Fashion labels regularly raid the codes and clothes of old-school rave culture, remix them, and then price the results so high you’d have to be off your head to pay up. But Sports Banger is the real deal: infused with the seditious anti-establishment spirit of original rave, the brand sells its garments at reasonable prices and even throws parties itself.
Its founder, Jonny “Banger”, partners with Sports Direct, a pile ’em high, sell ’em cheap British retailer, to produce a witty collection co-branded with Slazenger. Alternatively, you can visit the shop-cum-studio in Seven Sisters to browse some edgier designs – think T-shirts with an upside-down Ralph Lauren polo-player logo, or emblazoned with “The Met police are targeting London venues” (a riff on the “Phone thieves are targeting London venues” warnings frequently found in nightclubs). Rave on!
Why Jordanians are raging against the machines
Smashing a TV with a baseball bat. Launching a computer against the office wall. All of us may sometimes have such fantasies – now Jordanians can pay to act them out. At Axe Rage Rooms in Amman, people discharge their daily frustrations through controlled destruction. In the “couple’s room”, two lovers separated by a glass barrier hurl heavy objects at each other. Singletons may prefer the “kitchen room”, where they smash plates and glasses. Why are Jordanians so keen to break things? Many fear their politicians are taking the country in the wrong direction. What better way is there to blow off some steam?
The Chinese singletons speaking out
“Why aren’t you married yet?” has become one of the most dreaded questions among China’s youth, who are under pressure from their families and government to reproduce for the good of the nation. Now they are throwing off their chains: a growing number of people choose never to marry, and many singletons are brandishing their status with pride. Entrepreneurs on Taobao and other e-commerce sites are flogging T-shirts and phone covers emblazoned with the slogan: “Why am I not married yet? It’s none of your business!” If only inquisitive Chinese grannies were so easily cowed.
The Swedish brewery milking a new beer trend
Five years ago Omnipollo, a Stockholm-based producer of craft beer, started making milkshake IPAs, brewed with lactose and fruit to create a thick, hazy, sweet drink. The saccharine tipple may outrage real-ale curmudgeons, but it is shaking up the brewing world. Dozens of breweries now inject their ales with exotic flavours such as blood orange, mango and coconut. WeldWerks in Colorado even makes a beer that tastes like piña colada. This summer Omnipollo is marking the success of its lactic libations with a double vanilla IPA. Just don’t ask for a drinking straw with your pint.
The new blood sport gripping New Yorkers
Citizens of ancient Rome got their kicks watching gladiators fight to the death. Their counterparts in modern-day New York City have replaced gladiators with singletons. In “UpDating”, an unscripted theatre performance, the audience watches two real-life strangers go on a first date. Audience members can ask questions, such as why a Mormon doesn’t believe in sex before marriage or whether a yuppie tech worker, who had been paired with a sewage-treatment worker, has ever dated a blue-collar man before. If daters bore the crowd they can be voted off, to be replaced by yet another eager singleton (sometimes one plucked from the audience). The evolution of spectator sports reaches its natural conclusion.
The Taiwanese comedian taking on China
“China loves to fuck us over. I don’t even know if I have an STD because China won’t let [Taiwan] join the World Health Assembly,” quips Brian Tseng, the rabble-rousing host of “The Night Night Show”, Taiwan’s answer to “The Late Late Show with James Corden”. Tseng fires many of his satirical barbs at the Chinese government, which considers Taiwan a renegade province. China’s push for “unification” has left the country increasingly isolated on the international stage – or, as Tseng puts it, “We’re losing [our allies] steadily because China shoves more money down their cleavage than we do.” Millions of people have watched “The Night Night Show” on social media since it first aired last year. But Tseng’s jokes fall flat with some Taiwanese, who worry that if provoked, China’s Communist Party could have the last laugh.
America’s Gen Z whisperers
There’s no music on the Instagram videos Miley Cyrus released to promote her latest EP – all you can hear is the sound of the pop star smacking her lips as she feasts on oozy fruit. The videos are proof that ASMR content – “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response” – has gone mainstream. ASMR is the relaxing, sometimes euphoric sensation some people experience in response to certain auditory stimuli, from people whispering and chewing, to the sound of hair being brushed or sand being raked. It’s a distinctly odd genre, yet the YouTube videos of “ASMRtists”, many of whom are children, have racked up millions of views. Now, companies and celebrities are getting in on the act. The Jonas Brothers, an American pop band, recently recorded an ASMR version of their hit record “Sucker”, and Michelob beer’s Superbowl advert featured Zoe Kravitz tapping her nails against a beer bottle while whispering into a microphone. The decade’s weirdest whispers are turning into a clamour.