This is the first in what will hopefully be an ongoing series of mixtapes made for us by our friends and collaborators.
This is the first in what will hopefully be an ongoing series of mixtapes made for us by our friends and collaborators.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Sorry for the post drought. In the words of Richard Kylea Cowie, ‘Bumbahole work got in the way’. Yeah man. It’s frustrating when my pretend job - running a production company - gets in the way of my real job - writing a retarded blog.
Don Gwaaardin and I were in Los Angeles shooting an interactive film for Range Rover. Lucy R Kelly produced it and the homies at Caviar LA facilitated it for us.
Here’s a picture of Lucy trying on some 50-inch-waist Dickies. OG.
I love LA because when you’re driving around you see shit like this:
The Hollywood High 16. People will debate what the biggest hammer done here is, but for me it has to be the Boss’s frontside flip over the rail in Baker 3.
The Caviar office is pure vibes. It has a little grassed area outside, complete with decking and a barbecue, where you can kick back and enjoy the sunshine. The parking lot is surrounded by duplex houses. One morning I spotted an elderly black man leaning over his balustrade. He wore a tan zoot suit with a matching fedora and tanda feather peaking from the brim. His face reminded me a little of Lee Scratch Perry’s. After a while he came down to see us in the garden and handed one of the creatives a note. We found out that his name was Keith.
'One day I feel asleep on my bed when I awaken I was outside the tomb of King Solomon the son of King David King of Israel. Then I behold a jewel among the sins on the ground I picked it up and put it on. The jewel shon as bright as the sun and it made me shine from within from that day when I accepted and put on the jewel I was made free from the sins of the world. And made more whole. Or Holy.'
At first this text confused me. But a day or so later it made more sense after the peeps at Supreme smoked me out in their parking lot. Mmmm. Let me hit it again. Wwffffffffff. Oh shit. Cough. Hit it too hard. Cough. Cough. Heart racing. Mind chasing. What? That weird fucking note. Fuck. Maybe it’s a message from Jah. It must be. For we all know that emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, whose pre-regnal title was Ras Tafari, claimed to be a direct descendant of King Solomon. And Selassie’s adherents - the Rastafarians - believed that he was another incarnation of God, known to them as Jah. Nah. I’m cooked. B. U. T. Kush fear. Cold sweating. What if I’m in Babylon? Surrounded by sin. S. I. N. Fuck. Satan is an evilous man. But him can’t chocks it on I-man. Jah bless me. The lily of the valley. The Jewel. Oh shit. I think I need a lie down. Or an iced tea.
Thankfully this wasn’t the only wisdom we received: during the tech scout, we stopped off at Koo Koo Roo for lunch - no one else wanted to go to Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘n’ Waffles - and cracked open a fortune cookie for desert, which contained the following kismet:
Leo Fitzpatrick played the lead role in our film. Yep. Range Rover are cool. They signed off on an actor best known for his roles as Telly, The Virgin Surgeon, in ‘Kids’, and Johnny Weeks, Bubbles’ smack addicted friend, in ‘The Wire’.
A long shoot can present some problems. Like running out of pants. Luckily, on a very rainy Sunday, after almost two days without a change, I found a liquor store in Korea Town that hooked me up. At first I didn’t know whether to draw for the ‘Pro-Clubs’, but in the end I was swayed by Knockers’ premium range, the ‘High Lites’. $5.99 for three pairs. Safe.
It’s actually amazing what you can buy in liquor stores. You could easily walk out of most of them with an entire outfit, right down to track pants, hoodie and a knock off, acrylic beanie. Just make sure you don’t leave without the essentials - Blunt Wraps and a Swisher.
One liquor store that I went to in Encino still carried some Four Loko dead-stock.
Four Loko is basically a caffeinated malt liquor with added guarana. An Illinios based company called Phusion Projects launched the product in 2005. A combination of field marketing in deprived areas, cheap prices, and sweet fruity flavours, including grape and watermelon, led many to accuse the brand of targeting the defenseless.
'Jeff. It's Larry. I'm good. How are the kids? Great. Glad to hear it. Hey listen, I think I've thought of a new way to exploit vulnerable, disenfranchised black people. OK. We know they love forties. You've heard all the rap songs. So what about a malt beer that gets you more fucked up than you can imagine, but keeps you awake long enough to buy more of it? I know. Fuckin-A. I can't believe Pabst haven't thought of this shit. Dumb-asses.'
In 2010 a number of states banned the sale of Four Loko after a spate of injuries and blackouts related to its consumption. And then earlier this year a mother in Texas was charged with child endangerment after her toddler was found staggering around their parking lot drunk, having quaffed a can of Four Loko while her mommy was passed out in front of the TV.
