Adidas – Skate Shoes

I came across this video by accident whilst surfing the web and was pleasantly surpised by the quality of the skating, editing, music cues and (i almost hate to admit it) the shoes.

Kudos to Adidas. I admit I am a fan boy and an ex skater, but this video was great and gives me new purpose for my forthcoming trip to Japan as there are some quality kicks up in this.

Written and posted by Horatio Cornblower. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and The Eastern Terraces with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 

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With Apologies

Sorry for the delay and lack of posts. Work, life, laziness. We’ve suffered from them all (especially Gunter – You lazy bitch). In the mean time in an effort to be as topical as quality publications such as the National Enquirer, we bring you this triptych of Kayne West and Kim Kardashian (click on picture for lager version).

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Stand for resumption of normal posts in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…

2014 – The Future is Here Part I

So this confused decade is almost halfway done and finally a musical and stylistic identity begins to emerge. Pretty much just like the last decade took a while to get into its stride too. In the last few months there’s been an abundance of releases which have really started to deliver on the promise of 2013 and that Logos album. More importantly, most of these releases are by artists that I hadn’t even heard of 12 – 18 months ago.  There’s a real feel of a new generation emerging, and some of the giants of the ’04 – ’09 era are starting to look like dinosaurs to me.

More importantly, I feel like there’s been one of those rare foot-centric seismic shifts that truly mark an era changing: yes I’m talking about the eternal swing of the pendulum from Nike to Adidas and back again.

The last time I felt an era-change – the middle of last decade when it was clear that dubstep was going to explode – was also the last time that I felt the pendulum swing from Nike to Adidas. The early part of the decade had been all about the Air Force 1 and, somewhat embarrassingly, the Bape Sta.  Then about the time of Dubstap Warz, I moved under the influence of casual culture and began a massive reappraisal of, shall we say, the more “European” end of Adidas. I spurned the obvious styles like the Shell Toe to begin an almost decade-long excavation of models like the Forest Hills, the Trimm-Tabb and the Munchen.

Now while I still adore those styles (in the overall pantheon of trainer greatness, will the Forest Hills ever be bettered?), I’ve slowly started to wake up to the painful reality that while those models were absolutely cutting-edge technology in their day, Adidas doesn’t really produce much in the way of exciting new trainers now.  In fact many of them are downright ugly, and the whole Adidas Originals schtick of continually re-releasing the golden designs of the early to mid-80s is wearing a bit thin.

Now on the other hand with Nike, the ubiquity of the Air Force 1 was putting me to sleep by the middle of last decade. And yet I now have to admit that it’s Nike and not Adidas that is making some new  trainers that you would both actually want to wear and that somehow capture the zeitgeist.

With the release of the Free Flyknit 4.0 Nike have released what I believe will be one of the defining trainer silhouettes of this era. Mixing the Nike Free sole and the Nike Flyknit upper, they combine two iconic pieces of Nike technology that left Adidas far behind. Stylishly blending form and function for a look that manages to stand out as new even after 40 years of modern trainer design, I haven’t been this excited about a new trainer since…well since I started collecting trainers.

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And it’s not just shoes where Nike are now winning the arms race. NSW keeps kicking goals with lines like the Gkyakusou running range, the collaborations with FFF and FCRB.  When was the last time you wanted to actually wear a piece of clothing from Adidas that wasn’t a classic item dating back from the 70s?

And so in a roundabout way, I come to music. As I said, the last few months have seen a whole exciting new generation of producers break through (or maybe I only just recognised that they are breaking through). I’ve spent a whole lot of time recently listening both to these new producers and to recent releases by some of my heroes of the 00s. In my next post I’ll deal with the producers that really excite me now, but first some thoughts about two of my old favorites: Hyperdub Records and The Bug.

The inescapable conclusion when listening to the recent Hyperdub 10 series of albums is that this once untouchable label is having a bit of an Adidas moment: iconic and era-defining in its glory day, but now distinctly bloated and tired. Was there really a need for an interminable series of compilation albums to celebrate the 10th anniversary? Why sign so many tedious American producers? What was once a lean and  focused operation now seems like a less-interesting Warp records wannabe. I shan’t listen to any of the Hyperdub compilations more than once, and have almost zero interest and curiosity about what Hyperdub might put out next.

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The Angels and Devils album by The Bug is, on the other hand, something I have listened to many times over the past few weeks. By my reckoning I’ve been following Kevin Martin a.k.a The Bug’s various projects for a ridiculous 22 YEARS, ie: longer than many of his current fans have been alive. His musical evolution has paralleled my own tastes in many ways, or perhaps even shaped them.

But while Angels and Devils probably has a lot more listening in it for me, I’m already clear that it’s just a further refinement of what he’s been doing for the last 15 years at least. Yes it may be his best single cohesive album to date but there is no shock of the new here, nothing that makes it feel like it actually helps define this moment in time the way London Zoo did in 2008 or indeed the way his masterful compiling of the Virgin Ambient series did in the mid-90s.  Somehow Angels and Devils feels like a good late period Neil Young album. Nice to see an elder statesman continuing to craft great albums, but it doesn’t really feel relevant to the era any more.  Still, Fat Mac is probably the single greatest Kevin Martin/Justin Broadrick collaboration to date.

