The Retro Collective by openmedia

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									                                 CLASSIC STYLE. MODERN VIEWPOINT.







                             elcome to The Retro
                             Collective, a monthly
                             magazine international in        INSPIRED
                  outlook and co-operative in spirit.
                  We’re all about style, whether that’s an
                  individual’s scene or the products from        4    TOP FIVE
                  the world around them.                         10   LIFESTYLE
                      TRC was conceived in the
                                                                 14   GADGETS
                  Defectors Weld, Shepherds Bush, in
                  February 2009 after a conversation about       20   MOTORING
                  the heritage of a mate’s new Crombie.          24   T-SHIRTS

                      In May 2009, five NCTJ trained
                  journalists ranging in age from 23 to 54
                  with experience spanning from national
                  newspapers to high-end lifestyle
                  magazines, met at the Journalist            FEATURES
                  Works in Brighton and began working
                  on The Retro Collective.
                      Each issue will feature our                26   LEVI’S
                  Inspired product reviews featuring             32   CONVERSE
                  lifestyle, gadgets, motoring, in fact
                  anything that portrays classic style in a      36   MELLOTRON
                  modern, contemporary way.                      42   3-D
                      We will also include in-depth
                  features on brand heritage, iconic
                  individuals, historic events and ground
                  breaking innovations.
                      As a collective, we are always on       PERSPECTIVE
                  the lookout for individuals who are
                  passionate about classic style from a
                  modern viewpoint. If you would like to
                                                              46 BLACK IN THE DAY
                  be a regular contributor or just write a
                  one-off piece, drop a line to:              47 BACK IN THE DAY
                       48 MICHAEL FISH

                  Bruce Hudson
                  The Retro Collective
                  Classic Style. Modern Viewpoint.
8                                                  26

Cover image from the Diwon Man Autumn/Winter 09 Collection

TOP                                  The F131 Hellcat Combat

FIVE                Looking for adventure, well the Confederate Motor Company from
                    the deep south of the States should satisfy the wanderlust. Born
                    with an ethos of rebellion being ‘adopted as fundamental to the
                    pursuit of personal empowerment’ Confederate’s latest offering,
      the F131 Hellcat Combat, features a design specific hand ported and polished
      head design, ultra high compression, special camshaft grind, retuned intake
      system, which result in a 12% gain in rear wheel horsepower and a 4%
      increase in rear wheel torque. Forget all that, this beast, looks spankingly cool.
      With only 150 available, you’ll feel like an especially wild one when you hit the
      motor running and ease this baby down the motorway.
                      Diwon Man Autumn/Winter Collection
      This launch, from a New York fashion house, is going for a slimmed down look
      ‘resulting in a sleek silhouette that will define our contemporary minimalism’.
      No, we don’t know what that means either but we love their thin-lapelled suits
      and rectangle ties. With an influence of Brooks Brother’s Mad Men in the
      range (see front cover) these boys have a real future. They also do a superb

                    line in accessories.


                                                         Smeg Retro Dishwasher
                                                        Who would have thought?
                                                        Smeg do dishwashers. We
                                                        should know this at TRC, but
                                                it seems they’ve gone under the
                                                radar of most of the Collective. So
                                                we’ve just put that right! I bet you
                                                Wallace and Gromit won’t be feeling
                                                so Smug when they find out.

       Dark Knight Poster
       This was Brandon Schaefer’s first
       movie poster produced after a
       design break and his first fully
       computer illustrated piece. His
       website’s brilliantly minimalistic
       blurb says ‘I’m Brandon. I make
       things!’ and you can’t get fairer than
       that. You can get hold of Brandon
       and see his other work at:

FIVE           Jimmie Martin
               Union Jack sofas
      Jimmie Martin is a
      designer of modern
      furniture with a classically-
      edgy twist. Commissioned
      by the likes of Kylie, Dawn
      French and Kelly Osborne
      Jimmie’s generated an
      awesome amount of
      publicity for a brand that
      has only been in existence
      since 2004. We’re big fans
      and TRC is already thinking
      about next year’s footie in
      South Africa, sitting on our
      Jimmie Martin, donning our
      union jack boxers and
      cheering on the lads. You
      can’t get more patriotic than
      that. Rooonnnneeee!
           Matti Walker Max Fan Heater
           A great all year round heater, the Matti Walker Max Fan can be
           adjusted to suit your every temperature need. With a slick three
           legged design and bold colour, this is far groovier than its elder
           beige-boxed cousins and will look, well, cool in your lounge.

                                         Sahara Wood Sofa
                                          Inspired by the African Lodge Life, Scandinavian
                                          designer Gunilla Allard combines turned-wood
                                          with soft-chrome fittings finished with white
                                          leather to create a comfortable and visually
                                          pleasing two seater sofa. Simple.
Wild & Wolf Trim Phone
Combining the looks and design of
the past with the functionality of
today, the Trim Phone has the
balance just right. Sharp lines with
classic circular numbers finished off
with touch tone buttons replacing
the time consuming twist-to-dial
mechanism. The bold, red colour is
bound to make every call, even to
your Mum, feel just that little bit
more important.
                                                    NEW PRODUCTS. CLASSIC INFLUENCE.


                     Retro Flip Down Clock
   Simple and stylish, this flip down clock will
make your desk look that little bit sleeker. With
     a satisfying click every time the hypnotic
 numbers flip, you’ll never miss lunch or work
                         late by mistake again.
               Requires just a single D battery.

                                               Stelton Magzbook
                                               Danish wizard Troels Seidenfaden presents a three-
                                               in-one design classic, combining a side table,
                                               bookcase and magazine rack to bring you the
                                               Stelton Magzbook. The sleek steel design is around
                                               40cm tall, finished with dark grey leather. Perfect,
                                               just don’t put the yellow pages put on it.
                                                  John Lewis DAB Radio
                                                  The good people at John Lewis certainly have
                                                  delivered with this fine Digital radio. Hiding behind
                                                  the sleek metal grill are two powerful 3 inch drive
                                                  speakers with Clearsound technology. In the walnut
                                                  casing there’s a display screen giving you detailed
                                                  programme information, kitchen timer and even a
                                                  USB port through which you will soon be able to
                                                  add new features.