I dunno man. I think I’ll stick to Barcardi Breezers.
The Range Rover film launches on the 19th April.
Your head hurts after the wrap party. Don Julio was a bit too fun to hang out with last night. Advil isn’t working. You’ve only got a couple of Xanax left, but you want to save them for the flight home, which leaves JFK later that evening. Eventually you manage to drag yourself out of bed. Standing up feels weird. Blood rushes to your head. Pounding. Pounding. You run to the bathroom and do a little sick. Eyes streaming. Fuck man.
Yep. You’ve got a whole hung-over day to kill in New York and you’re not really sure what to do.
Don’t panic. The Somesuch Guide is the answer to all your problems. Written by Sally Campbell, this is the definitive manual to the cities you might have to visit on a shoot - and also some others that are just wicked. Read it. A lot. Street knowledge.
On the subject of shit graffiti, I saw this the other day.
What else? Oh yeah. I finally had to retire my Nokia 6301.
Orange shop. Peepers crammed with tears, I hand Troy the handset.
'Bruv, what the fuck is that?'
'It's a classic man. Why do you have to be all like that? I love that phone. It's a straight classic. Anyway I've been forced to get an upgrade.'
Troy has got the perfect fade. It’s almost moving in its exactitude. I resist the urge to touch his hair. Why can’t the Mesut Barbers in Dalston reach such Olympian heights? All I ever want is a two all over, but I still come out looking like a picky head.
We’re now up on twitter. Here. Follow us.
'Twitter thug, I'm the timeline strangler'.
On Sunday millions of Canadians watched the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers slug it out for the Vince Lombardi trophy in Super Bowl XLV. Depending on their allegiances, some viewers will have been listening to Lil Wayne’s ‘Green and Yellow’ freestyle, but nearly all will have been drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon and eating Funyuns.
During one of the myriad advertising breaks, Nick Gordon’s latest spot for Doritos was shown. You can watch it here.
Entitled ‘The End’ its premise is simple: two new flavours of Doritos - Onion Rings N’ Ketchup and Buffalo Wings N’ Ranch - are presented to the Flavour Master; the public are then invited to write an ending for the commercial outlining how one of the flavours will be destroyed; if their idea gets selected, we shoot it, and they win $25,000 and 1% of future sales.
Yep. They make paper.
Within an hour of the advert being screened the Write The End website was inundated with thousands of entries, causing it to crash. We broke the internet.
Here’s one of my favourites, written by Steve:
'Suddenly a child appears from the corner of the room. She says “It's no simple task to destroy something with such great power and influence over mankind, but I have been chosen to take on this quest”. She then takes subject A and ingests it in its entirety. An eerie light begins shining from her body. She slowly levitates above the group and light explodes from her. The land is bathed in light and hope. The end.'
Shit. What if Steve wins? What’s he gonna spend his loot-cakes on? Maybe he’ll build an extension onto his house and art direct it to look like an elf graveyard in Kalimdor so that when the fourth expansion of World Of Warcraft comes out later this year he’ll have a more immersive MMORPG experience. Maybe.
Someone needs to sign Tyler The Creator because he just directed his own damn video for ‘Yonkers’. It’s haaarrrdddd. Here.
It’s 2.30 am on a Friday in late November 2010. I’m standing on a pedestrian bridge that spans Mancunian Way, otherwise known as the A57, which forms a major part of the Manchester-Salford Inner Ring Road.
It is bitterly cold. The kind of cold that creeps into your bones and doesn’t leave. Daniel is wearing a woolen balaclava that leaves only his eyes and mouth exposed. A cigarette - the first of many that will be smoked over the course of the day - protrudes from the lowest hole. We drink coffee from polystyrene cups and eat bananas that aren’t nearly ripe enough. The rind is waxy. It seems that in this age of sanitized perfection, supermarkets only want to sell the most immature fruit. As Daniel often points out, bananas are supposed to have bruises.
None of us have been up for very long. It was 1.45 am when the van picked us up from the Etap hotel, an unfeeling blue and grey block located on Trafford Road, opposite the old docks, which closed in the early 1980s and were later re-branded as the Salford Quays after a multi-million pound urban regeneration project. Eighteen pounds a night. All the rooms have bunk-beds. The hotel is popular with kids from Greater Manchester because after a night out in the city it is often cheaper to stay there than to get a cab home. The reception was mobbed with wide-eyed young people battered on pingers. As we were leaving a bloke that looked like a squaddie called me a queer.
