Farewell to the Palace

I don’t care what they say about Airmax 95s fam, they do not give you support. Man was on man’s feet for like 12 hours and those Airmaxes did fuck all. Like honestly, might just invest in some New Balances. Orthopedic ones, you get me? I couldn’t wear them that day though, dyou know what I mean? Like first of all, man had come straight from Fabric and man was not gonna wear new balances when man was gurning man’s face off in Fabric. Second of all, man was not going to wear New Balances to a Palace drop. There were bare streetwear photographers out – like have you seen how many fucking giant Nikons and Canons and whatever were just hanging off people’s necks? I am telling you, Palace drops are an event. Man was definitely not the only one to come straight from the club. Think about it fam: this shit starts at 5 a.m. 6 a.m. Why would you not go from the club? Like who the fuck wants to get up at 4:30 to go with a fucking lawn chair (if man is lucky) to wait outside a shop in Soho when it’s so cold your balls are going up inside you like airplane wheels at takeoff? Might as well have an excuse to be awake at 6 a.m. Might as well still be pinging; make some friends in the queue, really enjoy it or whatever. Make an experience out of it. So I was pinging a bit, yeah. This was good MD though, comedown was so gentle. I was gurning, but not horrific scenes. Just chewing the gum a bit keenly.

 

Anyway, I wasn’t too bothered because there was only 45 minutes or so before Palace opened, and I had a pretty decent spot. Not anywhere near the front, but close enough so I knew I could get what I wanted inside. Not the best pieces cause those go in five minutes. But pretty nice ones, slightly cheaper ones too. So man was hydrated, man was in a good mood, man was in the right place at the right time. Man was with Shaye, but she’s useless on MD after a few hours. In her own world. Properly gurning – I was worried she was going to chew her fucking cheek off. I guess it’s a shame we were mashed because freezing your balls off in a queue is as good a time as any to chat, and me and Shaye don’t chat as much as I’d like. About important shit I mean, family and how’s uni going and shit. There were enough people in the queue that there was this general murmur, but I could still hear the odd conversation. My mum says a crowd like that reminds her of an orchestra tuning up. Never been to see any classical music so I don’t really know what an orchestra sounds like. Violins and shit. Cellos… that’s a different world. Not sure I’ve ever actually heard a cello, like in real life.

 

I actually got chatting to the people in front of me, said they were from Shepherds Bush. Fuck off mate. With that accent you say you’re from Shepherds Bush it means you’re from Notting Hill. You’ve stolen from your mum to get pea for this, but your mum’s so rich she won’t notice. Your little sister gets fucked on Red Stripe and puts her hair in cornrows for carnival every year. Hoop earrings ones, you get me? Like, you’re gonna have to take your windbreaker off when you go the opera with your mum this Saturday aren’t you? Let’s be honest, a Palace windbreaker isn’t part of your boarding school uniform, is it? Lev Tanju lived above Greggs bakery for time. For six years or something. Have you ever been to Greggs, fam? Have you ever even had a Greggs sausage roll? West London people who buy Palace are like Leicester City fans. There were five of them two years ago, and now they’re probably half the queue.

 

Like I said though I wasn’t too bothered. They were nice people, and I was still pinging so I was chatting a million words a second. Think we talked about doner mostly. They knew about Fez Mangal, which I swear is the last place in west London where you can get a cheap doner kebab, which doesn’t taste like shit or cat meat. So fair enough.

