JULY.

Great month however my mind is a cluster-fuck at the moment, bit difficult to gather my thoughts and ideas but I have still managed to make a playlist… So yeah, here.

 

I haven’t had time to write this post like my previous ones, this was down to a combination of procrastination and going out and doing stuff. I truly believe summer was not only made for ‘a break’ but for you to spend all your coin because I’m already broke and August hasn’t even started yet. Do prices increase during summer? or am I just broke?

 

JUNE HAS BEEN GOOD (besides exams)

I don’t know why but it felt like all those exams at GCSE went so much quicker. I done 22 exams, no lie and I remember the whole exam period going so fast but these A-Levels went on for time. I only had 5 exams as well but it felt like it was forever, I’m so thankful that I don’t have to be looking at gluconeogenesis because that was an actual myth. In my last exam (Biology paper 3) the last 30 minutes of the exam it dawned on me that I won’t need to sit in this hall or look at an exam paper again. I sat there and smiled throughout the rest of the exam. It’s not even like I hated my school or biology for that matter but I think it was more so the case that I’ve been like stationery, literally in the same setting for 7 years and it was tiring.

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THE GAMECUBE IS ICONIC. DON’T @ ME.

From 12 am to 1 am I was on the I was on the phone to my brother a couple of nights ago speaking about how sick our childhood was when it came to video games. Between my 2 older brothers and myself when were little we shared a Nintendo GameCube and it was the best console of the time I have to say, we always used to play after school and one of the best things about it was that it focused heavily on split screen multiplayer. Now I’m not saying that we weren’t close but the GameCube always made us spend time with each other and I have some of the best memories playing it with them; it was too much fun and I am so glad our Mum bought it us. So because of how iconic the GameCube was I have put together a list of the games that really stood out for me and has given me some of the best memories playing, the list is in no specific order:

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MAY, BABY WHAT IS YOU DOIN??

So that dreaded month is about to begin, when all A-Level students across the UK take exams. I understand that some may have already started this month but June is definitely when a ton of them start. I don’t even know how I feel about them, I feel like I have mentioned it before but it is always that feeling of never feeling like you have revised or prepared yourself enough for them. Listen, that feeling never goes it honestly haunts you like when you get in bed and you get all comfy and close your eyes – it just breaks in your mind and you just feel guilty for a human need?? I know I am not the only one that feels this but it’s dumb because shouldn’t we be prioritising out health? I’m not going to get into this now maybe a next time but yeah… sorry if I triggered you.

May was a good month even though not a lot of things has happened besides revision, I’ve just enjoyed it. If you haven’t known the UK is going through a general election which now I can actually vote in and I’m not even going to lie but politics is something that has never interested me since I was young but as I got older and more specifically after brexit I did feel a little cheated and it made me want to become more informed as the result of brexit will have a significant impact on me and my peers future. To be honest it does feel like that baby boomer generation shegged us I seen a tweet the other day basically saying something on the lines that they pulled the ladder up once they went up it and that analogy is too true!

What I Liked:

The main thing I liked this month was the fact that Sixth Form is nearly finishing, I just feel ready to leave. I’ve been at my school way too long and I just need a change of surrounding and summer to just start! Also just the rekindling of me just reading, I’ve ordered some books off amazon and I actually can’t wait to get more for summer. The new Spider-man trailer looks good too, I don’t like all the technology added to his suit… but it looked good nonetheless.

What I Watched:

Finally finally finally, I got to watch Get Out, now don’t ask me why it took me so long to watch it but I did. It was sick like the symbolism was weaved through it throughout and you could tell it was well thought out… but if I’m honest it wasn’t as amazing as everyone said it was. Perhaps this was because of how I left it so late to watch and the fact that I didn’t watch it in a cinema also how it was so hyped up I just went into watching that film hoping for something mad and it delivered definitely but I don’t know it needed something more. However I do recommend you watch it, if you havent like Jordan Peele did a great job with it and the message was clear. If you feel rattled by my review of Get Out, come buck me. Also I actually watched Riverdale and it was kinda good, its nothing special though it’s one of them shows were you can do stuff while watching it. I just want to know where ‘Miss Grundy’ is?  and did Cheryl kill her grandma with that fire too?

What I am Listening to:

Obviously there is other tracks I’m listening to but one of the major constraints of SoundCloud is that it doesn’t have all the songs. I’m not about to write a list of the additional music sorry.

I also want to say that my heart goes out to the victims families for what happened on 22nd May. I cannot imagine how they must feel and it is truly disheartening.

THE HATE U GIVE @ IMPACT HUB BIRMINGHAM WITH ANGIE THOMAS

Last weekend for the first time I went to an event at Impact Hub Birmingham. The event was in conversation with Angie Thomas (the author of ‘The Hate U Give a.k.a THUG) and Black Lives Matter UK (BLMUK). Before that, there was a screening of the refreshing and thought-provoking small film entitled ’50 shades of melanin’ followed by a Q&A with the film director Naomi Grant and Siana Bangura. The Impact Hub is a beautiful place tucked away in the centre of Birmingham, which hosts programs and events. It is a creative safe-space to work and connect amongst other innovative individuals.

