Wednesday, 23 November 2011

A Grudge Supreme.

'A Love Supreme' by Thomas Campbell, NYC, 1995 — Supreme Industry promo edit from 411VM #18 (1996). 

This charming three minute Supreme promo was the most captivating thing ever when it dropped in 1996, and in many ways it retains that allure now. It oozes Kids-era New York trillness, from a time when Zoo York, Alleged Gallery, Brooklyn Banks, Eastern Exposure 3, Grand Royal and X-Large ruled street culture.

I wasn't the only English kid to be seduced by this notion of New York. It was an environment we could all relate to – kinda like Birmingham, Manchester or London – only the streets were more raw, the buildings more grand, and the evenings enchanted by the mist of fire hydrant spray, the rumble of subway trains and the excitement of make-out sessions with cool girls that hung out at spots. (Cool girls that, for some reason, rarely chose to hang around multi-storey carparks, loading bays and ledges in the English Midlands).

My friends and I skated through suburban traffic in packs, És Sal 23s, shirts off and backpacks on both shoulders, not so much in imitation of the NY scene as young kids deluded we were part of it. People just didn't get where we were coming from. A couple of years earlier I remember going to the UK's oldest working arthouse cinema to suggest they screen a forthcoming film about New York skater kids by an unknown Tulsa photographer and a nascent cinematic auteur. I was laughed out of the building by people who should have known better. Eventually I persuaded a cinema in Chinatown to screen Kids but only myself and two friends showed up. Yeah, I was there etc. Sort of.

The downside to all this romance was that after waiting four years to finally make a pilgrimage to Supreme, I felt let down. I should have known that unless you're an active player in the local scenes they foster, skateshops are often pretty boring, seemingly elitist places. I was bummed on Supreme for making everything seem so awesome and then just being a shop instead of... I dunno... a magic portal directly into this video or something.

As unfair and irrational as it is, I still hold a grudge against Supreme. Not just because it fell short of my childish expectations, but because in my crestfallen state I went on to buy absolutely nothing. That's a whole lot of nothing I could now sell to people with a love Supreme at vastly inflated prices, or trade for the handful of Supreme items I genuinely would love to own. Don't worry, I do know I'm a dick.

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