The actor Johnny Harris stands alone on the footbridge, leaning against the railings, making his preparations. He swigs from a can of Kaliber, gargles and then spits it out. Finally after an hour and a half we’re almost ready to turn over. Lee and I push the mag-liner to the far end of the bridge and wait. Busted Tescos shopping trolleys are easier to control. A few minutes pass before a huddle of Gore-Tex clad figures emerge from the gloom. Soon we can make out the steadicam operator as he takes shuffling steps backwards, led by the grip and the focus puller who jockey for position. Daniel is caught amidst the cluster holding a clamshell hardwired into the camera - the shot is too long to allow for a radio-signaled monitor. Johnny follows, walking fast. Occasionally he cries out. They keep coming towards us. Fuck. Lee and I scramble the mag-liner further back to avoid a collision. The camera cuts. Someone shouts for an end-board. Back to ones. They re-set to go again. But this time it’s the reverse so we have to cart the mag-liner to the opposite end of the bridge. Pure Keystone Kops.
At sunrise we are by a canal lined with warehouses. The water has started to freeze. By now the steadicam operator is fucked. He sits out a couple of takes. We’re forced to go hand-held. Lol skates around and nearly loses his footing. It’s sketchy as hell.
Midday. We arrive at Manchester Pets to shoot an interior scene. Daniel tells me that at one point the shop was forced to close for a few months after poor hygiene standards had resulted in the the death of many of the animals. Despite the refurbishments it’s still a depressing place. Entering the aviary room is like stepping into a psittacine nightmare. A spectacular red macaw with blue and yellow trimmings stands on a perch, its beak clamped onto one of the cage bars. Using its neck as leverage, the bird beats its wings - flap flap flap - which although clipped, cause its body to smash into the cage walls, from side to side, over and over. Feathers from its plumage fly everywhere. The screaming is relentless. Eventually one of the employees takes it out back somewhere.
Next door there’s a William Hill. I’m reminded of the lyrics from my favourite Hard Skin song:
'William Hill is fuckin' skill, betting on the dogs down Gypsy Hill,
Pissed my giro up the wall because I’m a cunt, a cunt, a cunt, a cunt, a cunt, cunt.’
The sky is clear blue. I’m outside loafing about on the pavement eating sweets. A tricked out Honda pulls up. A youth in Jordan basketball shorts gets out and nips into the bookies. Thirty seconds later he re-appears tenderly leading an old man by the arm. The old man looks tired, his eyes are wet. A damp, crumpled sports jacket hangs off his starved shoulders. The kid opens the passenger door for him and they get in the car and drive off.
By the afternoon shit is starting to swim. Aeroplane legs. Dry coffee mouth. We pass a run-down sex shop. I think it was on Bolton Road.
The doorway is covered by little net curtains. A sign in the adjacent window bears the following notice:
Silagra. Cialis. Levitra. Generic boom boom. Most of the crew are now drinking Red Bull. It occurs to me that Red Bull smells a little bit like puke.
Prang-o-clock. Why the fuck do we do this? It’s an interesting question. Making videos is hard and very often thankless. But I always come back to the same answer.
We do it because we love it.
In the late 90s the British Skateboard brand Heroin caused an uproar when it released a T-shirt with the following logo:
'If you don't skate, don't wear our fucking clothes.'
I feel similarly protective of video making. If you don’t like it, don’t do it. There are literally a million better ways to make a living. And if you think being a video director is a ‘cool’ lifestyle choice then the Antville comments section is probably the place for you.
But if you love it, put on some thermals and I’ll see you at 2.00 am.
On the day that the video dropped on daily motion Johnny Harris tweeted a link to it.
'Daniel Wolfe and Somesuch are good folk on the way up…'
Melly new year peeps.
Who’s got a cough?
We’ve all got a fucking cough. London Cough fam. Just set foot in this city and you’ll get a cough.
Koff. Koff. Khhh. Kkhhughh.
Dry or chesty? Dry of course.
Beechams Veno. Covonia Dry & Tickly. Numark Simple Linctus. Pavacol D. Benylin Mucas. Robitussin Dry. Drowsy. Close your eyes. Drowsy. Movies in my mind. Hot sheet shuffle. Drenching sweats.
Just lay off the Night Nurse. It’s like feeding Gizmo after midnight. Really bad things happen. Goonies never say Night Nurse.
And I don’t wanna hear any meek, apologetic coughs. Handkerchief. Excuse me sir. Nah. Get a rudeboy cough. Cough like General Levy would. Koff koff hiccup incredible general hiccup koff.
