Sunday, 23 June 2013

Boogie Cartel "As The Sun Sets..." by Shaun Dangerfield

A little track I cooked up recently "As The Sun Sets" is the transition from day to night, a slice of boogie with a tint of House and Disco.

Download on the right hand side.

Fleetwood Mac "Rumours"... by Shaun Dangerfield

Being quite a fussy complex character to buy for, after 32 years people have finally realised what I like and the things that make me tick.
I appreciate any present or gift but there's only so many Lynx box sets you can go through.

On my birthday earlier in the month I had some amazing gifts.  A good friend of mine who I work with now but I've known for years through going to the football bought me a new version of "Rumours" in box set form, we spend a fair amount of time during work talking about music and although we aren't really into the same things we can appreciate each others tastes.

I've always said that this album was one of the biggest albums in my life, I've got 3 copies of the album because if I see it for sale I usually buy it (ya know for back up) because it's nice to give them a good home.

This box set includes a book with some great photos of the band and as well as the vinyl it houses 5 discs.
The album on cd
Live 1977 world tour cd
Recording sessions 'more'... cd
Recording sessions, roughs and outtakes cd
and "The Rosebud Film" dvd by Michael Collins
It's an amazing package and a truly treasured item.

I first heard Mac through my fathers tastes as a young boy, it's one of those soothing moments in life that you don't forget and carry through into your teens and adulthood.
As you grow up and explore one of my biggest findings was obviously realising these tracks i'd heard through my old man had obviously come from an album and aged 14 years old there I had found it in all it's beautiful glory.

When I started going "out" out at the age of 15 (wrong I know but boys will be boys) and getting on it on the weekends my Sundays became my chill out time, reflecting and thinking about whatever's on my mind and this album was literally hammered through my growing up, the biggest memories getting back Sunday evenings after a hard weekend at it starting up my amp and mixer and decks, plugging my headphones in and listening to and unwinding through the blissful but heartbreaking A side before hearing the crackle and pop at the end of 'Songbird' unsettling my slumber for a quick change over on the flip side.

There's not many albums I can listen to from start to finish (because I'm picky really) but this is and always will be in that category, raw 1977 gold.

Full of emotion, heartbreak, love, make up and break up a truly powerful inspiring album.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Ardour Brand update.... by Shaun and Saul

As you can tell we've been quiet this past month or so as we line everything up but we are happy to say that with our new website now built and everything in place we will be launching next weekend.

Over the next few weeks we will be updating the blog with what we have been getting up to and our ideas for the future which are now underway.

I'll leave it there and post a few stock photos of the satchels and bags.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Victorian Manchester, Revisited...By Saul Wilks

I come to find myself stood in crisp morning sunlight, eagerly awaiting my carriage to today’s destination, the one-time factory of the empire, the hallowed bastion of true British culture, the quite simply unique Manchester, a destination and journey I’ve made for over a decade now. Examining my ticket like a chastened train spotter I muse at the days I used to get up before dawn’s light with a fresh wage packet, taking this sacred journey to search out exotic clothes and rare records. I recall these great days with much vigour, the thought makes the hairs on my neck stand on end.

 Today’s expedition recalls those great times, although now a little more sensible with my earnings, a day out in the North is certainly the tonic I need to cleanse my mind... I just hope it’s not grim today. As it happens, Manchester doesn’t quite seem to cut the same mustard as it once did; Oi Polloi has lost its verve, Vinyl exchange is full of crate digging fiends fingering all the decent stock and taking ages at the listening deck, the bloke in bags of flavour barely looks up to greet me. Something’s changed, perhaps it’s just me? I’ve barely scraped my bank account. The buzz is missing.

Slightly dejected, I’ve decided to cut my losses and head to the station and so I amble, part sulking in the fading light of the great North, in the general direction of Piccadilly. Then it hits me, as fierce as a blow to the head from the heavy buckled belt of one of Manchester’s Victorian rogues, I’ll fuck the spending off and go on my own historical journey to search out the hallowed streets of one of Manchester’s original creations, the forerunner to every working class street and youth cult that has passed through since, the foreboding thoroughfares of Great Ancoats and the urban catwalks for an almost forgotten youth cult, the Victorian gangs of Manchester’s original finest, the Scuttlers.

I quickly assess the landscape and trajectory, heading out of the Northern Quarter and towards the red brick mills that shadow the city, heading away from everything I know, my pace now quickened, I’m walking with intent, with purpose. I cross the main road that runs adjacent with Ancoats, navigating the Friday traffic and stopping at least twice to assure myself I’m on the right track and not heading off into an unknown concrete jungle, and then the ground changes from tarmac to a mosaic of cobbles, probing the soles of my feet and assaulting the soles of my footwear, I’m on the right track.