Upon Arrival at the event I have to admit it was awkward for me, I went alone and I did not know anyone so obviously I’m just standing. However, it was like a small community everyone knew each other and it was something I haven’t really seen before in Birmingham and I just started having conversation and it was natural, nothing forced you know, I felt welcomed.

The documentary ’50 Shades of Melanin’ was showed followed by a Q&A led by Aliyah Hasinah with Naomi and Siana, the documentary focuses on colourism within the UK. It was a great piece and you should check it out. Not going to lie though there was some viewpoints within it that I side-eyed but I think that was important about the documentary that it was real and shown a glimpse of the different perspectives in the UK.

The Q&A also gave the audience and opportunity to ask questions to both women about the themes of the documentary and the process itself. It was concluded with a gripping poem by Siana about identity and being comfortable with who you are specifically blackness, is it possible for a poem to go off? It was so good!

After that, there was a compelling spoken word performance by Damani Dennisur and a discussion between Angie Thomas and BLMUK as her book was inspired by the black lives matter movement (which by the way is excellent, the book that is). The conversation spoke about the similarities and differences of BLM in the UK and in the US as well as the discussion of who is accountable and what actually needs to happen with the system, while covering topics of colonialism and white privilege.

“Empathy is More Powerful than Sympathy”

Then a soulful performance by Janel Antoneisha and an interview with Angie Thomas led by Rakeem Omar. She spoke about growing up in Mississippi and college – having to assimilate in a white space in a creative writing class. Inspired by a conversation with her professor, who told her that “those stories need to be told” referring to stories of the black youth. Angie Thomas wanted to write something to show the beauty in the neighbourhood like hers, this is shown through one of the motifs in the book Hip-Hop (which she prides herself in having an unofficial degree) in particular Tupac. She loved the fact he was more than a rapper, he had empathy. Angie also felt it was important to pay homage to the younger generation and the beauty of being black. She also hinted at movie in development too, which is exciting too as the book has a range of different characters. An extract from the blurb of the book to get an idea of what it is about: “…Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.” The interview was ended with asking what Angie wants the readers to take away from the book and she states: Empathy. Empathy is more powerful than sympathy. It is easy to say black lives matter but do you really mean it?

FEBRUARY MIX 2017

It’s been a while, I haven’t really been on job with this to be honest, in terms of content but I am making sure to not miss this February playlist! I think/hope it’s just a case of not having any inspiration to write, I have told people this when they hit me up asking “Where’s the next post at?” and so on but every time I speak upon why; it creates this internal monologue like I need to think of something, post, go, don’t think just post and I know that the post will not be well thought through or even planned: just piss poor choices and impulsiveness.

However, I do appreciate it when people ask about the next post or give me feedback, it lets me know that people actually do read this blog and want to see more from it. So I am personally saying thank you to everyone who is supporting this and me. Hopefully I will have time to upload more posts in the following months but it all depends on revision because of A- Levels etc. Now that is out the way this is the February playlist.

I hope everyone has a productive March and continue to work hard.

No but can we deep how fast this year is going, soon I will have finished A-Levels. Also Remy Ma going in on Nicki’s life is how I want to be with this revision.

WHY ARE TRAINERS IMPORTANT TO THE MANDEM?

In today’s society your appearance plays an important role whether you like it or not. The shoes you wear in some cases can determine whether an outfit bangs severely or does not. My friends and family go through a varied cycle of different shoes (I feel like some of my friends could even wear a different pair of shoes, for every day of a month!)

Now myself, I do not feel the need to be buying shoes constantly as I feel I have enough and would much rather get rid of them. I’m trying to adopt a more minimal lifestyle – I am struggling though. However, on the other side of the spectrum all I see is people purchasing a new pair every other week (well it feels like that anyway). This isn’t an issue or anything because you do what you want when you’re poppin’ – that is if you have the money to finance it and you’re not simultaneously struggling to make ends meet… But I am interested into why trainers are important to the mandem.

So I’ve spoken to Blair Hesson, a freelance Industrial & Footwear Designer. Than the mandem, who are re-sellers/sneakerheads. I want to know their take on sneaker culture and the ever-increasing impact it is having.

I finally got to sit down with Blair, a recent Loughborough graduate with extensive knowledge on the design, manufacturing and the history of the shoe and the culture makes him a suitable person to speak to…

“I design footwear for a living, I love doing it and want to make athletes stronger and faster. I think trainers are important to people now because its cool, a lot of people want to look athletic… you know athletes and musicians are inspiring people aren’t they? So you idolise them and you want to be them. So you will wear the clothes that they wear, you will wear the shoes that they will tell you to buy. What got me involved was playing basketball, which I think is what gets a lot of people involved, for me it wasn’t about being fashionable it was more about having the best basketball shoes to provide the best performance. I felt like if I had the shoes I would play just as good as the professional basketball players.