Tribeca Coffee Table
Although contemporary in appearance, the
original design for this piece of furniture was
apparently first produced in the mid-forties.
This eye catching table is made of tempered
glass and quality fiberglass, giving the rare
combination of great design, robustness and
value for money.

Jimmie Martin’s Andy Dandy chair range was produced in collaboration with photographe
   Bianchi Pista Via Brera
   The latest offering from the world’s oldest
   surviving bicycle-making company (they
   revolutionised the world of pedal-pushing
   forever with their bonkers idea of equal-sized
   wheels and pneumatic rubber tires in 1885).
   On the frame that ‘launched a thousand fixies’
   is a ‘milk and coffee’ finish, which sounds
   rather like a cappuccino to TRC so we’re keen
   to freewheel straight into the express-o lane.
   Well, except this is fixed-gear which rotates
   with the wheels, so we’ll probably head to the
   safety of a velodrome.

rs’ Christopher Makos and Paul Solberg. See for the latest range
                   Timex 80s Series
 Timex’s 60s TV advertising slogan ran ‘it takes a licking and
   keeps on ticking’ so it seems they were discovering their
     feminine side when they launched these wonderfully
 disposable, Bjorn Borg headband styled, watches in the 80s.
       Re-released TRC won’t be wearing one down the
               construction site any time soon.

   LOMO Diana Mini 35mm
   Just in case you’re not one of the 1 million lomographers out
   there LOMO stands for Leningradskoye Optiko Mechanichesck-
   oye Obyedinenie or Leningrad Optical & Mechanical Enterprise
   if you’re not fluent in Russian. LOMO has been around for more
   than 80 years and in 1914 they were the largest optical device
   manufacturer for the Russian Army. These cameras are so cool
   there’s even a special edition Diana Meg (from the White
   Stripes) range. At TRC we’re really excited by the idea of the
   Jonah Lomu LOMO as he’s really big and...ok you see where
   we’re going with that.
                                                     NEW PRODUCTS. CLASSIC INFLUENCE.

                                                             Cassette Tape USB Hub
                                                             Another novelty gadget using
                                                             the humble cassette. It’s a great
                                                             design, and care has been taken
                                                             to add details such as moveable
                                                             wheels inside the case. The Hub
                                                             offers four USB ports, and at
                                                             under a tenner, it’s not going to
                                                             break the bank.

                     Vita Audio R4
The R4 is designed to create a huge, room filling sound from a small cabinet. Combined with a
 stylish, minimalist look that betrays the cutting edge technology and you’re on to an instant
classic. There’s even an i-pod style RotoDial remote so all your R4 and iPod functions can be
   intuitively controlled from the comfort of your sofa. If only relationships were so simple.

                                   Revo Domino D3
                                    The thoroughly modern radio with a tip of the hat to
                                    the wireless of yesteryear, well my word it just suits
                                    us perfectly! Revo’s newest edition to the domino
                                    series still has the rubber like finish, smooth
                                    rounded edges and joystick based controls, and
                                    features DAB digital radio, iPod and iPhone docking,
                                    wireless audio streaming and of course FM radio.
                                    With remote control and alarm clock, we think it’s
                                    a lovely little addition to any room.
                                                     Steepletone Roxy
                                                   Record & CD Player
                                                   This looks like a standard retro
                                                 styled CD player until you lift the
                                              bonnet! The Roxy will play all your
                                                old vinyl, even your 78s (ask your
                                                   Dad), but is hooked up with the
                                               latest tech: a CD player, a USB 2.0
                                              you can play tunes from an MP3 or
                                                  flash memory drive, and also an
                                                i-pod dock. Bryan Ferry would be
                                                                 proud to own one.

Grado GS1000i
A family run business for over 50 years
Grado has 48 patents under their belts so
they’re used to making people sit up and
listen. These handcrafted mahogany
head-phones are an upgrade on the 2007
version hence the i, with changes in the
headphone cord & hardware construction
but they still deliver the Grado “room” for
the ears to sit in. TRC likes that.

           Retro Papercraft Speakers
           Ever a stickler for the more novel items, we
           introduce to you the Retro Papercraft
           Speakers. That’s right, get out the make and
           do materials and create your own hi-fi,
           boombox or bookshelf stereo with one of
           these little kits. Each one contains a small
           USB powered speaker that can plug into a pc
           or laptop, so by following the easy to
           understand japanese picture instructions you
           too can cut out and assemble your very own
           paper speaker.

USB Fever Retro Cassette Stereo
Mini Speaker for iPod / iPhone
Totally bombastic and boombox-tastic. Bang your
ipod into this and the next thing you know you’ll be
able to listen to the Stereophonics in, er, stereo
phonics. All bought to you by the fabulously named
USB Fever. Because, at the end of the day, you just
can’t get too excited about USBs. Warning: not to
be confused with UXBs, bang your ipod into one of
those and you’ll be hearing more than stereo (or not
depending on the severity of your injuries!).
                   Olympus E-P1 Skins
                   The Olympus E-P1 has always had a
                   retro look, but now you can
                   accentuate that by adding a skin
                   from Kindai International.They’re
                   carefully made to fit the dimensions
                   of the camera exactly, ensuring a
                   snug fit for the mottled pattern skin.
                   The skins are available in three
                   colours: Green, Grey and Black.

Desktop Henry
We couldn’t decide if this can really be classed as
retro or stylish, but nevertheless it is still damn
good. Desktop Henry can do everything his larger
counterpart can do, but he may need to be emptied
more often. Running off two AA batteries, little
Henry is perfect to help sort out those little biscuit
mishaps around your desk.
                                        Nixon Fluro Rubber Player Series
                                             Nixon released this mystery-coloured watch
                                            on October 15, with the colour reflecting the
                                                charity, Boarding For Breast Cancer,
                                            proceeds of sales will go to. There have been
                                            two previous mystery colours, Orange Fluro
                                               (August) and Green Fluro (Sept), with a
                                             November one still to be released (we don’t
                                              know the’s a mystery). A limited
                                                 range and they’re being snaffled up.

