Last fanzine in Sainsburys

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Ok, I couldn’t think of a decent title for this post, so a bit of surrealism never goes amiss. The Seagull Love Review no. 19 – the last issue of the 2009/10 football season – is out now. You can pick it up at Milton Keynes this Saturday, or at home against the Wurzels on May 8th. Or, you can buy it online on the TSLR blog here.

As well as The Hovian cartoon, TSLR’s co-ed asked me to write a bit about casuality and places where the interested can pick up natty threads in Brighton and Hove. I’ve copied and pasted the article below for your perusal, perhaps it may be a regular column next season in the mag? Watch this space, and get a quid out for the best TSLR yet, you tight bastards.

Casuals, dressers, trendies. Contrary to popular belief, today’s casual (and some even discard this description of what they call “the nameless thing”), is not some drunken thug in a Stone Island jacket. Today’s true casual is more terrace peacock than fighting cock. Study photographs and film of hooligans from after the 1980s casual heyday, you’ll mostly see badly dressed, overweight louts knocking seven bells out of each other. The true casual is above that, he has moved on, he’s been dandified. A true obsessive, he’d be horrified at the thought of his expensively bought and painstakingly put together match day outfit being ripped or muddied. He’s not gone soft, he just got smart.

Sure, the casual subculture grew out of the need for young men bent on trouble avoiding the police and opposition spotters, by dressing unlike other football fans – out went scarves and replica shirts. But it was much more than that, a sense of sartorial one-upmanship over the opposition – not just being better fighters – was paramount in the early casuals’ mindset. Add this to the eternal need for young working class men to dress better than their position in society might dictate, and you have a new form of youth (sub)culture, the first one that wasn’t music inspired, but football inspired.

Nowadays only a nutter or determined thug wants to keep fighting at football, the law leans heavily on those who want a ruck with like-minded thugs. But the sense of one-upmanship is very much alive, through the clothes and the sense of style. Only the early 1960s Mods had the same pride in appearance, always seeking new brands, avoiding the herd where possible. This doesn’t mean the casual is aloof from the ordinary team colour wearing fan, he seeks aloofness only from other casuals. He is at home among his own team fans, his support is just as strong, but usually less overt, he just likes his own clothes.

So, what does the casual wear today? That’s a tough one, it’s very much down to personal taste, but not following fashion, abhorring the metrosexual, the parrothead, the skinny jean wearing “funboy” in his Top Man horror show outfitting. Inspiration comes not from David Beckham, but from Sir Edmund Hillary. Outdoors is in – waxed cotton and windproofing. Traditional over the new, Clarks not JD. Casual brands range from tried and tested Barbour, CP Company,Fjallraven, Baracuta, adidas; to young, fresh designers who make exciting menswear, but with a firm nod to the olds before them –  6876, Folk, Garbstore, Albam, Edwin. You have to search for your own look, make it yours. Be careful though, Danny Dyer in his Fila Terrinda does not cut the mustard.

Apart from online, there’s a mecca for casuals to be found right here in Brighton,  modestly situated around the Ship Street/Dukes Lane area, and its HQ is without question Peggs & Son of Ship Street (formerly Minky of North Laine). Here is an emporium for the discerning collector of the casual things in life. Dukes Lane has View and Profile, for those Italian and American lifestyle pieces, with nods to the Paninaro and Steve McQueen.

You may think this is all nonsense, that’s fine, the way of the dresser is not for everyone. But for those whose interest may be piqued the casuals are still out there, they still look to see who’s wearing what. If you look good you will be noticed, only nowadays you won’t get a smack in the gob, you’ll be asked where you got your new coat, or it might be less than that, just a knowing smile from a like-minded obsessive.

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