I take stock of my surroundings; I try to picture the slum dwellings of yesterday Manchester, instead greeted with flashy new apartment blocks and countless building projects. I know my desired destination, I want to find Bengal Street, I want to find the home of the tigers, arguably top boys of the scuttling world.

The streets are near deserted apart from a rather shady African gentleman who seems to be taking a rather vested interest in this cultural tourist, trudging around looking a bit lost. Then I see a name plate that I recall, Hood Street, and I stop and take it in; its weathered appearance looks beautiful and original, I know from my own knowledge that Bengal Street isn’t far from here.

After navigating my way around these historically important streets where, unless you had prior knowledge to what went on here over a century ago, you would assume was just another lego-brick construction site, I finally reach the corner of Jersey Street and look around for clues that I’ve reached my destination, and then there it is. Bengal Street. I freeze to the spot, I can almost taste the confidence of youth in the air, hear the scuttle of brazen street gladiators going about their foray, feel the bond of working class camaraderie, anticipate the violence.

There’s definitely an energy here, it’s tangible.

As I stand in this sacred spot, allowing my imagination to take me on a roller coaster of sights, smells, sounds and feelings, I feel those stubborn hairs on my neck start to take note, rising, receptive to this enigmatic place. I look left, right, a couple of people shuffle past with looks of bemusement on their faces as they give this chap with a massive beamer on his dial a definite wide berth – I must look slightly mental, but so what? Keep walking otherwise you’ll feel the wrath of Bengal Street, I’ll take off my Anderson’s belt and clock you, give you a taste of Scuttling...

Although to most people this spontaneous visit might seem a little odd or even pointless, I stand with a sense of achievement. The story of the Scuttlers has always been spellbinding to me, their story resonates with my passionate personality and is one that should be included in the national curriculum, its imperative, as this near forgotten way of life is simply a most important entry into the cultural history of our country. I let myself seep back into reality for a second, let us examine this some more...

A fine correlation between young working class men and the undeniable desire to be well turned out has been standard protocol in relation to the various youth cultures this country has seen come to fruition throughout the years. Fashion and attitude have always been an integral part to many of the famous and infamous youth sub cultures that were born on British streets, and it’s a known fact that the styles associated with the likes of mods, skinheads, teddy boys and punks often went hand in hand with violence, carried off with an air of nonchalant, adolescent rebellion.

When we think of those diverse style tribes we’re often presented with the image of hundreds of parkas swarming across Brighton beach to engage in ritualised combat with a cluster of black leather motorcycle jackets, perhaps we may conjure up the thought of Oxblood Dr Martins and checked Ben Sherman shirts making waves to Jamaican reggae at blues parties with neatly shaved side partings resplendent in extremely short clipped hair. Or we may associate the Peter Storm cagoule and Adidas Stan Smith clad scallies that were born in late 1970s Liverpool, emitting a cheeky, accosting grin from beneath a perfectly formed mushroom wedge.

All of these examples are undeniably special in their own right, each holding their rightful place in the archives of British culture and style, often revived or inspirational to the modern day wardrobe. Each of those youth movement radiated the feeling of importance, identity and belonging and the opportunity to relish a siege mentality of us and them, often leading to violence and disorder.

If we look back to the 1950s there were numerous young men who held a passion for the Edwardian dress sense that was coined by various London tailors after the Second World War. Together with American rock and roll music and an ethos of being young, boisterous and confrontational, they were to become known as ‘Teds’ or, as the media dubbed them, Teddy boys.

It was from these beginnings that many people associate the birth of British youth sub culture, however, they’d be forgiven for being mistaken. Decades before a Teddy boy ever perfected a quiff, a lifetime before scooters, gleaming in the seaside sunshine were seen patrolling the promenades of Brighton and a century before working class Liverpudlians planted the seeds of what would grow into a trainer shoe obsessed terrace phenomenon, the original style conscious youth culture was being played out among the cobbled, poverty stricken streets of Victorian Manchester.

Victorian Manchester was the heartland of the Industrial revolution, its skyline blanketed by a constant unhealthy smog and the innumerable chimney stacks of towering factories. The conditions were often below the poverty line with expansive numbers of inhabitants crammed into over filled and disease ridden districts such as Angel Meadow, New Cross, Miles Platting, Deansgate and Ancoats.

