Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kelly Kapowski 101

Like most kids my age, I was an avid afternoon TV watcher in the early 90s. The Afternoon Show hosted by James Valentine (and later Michael Tunn) introduced me and everyone else I knew to shows like Mysterious Cities of Gold and Degrassi Junior High. Although the ABC seriously had afternoon kids TV won hands down, some of the other free to air channels had a few winners, my favourites being the game show Double Dare and the California dream sitcom, Saved by the Bell.Saved by the Bell was no where near as awesome as Degrassi, but looking back, it was pretty awesome in the fashion stakes. Especially Kelly Kapowski.
Kelly (played by Tiffani-Amber Thiessen) had all the right moves. Giant teased hair that everyone tried to emulate, acid wash denim, crop tops, scrunchies, that all American girl-next-door smile and a body built for sin. Plus Zack used to follow her around like a sick little puppy. She was the girl I loved to hate.

I recently read someone quite accurately describe Kelly as the Kate Moss of the Aaron Spelling TV dynasty (although squeaky clean Coca-Cola Kelly probably never quite reached the same 'heights' as Coccaine Kate). Kelly Kapowski was the IT girl that paved the way for the Brenda Walshs and Kelly Taylors (and eventually Thiessen herself made it onto 90210 herself anyway). What made Kelly Kapowski so damn special? Her sweet-as-apple-pie smile that hid that hid the mean girl underneath, juvenille charm and a banging wardrobe. Here's the 411, from my point of view:Without a doubt, Kelly's most defining feature has to be her teased and over-moussed hair. Well before straighteners and hair extensions became le mode du jour, teased hair reigned supreme. I vividly remember girls in year 7 trying as hard as they could to get their fringes into the biggest, highest wave-like formations - particularly on school photo day. I think Kelly Kapowski has a lot to answer for...
Acid wash denim (especially the kind with OTT accents and features like Bedazzler or tassles) was a staple of Kelly's signature California girl look. Jeans, skirts, jackets, shorts.

I remember a particular pair of baggy, high-waisted shorts I absolutely coverted around 1989. They had crazy folded over detail at the waist and huge folded up cuffs that ended about 3cm above the knee. They covered a lot of area by todays standard (I heard the denim short-shorts getting rocked on almost every chick at the Stereosonic festival last weekend could have doubled as lingerie).Kelly Kapowski had a banging body that all us girls envied. It's no wonder she rocked so many crop tops. And just like Kelly, I've worn my fair share of crop tops. Hard to believe considering these days I would prefer to eat glass than bare my midriff. But once upon a time, when I was young (and still had a boy-like, pre-pubescent body) I busted out my belly button all the time. A particular favourite of my was a royal blue crop t shirt I wore under my Cross Colours overalls. Did I just admit that?By about year 8, most girls in my year were rocking slouch socks with pretty much everything from tracksuit pants (over the top, of course) with sneakers to skirts and Rollers (remember those shoes? Eek). I remember wearing slouch socks for my year 8 school photo. I wore them with a pair of Reebok low cut sneaks and a big scrunchie in my hair. Hot shit. I think Kelly Kapowski's stylist got that idea from LA Gear.
I can't remember (or find evidence) if Kelly actually wore LA Gears on Saved by the Bell, but I'd like to imagine she did. She's the perfect LA Gear poster girl. Well, almost. She'd have been a better poster girl if she was blonde - but then, she wouldn't have been Kelly, would she? I always had LA Gear envy. All those lucky little shits at school who managed to get their greedy little paws on kicks they didn't really appreciate (bitter much?). I like to think Kelly was one of those little shits.
This story just wouldn't be complete without a mentioning Scrunchies. Saved by the Bell just wouldn't have been the same without them.

In all honestly, I remember Scrunchies as being less of a serious fashion statement and more of a necessity. That was, until I started doing physical culture and had to match my hair accessories with my leotards. Scrunchies were great for tying my hair back as a kid because unlike regular hair elastics, they're much less likely to rip your hair out at the root if your hair gets tangled around a Scrunchie.

Put this all together, along with a few extras like t shirt sleeves rolled up, floral dresses and high waisted shorts and you've got one hell of a look for summer 2010!