Anyhow we are very happy to announce that the director Bob Harlow now rides for Somesuch & Co. You can make looky at his showreel here.
During my years at Atlantic I worked with Bob numerous times. He’s a kindred spirit - a suburban guttersnipe who spent his youth in car parks with a camera stuck to his face, sent to earth to film his mates skateboarding. Everyone knows that this is the best way to become wicked at directing. We’re mad excited to be representing him. Seen.
Bob will hate me for posting this, but here’s some early noughties footage of him whizz-planking. Watch it. Raw. Strictly Mini-DV. No three chip business. Highlights? Well, the three flip ender down the Shell Center Six is obviously banging. But the Southbank Seven kickflip is the very definition of bolts. It’s probably more bolts than this.
Rewind. Strap a majoun zoot and watch it again.
Bob has just finished a video for Best Coast. You’ll be able to watch the shit out of it next week.
Here’s an artist’s impression of what 2011 might be like for the industry.
Yeah Verne. Mo’ money mo’ problems. Has anyone actually watched his sex tape?
Also why aren’t there any midget directors? Sorry I mean Little People directors. If you’re little, a person and a film maker then text me.
I’ve always wondered what the difference between a dwarf and a midget is. Basically yeah, a dwarf is someone that is well smaller than a normal person, but-all-in-proportion well smaller, yeah, and a midget is basically well small but with a normal sized body, but well short arms and legs. And a massive penis. What? Just saying. Shit. You were all thinking it anyway.
I guess some people will be turning their attention to America this year. Hope it works out.
Whatever 2011 holds for you may it be wicked.
On Tuesday I finally left Atlantic Records for good. I handed in my staff card and raggo, standard issue 8800 crackerz. And then security kicked me the fuck out. Yes fam. All I had was a cardboard box containing a dusty yucca plant, a couple of sharpies and a broken calculator.
In order to celebrate I re-posted the entire IN YOUR FACE blog archive. Peep it here. For those that didn’t read it first time round, it’s basically a pretty honest account of what it’s like to be a video commissioner at a major record label.
The other morning I opened a cupboard in the Somesuch office and saw this.
Strange. Maybe while I was away shooting we street hired Lil’ Wayne’s English uncle straight from the drunky bench on New Kent Road. I was wondering why our answer machine message had changed.
'Lil' kush make my eyes and my shoulders drop
Lil’ Night Nurse and I can make a soda pop.’
Always strapped. Have you ever tried Night Nurse? Don’t. Shit fucks you up worse than blazing a 10 pound draw of dirt weed - especially if it’s like the bush they used to turn out at the moody cab office in Cambridge Circus, back when Soho was good.
'Eh. You want to party?'
You might as well punch yourself in the head. Yeah. Allow Night Nurse. It makes you see in green.
Also, a message to rodents: I know it’s Baltic out there at the moment; I can understand that the snow is uncomfortable for your little feet; and that the allure of a warm hearth is probably hard to resist; but seriously, don’t come in because our cats will fuck you up.
We launched Daniel Wolfe’s new video for Chase & Status on Monday evening. Oh shit. The tinternet found it, boshed it like a Mitsubushi and then started buzzing. A lot. Broadsheet journalists began tweeting about it. Caitlin Moran at the Times got on a heavy bean reminiscence. Twit twoo. By Wednesday morning it was trending on twitter.
Then it landed on the YouthTube homepage and was the number 1 most viewed and discussed video in the UK. As Jacobcuz commented:
'Its like that time when your totally fucked
You tilt your head back and close your eyes and you
By Wednesday afternoon both The Guardian and The Telegraph had posted blogs about it. Internal emails started humming around Mercury. **Update**. **Update**. I remember the feeling from my days at Atlantic. Excitement. Relief. We might keep our jobs. Then bravado. We’re fucking smashing it. Marketing clicked into gear. Assets. Extra content. Let’s add the 10 minute director’s cut to the iTunes pre-order bundle. The Death Star politely asked us to take it off our website. This shit normally fucks me off, but we were all channeling the spirit of the second summer of love. I really love you man. A Play.com click through link was slapped on YouthTube, driving traffic to pre-order the album. Bang. Straight in at number 18 on the pre-release chart. Two weeks before Christmas. Eight weeks ahead of release. In a market pervaded by Glee albums. Whisper it. Videos can break records.
By all accounts the shoot itself was mayhem. I couldn’t go as I was struck down with a nasty case of bum flu. But it wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the Donellys. The video was almost a battle re-enactment of Chris Donelly’s 21st birthday party - he owns Gio Goi. That event has entered into rave folklore and was a great inspiration for Daniel. We even tried to get Mike Pickering to DJ but he was too busy.
Chris was like a Hardcore Man From Del Monte during pre-production.
'Chris, is this what they would have worn at the hacienda?'
'The Man From Del Monte he says yes.'
Yeah man. Chris kept us fucking real. No glow-sticks or chemical warfare suits. He also re-printed a load of vintage 1990 Gio Goi T-shirts for us to use. So safe.
Arthur Donelly just makes shit happen. He kindly lent us his warehouse. When we needed to build a stage at the last minute he got one of his scaffolder mates in to sort it. We couldn’t get hold of a vintage Datsun. No problem. A Golf XR2. Leave it with me.
And Tracey D went beyond the call of duty, scouting farms in the freezing cold, organizing port-a-loos, finding hair and make-up assistants. The list goes on.
You can see full credits for the video here.
The question on everyone’s lips: Is it real? Were people actually out of their minds on pingers? Or are they just brilliant actors?
No comment. Believe.
'Driving? Fucking flying man.'
'This man was my bombers, my Dexys, my high
The Gino Iannucci mixtape has been doing the rounds on all the the whizz-planking blogs in the past few weeks - but it’s still the most legit thing you’re gonna see until Daniel Wolfe’s Chase & Status video drops next week.
It is of course boring to talk about how good Gino is at skateboarding. However, it’s nice to be reminded from time to time. Some of my highlights are: the nollie back heel; the fakie varial flip off the bump; the back three down the New York double set, although Manolo cuts out of it too early - the Chinese nollie off the curb after he sticks it is definitely one of my all time favourite rollaways; I even like how he lifts his foot up after the switch back 180 to nosegrind, and then just does it again perfectly because he can.
On Monday night Nick Gordon’s Cadburys ‘Spots Vs Stripes’ advert put on some Reebok Classics, drunk a can of Stellz, necked a bean, stole a Ford Sierra and then ram raided the BTAA Craft Awards. When the commercial was later arrested it was found in possession of a gold arrow for CGI, a silver for music and a silver for special effects. Big up Don Gwaaardin, Augusto Sola at Fallon and Lucy Gossage.
You can peep the spot on Nick’s reel.
On Friday we roll out to Manchester to shoot a video for The Shoes. Daniel is directing. Johnny Harris is starring.
The Plan B video for ‘Love Goes Down’ has now been delivered. You can peep it here.
It’s already blowing up on the tinternets: it was the number one most viewed music video on YouthTube today - and as a result got mad homepage love.
We always try and pepper the Plan B videos with good cameos for the children.
On the right is Andy Crane. Yep. Andy mother fucking Crane. The last time you saw him on TV was probably back in 1995 while you were still in your first year of university. You’d get out of bed at 4.30pm, bill up a zoot, start brewing a Pot Noddle and then watch him presenting ‘Bad Influence' on CITV, before battering your SNES until five in the morning.
In the middle is Paul Young. The last time you saw him was probably back in 1983 when he was smashing up the charts with white soul bangers like this.
Here’s a picture of Ben Drew, Amy and Terry.
Daniel Wolfe found Terry in Croydon last year while he was street casting for another video. Terry is a straight up gangsta. He’s also one of Daniel’s regular troupe. Amy’s his sister.
Pictured on the right is Daniel about to get his sip on. In the middle is the wonderful actress Vicky McClure, who plays Strickland’s girlfriend in the videos and is also currently starring in the TV series ‘This is England ‘86’.
On the left is Martin Serene. Actor. AD. Raconteur. Instrument of story telling. If you’ve ever spent five minutes with him then you’ll have definitely heard a lot of fucking wild things. When he lived in LA he was the 1st AD on the video for ‘Straight Outta Compton’ by NWA, until the shoot got shut down and he got arrested; he was Sean Penn’s PA for a while; he played the character of Wild Bill in Se7en; he saw Hendrix perform at the Isle of Wight Festival. And on. He has the role of Strickland’s manager in the videos and is wicked.
This guy was cast to play one of TV camera operators.
Apparently he was so neurotic about being late for the shoot that he took the train to Maidstone the night before and slept rough in the station so that he wouldn’t miss his call time. A true professional.
You can see full credits for the video here.
Finally, last Saturday saw an important anniversary slip past: it’s been six years since the death of Old Dirty Bastard. To commemorate the event take a minute to watch this and remind yourselves of one of his greatest moments of hi-jinx.
'I went and bought me a outfit today that costed a lot of money today'.