Ready for an end to the cold weather for the season. Here are some bright sounding jams to usher in spring-
Ready for an end to the cold weather for the season. Here are some bright sounding jams to usher in spring-
I’m not sure if this is a story about a sea change in print media/media generally, me getting old and out of touch, or all of the above. It’s kind of story about me, and it’s kind of about GQ. It has been a minute since I actually wrote anything of any substance for Jake.News. I can’t promise that this will be ‘that,’ but from a word count perspective alone, it probably beats out most of the tripe that I have keyed out on this page in the past two, or so years. I apologize in advance for the overuse of parentheticals, annoying references to ‘fashion’ as ‘the fashionz’ and overabundance of commas.
I’ll start this old-man diatribe talking about the early 2000’s: I had recently moved to New York from what some people would call the midwest. I called it the mountain west. It wasn’t the west coast, but it certainly wasn’t the midwest. Regardless of its ‘correct’ nomenclature, Salt Lake City suffered greatly in the realm of style and fashion. The world was a lot bigger back then, in the days of the early internet. SLC was basically biting LA fashion, delayed by two or three years. I brought that sartorial baggage with me when I moved to NY.
Fast forward to 2005: I had my first ‘real’ law job. I had lived in NY long enough to learn that my baggy cargo pants and 2XL hoodies were not really going to fly unless I was in some sort of off-broadway period piece set in the early 90’s. Despite the fact that I knew I was doing it wrong (street wear/skate garb excluded), I still didn’t have much context for style or fashionz on a macro level. For what it’s worth I use the word ‘wrong’ in a very subjective sense, here. There are plenty of places like Staten Island and some neighborhoods in SLC where 2XL and cargos are still totally legit. Do what works!
This is where it gets a little bit ridiculous- During that same 2005ish period, I drank an ungodly amount of Diet Coke. I didn’t like coffee, but I definitely relied heavily on caffeine to get me through the day/night. In those days (and possibly still the case, not sure) there was a little code under the lid of each Diet Coke bottle. It was like Coca Cola’s version of Marlboro Miles. I would save the caps, and about once per week, spend the time to type those numbers into my Coke Rewards account. In no time at all, I had ‘free’ subscriptions to practically every magazine that Conde Nast published.
Kindly skip ahead to 2007- There had been a crisis. It was financial in nature. People had lost their jobs, a lot of them. Through the grace of God, I somehow managed to keep mine. But business was slow; really slow. It was around this time that two life changing events occurred. First, my daughter was born. Second, I bought my first professional-grade digital camera.
I have practiced photography basically my entire life. But during this particular time, I experienced an awkward gap where shooting film was no longer practical, even though SLR images were so much better than the point-and-shoot digital crap that I started snapping. The ‘instant’ factor in those lo-fi digital images (which no-doubt will soon be the coolest throwback media format) outweighed the quality of using real glass. And for me, digital SLRs were prohibitively expensive in the early 2000’s.
For those who by some unfortunate reason made it this far in the story, I’m sorry. But also, yes, this is going somewhere. What does GQ have to do with my daughter, you may wonder? Nothing. Anyway, the birth of my child, and the desire to document the phenomenon that is her, was probably the largest impetus behind my purchase of a Canon 40D. It wasn’t full frame, but it did the trick.
Getting back to the whole financial crisis thing- Despite having kept my real job, I had some time on my hands. I was living all of the way at the northern end of Manhattan, and commuting to the southern end for work. My daily journey via the A-train would usually allow me to read half of an issue of WIRED, W, or GQ. And, I did. W Magazine was my favorite visually. WIRED, got my nerdy side all hot and bothered. GQ was like my bible. Glenn O’brien changed my whole outlook on life. But most of all, I looked forward to the monthly column from Jim Nelson, the recently replaced GQ editor in chief.
Jim Nelson, to me was an everyman’s man. I found his column super relatable to the version of me that I always aspired to be. He inspired me to be a better iteration of my human male self, and a better dressed one. In the early 2010’s I was shooting a lot of men’s fashion stuff, and rubbing shoulders with the guys in the top photo on a regular basis. Even then, I was inspired by GQ’s ability to tout the fashion trends du jour, while always (and most importantly to me) continuing to promote their namesake mantle of ‘gentleman.’ Each month when I read Nelson’s column I would think to myself, here is a message from a gentleman, to other gentlemen and aspiring gentlemen. There was some thematic redundancy in this paragraph, but this point is very important to me.