                Sega Saturn Zippo
     Zippo conjures up images of campfires,
       spittoons and cowboys hunched over
      non-filter rollies, as dust storms sweep
 around their chaps. Now Zippo has teamed
   with Sega the image is set of the anarchic
       gamer, computer looming large on the
 horizon, protecting his Marlboro Light from
    the fire breathing wind from his, er, open
balcony door! O.K. it needs a bit of work, but
now even the meekest of gamers can whistle
    The Good, The Bad and The Ugly as they
              light up and that’s a good thing!

                                                        Seiko UC-2000
                                        You’ll never be short changed with this beauty. Released
                                        in 1984, presumably for the mathematics teacher, on the
                                        go, it’s half watch and calculator or ‘The Walculator’ as
                                        TRC has rather snazzily renamed it. The UC2000 was the
                                        first of its kind and launched on the back of the first TV
                                        watch, released in 1983. Seiko is traditionally an Olympic
                                        sponsor, so TRC is pushing for Usain Bolt to wear the
                                        UC2000 in the 100 metres final, as it will give him
                                        something to do, waiting for the opposition to finish.
                                        P.I.R.O. £200 where available

2010 Mercedes SLS AMG
   The 1954 SL Gullwing was the
    ultimate achievement of style
 combined with substance. Sex on
 legs (o.k. wheels) and it went like
  the clappers. What’s not to like.
The 2010 version is shaping up to
      be equally impressive with
   acceleration of 0-62 mph in 3.8
     seconds and a top speed of
   317kph. If you leave the doors
 open on this number you’re going
to need some firm setting hair-gel!
   With paint colours including an
 Alubeam silver, which “shines like
liquid metal”, you’ll be more Termi-
nator than Kindergarten Cop when
  you put your foot to the floor on
          this fantastic car.
           For more detail:

  Fiat 695 Abarth
  Tributo Ferrari
This car has a story line
most soaps would be happy
with. Ferrari sleeps with
Abarth all under the watchful
eye of its parent company
Fiat and the 695 is born only
to be whisked away by
Ferrari owners when they
feel like a bit on the side. All
this, as the cute 500 looks
on, wondering why the
Abarth was given a 1.4 litre
turbo beef-up in the first
place. TRC doesn’t care,
we’d quite happily go ‘up
west’     with     the    695.

  Honda Concept
If Makka Pakka from In The
Night Garden was a car then
this shorter, but far cuter
version of the late 60s N600
is it. Honda’s electric
concept car has a solar
powered roof which helps
power the battery, swappable
seat fabrics and an UX-3
super gyroscopic robot unicy-
cle in the passenger door,
which looks like a futuristic
Segway and means if you for-
get your shoes you won’t get
your feet wet when you pop in
to the local supermarket.
UK VS USA                      1



                 THE UK:
                 DESIGNS FROM
                 BALCONY SHIRTS

                 1.Cornish Pasty
                 2. Scunthorpe
                 3. Cricket - I Love It
                 4. Goes Up To 11
                 5. Sexual Ealing
                 6. Middlesbrough


                   THE US:
                   DESIGNS FROM
                   1. Jurassircus
            2      2. Splatter in D
                   3. Pandamonium
                   4. Fencing
                   5. I’m Like A Bird
                   6. Self Portrait

        3                          4


Cinch’s vintage range, Inside / Out, celebrates
30s to 50s American prison wear. Niki Corfield
unlocks staff’s passion at Levi’s concept store

