Let’s chat about the reason I took it upon myself to visit London in January when it’s rainy, cold and horrible: MoWax boss James Lavelle was holding court in the legendary Lazarides gallery to celebrate 25 Years of UNKLE and the upcoming release of the new record ‘The Road’!
So when I got the chance to attend the private view of the show I knew I had to hop onto the next flight to The Big Smoke aka London Town.
It was great to check out all my old haunts like Maharishi, Supreme and various record shops with the exhibition being the cherry on top.
When I arrived at the venue on day two of my stay there was already an orderly queue forming outside the gallery and soon the space was buzzing with the devoted followers of all things UNKLE.
On display where pieces crafted by the usual suspects: Futura 2000 and Massive Attacks artist in residence, 3D. Both created artwork for past UNKLE albums with Futura covering the first two and Del Naja taking over for the third album ‘War Stories’.
Additional UNKLE related art was provided by Doug Foster, John Isaacs, Ben Drury, Warren Du Preez and Nick Thornton Jones to name just a few!
I really enjoyed the mix of different mediums on display: From photography, painting, sculpture all the way to scents and VR experiences, there was no shortage of things to look at.
Still, when I think MoWax and UNKLE I really like the old work by Futura best. I’m just oldskool like that!
The legendary Pointman character he created for the UNKLE logo is still my fave, so one of the stand out pieces of the show for me was this weird mechanical Pointman robot on the upper floor.
First on display at the original Daydreaming show curated by Lavelle all the way back in 2010, it’s still very impressive in the flesh… or dare I say… metal.
I couldn’t really take any good shots at the show that night so I returned the next day to give the whole exhibition a second viewing.
The fun with UNKLE always was the merchandise connected with the band: Being it rare versions of the albums, collectable toys or limited edition clothing… UNKLE never held back.
So not suprisingly there were a lot of things for sale, especially some vintage goodies straight out of Lavelles private collection!
When the main guy of a music band creates a Japanese toy of himself in BAPE garm, you know how geeky the world of UNKLE really is. That might explain why most of the people in attendance were middle-aged Streetwear nerds like me… eyeing the display of rare merchandise nervously…
On that note: Shoutout to @mowaxplease who actually got himself a plastic Lavelle to take home with, I am envious!
I promised myself to be good and not purchase any more stuff but when I saw the new screen prints created for the show I had to reconsider: Featuring six different colour variations of the legendary UNKLE camouflage created by Futura and Ben Drury, I just knew I had to get one!
The funny thing about UNKLE is that although I enjoy the music, the true appeal of James Lavelles musical project really is this incredible, Otaku like obsession with creating hard to get collectables that accompanied each album release.
Being it the UNKLESounds mix CDs that never got officially released, the awesome pop up album artwork that was promo only or the toys created with Medicom in Tokyo: You could bet each new album would come with a bucketload of swag that send Hypebeast heads spinning… but that topic is a blog post in itself!
You can get a good sense of Lavelles obsessions in this video of him chatting to The Guardian about the show. I am still cracking up watching the bit where he tries to explain all the toys to the flabbergasted interviewer…
So yeah… boys and their toys. Again, you can blame it all on Star Wars! If everybody would have kept their Hans and Leias boxed and not sold them off as kids, so much geek trauma could have been averted!
But then again, maybe we wouldn’t have gotten all this great artwork and product.
Still, geek shouldn’t be a dirty word. It’s the medal of honour that should be worn with pride! It means you know more about a specific topic than most other people on this planet which is AWESOME, right?! The only rule to follow here is to never, EVER try talking to people who are not sharing the same fire.
This is a foolish rookie mistake that can only end in tears and humiliation!
I know I can always count on my homies from Unkle77.com to create a nice comforting echo chamber of warm UNKLE man-love at such events. So shout out to @Mojib, @Mowaxplease, @ZMan, @WDMN, @JonesysJukebox, @M0Matt and the many others that made it down to London to worship at the altar of UNKLE just like me.
Some travelled all the way from Sweden and France so big up to JL for being a good sport and taking a snap with the U77 massive!
On this note let me wrap up with the official war cry of the MoWax obsessives:
U… N… K… L… E …EE! Until next time…
For more about UNKLE and the legacy of MoWax head over to:
If you want to hear some great UNKLE tracks and remixes, check out my UNKLE tribute mix over at Mixcloud: