paul Bunyan.

18 November 2009

You know who that was?

Clint Eastwood.
In The Eiger Sanction rocking the seventies mountaineer look.
Cooler than Herbert Ponting's Huskies.

16 November 2009

Chalk & Steez

Todays subject, cool teachers on film. When you were there you didn't pay attention, they looked like men from the past, but teachers can be cool, not really in what they preach but in what they wear. From their elbow patches to fifteen pens in the shirt pocket, it's all in the details.
Have you ever considered how cool the Ghostbusters were before they put on their proton packs?
Well, long before saving New York from oblivion, they were sacked by the Dean at Colombia University for being wastes of space, the lecturers/parapsychologists Venkman (Bill Murray), Stanz (Dan Aykroyd) and Spengler (Harold Ramis) were actually pretty dapper, carrying heavy equipment alongside duffle coats, long macs, chinos, moccasins and plaid shirts.

Moving on to archeology teacher, and by far the most adventurous of them all, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford in Raiders of the Lost Ark), when he's not being flashed tattooed eyelids or given an apple (a day), he's off around the world dodging Peruvians armed with bare arses and poison darts, pesky snakes, Pat Roach, Indians who can pull out your heart, Pat Roach again, and loads of them bloody Nazis.
If Mr Singleton, my form tutor carried a whip and a pistol I'd have paid far more attention. Imagine the stories on the first day back from the half-term hols, you'd never believe them.
Forget for a minute, his famous Herbert Johnson hat, and leather whip, it's at school with his sensible side parting, specs, tie and tweed jacket where he looks more refined, if only the kids knew eh?

Now to the stoner English tutor, Professor Dave Jennings (Donald Sutherland in Animal House), he doesn't give a toss, Milton is boring, let's get stoned instead, I'd have swapped my maniacal English teacher for him any day. Smoking spliffs and shagging the freshers, way to go Mr J! Corduroy three-piece suit and scarf, houndstooth check and tash, dishevelled smart, scruff personified.

Then there's David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman in Straw Dogs) a mathematician so busy working out his equations at home he ignores his sexy wife, so much so the local yokels take advantage, but alas, go too far, you won't like him when he's angry. Never far away from an impressive array of heavy woolen jumpers, chinos, canvas pumps and of course the obligatory tweed jacket.

Notable mentions must go to our very own Grange Hill school, Mr Mitchell who it was okay to like, and 'Bullet Baxter' who was stern, but fair. Also to Mr Farthing (Colin Welland in Kes) whilst Mr Grice was caning the kids, Mr Sugden was Bobby Charlton, English teacher Farthing - Welland a teacher in real life, was the only person who truly understood the world of Billy Casper, and he was cool too.

13 November 2009

Harry Brown

Earlier today I watched the new Michael Caine flick, Harry Brown.
This may or may not contain spoilers. Micheal Caine is one of Britain's finest, so it was good to see him in a role like this again, it was like Carter had never actually been got, and was now trying to living the quiet life in some South London shithole besieged by horrible little feral youths packing heat and talking jive.
Caine plays the title role, a very recent widower who's living in a grotty, decaying tower block in a London suburb - with a slight sprinkling of 'Daily Mail' fright perhaps, that said there's no hiding that's what it's like in certain rough arse areas. The kids aren't alright! ASBO's are tags of pride, smack and coke is rife and kids play with real guns. Harry and his pal Len (David Bradley) are still living there despite the dramatic decline, and trying to enjoy a bit of peace and chess, in a depressed and more than rowdy estate. They are from an old generation where respect and values were part of the fabric of their lives and guns and drugs were only seen in the movies.
When his friend Len tells him of his fears about the unruly gangs, Harry recommends telling the police, who he admits he's already been too with little or no help, before Harry's even stopped to think about his friends woes, he's gone. Len after being pushed too far, confronts and then is savagely murdered by the gang.

Harry, an ex-Royal Marine decides to take matters into his own hands and goes all 'Charlie Bronson' on them, which leads to Caine going back nearly forty years to play out a very similar, and of course one of his greatest roles, that of vigilante Jack Carter. It's going to be compared to that role, so compare it I will. The film may well be a biting social commentary on the current state of unruly kids and the ASBO generation, (with added uber-ultraviolence) which as I've said isn't too far from the truth, we've all seen the headlines and the negative news every week, so the subject isn't too far off, more so, there's a look and a swipe at the terrible state of the law, and the system and how those on the wrong side of the law can seemingly crack it, time and time again. I realise this may read back a bit 'Victor Meldrew' but it's pretty true in my humble.
Directed by Daniel Barber, the film starts with shocking mobile phone style footage of kids behaving as kids shouldn't, quite shocking in parts and I must admit to jumping out of my seat on the odd occasion too, bloody, brutal and hard hitting. You could argue it plays out a little slightly far fetched towards the finale a hail of gunfire against the backdrop of a riot, but who knows how far people will go when what little they have is taken from them.
Similarly to Clint Eastwood's final acting bow Gran Torino, Caine - who in all fairness isn't getting any younger, so this was a welcome role for him to dust off his trenchcoat for and his performance here is superb, especially when he turns, (to quote Alex DeLarge) it's old age having a go at youth (this time rightfully). His tormented ex-serviceman on a vengeance mission is a joy to watch, even at it's almost cartoonish height. I'd definitely recommend giving it a watch though. 3.5/5

12 November 2009

Image of the day

I won't take credit for this as I didn't take it and don't know who did, it was in a magazine.

10 November 2009

Desert and Forest Clothing

My bro recently touched for this two-tone outdoorsy jacket from a pal.
Elk was a short lived and now not often seen label from around ten years ago. Produced by ex-Smiths, The The and Electronic guitarist, Johnny Marr, and one of the founding members of Manchester's Oi Polloi.
This label was available in high end stores like Selfridges and Harvey Nicholls in the capital, and also the now defunct Geese in Manchester, notably their leather cagoules were worn by Oasis, New Order's Bernie Sumner, and was at the time described by DJ Mike Pickering as "beautiful scallywear" Elk was about to take off in Japan, but an ill-advised partnership with a production company meant the firm folded. Elk was 'built in Britain' and was dubbed Desert and Forest Clothing.

8 November 2009

60/40 part two

Back to my 60/40 post a while ago, I finally managed to nab the one which kept getting away, after several near misses, this vivid orange mountain parka arrived yesterday, from Sierra Designs - a classic American outdoor brand from California.
The '60/40' style five pocket silhouette was first introduced in 1968 and is still produced (albeit pretty limited) today and borrowed by many other brands from fellow outdoor labels to fashion tat. Those really into their films, may recognise the original orange mountain parka from early scenes in the epic Michael Cimino movie The Deer Hunter sported by Bobby De Niro himself.
Being a tree hugger, the only shooting I'll be doing in this is taking a few pictures. I wouldn't advocate hunting whatsoever, but they wear nice garments.