        rom Cool Hand Luke to The Birdman of Alcatraz there
        has always been a rebellious coolness to doing bird.
        But describing a prisoner as a ‘fashion icon’ seems to
be stretching things. Yet hanging from the walls of Cinch
(Levi’s London concept store) you’ll find striped black and
white t-shirts, washed jeans and sack coats nestled between
mirrors etched with mug-shot height measurements, a
sparse looking prison bunk, and torn out images of 1950s
pin-up girls.
    It’s all part of the latest Levi’s Vintage Clothing collection,
Inside / Out, which is themed around the life of the prisoner.
“This vintage range is very much inspired by 30s to 50s
American prison wear – Shawshank Redemption was a big
influence,” says Daniel Wade, shop manager of Cinch. For
many years, denim was standard issue for institutional life,
with overalls, white vests and t-shirts, sack coats and
chambray shirts all finding their way inside. As a leaflet in
the store puts it: ‘The Inside / Out collection draws on the
experiences, history and struggles of serving time, while
keeping one eye on the freedom beyond wholesale dry goods to small general
the walls.’                                   stores in the American west. In 1872, a
     The garments in the Inside / Out         tailor named Jacob Davis approached
collection are all recreations of original    Levi’s with the idea of taking out a patent
Levi’s clothing from the era, with the        together on the process of riveting the
subtle addition of some graphic prints        pocket corners on men’s trousers. The
and design as part of the convicts’           patent was granted on 20th May 1873,
theme. Launched in 1996, the Levi’s           and Levi Strauss & Co began producing
Vintage Clothing Collection (LVC)             denim waist overalls. Although Levi’s
features reproductions of key items in        didn’t invent the cut or fit of the overalls,
the Levi’s archive from 1873 to the           the riveting of the traditional trousers
1980s, created with minute attention to       was an entirely new invention, and the
authentic period detail and design. It’s      original blue jeans were born – though it
faithful to the letter – a tab on one pair of would be nearly another 70 years before
1930s reproduction jeans features a           they would be known by that name.
number mark showing                                                   “They weren’t
they were part of a
                         One of Cinch’s regular called jeans at the time,
government initiative to customers leaves his they were called waist-
use local suppliers,         jeans ‘raw’ for six overalls and they used
while the t-shirts all                                           to be worn specifically
have recreations of      months, then jumps in as workwear. Guys
original label designs     the sea to shrink the would wear them on top
stitched inside them.                                            of their own clothes, so
     Some items in       jeans to fit and let the they’re quite a loose
the collection are         salt treat the denim. fitting jean,” explains
constants, such as                                               Wade of the 1873
the ‘raw denim’ range of jeans, (featuring reproduction pair. It wasn’t until the
around 15 reproduction jeans ranging          1920s that Levi’s introduced belt loops to
from 1873 to 1983), along with                the design, and only in the 1940s and
reproduction white t-shirts from the          50s that they started becoming a fashion
1920s to the 1980s, and denim jackets.        piece rather than a practical workwear
Every season Levi’s designers also            garment. Although there is some dispute
create a themed range – like Inside /         over when and where the term ‘jeans’
Out – inspired by a particular era in         actually originated, what is known is that
history, or time of cultural shift. Previous by 1960, the word ‘jeans’ had replaced
seasons before this have been inspired        ‘overalls’ on all advertising and
by lumberjacks, rodeos, and the 1930s         packaging of the Levi’s product.
US Depression era (“That one was very              Nowadays, jeans have become
bleak,” says Wade, “all patches and           arguably the most ubiquitous garments
everything looking stitched together”).       of the modern era, and Levi’s is one of
     There’s certainly a wealth of history    the world’s largest clothing brands, with
and heritage for the Levi’s designers to      sales in more than 110 countries, and an
draw from. Founded in San Francisco in incomparable global presence in the
1853 by Bavarian immigrant Levi               jeans market. Although the company
Strauss, the company originally sold          briefly experimented in the 1970s with
employee ownership and a public stock           individuality – you can find something a
listing, it is still owned and controlled by    little bit different that no one else has got.
descendants and relatives of Levi               The high street is saturated with items
Strauss, and remains firmly connected to        that are exactly the same. This is where
its heritage.                                   someone can pick up something a little bit
     This year marks the 10th anniversary       more individual.”
of Cinch, which started life as Levi’s                The raw denim range of jeans are the
premium boutique store. Along with the          store’s bestsellers, and Wade believes
LVC collection, it also stocks Levi’s           part of their appeal is the fact that they are
collaboration ranges – the current one is       a kind of a “blank canvas” for customers
Original Fake, with graffiti artist Kaws,       to stamp their individuality onto. Raw
while previous seasons have featured            denim is pure cotton that’s not yet been
Damien Hirst and Henry Holland. But             washed, unlike that used in most modern
vintage is the main collection in the store, jeans, which has already been treated,
and part of what Cinch has become               shrunk and faded. “It means the way you
known for. Although LVC is available            wear them and decide to wash them
online, and you can                                            makes them completely
pick up key items in         The explosion in individual – after six months of
some high-end
boutiques, Cinch is
                             vintage and the wearget your ownto your shape,
                                                                     they mould
                                                                                  creases, your
the only place in the        demand for it at own fades, and they become
world that stocks the           the moment                     your own jean, rather than one
full collection. It gets                                       that’s been produced for you,”
fitted out seasonally       means we’ve seen explains Wade.
to match the vintage         a big increase in                     The people who visit the
ranges, and even the
name Cinch references         awareness and shop are often true denim
                                                               enthusiasts, who relish this
the brand’s unique         footfall in the shop potential for individuality, along
heritage – it’s a clasp                                        with the collection’s authenticity.
used to tighten jeans when they were still worn These denim connoisseurs go to great
as overalls in the 1800s.                       lengths to get their vintage pieces just the
     “Vintage is our bread and butter,” says way they want them. One of Cinch’s
Wade, “it’s really grown – the collection       regular customers leaves his jeans ‘raw’
has expanded and it’s becoming more             for six months, then jumps in the sea to
popular. The explosion in vintage and the shrink the jeans to fit and let the salt treat
demand for it at the moment has definitely the denim. Others are known for
helped – over the last couple of years          religiously handwashing theirs, or leaving
we’ve definitely seen a big increase in         them in the fridge wrapped in plastic bags
awareness and in footfall to the shop.”         to achieve a certain colour effect. As
     So why does Wade think vintage has         Wade says: “We get customers who are
taken off in such a big way? “It’s just this    so passionate about the brand, to the
whole retro thing that everyone has really point where they’ll be as passionate about
jumped onto. I think vintage has                denim as some guys are about football or
music. As staff, you have to know what                    Cinch’s customer base is extremely loyal
you’re talking about otherwise you’ll get             and long-standing, having grown mostly
caught out. Customers really know their               through word of mouth and
stuff, so we need to be passionate about the          recommendation. “There’s not a lot of
products, and it needs to be genuine.”                advertising, we’re not on posters around
    All of Cinch’s staff members are given            London, we don’t have our own website,”
training on the brand and its history, and all        says Wade. “It keeps LVC exclusive and
possess a genuine interest in the LVC                 I think that’s the important thing about it. If it
collection. Simon Jeal, Cinch’s assistant             was too readily available then I think people
manager, and a vintage enthusiast, believes           would lose interest in it. We’ve been here 10
the heritage of the range exerts a special            years so we’ve built up a good customer
draw. “Once people get interested in one              base, but it’s still a bit underground.”
sort of style of jean that they like, they’ll start       The nature of the clothing itself adds to
looking at other eras, and get hooked,” he            this esoteric feel; many of the items are only
explains. “Quite a few customers are looking          subtly different to modern day designs, and
at the longevity of buying vintage as well            it can take a trained eye to spot the history
– we get guys who bought jeans in here                inherent in the garments. “I guess only
maybe 5 years ago, still wearing them, still          people that have an interest in premium
loving them. You’re investing in a product            fashion would know [that they’re vintage
that will actually last.”                             reproductions],” says Jeal. Perhaps more
    Jeal and Wade’s references to Cinch’s             than anything, it is this sense of
customers as ‘guys’ are deliberate. Of the            underground exclusivity that lies at the heart
roughly 30 or so pieces in the LVC range,             of LVC’s appeal: while not exactly a secret,
only 9 are women’s clothing. Levi’s                   these products are only for those truly in the
womenswear spans a much shorter heritage              know.
than the men’s range, having only originated
around 75 years ago, and as a result the              Cinch, 5 Newburgh Street, London,
majority of the visitors to the shop are male.        W1F 7RB Tel: 020 7287 4941
Converse started life as rubber galoshes, then diversified into
basketball shoes. Now their sneakers wear the images of guitar
bands. John Hartley celebrates an historic case of sock and roll