 

At the end of the day, it was a pretty standard drop. You’re up early, you’re cold, maybe you chat to some stranger, maybe not. It’s kind of ridiculous, I’m thinking like, as soon as I started in this queue my mum was getting up leaving for the hospital. And I’m waiting to buy clothes. Makes you feel a bit dumb. At least it’s not her money I’m spending – I can make my own mistakes as long as I’ve got my own money, she always says. So I’ve got like 10 minutes ‘til I’m in the store, then this girl pushes past me. To get to her mate or boyfriend or something. She was cute, but she had a cap on so I didn’t see her face. Which meant that my imagination like filled it in or whatever. In my head she was a 10, for sure. I didn’t really get pissed at all when she pushed past. I was still feeling the MD, and when she pushed past I felt like it was quite a sensual push, like there was a lot of arm action. A sort of stroking motion as the push ended, it was more of a brush. Maybe to smooth out the fact that she pushed right past me. There was still some MD in my veins, so when she touched my arm I swear for three seconds I was like laughing and crying and orgasming at the same time. I was definitely in love with her for those three seconds. That’s how MD works. For those seconds I got to believe there was not a single bad thing in the world. Then I’m back, and I realise I’ve gripped the railing so hard my knuckles have gone white, and my hand is so cold I feel like it’s been dunked in boiling water. Like it’s so cold it’s a hot pain. Sort of stabbing. Weird, that. Also you can’t get mad at the galdem here. I can’t imagine how shit it is to be a girl at a Palace drop. You have to deal with maybe fifty to a hundred adolescent males, acting like absolute wankers, doing their absolute best to look sharp, and rich, and trying to look like they don’t give a fuck.

 

My hands are so cold I can’t even roll a cig. Wearing thin socks and my feet feel like they could shatter they’re so cold. But I can see man at the door at the end of the queue. So I should probably tell you why I bothered doing this. The thing is, you have to come round my ends to get what streetwear is. I’m really not trying to be a dick, fam, but it’s like ‘if you know, you know’. In Hackney, garms are so much. Creps are so much. Like I’m not saying this is a new phenomenon – there’s that song by the Game that goes ‘I’ll kill you if you try me for my Air Max 95s’. What I’m saying is that garms are what we’ve got. Like I can’t have a nice car. I can’t go Cotswolds for a weekend. I can’t have a fucking signet ring. But I can be up at 6 a.m. outside Palace to cop some garms. And I am telling you, that shit matters. Swear down, I went to a house party in February where this girl took man upstairs and sucked man off literally just because man had that blue goalie Palidas jumper. The one that’s sort of spage age vibes, with with the patterns under the arms. Says ‘bold aqua’ on the website. Like I can think of no other reason: man had bare acne, man had terrible breath that night, but man had the new garms. It was that simple.

 

I saw Shepherd’s Bush mandem smoking straights and I thought about asking if I could bum one, but then I got afraid mandem would say no. That’s the other thing about pinging: if man says no to me, like just denies a simple request, I die inside. I get so fucking sensitive. I checked in on Shaye, and if it actually was English she was speaking I’m pretty sure she said ‘extra large cup of tahini and two pita.’ Which I guess meant she was hungry. I’m just standing there hoping she doesn’t bum out too hard on the comedown, ‘cause we were meant to just cotch and hang out the day after. Like I said, been too long. But comedowns can fucking lay you out, especially if you’re buying cheap MD. And ever since D went away, we’ve had to buy from a new bredda whose shit is dodgy. I heard D went prison. I bet Notting Hill mandem’s dealers never go prison.

 

But then I’m in the store, thinking like, does this shit even matter? I’m thinking about my economics textbook and supply and demand. Palace isn’t gonna say no to someone with money and a sick haircut that wants to buy their garms. They’ll take the piss of them – just read the website, it’s jokes – but they’re not gonna tell man to fuck off, you get me? So when I see Chelsea mandem with floppy blond hair literally say “Sholto, what do you think of this one?” I don’t even know if that’s weird. Or if that’s just how it is. I mean… fucking Sholto. That’s not even a posh boy name. That’s beyond posh boy. That’s just strange, fam. Actually Googled it when I got home. It means “sower of the earth.” So here is this guy buying three of the same Palace hoodie, about to resell that shit no doubt, with his credit card, and his name means “sower of the earth.” It bummed me out a bit.
And then I have to deal with fucking white tracksuit man. So I was going to the rack, and there’s man who works here in his fucking 3M reflective full tracksuit, like he’s white but he’s trying his absolute hardest to be Skepta, and he comes over and asks “can I help you?” But I swear, he sounds like he’s about to burst out laughing. Like he’s just so fucking surprised I’m even in the store, but he’s gonna run with it anyway. Like he is incredulous. And man has long hair. Man has conditioned, well maintained long hair. Man probably went to Oxford. Man probably goes Cotswolds every weekend. Man probably has toothpaste that costs 50 quid.

