‘ZX The Roots of Running’ An Exhibition by Adidas

Adidas have opened the doors to ‘ZX – The roots of running’ an exhibition at 21-23 Earlham St, Seven Dials. Curated by Adidas’ own Gary Aspden, the exhibition is a testament to the influence and diversity of Adidas classic 80’s training shoe family; ZX. 

ZX The root of running 1
Original 80’s Adidas shapes that have stood the test of time.

As a fan of Gary’s work I headed down to see it in the flesh on opening day. Adidas running trainers have a cult following, they seem somewhat overlooked in terms of trend. But I suppose thats why they are so iconic. Since the release of the first ZX500 in 1984, Adidas have continued to innovate and create with this style, and the space shows just that.

An unreleased model called the ‘ZX SPZL’, by Gary Aspden, curator and lead designer for Adidas’ spezial range.

The room was filled to the brim with trainers. Everywhere you looked there was a different variation of the one before. The extent of Adidas’ ZX archive is out in full colour. A huge selection of OG 80’s shapes swell as new releases that have taken influence of design from those models. The development of the shape is clear and there are so many different trainers that have used parts such as soles, toeboxes or heel tab designs from the originals. There were people from all walks of life attending, office workers, builders and even Liam Gallagher’s youngest; Gene, all sharing a love for the 3 stripes. 

Ian Brown’s take on the ZXZ, Designed by Kazuki Kuraishi. Extremely limited and hugely desired amongst Adidas collectors.

The exhibition is open from the 23rd of November through to the 2nd of December, 12-8 daily. It is open for free entry, however donations are welcome. There is also a hardback book available for sale titled ‘ZX: The roots of running’, it includes words, pictures and 80’s adverts all depicting the iconic shoe. Priced at £20, the funds will be donated to teenage cancer trust. 

Peabody housing faces protests from Deptford community

In favour of saving the Reginald building and tidemill garden space in Deptford.

Deptford residents gathered outside the Newington offices of Peabody, in order to protest the proposed demolition of Reginald house and Tidemill garden space. 

The protests have been going on since late 2017 when Lewisham council announced that the  ‘Reginald House’ and  Tidemill community garden would be demolished to make way for a  209-home build, none of which will be at social housing prices.

Residents are fed up with noise pollution and the assault of concrete that Deptford faces. Originally planted by students, teachers, and parents of Old Tidemill School 20 years ago, the garden provides a space to plant and cultivate.

a ‘Deptford needs to breathe’ banner, raising awareness of the growing air pollution in the area.

The protest has an official petition and donation page. Aiming to earn £21,000 in order to pay court costs and lawyer Richard Buxton; who has already saved other community spaces from demolition.

Peabody housing is Londons biggest housing corporation. Public Google reviews from Peabody residents have labeled them as ‘Greedy’ and some say that they are ‘appalled’ after in some cases rent increased at their housing by 27% in two years. 

Residents want new social housing but do not want to sacrifice valuable community assets.  Campaigner Andy Worthington has said that Lewisham council and Peabody housing ‘have nothing but spin and deceit’.  

The fundraiser can be found at https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/save-reginald-save-tidemill/

Fake news and the political dialogue

Photo by Auf Allen Knallen

Fake news on social media is a common occurrence now. It can easily be dismissed if we are not aware of them. Their impact on the political dialogue they convey is huge. They are able to blur the line between what is real and whats not and can lead us to subliminally take fake news as fact if we are unaware. 

It can be easy to read and share political news that is fabricated in order to benefit an individual or a group. The NY times has even developed a step-by-step guide on how to spot fake news. The problem seems to be more prominent in the US due to President trumps antics in distorting and altering what the media said about him and his party during the crucial election period.

With fake news it can become a war between real media outlets and those that have been posting distorted stories and facts. It becomes harder for the public to trust the voice of the media, be it a politician, a researcher or anyone who may be able to contribute to public interest. Gone are the days of believing everything you read online, or did that ever happen in the first place?

Graffcity: A Day with a writer

Grafitti is a major part of London. It’s unavoidable, plastered everywhere. For those not in the know, it easily goes unnoticed. I recently followed a graffiti artist Luke (not his real name) on his travels through the city, we spoke and walked through east London, and he gave me an insight into the secret underworld of graff.

We start the day off at Chrome & Black, London’s leading supply shop in Bethnal Green. He orders his paints, picks up some reading material and we head out for a walk. It all started fairly early for Luke, he used to tag his name on school tables like most 12-year-olds do.  The skatepark took him to his next level,  after asking around he got help with his tag and it went from there.

At work under the tracks, this is a famous spot amongst painters. People paint here on a daily basis.

”Painting trains is the biggest way of getting a name for yourself, its the ultimate risk for the ultimate reward. Your work is up and it’s running through the city ”

This was his final comment after a lengthy discussion about 3 writers; Trip, Lover, and K-Bag who sadly passed earlier this year painting at Loughborough Junction. The reaction from the graffiti community was fierce, defending their subculture from public criticism but also warning other painters about the dangers of painting on tracks. Former TFL board member Bryan Cooke took to twitter saying: “Why do the BBC keep referring to the guys killed at #LoughboroughJunction as graffiti ‘artists’ ? They are no such thing they are common scum and criminals who cost the railway millions”. British transport police have said ‘Graffiti in public places can make passengers feel unsafe’. It’s clear from this that there are only two sides to the graffiti coin. 

‘There have been writers who have been sentenced longer than rapists and pedophiles. But when Banksy stencils a wall and scrutinises the government, it’s kept safe and put up for auction. He’s a vandal. His stuff isn’t meant for a gallery ‘. We walk by the train tracks and I ask about damage on train panels. ‘It takes 10 minutes for a train to be buffed ( cleaned ).’ His frustration with the criminalisation of graffiti  is evident as we carry on walking through the east. 

Gold and gloves. “sometimes just taking one can and tagging until it’s done is the best way to get yourself up”

We stop at a spot under the train tracks and Luke gets to work, laying down burner chrome and detailing with Montana colours. His letters aren’t like the ones around him, they’re chunky and squishy, I like it. ‘Some people go to football on a Saturday morning, I get my paint and go use it.’ In a few minutes the piece is done, he packs his cans, sparks a cigarette and we head off. We walk through Brick Lane, occasionally stopping for him to tag a wall or a door.

‘Graffiti has always been the leading form in terms of subcultures. In music, fashion and skating, it’s influential but people don’t realise.’ It’s getting dark now, you can hear the pressure coming out of the cans before you see them. His crew shows up ready to go out. One crew member ‘Spot’ tells me bit about Luke: ‘His stuff is cool, It’s individual and not biting anyone’s style, that’s what it’s all about.’ Luke greets me goodbye and heads off into the night.

Names and identities have been altered for obvious reasons.

Lord Mayor’s parade a successful celebration

‘Parade piggy’

On Saturday the 10th of November tens of thousands flocked to the streets of The City to attend the Lord Mayor’s show. The sun was shining and celebrations were in full swing as the floats and marching bands went on from Bank through to Aldwych. 

The parade included displays from a huge variety of companies and charities. This included branches of the military, the Bank of China as well as Pimlico plumbers. The crowds were joyous and vibrant, there were hundreds of families stood by the barriers and others standing outside every pub on fleet street and beyond.

The tradition dates back to the 16th century, when King John allowed The City of London to elect its own mayor. The parade felt like a proper celebration of the variety of people in London. All aspects of British culture were covered in the 160 floats that took part. Even the rain that came in the late afternoon, added the ultimate British hallmark.

40 Years Of The Undercroft

On Tuesday the 6th of November ‘What’s Up Southbank” opened at the LCC Studio on the top floor of Elephant & Castle shopping center. The exhibition constitutes of 40 years of images and videos that were taken at the undercroft in the Southbank center. The works include contributions from Grey Skate Mag, Mike O’Meally and archive footage from 80’s skate mag ‘Read and Destroy’ (R.A.D).

A wall of images from the PWBC crew.

There were drinks offered to us on arrival and a designated space to leave our skateboards. The sound of 25 pairs of trainers scuttling around this wooden floor was nothing short of unsettling, the space could have done with a soundtrack. The layout is clean and organised, the walls are covered with mainly black and white prints. For any skater, bmx rider or graffiti artist the images selected are rich in culture.

A few snaps from under the pillars.

The variety of images was great, from seventies surfstyle to big technical ledge tricks, it was all on display. There was also a video presentation with lots of footage of the undercroft that I personally hadn’t seen. This also included some unseen footage of Mark Gonzalez and Tom Penny. A cabinet included original R.A.D mag editions from the late 80’s which all had Southbank features.

90’s Curtis McCann courtesy of Read and Destroy.

The exhibit is a testament to Southbank’s rich history. It shows the undercrofts journey, becoming home to new skaters and new tags on the walls. The Long Live South Bank charity are still seeking to raise money in order to open up the underfcoft and once again reveal the original space that once stood.  After all you can’t move history.

News on the move

Mobile news gathering is revolutionizing the form and speed that we receive news. People can now film, edit and upload from their pocket. Technology now allows us to write and publish stories as they happen, this is a now hugely competitive market for media companies.

We also have media and news published for specific outlets. We now see a huge number of videos that are square and have captions, these are known as ‘short text videos’. They are intended for Facebook and Instagram, which both require the user to click on the video in order to hear sound.

Another pressing development is the quality of phone cameras. Technology is so advanced that videos filmed on phones are of publishable quality. This also opens the door for media companies to buy rights to videos filmed by someone who happened to be at the right place at the right time with a phone in their pocket.

We can now use our mobiles to watch and read but also film and write news. This makes for a more efficient way of gathering news which in a field as fast-paced as news is essential.

Reconcile in Rwanda

The New York times magazines’ ‘Portraits of Reconciliation’, presents a selection of images and words depicting individuals 20 years after the mass genocide in Rwanda. The publication aims to show the effort of AMI a non-profit that aims to bring together people in hopes of forgiveness.

Perhaps the most poignant image of all, is the one of Jean Pierre Karenzi and Viviane Nyiramana. Jean Pierre along with others killed Vivianes father and 3 brothers. The image shows the pair stood side by side. Jean’s head is held low in remorse as Viviane rests her hand on his back. Jean Pierre was the only one to seek reconcile with Viviane.

Jean Pierre and other offenders helped build Viviane a house with a covered roof. From the emotions in the image we can feel a real sense of shame and grief. However, the image also carries a sense of calm and hope.

It feels as if they both hold a huge amount of grief but have accepted the circumstance’s they now face. Their emotions are humble, its no doubt that this image is truly a portrait of reconciliation.

Telegraph On Your Telephone

The telegraph have been making a serious bid to attract new readers via snapchat. Over the past 2 years, snapchat has taken the social media world by storm, and it’s no doubt that many media companies such as vice, sky news and even the daily mail have snapchat channels that allow them to access a new demographic.

The telegraphs snapchat content remains the same, however the way its presented would be very different to what telegraph readers are normally used to. Instead of several short paragraphs we are presented with colourful moving sentences accompanied by complementing ambient music.

The variety of stories available on their channel is quite impressive. Everyday there are a selection of world stories, politics as well as some advice and health reads. The stories all have a front page and then the option to swipe up to read in full if it finds your interest.

The telegraph have definitely taken a step in the right direction to recruiting new readers. Out of the available news channels the telegraph seems to offer the most variety of stories whilst still maintaining quality in their articles.

Concrete makeover

Renovations to Kennington park sports facilities are now underway. The upgrade was announced at the end of September and have now fully begun. The works include renovations or 5 tennis courts and 2 netball courts. They will be given a makeover with safer non-slip surfaces and official London Tennis association and England netball markings.

Last year, 62,000 people used the facilities at Kennington park, lambeth council are hoping to raise this number with the fresh facilities. The renovations are due to be completed by early November. The works are a bid to contribute to the development affordable tennis programs as a part of the Active Lambeth plan.

In total there are 5 parks that are undergoing renovations by Lambeth council, who have said that this is in the hope that better facilities will help to inspire more use of sports facilities in the area.