Pump up the Jam Part 2

Love your work Ash Mar. See more flicks at This Way In.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Basement Jaxx: My Retrospective

I recently acquired a copy of Scars, the new album by Basement Jaxx. I was skeptical of what it might sound like, but I must admit I was pleasantly surprised at their triumphant return form. It reminded me of exactly why I love Basement Jaxx so much.
I came across the first Basement Jaxx album, Remedy, in my office when I worked for Delicious (a pre-millenium club night at Sydney's infamous Underground Cafe). It was 1999. House music reigned supreme. We were always getting sent promo CDs. Remedy was one of them.

It got thrashed in our office. I liked it so much that I got a copy and put it in my boyfriend's Datsun 1600 so we'd have something to listen to when we drove home early Sunday mornings after a big night out. It got thrashed in the Datto too. Those days have left me with a lot of fond memories of this album.

At the time, the sound was so fresh. From latin and reggae through to hip hop and trance, they mixed together something that should have sounded like a mess, but somehow came out like magic. It was so progressive, it defined the sound of the millenium - for me anyway.

With the first decade of the millenium drawing to close, Remedy has proved it could stand the test of time. Even at the ripe old age of 10 years, Remedy sounds as fresh as ever. A testament to the amazing talent of it's creators, Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe.

I feel very lucky I got to see them play live in 2000. They were breathe taking.
The follow up album, Rooty, was released in 2001. I was living in London at the time, working as a freelance designer. There were 2 reasons I bought the album as soon as I saw it - firstly, because I adored the first album, and secondly, because I loved the cover artwork which featured Snowflake, the world's only known albino gorilla.

Rooty continued right where Remedy left off, blending otherwise uncomplimentary sounds in a way that was unbelievably good. But this time, the sound was poppier, featuring more R&B and grimy MCs. The Jaxx had reinvented the wheel by bring an even newer edge to their punk-garage sound.

Rooty became the soundtrack for my life in London. I think I had 'Romeo' on repeat for a month. It was getting smashed on dancefloors everywhere. Then suddenly it was September 11 and the whole world seemed to stand still. After that, all I can remember is desperately wanting to come home.Their third album, Kish Kash, was released in 2003. By this point I was living back in Sydney, and I'd become a little bit jaded. As much as I'd loved Remedy and Rooty, I was skeptical that the Jaxx could possibly come up with another album of the same calibre.

Whilst their wasn't anything particularly wrong with the album, it wasn't a huge leap forward like the first too. They still managed to mix every conceivable sound in a way that was totally listenable and uniquely Basement Jaxx - it wasn't anything new.

But I still thrashed Kish Kash in my Nissan 180sx on a regular basis. I think the CD was pretty much permanently fixed in my stacker (or maybe that's just because it was in the boot of my car and I couldn't be assed changing it?). Plus I was having boy troubles at the time and 'Good Luck' was excellent man-hating music. And of course, after loving them live in 2000 and 2002, I saw Basement Jaxx live in 2004. They did not disappoint.

Even to this day, if I listen to Kish Kash, I get angry at men.
Crazy Itch Radio, the fourth album which was released in 2006, was probably the low light of my relationship with the Jaxx. It was the point where my worst fears came true and they produced an album which really drew short of their previous work. It wasn't a bad album, but it was underwhelming.

I can't say this album had any real effect on my life. I didn't listen to it that much. I had 'Take Me Back To Your House' in a few playlists, but the album wasn't something I went out of my way listen to. At the time I was listening to a lot heavier drum and bass sounds like Pendulum. Plus I was busy at the time, doing stuff like getting married and buying houses. Music took a back seat for a while.Which brings me to Scars.

This album is one of the best returns to form I think I've ever heard. Ten years on, the Jaxx have proven it's possible to be at the top of your game and stay there. True to form, Scars blends so many styles of music. Just when you think it's gonna taste like a seafood milkshake, it ends up like a mango smoothie - sweet and delicious.

Scars features cameos by some of the hottest hipsters on the planet. From Santigold's psy-raga in 'Saga' and Kelis' dark and brooding tones (could be something to do with her breakup - I like to think of it as a post-breakup song) in the title tune, to Sam Sparro's soulful good-times in Feelings Gone and Yoko Ono's repetitive drone in 'Day of the Sunflowers'. But perhaps the most beautiful of all the tracks off Scars is the Melodically melancholy 'Raindrops'.

All this has me wondering if this Basement Jaxx album will impact my life as much as their previous albums have. It's amazing to think that at this time in 1999, I was listening to their first album - and 10 years on, I'm still listening. All I can say is that Scars is definitely my soundtrack of the summer.

See Basement Jaxx at Good Vibrations 2010.

The Hotness: Drop the Lime

His sound has been described as "chopped-up breaks making hairpin turns, breakdowns coming out of nowhere, a foundation of wobbling goblin bass often cut in with tropical, clacking snares".

And he's not bad to look at either.
Drop the Lime, AKA Luca Venezia, is a native New Yorker who runs the label Trouble & Bass. If you haven't heard of Trouble & Bass, think Acid Jacks, AC Slater and Starkey. Bass heavy sounds with a East Coast twist.
Sometimes my timing is impeccably crap. I was peeved when I was in NYC because DTL was touring Europe. Luckily, this month DTL is touring Oz for the Stereosonic festival. But I've been really worried I'd have to go against my better judgment and try to blag a ticket. Or worse - buy a ticket to Stereosonic just to see him play.
Thankfully, I just found out DTL will be playing his own show at Chinese Laundry on the 4/12. WIN! Another reason not to go to any festivals. And even better, Laundry means it's possible to get up close and personal with The Hotness himself.
True, he is a bit of a hipster. But a hipster who likes bassline house. And he does seem to wear a lot of muscle shirts (but lacks muscle).
I'd still tap that.

Where were you in 92?

In 92, Cross Colours could be found in my wardrobe. I wonder what ever happened to my black Cross Colours overalls?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hot Mess: Sabrina Salerno

No doubt you remember this little gem:

This video clip used to embarrass the hell out of me. I'd be watching Rage, and it'd come on right when Dad came into the lounge to eat breakfast. I was always mortified Sabrina couldn't keep her boobs in her top and I was convinced Dad was ogling her boobs. I'm pretty sure I was right.

Now I think she's awesome.I'm pretty sure I've seen flicks of Nikkita rocking a Skipper cap. And check out the dope hi tops (Reeboks?) Sabrina is rocking below (top left hand corner). Mad steez!
Those eyebrows are off the hook! Eat your heart out Jennifer Connelly.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

New Pepsi Bland

Whilst in New York I noticed the new Pepsi logo. I was surprised at their decision to change branding (again) and even more surprised at their choice of logo. But it seems I'm not the only one puzzled by their latest move...
Blow at Life thinks it looks like a big fat bubble man. Quite ironic considering that soft drink consumption is linked with obesity.

Retro Sneaker Icon: Whoopi Goldberg

Before the Reebok Pump party the other night, my friend B saw the Reebok Freestyles I was wearing and made an interesting observation. She told me she was absolutely sure Whoopi Goldberg rocks Freestyles in the 1986 movie, Jumpin' Jack Flash. Of course, I had to investigate.

Turns out B was dead right! Whoopi does wear Reeboks in the movie! Whoopi even wears Reeboks in the promo poster:
I sat down and watched the movie - she wears Frees in loads of different scenes. She even rocks some amazing canary yellow ones!But it doesn't stop there. After scouring the net for info on Whoopi I discovered that back in the day, Whoopi was a bit of a Reebok fiend. The same year Jumpin' Jack Flash was released, Whoopi appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Look closely...
She's rocking Reeboks on the cover of Rolling Stone. What a fiend!
She also won a Golden Globe that year for her role in the film The Color Purple (alongside Oprah Winfrey). And guess what she had on her feet the night she won? See for yourself...
These days she doesn't seem to wear Reeboks quite as much, but she's definitely still into sneakers. As a host on talk show The View, she had her own shoe segment called Whoopi's Favorite Shoes, featuring brands like Jumps.
And she has a pretty epic shoe collection of her own...
In 2008, Whoopi donated this pair of gold Converse to be auctioned for charity. They're not to my taste, but I love that the lady is still rocking kicks more than 20 years on.
Whoopi Goldberg, sneaker fiend - we salute you!