It was here among the squalid, working class cobbled thoroughfares and grey foreboding side streets that the unmistakable echo of brass tipped clogs could be heard clattering across the ground, creating an unmistakable crescendo of sound for all in the vicinity to hear. This sound was emitted from the soles of well dressed young men searching out confrontation with protagonists of the same ilk. The term was known as Scuttling and was the anthemic sound of Manchester’s much reviled Scuttler gangs.

The Scuttler was a young, working class male usually between the ages of 14 and 20 for whom everyday life revolved around territorial disputes, street fighting, local pride and street fashion. Scuttlers were often portrayed as hoodlums of the night, as ragamuffins and street urchins who held no regard for public order or discipline. However, to the Scuttler, being well turned out in the street styles of the time was paramount and the look would very often mimic the wealthier portion of Victorian society.

Just as their future cohorts would do, they adhered to a distinguishable look, identifiable by a number of garments and items that held as much relevance to them and their counterparts as the parka did to the Mod, or the beetle crusher did to the Ted. These quintessential items were centered around a heavy laden brass buckled belt, a statement on parallel with the Dr Martin boots of the skin head. With this being the most important item that no Scuttler worth his salt would be without, a heavy sense of one-upmanship was often prevalent and brass belts were sought out in the most intricate and exquisite designs, the quality and weight were essential, as the item was also used as a formidable weapon during scuttles between rival gangs. Being the most desirable element of a Scuttlers identity, reliving an adversary of theirs was seen as the greatest accolade achievable in the heat of fighting and the ultimate trophy to parade to enhance reputation.
The legs of a Scuttler would be shed in bell bottom trousers with a wide hem at the ankle, not so dissimilar to the trend that swept Manchester and Liverpool during the casual era to draw attention to the wearers taste in rare footwear, often imported from European away games. To compliment the bell bottom trousers, brass tipped clogs were the order of the day, completing the bottom half of the style conscious Victorian Mancunian street youth.

 Along with these items, the other important insignia of the Scuttler included the all important donkey fringe. The donkey fringe was the hair cut of choice among the youths, proudly displayed even when the obligatory tilted cap was being worn. If this was the case, the cap was tilted back so that the hair was on constant display affording the disciples of this enigmatic lifestyle the knowledge that he too was a wanton partisan of the underground world of Scuttling. The ensemble was completed with luxurious silk scarfs regularly woven in elegant patterns or as an alternative, the muffler which was preferable in plain white. Each would be worn often in a knot around the neck, peering out through under the waistcoat or overcoat of the wearer.
Gangs such as the infamous Bengal Tigers, named after the main street in which their territory lay, the Meadow boys, from the district of Angel Meadow and the Bungal boys who resided in the area known as Ardwick, would vie for supremacy through fearful reputations but also the respect gained from their one-one-upmanship and street panache’ a trait echoed almost a hundred years down the line by the scallies, perry boys and later, the casual's for whom the lifestyle of style, fashion and fighting was a way of life.

There is an undeniable similarity that’s universal between the ethos and cultural importance of Victorian Manchester’s youth movement, and that of its numerous predecessors. The inexplicable link between the various styles that were worn to signify an obvious involvement and the feeling of belonging prove that throughout time the importance to look good and to be part of something has never ceased to fade.

Where now the modern structures lay over the original streets of that violent yet style led era of Victorian Manchester, where the iron markets and filthy back streets were as much cat walks as the Carnaby Streets or Kings Road of their respective times, linger the spectres of those charismatic Scuttlers, resplendent in their alluring and prototypical fashions, almost forgotten in the tapestries of British history. They should be remembered and revered for their important and captivating bearing they had on the attitudes and ideals of so many after them, but most of all for being the catalyst from which the start of true British youth culture and style was born.

Cookin' On Soul...By Saul Wilks

I've been meaning to record a new mix for a little while so yesterday I took some time out and did just that.

It must just be the ace weather we're getting at the moment, but I've been listening to a lot of soul cuts and rare groove lately and some of those tracks ended up in this selection.

If anyone reading is going to Glastonbury then you can catch us playing in the NYC Downlow tent on Friday night - which is sure to be off the hook.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the mix... I promise there'll be some clothing related postage soon.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Something for the Weekend...By Saul Wilks

It's been waaaaaay too long since I last posted, busy bee doesn't quite cut it but I've got a big back log of post's to get stacked to pick things up again on here so never fear.

I've been buzzing to this tiny little mini mix of classic Chicago jams for the past week courtesy of Scott Smokin Silz. It's baaaad.

Stick it in your grid and enjoy the weekend.

Big Love.