Favourite Fives : Phil Thornton

Author of the genre defining Casuals book, Phil Thornton has spent the last year writing an updated version. He’s also fucking sound and was one of the first people we thought of getting in touch with when we came up with this highly original Favourite Fives feature. We’re basically asking people we like, people we think are sound and people who are just generally dead good what their favourite five items are.

Think Desert Island Discs meets The Burning House but with a much more catchy name.

Enough preamble, here’s what Phil had to say. 

Item of clothing

A difficult one but if I had to choose one item of clothing that encapsulates the entire casual/scally culture then it’d have to be an adidas trab. They go in and out of fashion with us and at the moment they’ve been out for a few years due to their ubiquity and the whole classics re-issue fiasco yet as a symbol of everything that was unique and stylish about this things of ours.

It’s probably been over-stated but trainers were never meant to be fashion items yet the appreciation for form, colour and texture was all important and adidas designs of the 70s and early 80s still retain their functional beauty. If I had to chose one adidas that I particuarly loved it’d be the Jeans.


I’m a proper crank for classical history book, not mythology or any of that bollocks but stuff by Herodotus, Thucydides, Plutarch, Seutonius, Tacitus. I’ve never been a big fiction reader but one book that really blew me away was ‘Blood Meridian’ by Cormac McCarthy. It’s perhaps the most violent yet philosophical book I’ve ever read and would make a brilliant film if someone like David Lynch directed it.


Funkadelic remain my favourite ever band and when I DJ I’ll play everything from Little Richard to Richie Hawtin. I’ve started collecting 78s not only because it’s a reaction against the digital tyranny of downloading but because the sound is so pure.

As an old soulie the one tune that really sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it is The Four Tops ‘Yesterdays Dreams’ which should reduce all grown men to tears.


I studied art as an A level student but titted about and ended up on a YTS. I still have a real interest in art history and love the Dadaist approach that questions the entire notion of what art is and how it an be judged objectively. My mate Dave Jacques’s work is political without being hectoring mixing elements of historical narratives and invented mythology.

Something else

Politics – I have a saying which should be in the book of crap quotes ‘politics is people’ – wherever there are people, there’s politics and you can’t escape it. My brand of politics may seem ultra-left by some but I think there’s only one conspiracy at work in the world and that’s to keep rich people rich or make them even richer. Everything else flows from the one basic tenet of self-interest and there are only two positions to take; are you on the side of the people being fucked over or the side of those fucking them over?

The updated version of Casuals is due for release in the new year. Watch this space.

Mark Smith

I had pizza for tea.

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