No.9 : Marcus Rashford

Rising star Marcus Rashford speaks to Port about the new England kit, the addictive nature of success and the importance of thinking as a team in the World Cup

An established first team player at club and national level, and only 20-years-old, Marcus Rashford is regularly talked of as having the potential to become one of the greats of his generation. Known for his quick, attacking play, his local boy, one-of-our-own status has made him a fan favourite both in Manchester – where he plays for United – and across the country.  Now he is looking to cement his place in this young and dynamic England squad and make his mark at this summer’s World Cup. Here, he talks to Port about winning trophies, playing with his heroes, and England’s new Nike kit.

Could you start off by telling us your thoughts on the new England kit and collection?

I think the collection is very well put together – it’s important to have a balance of style and comfort at all times, and they have the balance right on this one. 

The kits are the ones everybody focuses on because everyone will see them on TV but we spend a lot of time together as an England squad, so the players are always looking at all the different bits of gear – whether it’s for training, recovery, travel or just being around the hotel.

Who are some of your sporting heroes?

It was a dream to play alongside Wayne Rooney, who was a real hero of mine when I was growing up. Then there’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Michael Jordan.

That’s a quite a range of greats there…

Thank you

You were the youngest English player to score in a first senior international match, did that affect the way you went into future games?

No, I didn’t actually know that…

Oh you didn’t?

 No, no… 

Well now you know!

So you have had a great start to your career, and to do that you need to be confident. In your own words, what does confidence mean to you?

I think confidence is not being afraid so that you’re able to express yourself – in my case, that’s on the pitch. If you can do that, 9 times out of 10 you’ll come through it and overcome anything that comes your way. 

What activity or object inspires you to improve and keep on improving as you progress throughout your career?

Trophies. I think’s that always been the case since I was a kid. From the very beginning, you dream of winning your first trophy and when you experience the first one, you just want more and more and more. It’s addictive, so I think trophies are always going to be a big motivation for me – things that keep driving me forward.

What is it about Nike that you value?

It’s not only about the kits and collection that we wear with England but also about the boots and casual wear they bring to the table. Everything has style; everything is a little bit different. There’s always something comfortable and laidback for going to training but, and this is especially with Nike sneakers, they’re always pushing the style front as well. 

Are there any personal goals you have set yourself at the World Cup?

Yes, you’re always going to have personal aims but none of them matter if we don’t deliver our shared goals. If you hit your personal aims but you don’t have a successful World Cup, you’re not going to return home a happy person. We’re all going there with the same mindset: an attitude to do ourselves and the country proud.


The Bistro: Art and Eating

George Upton reflects on the bistro, the humble eatery that has spawned revolution, some of the most important artistic movements of the 20th century, and a uniquely Parisian way of life

Bystro! Bystro!

It’s 30th March 1814 and the streets of Paris are ringing with the cries of Cossack troops. For almost two years, following Napoleon’s failed invasion of Russia, the soldiers have been chasing the French army back across the continent, and now they are in the capital, victorious and hungry. “Quickly! Quickly! Bystro! Bystro!” they shout impatiently, quite possibly becoming the first foreigners to complain about Parisian customer service, as well as inadvertently coining the name of one of the most important social, cultural and, of course, culinary institutions in French history.

At least that’s one theory; the ranks of France’s gastronomic historians are yet to agree on the etymological heritage of the humble bistro, though there is a consensus that these cheap, informal eateries – part bar, part café, part restaurant – have been central in shaping French culture. After all, not long before the impatient Cossacks, it was in these simple Parisian dining rooms that – fuelled by inexpensive, traditional fare – debate and discord would boil over into the revolution of 1789.

Later the bistro would help foster some of the most important artistic movements of the 20th century. Still cheap and unassuming, it was at this time that the bistro would come of age: jacketed, white-aproned waiters floating through tables of solitary readers and rowdy drunks, carrying casserole and carafes of wine, the bustle of the street half muted by curtains pinned just above eye level. It was here, amidst the pimps and anarchists of the Lapin Agile in Montmartre, that Picasso would talk and drink and define the course of modern art with Modigliani and Maurice Utrillo, as Satie and Debussy sat at the piano. Or where, across the Seine at the Polidor, Hemingway would write – recording the trials of his lost generation and fellow literary expats, James Joyce and Henry Miller – and drink, and fight.

Today, the number of bistros has dwindled – 8,000 in Paris, down from 50,000 at the turn of the century – and many of those that remain have moved away from their uncomplicated culinary origins, but the tradition of the bistro remains strong. Immortalised in the ideas they fostered, still populated by thinkers and drinkers, the bistros are a living museum to a uniquely Parisian attitude to life, art and eating.

This is an extract from issue 21 of Port, out now. To buy or subscribe, click here.

The Constructivist: Varvara Stepanova

Jacob Charles Wilson reflects on the influential figurehead of the Russian avant-garde and often-overlooked pioneer of Constructivism, Varvara Stepanova

The Soviet fashion designer Varvara Stepanova, born to a peasant family in 1894, was one of the greatest creative forces of the revolutionary years. By her 20s, she was already a central part of the Russian avant-garde, alongside the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky, the abstract painter Olga Rozanova and the cutting-edge photographer – also her life partner – Alexander Rodchenko. Her work remains influential today, if under-recognised.