Right then, next time I’ll write about the music that really excites me now.

Gunter Logo

Posted by Gunter Sacks

Out and about in Shanghai

Inspired by Casual Connoisseur’s “Out and About” series, Gunter hits the Bund

A few weeks ago I had the chance to nip over to Shanghai for the first time.

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Flight delays conspired to make this a very short trip, and I didn’t get to cram in all I wanted. Still, I think I got in a little bit of the vibe of the city during the jazz age, when it proudly went by the title “whore of the orient”.

I was surprised by how clean and orderly the parts of Shanghai that I visited were. The bit of the Huangpu river where the Bund overlooks Pudong is positively gleaming, the buildings of the Bund perfectly restored and sitting behind a brand spanking new riverfront promenade. All in all, a much more pleasant experience than Beijing.

Thanks to the aforementioned flight delays we only had one proper evening on the town, and we made use of it by visiting Fu 1088.  Somewhere in or near the former French concession, and set in  a colonial bungalow that might have housed a moderately prosperous expat bank employee in the early 1930s.  Private rooms only, where high-end Shanghainese cuisine gets served up amongst faintly chipped and worn remnants of the city’s heyday. As this is not a food blog, I’ll save you the descriptions, but the food was damn good.

Some shots inside Fu 1088:

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Gunter wears a Moncler Gamme Bleu Oxford Shirt while preparing to tuck into a tea egg with caviar:

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After dinner we took a taxi back to the riverside to stroll along the wonderfully restored Bund. The dowdy vibe of “Clive James’ postcard from Shanghai” is long gone. We popped into the building which used to house Shanghai’s British Club. Now converted into the Shanghai Waldorf-Astoria hotel, it boasts a recreated version of the British Club’s notorious Long Bar – all in all a step up from the mid-90s days when it housed a KFC.

To my immense surprise the jazz trio in the Long Bar (bass, drums, piano) was several light years beyond the usual Asian hotel lobby “jazz band” hacks, and managed to jam out something which to these ears sounded like late 50s hard bop.

Gunter prepares to down a passable Gimlet at the Long Bar while listening to jazz:

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While our stay was short, the whole jazz age vibe of the trip was considerably enhanced by having chosen the Fairmont Peace Hotel as our digs. Close to the northern end of the Bund, the hotel is actually the former Cathay hotel, now immaculately restored.

When it opened in 1929, the Cathay was the most luxurious hotel in Asia and luminaries such as Charlie Chaplin, Noel Coward and Douglas Fairbanks passed through its doors:

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The restoration job is great, and the whole building is fascinating to wonder around in, but the slightly deserted nature of some of the public rooms on the upper floors gave of the vibe of a more art deco version of the Shining:

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It’s even more spooky when you consider that these rooms once housed the most happening night club in Shanghai, complete with jazz band and Russian prostitutes.

The actual rooms themselves are extremely well appointed and the ground floor with its’ art deco galleries is also a great place for loitering. I even managed to sneak an “Acid Casuals” T-Shirt into one of the shots:

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The last day on Sunday was spent exploring the vicinity of the Bund and sneaking in a brief interview with Subculture Shanghai main man Drunk Monk (coming soon to this blog) before taking the Maglev to the airport. All-in-all, I can’t wait to visit Shanghai again.

Gunter crosses the bridge over Soochow creek and ponders the Broadway apartments:

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Pondering Andre Malraux in the Farimont Peace Hotel’s fantastic French Bakery:

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But before closing out this post, a special mention is needed for the builder of the Cathay Hotel – the notorious Victor Sassoon, a man who would merit a long Eastern Terraces post of his own.

A member of the notorious Sassoon family of Baghdad jews whose commercial interests followed the British Empire eastwards, he first intended the Cathay Building to be an office building, but later changed his mind and put the city’s most luxurious hotel and most happening nightclub on the upper floors. Never one to do things by halves, he then ensconced himself in a penthouse suite on the top floor (in the pyramid-like structure you can see on top of the hotel). Following an air crash and partially crippled, he walked only with the aid of two canes.  Convinced therefore that women would only love him for his money, he dealt with the problem by postponing marriage until old age (he eventually married his nurse) and in the meantime regularly putting some of the city’s most beautiful European and Chinese women on his payroll. As one article puts it:

“Sir Victor had four major passions: beautiful women, thoroughbred horse racing, Chinese art, and photography…..Sir Victor not only had white lovers, but also Chinese ones, at a time when this was uncommon. He often photographed his conquests in the nude, thus combining his interests.”

http://suite101.com/article/sir-victor-sassoon-builder-of-1930s-shanghai-a132604

Sir Victor’s hight times in Shanghai definitively ended with the Communist takeover, whereupon he retired to the Bahamas and remarked: “Well, there it is…..I gave up India, and China gave me up.”

A photo of the great man (one hopes this lady was not one of the ones on his payroll):

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Finally, a picture of the guidebook that Porfirio Crane carried with him on his 1935 visit to Shanghai:

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Posted by Gunter Sacks