Blair's Design Sketch for New Balance.jpg

Design Ideas by Blair Hesson ( @bhesson_ )

I see shoes as vehicles (I laughed at this statement) especially as a young person you ain’t got no car, you ain’t got no bus – they’re your vehicle also if you got nice kicks and you dress nicely you might get girls init. People on public transport just look at shoes, in the barbershop it is a main place when you’re getting your haircut – people are looking at them. Once those companies seen it making profit (trainers) that’s when they started pushing it, they started doing all these exclusive drops and started to follow the hype and that’s what the game has become: what’s the next hype I can jump on?

A lot of people who have only just gotten into it recently they are only in it to stunt on people, breaking necks (means when you walk past someone and they look back) but the old school people who started the culture they were collecting because each shoe had a story to them it was more of a personal thing. They didn’t just buy it because of the hype, they bought it because they liked it. The market is saturated now, they bring out Jordans constantly: social media ruins it too, the resell culture is a good and bad thing, you’re basically exploiting the people but it is good as someone who is young can start a business because they’re is so much demand for it.  My all time favourite shoe… I have two, performance and leisure. Performance has to be Kobe 4’s and leisure will have to be the Nike Dunk Low.”

“…but the old school people who started the culture they were collecting because each shoe had a story to them it was more of a personal thing. They didn’t just buy it because of the hype, they bought it because they liked it.” 

Check out Blair’s work on his Instagram.

After that, I linked a couple of friends and we sat down and had a discussion about sneaker culture over chicken and chips at KFC. It would be extremely long of I did a transcript of the discussion, it ran for like 25/30 minutes and that just defeats the purpose of the blog but we covered a lot, everyone said their piece, occasionally drifting off topic but managed to get back on track. So I spoke to: Nat he runs his own successful depop store and always seems to be buying/selling a new shoe, Sean or TK as some of you may know him, Sheck & Tyrell all of them have re-sold’ before and they just stay informed about new drops and are very aware of the logistics…because that resale lifestyle isn’t for everyone.

The consensus of the group was really that: They resell to make money, it’s an easy job in this day and age plus it’s legal. Clout… Clout is a contributing factors to why it is important to the mandem. An example was raised by Tyrell explaining when he asked his girlfriend “what’s the first thing you looked at when you seen me?” it was his face, hair and shoes. All agreeing that you can tell a lot by a person’s footwear. Nat follows on saying especially when you have a pair of footwear that bangs everyone is gonna gass you “I’m wearing a good pair of shoes and all of a sudden I’m the man, nobody can corn you if they are wearing dead shoes especially in an argument with someone”. I was also told how you were more likely to sell a pair of shoes rather than an item of clothing, reason being mainly about hygiene and the feeling of someone wearing the fuck out of a t-shirt, it is harder to clean and wash in comparison to shoes –  they are a lot easier to clean up and sell in general.

What introduced Nat to the reselling culture, which was a pivotal moment, was when he first seen how much the Yeezys resold for. Sheck raised the point of when it was non-school uniform days and his mom just stopped telling him what to wear. It was clear from all of them that there was a heavy influence from the media, in particular when Skepta wore the Nike TN’s or A$AP Rocky with the Air Force 1’s. When you looked up at people wearing a certain shoe it was the idea you could embody them. I noticed there was not a lot of focus upon athletes and more upon the idea of artists becoming more of the pinnacle influence on people’s spending habits. It matters who endorses it, look at Kanye, if the shoe was priced at £230 they will still sell and if he wasn’t attached to the Yeezy it wouldn’t sell out like that. The Yeezy looks like a tubular, they are sitting on shelves. I then suggested: When Stephen Curry dropped them ugly shoes with Under Armour who was buying them? But Tyrell than said who were Under Armour though before that, highlighting how the Under Armour section in JD has grown significantly due to the influence of the celebrities.

  They said that when it comes to reselling the designers don’t really mind because once the shoe gets out to the customers they’ve already made their money, it potentially makes the designer more popular too. Sean goes on to say that social media plays a huge part, when he first seen the Yeezy he said he didn’t feel it but the more times he seen them on his timeline it had some weird effect, in turn making him like them.

They all agreed upon the Air Force 1 being their all time favourite shoe because of the versatility and how universally known they are. They also mentioned the Jordan 4’s because of simplicity and the design of the shoe.


 The discussion was ended on one of the reasons why shoes are important: people looking to others for approval. You want that self-confidence but that self-confidence is coming from other people saying you look good. I think this is an important to note especially with young teens as it is possibly one of the most insecure times of you life with pressure on constantly looking good, it could create an unhealthy perspective. 

To conclude, there are many factors that contribute to why shoes are important: girls, the  reputation of having the latest drop and being the first one to cop or the genuine feeling of satisfaction and confidence it gives…just like a trim but more lasting. I like to think it is a subtle form of expression especially with young men. It allows them to take a risk with their outfit without necessarily being penalised for it depending on the style of the shoe. It is hard to just state one big main reason as everyone is different. With that I want to know what your favourite shoe/sneaker/trainer or whatever you call it, is?