 

Maybe I was wrong about this guy. Maybe I was being ‘mean spirited’ like my mum’s always telling me. He didn’t sound posh, but that shit is easy to hide (in your voice anyway) if you really try. Point is, he was trying to act like a dick. Man’s tone of voice, you know. I wonder if it’s the same in high fashion, fam. Like if you go into the Gucci store or the Prada store, if some skinny oily haired assistant is gonna come up to you, smirking almost, and be like, “Excuse me can I help you? Do you need help with anything?”

 

But anyway I took my shit and brought it to the till. Got the second to last one: large black hoodie with the tri ferg and the chocolate bar on the back. Essential. And a smerk jacket. Also a neon snap bracelet which is quite wavey, and definitely Fabric approved. Comes to a little over 300 quid. Man had saved for this. Whole summer as a fucking vegetarian coffee shop barista. Kind of shop where every customer has braided beards. Fixie bikes. Talk to me about gentrification, bruv. Listen, only reason man was working this job is cause there was fuck all else. It was this or the bike shop down the road, and to be honest the fucking smell of bike tires makes me want to fucking vom. So this is all I’ve got. No “special skills,” no fucking 15 grand internships cause I’m not done with uni yet and I don’t even know where to start or what to do with that shit. So I just made fucking macchiatos for two months. But you would not believe some of the shit I have heard in that coffee shop bruv. Like what’s her name. Lena Dunham shit. One tote bag, one green juice and you start thinking you’re John Lennon and Jesus’s fucking lovechild. Miss me with that please. Thing about these people with money and cool jobs that move to Hackney, they think they can just talk about their sex lives so loudly in public. Like fam, I do not want to hear about how hot yoga has upped your tantric sex game. Whatever. Maybe fucking Magnus or whoever with his beard and his spinach beet apple cleanser has lived off Hackney Wick his whole life, and I’m being “mean spirited.” Maybe Magnus is a don. Who fucking knows. And sometimes I brought produce home from the shop which mum was fucking buzzed about. Anything to make it a little easier I guess.

 

So when I got out the Palace store is when I actually started flexing. Somehow the fact that I’ve waited a ridiculously long time in a fucking far away borough for clothes that represent my culture, somehow I’m not pissed about that now. Cause the bit when I’ve just bought the garms, that’s what fashion photography mandem with the giant cameras have come for, you get me? Like, man puts on man’s new garms, busses that new Palace reflective bag, sits on the curb, whips out the amber leaf, rolls one and just looks fresh. Maybe man gets snapped and ends up on a blog or a wavey Instagram. Big floss. And my hands had returned to a human state in the store, so I could actually roll one.

 

So I roll a cig, and I’m just cotching on the curb at this point. Take out the mango juice in my backpack and swig some, not much else you can consume when approaching an MD comedown. Happy to just watch the rest get nervous about whether or not the garms will sell out. And people stress. Swear down I have seen tears. I have seen howling. Wailing and gnashing of teeth if you get me. But I’m wearing some fresh creps, actually ironed my jeans last night for the first time in my life, and man has got some self-assurance in himself now. Then I see this girl, and her camera is like comically large. I think it’s fair to say that the bigger your camera the better it is. Like the equation seems pretty simple here. And she points the monster thing at me and snaps. Fucking get in. Of course there’s no certainty that this photo is gonna make it anywhere, but it’s like first hurdle cleared. Obviously my imagination gets going and I’m thinking of a clean gram with thousands of hearts and shit.