Time warp once again to the not-so-distant past of 2012: I was still shooting a lot of the fashionz, but reading a lot less of the fashionz printed periodicals. I no longer had a 50 minute train ride to absorb words. I was no longer at a law firm, but still had a pretty serious day job lawyering. I also had a pretty serious side-hustle for a primarily digital (at the time) fashion outlet. I saw the direction that the digital side of things was going, and I was okay with it. Because, hey, digital! Not naming any names except for Complex, but pay-to-play became king. Even those posts covering the stalwart click-generator brands who had enough hype that they didn’t have to pay for coverage, were just a cut/paste from the same press releases I received in my inbox. Yuck.
I get it. People have to make money and pay bills. And hey…. those pay-to-play pieces definitely justified the long form editorial pieces that no one (but me and other old guys) actually reads. Despite what was happening in the digital world, I had convinced myself that the old guard of printed fashion media had a level of scruples that transcended the necessity to pay bills. Or if they did have bills to pay, they would just do a really fat issue, packed with ads and possibly a wraparound of the latest Chevy truck, oh wait. Anyway, there was a certain type of outlet that I would fully expect to send interns out sourcing cocaine for brand-heads on a long night of courting those big spon-con dollars. In my mind, (the post-80s) GQ would never fall into that category. I mean, people spent good Coke (not that kind of coke) rewards points on them magz!
Jump forward again to not so long ago: I’m not really shooting that much fashion anymore, but I certainly still fancy myself as an aspiring gentleman. A while ago I saw that Glenn O’Brien the famed ‘style guy’ left GQ. It made me sad. When I saw that Mr. O’Brien subsequently passed away in 2017, I was sadder still.
O’Brien’s column was a treasure trove of style Dos and Don’ts for gents. Some of it was obvious. A lot of it was a lot more subtle. For example, I was able to have a chuckle to myself a few years ago when midtown finance bros adopted the unfortunate looking super wide spread collar paired with single windsor tie knots, en-masse. It looked ridiculous, but everyone was doing it for a hot minute (couple of years, actually). I unsuccessfully tried to find O’Brien’s quote about the look, so that I could link to it here. The comparison that he gave was something about a hippo’s mouth, or a dog with it’s head out the window. You get the idea. An example of one of his more subtle tips, is the advice he gave about never buying a sock that didn’t have a proper toe and heel. I ate the column up! Anyway, RIP, Mr. O’Brien.
After O’Brien’s passing, I took comfort in the fact that Jim Nelson and crew were still steering the ship. That brings us to late December 2017. In November, Madeline Weeks was laid off as fashion director, and shortly thereafter, Jim Moore stepped down as creative director. These events convinced me that it would only be a matter of time before Nelson also moved on. I hoped for the best.
Okay, so present day (1999 plus 20, to put things in perspective): For Christmas last year, B and I purchased each other various subscriptions to print media. The first issues of such publications started rolling in toward the middle/end of January. The New Yorker was the first one I received. I read it from cover to cover and was stoked to be reading magazines again.
Not long after, our magazines from Conde arrived: GQ for me and W for B (but also mostly for me). I flipped W first. I was pleased to see that it is still totally on-point, visually. Then I cracked GQ. It was the music issue. I’m not going to get heavily into my disappointment of the overall content. But there was a lot of that. I mean, for some inexplicable reason there was an interview with Steven Tyler in 2019 GQ and it didn’t include any plastic surgery recommendations for fading arena rockers.
Back to the point– I was curious to learn about Will Welch, the man who had replaced Jim Moore at the end of 2017, and more recently, Jim Nelson as the new editor in chief. I wanted to see how his letter from the editor stacked up against those of Jim Nelson. I wanted to read something by the new editor in chief that made him relatable for me; something universally appealing and thought provoking.
When I arrived at the page where I could finally kill my curiosity, I saw the below. Initially I kept at bay my knee-jerk impressions based on the photo. But as a read his piece, I was seriously, seriously disappointed.
To be fair, the article is less about Welch’s observation of the world or how to navigate life as a man, and more about his transition from music journalism to his current role. Okay man, it’s your first letter from the editor, you need to tell your story. But, based on both the photo and the article, I can currently say that Mr. Welch is not a person from whom I would accept style advice or any advice for that matter.
I take that back. Dude probably has an inside line on where to score the best macchiato in South Williamsburg. Maybe he also has some good tips on
vape shops essential oils and where to scoop vintage vinyl. Those are all total guesses. I’m trying to give the benefit of the doubt, okay? Despite trying to be open minded, I can’t stop pegging him as that guy who I (a responsible dog owner) scorn for letting his dog run around off the leash in McCarron Park. Admittedly, that last bit might be a ‘me’ issue and/or a metaphor for this entire rant, haha. I won’t go down that rabbit hole right now. Seriously though; For my sake, and the sake of GQ, I hope that I’m totally wrong about Will Welch.
