LEE WATSON

Paper money, washing cars and Trendy clothes shop put a few quid in my pocket each week. Saturday mornings we used to head in to town to the record shops and sports shops and see what we could get. I got a pair of Jeans on one such trip (MKII I learnt a few years back) and absolutely loved them. I got the blue and don’t remember seeing the red – but that was Hull – the arse end of the M62. I used to go watch Hull at Boothferry Park and we’d get a train from town to the ground (Hull had its own train line for the footy ground). I used to love going on the train and seeing some of the older lads and what they had on their feet.

My best mate (also called Lee) was the same size foot and we’d regularly swap trainers for the day/night, I’d wear his GVilas, Vortex, Greenflash he’d wear my Samba, Monaco, Galaxy and so on – I’m not sure if he ever wore my Jeans though. Kick, Samba, Gazelle, Monaco, Galaxy, Jeans are the ones I can remember having – I had some white leather running types with black soles and green/yellow stripes – and have had many a chat with The Oracle and he ID’d them as Blazer – a few weeks later Kostya contacted me saying he had some in my size BNIB!!

I spent the 10yrs working and living abroad. I pretty much always had a pair of Adidas with me though – I’ve been through a lot of gazelle. I remember the exact time I got hooked recently – summer ’05 (Hariri was assassinated a few months earlier) I was in downtown Beirut sat outside a café having a beer and a very old German lady sat near us – I couldn’t take my eyes off her feet. Just an absolutely stunning pair of brown suede. I was with the Mrs and was telling her about my childhood Adidas and that the German ladies trainers had given me an idea. I’d heard of eBay and the search began. A year later we decided to settle back to the UK (Hezbollah and Israel where at it again so we fucked off) but we ended up in Dublin (close enough) – and shortly afterwards I bagged a pair of French Tobacco for a ridiculously cheap price. I found eBay then was a great place to learn about ///, as well as internet forums and of course google.

So the last few yrs. I’ve been looking for brown suede – I remember my first pair of Harputs arrived bnib a size 5.5uk (shipped from Canada) – they’re in their box waiting for my young ones feet to grow. 2 or 3 yrs. ago I started looking further afield for ///.

Anyway down to business….. In no particular order.

Jeans (MKII) – Had them as a kid and absolutely loved them. It was at that time when you’re aware of what you’re wearing but still kicking a football about, and stopping your bmx with your shoe sole on the front tyre. I’ve had a good lot of the re-issues from 04 onwards but moved them all.

Harputs Tobacco – I first read about these on the internet. Described as soft golden brown suede I was very anxious to get some, (these could have been German ladies?) As I said earlier, I got some bnib from Canada but too small for me. I’ve been extremely lucky in that I’ve found a few pairs since, in my size and bnib. On joining the groups on FB I also joined Instagram. I posted a picture up of 4 pairs of these and used ‪#‎Harputs. I couldn’t believe it when there was reply simply saying “Want them back” from a Hellabootsy. From previously looking online and following Harputs on twatter – I’d read about the Harputs Store and seen the incredible pictures of their stock – needless to say I’ve kept in touch (stalked??) Bootsy over the year and finally plucked up the courage to invite him to join us – and we were over the moon when he agreed.

Jap Tobacco – never knew these existed until a few years back. Got a few pairs in various sizes which were sold on pages but was made up to finally get a pair for me (and now for the Mrs too)

AS800 – Made In France – simply stunning. I bought these with very little info or pictures except a very small grainy photo from a Japanese “Vintage American” website. It was a bit of a gamble tbh and when I was waiting the normal 2 weeks for delivery I was trying to research them online (I never had access to Neil Selvey then) and not much was written or available to read about them. When I opened the box on these they seriously made take a step back and catch my breath. A lovely rich deep chocolate brown with contrasting light brown stripes – the trefoil and “Adidas” printed on the heel, even the little gold stickers where still stuck to the insoles – unlaced and never worn. I found out there are 7 c/w’s in the AS800 series so that was a challenge. I’m up to 4 of the 7.

Last choice was very difficult. But I had to choose Gazelle as, along with beer, they represent a constant in my life over the last 25yrs. I reckon I’ve never gone more than a few months of not having a pair of these in my possession (spanning the 80’s, 90’s, 00’s, 10’s). I have pictured my WG Gazelle Rot, these arrived unlaced in a pristine OG box older than myself !! This picture simply represents all the Gazelle I’ve had – from my teens, 20’s, 30’s and 40’s. It’s some going for the one style.

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