 

So I go back to man’s yard after like an hour of cotching. Given up on Shaye because she’s somehow returned to consciousness and is chirpsing with this guy who says he’s a DJ at Birthdays. She’d been gurning so hard there was actually a little froth on the side of her mouth, but the guy didn’t seem to mind, so I left it. To be honest Shaye never looks too rough, like she never looks disgusting, even when she’s in a state. Girl holds it down. I was just listening to this bredda chat absolute shit to her, and I wanted to go and tell her we should go, but I didn’t want to be too imposing. I’m just bored of people being dicks to her. She’s like one of my best mates.

 

For the next few days after, man was combing the internet to see if that picture turned up anywhere. And believe you me, it turned up. It fucking turned up. On Hypebeast. So I know what you’re thinking. We Made It bruv. We-fucking-Made-It. That’s an extra hundred followers in no time easy.

 

Yeah, so huge scenes. Except not. Except wait ‘til you see the fucking picture in question. First of all, it’s a split – like, it’s a picture of me next to some other people. And it’s not exactly a picture of fucking me. You know what I’ll just show you the fucking picture. Here fam set me your phone. Yeah one sec. Alright yeah. No not that one. One sec. That one.
That’s me on the right. My hoodie fresh out the bag, my clean jeans, my wavey new snap bracelet. Obviously my face isn’t in it, so it’s like no discernible way to see that it’s me. Whatever. My fucking PROBLEM, bruv, is those two on the left. Yeah the ones standing right there. Like just look at them. I imagine you’re not reaching the same levels of absolute fucking outrage as me right now. I will try to assist you, then, in reaching my levels of fucking pissed offness.

 

First of all, the kid on the left is like 2 years old. Like if you look close enough you can probably see the amniotic fluid still drying on his skin from those wavey times in his mum’s womb. Cheeks so fucking chubby he’s probably storing food in them for the winter like a fucking squirrel. His prep school is probably ringing his mum cause their third sheep in the nativity play isn’t in school today. That kid on the left, he’s wearing the Supreme Nike Air Max 98 collaboration. 400 quid I’ve seen them go for. Just sneakers. As for his jumper, he’s wearing extra small, and that shit is still baggy on him. Kid on the right looks like a cross between Wallace from Wallace and Gromit and Russian sex offender. Sleazy fucking chain doesn’t help. So this em-fucking-barrassment got me thinking why I even want this for myself. And suddenly I’m hearing Skepta in my head in a whole new way. Nah, that’s not me. Act like a wasteman that’s not me. And man like Skepta literally fucking says in the song, true, I used to wear Gucci, put it all in the bin cause that’s not me. And now the MD has got me in one of those spirals, one of those fucking, like, existential spirals. Because I don’t even know what makes me feel good. Not buying these garms, because now I’m thinking it’s all fake and I look like a knob. I’m fucking cringing that mum’s shopping at Iceland and I’m splashing cash on made in China garms that are fucking burgling Hackney more and more each day. I don’t even like going out much. Rather just stay at home and watch the wire. Like, with someone though. And I haven’t said a word to Shaye, which makes me feel like an idiot. Swear down sometimes I just want to wear a bag over my head.

 

Like, it’s not only what the kids were wearing that got me so vexed. These kids were from Knightsbridge, bruv. I know, cause I remember hearing them talk about what tube stop to get off at. One of them’s probably got a ‘von’ or a ‘de’ in his name, some fading aristocracy shit. And they bought the nicest fucking piece in the collection. I didn’t even try for that jumper, cause I knew it would be sold out by the time I got in the store. They probably bought three of them each. These are the people who are competing with mandem from Hackney, mandem from Peckham, to get Palace garms. To rep our culture. Cause Palace wasn’t about Knightsbridge. Palace was about skating in shit parks, saving up so you could buy fresh creps and do MD in a club where they play Skepta not just for the Snapchat story banter. But it’s not about that anymore. Bruv, I have got to stop buying this shit.