         ver 60% of Americans have        turing athletic footwear, and invested
         owned at least one pair of       their efforts into shoes for the emerging
         All-Stars and Converse’s         sport of basketball. The first version of
signature design is available in every    the All-Star sneaker was made in 1917,
colour and pattern imaginable. There’s    in natural brown with black trim, and
even an option to ‘create your own’ on    three years later became America’s first
their website and now you can also wear   mass produced basketball shoe.
AC/DC and Pink Floyd flavoured                This year holds a double anniversary
sneakers round the high streets. So       for the Converse brand. The 60th
where did it all go right for the Nike    anniversary of one of the world’s most
owned brand?                              popular and iconic shoes - the classic
    Marquis Mills Converse started The    black and white Converse ‘Chuck Taylor’
Converse Rubber Corporation in 1908,      All-Star, and 40 years since the death of
producing work related rubber shoes       its namesake.
and galoshes. At first this was done on       Charles Hollis Taylor, wore All-Stars
a seasonal basis, but when the            as a high school basketball player, and
company realised it would be more         in 1921 went to the Converse sales
efficient to employ their workforce all   office in Chicago in search of a job. Over
year round, they ventured into manufac-   the next few decades he was to become
one of the most influential men in the company. His
outstanding salesmanship and his successful
promoting of the shoes, along with input on the design
earned him a place in history when in 1932 his name
was branded on the shoes. The ‘Chuck Taylor’ All-Star
sneaker was born.
    Chuck went on to help design the optical-white high-top
model for the 1936 Olympics, with its patriotic red and blue trim,
becoming extremely popular among young Americans. With the
advent of war, the expected lull in sales never eventuated, and
the white high-top ‘Chucks’ became the ‘official’ sneaker of the
US Armed Forces. The company also provided footwear,
apparel, boots for pilots and army servicemen, parkas, and
rubber protective suits and ponchos.
    After the War ended, Converse launched their
most iconic sneaker yet, the classic black and white
All-Star. With the recent formation of the professional
NBA, these became the must have for any player,
their look becoming part of the team.
    By 1957 Converse had 80% share of the entire
sneaker industry, and Chuck was named ‘Ambas-
sador to Basketball’ due to his tireless efforts. Despite
the millions of pairs of Chuck Taylor branded shoes
sold, he was by no means rich from it. Chuck never
had commission from the shoes he sold, for years
driving his white Cadillac across the country        for bankruptcy in 2001, closing all North
staying in motels, although it’s said he             American manufacturing outlets and
wasn’t shy about using the company’s                 relocating to Asia. The company survived
expense account.                                     and was eventually bought by long time
     Chuck Taylor died of a heart attack the         rival Nike.
day before his 68th birthday on June 23rd                The Chuck Taylor branded sneaker still
1969 and along with the passing of their             thrives and is as popular as ever. One of the
figurehead, came the gradual slip of                 most iconic and stylish sneakers is still with
Converse’s grip on the industry. New rivals          us and the memory of its founder lives on.
such as Nike grew in size and popularity,            Converse Rock Collection
and despite Converse’s best efforts,                 (from top right)
basketball teams switched to other brands.
     The sneaker had an unexpected rebirth           Metallica: Pushead
in the 70s, with the shoe becoming popular           AC/DC: Lock up your daughters
with adults who wanted it for comfort and            Pink Floyd: Animals
affordability as opposed to sporting                 Pink Floyd: Wish you were here (out)
performance. The company responded by                Pink Floyd: Wish you were here (instep)
launching the old classics in a variety of           The Who: Pack
colours and designs. Since then it has been          AC/DC: Back in black
a favourite among musicians and the shoe             Metallica: Flaming Skull
of the counter culture.                              Ozzy: Doodles
     The management and ownership of the             Metallica: Ride the lightning
company changed several times in the                 Pink Floyd: Dark side of the moon
1980s and 1990s, and the Converse brand              Ozzy: Straight jacket
fell into financial difficulty. In 2001 they filed   The Who: Union Jack
     When Harry Chamberlin invented the Mellotron
     his instrument unexpectedly pioneered
     sampling and became the backing sound
     to prog rock. He also hadn’t bargained on
     the company’s salesman pitching the
     instrument as his own creation. Graeme
     Coop puts his finger on the discord

       he Mellotron seems to have a life of its   manufactured and sold Chamberlins from
       own. Having started out as an instrument   his shop in California. He employed Bill
       for your Aunt Mabel to play at fifties     Fransen as a salesman for the Chamberlin.
cocktail parties it ended up being used by a      Bill was good at his job, but there were
multitude of bands including The Beatles, The     problems. Harry couldn't keep up with the
Moody Blues and more recently Oasis. For the      orders and the scrolling mechanism kept
instrument to have taken on a life far removed    changing the sounds so the completed
from the inventor’s original intention is         orders had a 40% chance of failure.
synonymous with the life it has lead off the           Bill saw the genius in Harry's idea, but
stage as well.                                    felt the instrument could be better made. He
    Harry Chamberlin invented The Mellotron       took two Chamberlins across to England,
back in the mid forties. Harry liked playing      and showed it to the Bradley brothers of
his home organ, but wanted to put the             Bradmatic Ltd in Birmingham. The brothers
sound of an orchestra behind it. So Harry         were excited by the idea of the instrument,
decided to adapt and essentially invent           and when Bill asked if they could
a new instrument to fill his needs. By            manufacture them, they agreed believing
recording single notes played by real             the idea to be Bill’s.
instruments onto tape loops, and adapting              A year later in 1966, Harry caught up
his keyboard to trigger the tapes, the            with Bill and you can probably imagine, he
Chamberlin was born. Harry continued to           wasn't a happy man. Harry finally agreed to
develop the idea and in 1960 he                   sell the technology to the Bradley brothers
                                                                Pictures courtesy of Markus Resch ( and Streetly Electronics (
Below: The M4000 Mellotron the most recent model released in
    2007. Bottom Left: Bill Fransen in 1963 in the first of 3
   Mellotron factories. Top Left: Harry Chamberlin with his
 prototype 3/8ths inch tape based instrument from the 1950s
for $30,000, and went back home to              the Mellotron was cemented forever in
continue his own path of development,           history. The Mellotron is still used today by
resulting in the 1970's Chamberlin M            the likes of Radiohead and Sigor Ros, but
series.The Bradley brothers changed their       not to the degree it was in the 70s.
company name to Streetly Electronics and             In comparison to its modern day
started to mass produce Mellotrons.             counterparts, it is heavy and unreliable,
    A young lad Mike Pinder (below), started    though Streetly Electronics updated the
to work for them, getting a job at the end of   M400 and released the M4000 in 2007. The
the line, checking the instrument for any       delicate tape loops used to create the sound
faults before it was sent to the customer. He   make touring with the instrument
soon fell in love with the sound and Leslie     difficult. So it’s left to enthusiasts to keep the
Bradley helped him purchase a Mellotron         name and sound going as they cherish and
MKII, which Mike hoped would make a great       love them for their quirkiness and
addition to his band, The Moody Blues. They     unreliability. In the same way some people
released their hit single "Love and Beauty",    are fanatical about classic cars, Mellotron
and shortly afterwards the Beatles released     lovers are proud to own or even use the
"Strawberry Fields Forever". The future of      instrument.

