Who's Jack?

I was a skinny misfit, on my way to rock n roll stardom. In my mind at least.

Handfuls of mouth-filling glory

The view from my bedroom window was not of other British streets, but of America – land of the free. In my imagination I could see it all – the bars of Portland, the music of Nashville and Memphis, the pizza of Little Italy. When I first saw a real American diner, I made sure I was first in line, gorging myself on handfuls of mouth-filling glory – my first taste of American soul.

Lifting my head higher

I didn't swallow it hook line and sinker. Thanks to the movie The Fly, Vice magazine and Dad’s war-torn collection of Mad, I considered myself awake to the dark side of toothpaste smiles. Much of it went over my head, but that was good because it made me lift my head higher – making me think critically about a world of half-truths, of limiting beliefs and authority. It told me that our teachers were phonies and our leaders were fools. Someone was talking, and I was listening.

Helping a fellow cowboy light a fire

All I had to do was dare. And so I did – skipping out of home late at night, heading to the tiny music club down town. The punks, the poets, the bluesmen, the rockers, calling to us from the heart of our souls. Calling us to rise up and remake ourselves and the world we live in, to find common ground in our love and rage. We were a tribe of black and white, girls and boys, rich and poor, blurring lines and having fun. It was a free, liberated existence – every bit as heart-opening, mind-blowing, life-affirming and life-changing as those early boy scout trips where I’d learnt what it felt like to help a fellow cowboy light a fire.

More LIFE

Heeding the joyous demands of those music club heroes, I set out for more. More sights, more sounds, more people, more hope, more power, more change. More LIFE. I was going to experience everything and change something – something big – on the streets of London, maybe even the streets of Portland itself. I wasn’t quite sure what the change looked like but, with the arrogance of skinny misfits from a small town, I knew I would make it.

More begins

More began in Camden. Those streets packed with every form of life – every street overcome with people, every wall overtaken with graffiti yelling WORKERS’ POWER, ANGRY and NO JUSTICE. I worked at a flagship music venue. It was the dream, and then the nightmare. Five years later, jaded by the bullshit, and wanting to cut out on my own – creating a brand with the same heart-opening, mind-blowing, life-affirming and life changing purpose as those music club heroes, I created APN skate and surf apparel, sold the first Jackpot skate deck (finally) and created the now infamous Jackpot Mother Fucking Peanut Butter t-shirt. A fictional brand on a t shirt craved reality, roots, an actual real-life peanut butter. Maybe? The best peanut butter there could be? Definitely.

Roiling and rising

So I got me a peanut butter grinder and a sack of American peanuts, and the world tilted on its axis. My search for common ground – for like-minded souls, ready to rise up and free themselves and everyone else, ended. Jackpot fandom was born – roiling through the markets and rising in the steam of the coffee shops. Here was a tribe ready to change something for themselves and for someone else, for today and for tomorrow… and all because a blue-collar tub of American peanut butter, punching rebellion, said so.

Love and rage

Peanut butter is just peanut butter. But like any brand it has a shot at something. For us at Jackpot that something is what happens when a community gets together and says, “It’s not enough to just be a great peanut butter, we need to do more.” To use our love and our rage to make this world better – to support the grass root music clubs we grew up with, the flag flyer for our open minds and hearts, for being in communion with each other, and for speaking to each other from our own souls – so each and every one of us gets a chance at more – more hope, more power, more life, more love. Protein in a plastic jar

We know that we are trash – as the-best-there-is peanut butter in a plastic shell we are a moneymaking enterprise. We don’t try and hide it – we embrace it because, the way we see it, when you’re entirely made up, you know what’s real. And what’s real for us is the quality of our peanuts and that we’re not yet as sustainable a business as we would like – we’re protein in a plastic jar, and until we can find an alternative, we’re refilling and recycling.

None of us are going to change the world on our own, but we’re a brand that says we’re not afraid to overturn the old order, to build a worthwhile life and be seen.


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