I still have 11 issues to go before my subscription expires, or more likely, auto-renews. C’mon Will, even though the ‘whole new era’ of GQ is led by someone who wears untied VANS and has hand tats, it doesn’t mean the mag has to be completely devoid of interesting journalism! I know you are no Jim Nelson, but let us write words that actually mean something! That is my hope and prayer, as they say in Salt Lake. Here is where I leave off.
While my monthly playlists usually consist of mostly new music interspersed with a few throw-back tracks, this one takes the opposite approach. This decision was a product of few different experiences that I had during the month of January when I was compiling the playlist. First was a BBC essential mix I heard that was almost exclusively old disco tracks from the late 70s and early 80s. Next was the fact that so many of my regular spots in G-point play great rock. January was a big going-out month for me and I really soaked in the stuff that I was hearing. It made me realize that I don’t listen to nearly enough rock these days when I’m selecting my own jams.
A lot of the stuff that I was hearing while out and about was material from the era that I grew up in. I dropped in some Mad Season and Jane’s Addiction to this month’s mix. Both of these tracks elicit strong nostalgia of my high school and early college days. I had to mix in some Radiohead as well. Rock was really the first genre of music that drew me into music as an artistic media. So in a way, I’m starting out 2019 with a kind of “back to my roots” playlist. Of course I also included a couple of recent releases. The two that I’m mostly vibing-on are the new Bonobo track, and the new Rufus diddy. I also included the latest Chemical Brothers release. Even though they were more late college and law school for me, I’m happy to see that they are still producing high quality material. So I included their new track “MAH” even though it doesn’t really mesh so well with the rest of the songs. Anyway, enjoy-
For a few years now, I have been making these silly recap videos from a year’s worth of iPhone photos. Here are some from past years. The one from 2016, for some reason I did not publish on here. But here it is anyway. This year’s iteration is ~6800 photos shown roughly in order at 1/20th of a second per frame. Even with the fast frame rate, the video is still seven minutes long, which is longer than most most people’s attention span. So, if you are stuck in an elevator or something, enjoy–
My actual January playlist is pretty weak. So I’m switching things up this month and dropping in 3 playlists. The first one is a playlist of some of my favorite music that I listened to in 2018. The list was made by me, not one of those AI lists compiled by the Spotify bots.
Below that playlist, you will find two of my workout playlists. People often ask me what I listen to when I run. Since the new year is a time when people find new resolve to get in shape, I figured that it was an appropriate time to share a couple of my favorite workout jams. Note: If you hate dance/club music, you can probably just skip them. Enjoy!
As James Dean once said,”There is only a certain amount of time that you can spend as a tourist in a non-tropical city without experiencing a bit of boredom”; look it up. Heeding Dean’s advice, we jumped a London bound Eurostar after spending a few days in Paris, and a couple of hours later found ourselves in the (barely) pre-brexit UK. To be exact, we were in Shoreditch, camping at The ACE. Forgive me for oversimplifying, but Shoreditch felt like Brooklyn, east. I mean, I have stayed at The ACE in NYC, and the London version felt more like NY than the one on 29th Street. I was not upset by this fact. Below is a list of establishments that I can recommend patronizing. Here we go-
Some additional photos from the UK-
I came across this film earlier this week. The one redeeming quality of winter is snowboarding. It doesn’t take much to get me stoked for riding, but this vid definitely kicked it up to eleven for me. Lots of deep pow and awesome imagery (the night sequence is next level). I really enjoyed it. Possibly you will, as well–
Paris is like NY, in the sense that there are a million different ways to experience it. B and I had both spent time in Paris on various occasions in the past, but this was the first time that we had ever been together. This was a good fact, because it eliminated any pressure to see any of the “sights” and allowed us instead to just wander. We lodged in the Belleville neighborhood. Neither of us loved the hotel, so I won’t mention it here by name. Everything else that we tried out in that neighborhood was awesome. Here are some highlights from a food and drink perspective (massive thanks to B, for keeping a list). In each case below, at the end I have included a CoSAAT (Chances of Spotting Another American Tourist) rating, with which one might be able to gauge on a scale of 1-10 the likelihood of running into another USA passport holder (Brooklynites not included). So if you are like us, the mo lowah the CoSAAT rating, the mo bettah. Here we go:
Some additional photos-
KAWS is currently showing at Skarstedt. Here are some very lazy un-color-corrected photos of the exhibit. We popped in the day after it opened, but I haven’t had time to write this up until now. Definitely worth checking out, and still open until Dec 19. Wear your loudest Off-White piece to fit in. Supreme x The North Face will do in a pinch. Learn more here.
Another year comes to a close.