                                                     Dianna Dilworth (right)
                                                   recently made Mellodrama,
                                                      a documentary on the
                                                   Mellotron’s troubled history.
                                                  Coops spoke to her about why
                                                   the instrument deserves its
                                                   place in music’s hall of fame

Where did your interest in the Mellotron        forerunner to many modern ideas in music
come from and what inspired you to              production. Harry Chamberlin was definitely
make a documentary about it?                    not the only person thinking about using a
I grew up on the music that features
Mellotrons, but I really learned what a
Mellotron was in the mid 90s, when my
friend Mattias Olsson, a Swedish producer,
showed me his collection and taught me
about the mechanics of them. I was amazed
by the tapes. I love the music and I am
fascinated by the technology and the
somewhat accidental influence that Harry
Chamberlin has had on the history of
sampling. I am intrigued at how this
relatively rare and archaic instrument was a
King Crimson’s Epitaph certainly wouldn’t have been
         on Harry’s cocktail party playlist
keyboard to emulate the sounds of other          effort in. Apparently it was a very
instruments, but he was early with this idea.    mechanical and non-musical process. Still
I also love that the technology was brought      that’s what gives the Mellotron its weird
to the marketplace with one intention, to be     sound, which is of course, so cherished.
a home entertainment attraction ala 1950’s       What do you think made the Mellotron so
cocktail parties, but was actually adopted by    popular, despite only a few thousand
rock musicians who used it in weird and          being made?
creepy ways. King Crimson’s “Epitaph”            It has a very unique and haunting sound and
wasn’t exactly what Harry was hoping for,        it was used by great musicians like The
and it certainly wouldn’t have been on           Beatles, The Moody Blues, King Crimson,
Harry’s cocktail party playlist. This really     Led Zeppelin, Genesis and these guys
fascinates me, the collision of worlds.          made the sound way more popular than the
The Mellotron seems to be one of                 instrument ever was. It lives on today,
music’s “happy accidents”, what was              because bands like Radiohead, Sigur Ros
Harry Chamberlin trying to create when           as well as producers like Jon Brion are
he came up with the idea?                        doing their own things with it.
Harry Chamberlin was an organ player and         Do you think the unreliable reputation of
he developed the Chamberlin to have an           the instrument has given it another edge
orchestra accompaniment to go along with         or personality, particularly
his keyboard playing. He came up with the        because it needs to be looked after and
Rhythmmate, a very early drum machine,           repaired so often?
and the Chamberlin keyboards, which              I think the unreliability is what killed the
incorporated orchestral sounds into a            Mellotron in the late 70s, but from today’s
keyboard. In the early 50s when he was           point of view, its quirky attributes are seen
doing all of this stuff, I don’t think he ever   as kind of sweet. I wouldn’t say that
imagined that it would become the defining       anyone really likes it when they break down,
sound of progressive rock.                       but I think people appreciate the quirks and
Where did the original samples used on           try to work it into their playing. Jon Brion told
the Mellotron tapes come from?                   me that his Chamberlin M1 has a
The Chamberlin sounds were recordings of         personality of its own and every time he
the Lawrence Welk Orchestra that Harry           plays it, it’s different. One day the tape
made. Harry was very meticulous about the        sticks on the C key, another day it’s the B,
sound and he spent a lot of time                 and some days its fine. I think he likes the
making sure he got the notes right. He also      finicky experience of it and plays along to
used really great technology and so these        it accordingly.
recordings have an excellent fidelity, to this   You obviously have a fondness of the
day. Harry’s tapes were used on the early        Mellotron, how do you view some of the
Mellotrons, though in the 60s Mellotronics       more recent electronic or virtual
recorded their own tapes in IBC Studios.         equivalents?
Brian Carroll and Don Lawson, retired            This is a great debate among Mellotron
studio musicians, worked on the recordings       users. Some musicians will tell you that
and recount the experience of recording the      they’d never use a sample, because it is all
tapes in the film. The Mellotron tapes don’t     about the machining, the interface and the
sound as good as the Chamberlin tapes,           characteristics of the particular Mellotron
because the engineers that worked on the         you are playing. This is true. So much of the
recordings did not put as much                   Mellotron sound comes from the fact the
tape can be manipulated by the pitch bend         a beautiful location overlooking the city. But
and the fact the tape zips back to the top        when we showed up to film, there was
after the 8-second loop is played, plus the       a marathon going on and we couldn’t cross
whirring of the motor has its own charmingly      the street. It was a circus of cars, runners
warm sound. I sit somewhere in the middle.        and people trying to get through yelling at
I can understand the desire to use the real       the cops. Once we got there we had to carry
thing, but I love them for their sound and if a   this big old Mellotron through a crowded
young band can experiment and do                  Italian ruin where there were tourists and
interesting new things with these sampled         weddings going on. When we got it up it was
Mellotron sounds, then I’m all for it.            really hot, so we worked quickly to make
During the filming for the documentary            sure that the ‘tron didn’t melt! But it was
you interviewed many greats of the                really a fantastic day. I felt like I was living a
music world, who or what was the                  Fellini film!
highlight for you personally?                     What are your plans for the future?
Everyone in the film was delightful to meet       Right now I’m working with the distributor on
and speak with. Some highlights for me            the DVD release for the film. I’ve also got
include speaking with Rick Nielsen, who is a      plans in the works for a new documentary
real character and would stop mid-interview       film about Neon lighting.
to make jingles for my film. Brian Wilson
was really cool as well. It was incredible to       Mellodrama is set to be released on DVD this
bring a Mellotron to his house, since he                               winter.
hadn’t seen one in 30 years. I think the most              For more information visit
amazing moment though was when I went        
to interview Fabio Frizzi, an Italian sound-                            or
track composer who did some of my          
favourite horror film scores in the 1970s. We
did his interview on the rooftop of a govern-       Mellodrama images courtesy of Dianna Dilworth
ment building in the centre of Rome. It was