Stepanova was never content for her work to sit in galleries – real artwork was made in the streets, factories and laboratories – and in 1921 she cofounded the Constructivist Group, which set out to direct its artistic efforts towards designing functional yet beautiful products for everyday proletarian life. Stepanova produced photomontages, book covers, posters and theatrical sets, before concluding that her vision would be best realised designing fashion for work and leisure.

The workers of the new world would live and play in the very best materials and designs: casual jumpsuits and overalls that drew on both traditional peasant clothing and the latest modernist artistic trends of futurism and cubism. Stepanova’s designs use dynamic shapes that emphasise the human body in action, with sharp angular forms, printed abstract patterns and contrasting colours: bold reds and blacks. Her clothes would enhance the flexibility and comfort of moving through the streets and the city, in the factory and on to the playing field, while unisex clothing patterns would no longer confine men and women to stifling gender norms.

Before heading the textile design course at the Vkhutemas art school, Stepanova had spent a year working at Tsindel, the state textile factory, producing over 150 designs. Unfortunately, due to wartime shortages and the complexity of her visions, many of these would never be realised, but her work lives on. It is from her pioneering designs and radical reimagining of clothes and the body that our own contemporary approach to sportswear and streetwear has been created: the technologically innovative fabrics and bold use of colour and pattern that dominate Western fashion shows today – having been forged among the passions, ideals and dynamism of the early Soviet years.

This is an excerpt from issue 21 of Port, out now. To buy or subscribe click here.

A Month on the Trans-Siberian Railway

Photographer Giulia Mangione reflects on a month travelling over 9000 kilometres and across 10 time zones, on one of the most famous stretches of track in the world, the Trans-Siberian Railway

This summer I travelled on the Transsibirskaya Zheleznodoroznaya Magistral, better known as Trans-Siberian Railway, which runs for 9000 kilometres across Russia, from Moscow to Vladivostok. Having chosen to travel in the platscart, the third class carriage – where I talked to soldiers on leave, families on their way back from holidays which can not afford to travel by plane, and students travelling home for the summer holidays – I photographed the trip and the people I met along the way.

A girl on the train from Chita to Birobidzhan. On the whole Moscow-Vladivostok line during summertime, it is very common to see students going home for the summer break, or boys and girls travelling to reach their holiday destinations with their families.

If one never gets off the train, the journey from Moscow to Vladivostok lasts 6 days. The train’s speed is on average 90 km/h, about the speed of a regional train. It makes multiple stops and at the stations, waiting on the platforms, all kinds of things are sold. Usually the sellers are women and they sell scarves or waffles filled with condensed milk and blueberries. Some of them carry a metal hanger of smoked fish, hung by the eye socket.

Each carriage is managed by a key figure, in most cases a woman, called provodnitsa.  She is responsible for maintaining the order on the train, checking tickets and passports, and handing out bed sheets, and she is also the person that wakes you up 30 minutes before you need to get off the train.

A young provodnitsa in her special student uniform. During summer, students who want to work in the hospitality sector at national railway can have an internship where they can sample life as a provodnitsa.

Third class carriage. Immediately after checking passports and tickets, the provodnitsa provides each passenger with a bag containing fresh bed-sheets and a small towel. Thirty minutes before getting off the train each passenger is requested to roll back the mattress and hand the used bed sheets back to the provodnitsa.

A group of Russian men on their way to their holiday resort. They are going to camp outdoors, fish and cook handmade pelmeni, Russian dumplings.

I decided to get off the train multiple times, so my trip lasted a month. The first stop was Ekaterinburg, a city located close to the Ural Mountains, which separate eastern and western Russia. Here begins Siberia, an immense region extending to the Pacific Ocean. After Ekaterinburg, I got back on the train and then stopped in Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk. I then stayed for five days on Olkhon Island, on Lake Baikal, the largest lake in the world.

During an unexpected stop in the middle of the countryside people get off the train to get some fresh air. An old lady picks flowers and herbs while her granddaughters play on the tracks. 

I then went back to Irkutsk, where I caught a train to Ulan Ude. After Irkutsk the landscape and the people started to change, their features beginning to look more and more Mongolian. The only thing that still makes you feel you are in Russia is the language. Around Ulan Ude Buddhist temples can be found, and a strong tradition of shamanism too.

A village in the Ivolginsky region in the Republic of Buryatia (a federal republic of Russia), 23 km outside of Ulan Ude, its capital city. This region is famous for its Buddhist temples (datsan), which has been the only Buddhist spiritual centre of the USSR since 1945. In the datsan many spiritual activities are carried out daily, such as temple rites, medical practice and traditional Buddhist education.

After Ulan Ude I went to Chita, Birobidzhan, the capital of a Jewish autonomous region, Khabarovsk. Finally at dawn, I arrived in the Far East, in Vladivostok.

Behind the station is the Golden Horn Bay, a sheltered horn-shaped bay of the Sea of Japan. The bay shares the name of the Turkish bay, due to its similarity.

Photography Giulia Mangione