Unfinished Symphony: Composer John Brion (left) speaks about his love for the instrument,
and The Beach Boys’ frontman Brian Wilson plays a Mellotron for the first time in thirty years
   Since the golden era of 3D in 52 there has been three
  revivals. So why have audiences been so fickle in their
appreciation of the format? Don Jagger puts on his glasses
 to see if the latest incarnation will finally be a spectacle

           hen the world of 3D first appeared,   or had to be repaired, the images, i.e. what
           audiences were amazed, usually        the cinema goer was watching, went out of
           entertained but often left the        sync, giving the audience headaches and
comfort of their cinema chair with a feeling     left them feeling sick.
of nausea. In these early days, two images            Despite this, 3D was still a popular
were projected on to the screen by placing       choice among movie goers, and gave
two projectors next to each other, and           cinema the edge it needed to get the public
playing the reels simultaneously. The            away from their television sets. Vincent
screen showed a double image, the                Price became known as the “King of 3D”
audience given special                                              after he became the actor
glasses that block one image                                        to star in the most 3D
from each eye. This imitated                                        features, most notably for
how your eyes view objects                                          his role in the 1953 classic
normally, with slightly                                             House Of Wax.
differentiating views, creating                                         After the initial
depth. This caused problems                                         excitement of 3D, audiences
however, because if either of                                       soon got tired of this
the reels paused fractionally                                       gimmicky approach to
movie making, preferring instead to watch          popular format in 2D since the early
films with more focused plots and stronger         nineties, recent 3D versions of these
story telling. 3D’s popularity waned for the       smooth animated films is sure to continue .
next few years, with a few exceptions                  The major studios are also encouraging
including 1961 hit “The Mask”, which used          3D releases as the dual image on the
a combination of 2D and 3D filming to              screen effectively cuts out piracy. It is
enhance the dreamlike sequences when               estimated that around ninety percent of
the mask was worn.                                 pirated movies are from people taking
     The technology improved during this           video cameras into cinemas, and this
time, with films now able to be shown using        format makes the film almost unwatchable
just one projector, increasing reliability.The     when recorded in this way.
biggest revival of the format came in the              Monsters Vs Aliens had the biggest
80s, with a huge influx of films being shown       opening of the year with $58m (£40m), and
in 3D. During this new found craze many            3D versions of films continue to take more
classics were re-issued such as “House of          than 2D counterparts.There are also plans
Wax” and “Dial M for Murder”.                      to re-release Disney’s nineties classics
     As audiences fully embraced the 3D            “Toy Story” and “Toy Story 2” in 3D format,
movie once again, many directors created           just in time for the third installment of the
films geared towards 3D releasing such             series, as well as a 3D re-working of
classics as “Jaws 3D”, “Amityville 3D” and         romantically-laced disaster flick “Titanic”.
“Friday the 13th Part III”. We now find                But with Steven Spielberg announcing
ourselves on the brink of the third 3D             in 2005 he was patenting a 3D cinema
revival, where the technology has been             system without the need for glasses, TRC
tightened, the content no longer restricted        is still concerned our Guccis (see below
to live action. With CGI films proving a           right) will be confiscated at the door.

  The Cinemizer Plus, made by Carl Zeiss, is the don of 3D glasses.They may look like a cross
  between swimming goggles and sunglasses, but don’t let that mild mannered exterior fool you, these
  specs enable you to watch movies on a virtual TV screen, get this, with a 45” diagonal at a distance
  of 2 metres. With built in earphones, the glasses let you watch any movie, anywhere (although it’s
  probably not advisable, or legal, to be watching The Godfather as you hit the fast lane of the M1).
  The Cinemizer Plus glasses let you watch
  3D movies, play 3D games, can be used to
  view movies from your iPod, and even takes
  into consideration those with glasses already
  with The Plus adjustable to the needs of a
  prescription of +3.5 to 0.5.

                                                                               Photos courtesy of Carl Zeiss
   3D movies worth a look…
   House Of Wax (1953)
   Vincent Price stars in this gritty horror as a sculptor in a wax works museum who is left to perish
   in a fire started by his partner to claim insurance money. Many years after the fire, he reappears to
   open his own museum featuring wax works of murder and horror - with some looking a bit too

   It Came From Outer Space (1953)
   A classic tale of fifties paranoia, after seeing a meteor crash out in the desert, a young man
   investigates and witnesses the gruesome truth of what landed before it is covered by a landslide.
   The townsfolk don’t believe him, until strange things start to occur.

   Jaws 3D (1983)
   The third installment of the series was by no means hailed as the greatest, but signified the
   biggest revival of 3D, as Dennis Quaid finds himself on the hunt for a troublesome shark in
   Florida’s Sea World.

   Polar Express (2004)
   Animated magical Christmas warmer featuring some of the most breathtakingly stunning scenery.
   Tom Hanks does a great job voicing five characters in the film, which was received with critical

While sitting in a darkened room, with strangers
looking at the back of our heads, we all need to look our best.
So it comes as no surprise, in this fashion conscious world,
that the cardboard framed red and white glasses have given
way to a much more sophisticated looking, aviator style, black
lensed pair of spectacles. As if this wasn’t enough, Variety
magazine published unconfirmed reports that top flight
designer labels such as Gucci are planning to make designer
3D glasses available in time for the release of James
Cameron’s epic 3D blockbuster “Avatar” in December.
Nunchucks at the ready coz Black Dynamite has just released in the States and is already
looking like a cult classic. With hot reviews and a plot where ‘The Man’ murders his brother,
pumps heroin into local orphanages and floods the ghetto with adulterated malt liquor, it can
do no wrong in TRC’s eyes. The soundtrack’s mighty fine as well.
 Purple Gez remembers nights of mayhem with Midge Ure and Chris Cross from
        Ultravox. But was her cooking really the inspiration for Vienna?

          y ex-husband is a musician and        writes music for film and television as well
          his first band back in the late 60s   as being a much sought after session
          was Barbed Wire Soup but despite      player. Chris left to join Ultravox after
having a reasonable following they couldn’t     seeing an advertisement in the NME while
secure a recording contract. When they          Midge Ure had just replaced John Foxx
split the remaining members put an advert       (a Lancashire lad, who had left Ultravox to
in the New Musical Express for a bass           pursue a solo career).
player and a keyboard player.                       One evening, don’t ask me the date,
    Chris Cross (later-Ultravox) responded      my ex, Pete Hughes and Chris Cross
to the advert, signed up, moved from            accompanied by Midge Ure came back for
London to the bright lights of Bairstow         another big night. Midge was a quiet
Street, Preston, and a new incarnation,         unassuming guy, very polite and courteous
Ritzi, was born. He and the band spent a        but not a great conversationalist. During a
great deal of time in my house. Pete            night of various substances and general
Hughes (ex Stoned Roses), Michael ‘Caz’         mayhem, Chris, started tinkering away on
Carrol, Nigel Davenport Sawyer, my ex           the piano and the famous riff featured in
and Chris played guitars, piano and sang        Vienna (the video features a debutante
all night long. We had a mad time,              gracefully descending down a sweeping
definitely a case of Too Much Fandango,         staircase, in time, with the music) began to
Tequila And Tango (Ritzi’s biggest hit. It      echo through the house and into the
didn’t chart in the UK, but was No1 on          kitchen where I was warming up the frozen
Mike Reid’s Breakfast Show on Radio One         pizzas. Mushroom with tinned pineapple if
and topped the charts in Australia!) and I      memory serves me.
remember spending a lot of time in the
kitchen cooking to abate the munchies           “The feeling has gone only you and I.
following the intake of various substances.     It means nothing to
I usually cooked omelettes and green            me. This means
salad, but if I had had a really productive     nothing to me.
session, there would be home made               Ooooooh. Vienna.”
pizzas in the freezer.
    Ritzi had signed to Warners in 1973            Well it means
and Too Much Fandango released in 1974          something to me.
but after that things changed; Nigel was        And the pizza was
the first to go on to pastures new and now      damn nice as well!
        ichael Fish, MBE, described by The     co-written a book about extreme
        Times as a ‘national treasure’, will   weather events called ‘Storm Force:
        always be remembered as the BBC        Britain’s wildest weather’ and
weather presenter at the time of the ‘Great    appeared in a nationwide tour of ‘The
Storm of 1987’. In the early hours of          Play What I Wrote’.
October 16, winds of up to 122mph tore             He is also famous for his collection
through the South Coast killing 18 people      of ‘Fish’ motif ties (he has over 100)
and uprooting 15 million trees.                and has received the title of ‘Tie man
    For 22 years Michael, a meteorolo-         of the year’ on three occasions.
gist employed by the Met Office, has           Michael was also named ‘worst
tried to explain that he wasn’t on duty        dressed’ and ‘best dressed’ man on
at the time of the storm (not a                television, in the same year.
hurricane he points out). Don’t worry              Now semi-retired, Michael presents
Michael, TRC believes you!                     a weekly forecast for
    Michael was born and raised in             and is a familiar face at climate change
Eastbourne, East Sussex. He has                events.           Interview by Mel Coley

What is your favourite song?                   natural history programmes.
I suppose it would have to be the one          What is your favourite meal?
about me (John Kettley is a                    I don’t care, but it has to be spicy!
Weatherman...and so                                           Do you collect anything?
is Michael Fish by A                                          Goss china (facing page). It
Tribe Of Toffs).                                              was extremely popular
What is your                                                  between the wars. My
favourite film?                                               Grandfather had a shop in
I don’t go to watch                                           Eastbourne where he used to
films much actually, I                                        sell the china marked with the
haven’t been for                                              family name. I have a
donkey’s years. The                                           collection of about a
last film I watched was                                       hundred pieces.
‘Borat’. I enjoy that                                         Who was your first
type of ‘schoolboy’                                           girlfriend?
humour.                                                       I still remember her. In fact
Who is your                                                   we are still in touch but
favourite actor?                                              I won’t tell you her name. We
I lust after Jane Asher (above).               are still friends – very close friends.
What is your favourite TV show?                What was your first car?
The weather, of course. I also like            It was a mini. The registration was 739
documentaries and watch BBC                    BGY and I called it ‘the buggy’.
                                                                                   MICHAEL FISH
                                                         Do you have a 20th century hero                 which career would
                                                         or idol?                                        you have most likely
                                                         Possibly Winston Churchill – who dragged        followed?
                                                         us through and out of the war.                  I wanted to join the airforce and become a
                                                         What was your first job?                        pilot.
                                                         My first job was at the Met office. I earned    What is your proudest achievement?
                                                         £26 a month but it cost me £29 a month to       I suppose getting an MBE from the Queen,
Image courtesy of Lynda Pine at

                                                                               travel there by train.    although I think it should have been a
                                                                               Who or what has           knighthood.
                                                                               been the biggest          Have you ever
                                                                               influence on your         ‘splashed’ the cash
                                                                               life?                     on something big?
                                                                               My physics master         Yes. I bought my
                                                                               who made sure I got       Mazda RX8 with my
                                                                               good grades; and the      retirement payout.
                                                                               great storm of 1953       What is the one
                                                                               which triggered my        thing you want to
                                                                               interest in the weather   do before you die?
                                                         and the elements.                               Yes there is, I want to get my pilot’s
                                                         If you hadn’t become a meteorologist            licence.

                                                                                                                       Feeling under the weather?
                                                                                                                       Then cheer yourself up with a
                                                                                                                       Michael Fish ‘forecast’ coffee
                                                                                                                       mug and fridge magnets
                                                                                                                       available from his official
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