Can a shop video to succeed without doubling as a love letter to the city in which its backing store is based? The enduring ones, like by Coliseum, FTC, Orchard, Uprise, MIA and Fobia, have been as much a ‘where’s where’ of the meanest spots as they are a ‘who’s who’ of the dudeliest dudes on the scene and while it’s gotta be a blast wallowing in all those marble ledges under the Spanish sun, you’d think most DVD purchasaurs really are not trying to see the local bros going Mr. Me Too at the spots the top-rung pros scraped clean five years prior.
For those of you who, like me, furrowed a brow at the outsized representation of AZ ditches and Boston loading docks in the last Blueprint video, Henry Edwards-Wood invites you to spend a solid hour submerged into the claustrophobic, bustling, brick-lined canyons of London, where streets drip with smoke stains, spray paint and wrought iron. Slam City Skates’ “City of Rats” has been out for a while but has rarely left the player this summer, as all these Palace, Blueprint, Landscape and other dudes shiver and sweat through what looks like one long, generally overcast season here, all the hovels and tight alleyways and weathered stone served up like red meat to “Static” faithfuls. South-Bank gets a loving soliloquy and two of the best-loved spots in this video include a sidewalk ledge set up for lines to close out with flatground tricks over a red rumble-strip and a thread-the-needle street gap into a corridor that’s probably far gnarlier than it already looks. It is jarring when, early in the video, you can see a Texaco sign.
Nick Jensen’s first run communicates the basic idea through a sidewalk bump to noseslide on a windowsill ledge, and isn’t long before he is back at that one sidewalk gap (switch 360 flip this time) and South Bank, where for weeks I have struggled to recall whether anyone else has kickflipped that high bar in the past. For a while it’s a parade of all the dudes you want to see skating these spots, like Joey Crack coming with the movie’s best nosegrind, a line from Snowy starting with an ollie snapped into a bank that celebrates all that is fantastic about that dude and the galaxy that we live in, Danny Brady pushing lines that confidently extend his career to the decade mark and Neil Smith steadily going hard, manualing into some big launch over a gate.
Palace’s Karim Bakhtaoui has garnered fame as a sort of London edition of Darren Harper but for my money I’m backing the light-footed Pluhowski styling of Jin Shimizu, looking relaxed in this sometimes oppressive environment. He’s flipping his board around and not too fussed, the chain ollie to no-comply submitting a general lesson in quick work under pressure. Lucien Clarke and Steph Morgan combine for the best kind of shared part, one where you can always tell which dude is up, and Lucien Clarke looks to be spending some time to craft one of the best nollie inward heelflips on the market. Ender-ending Rory Milanes helps the Palace dudes more or less corner this vid, going around the horn with a backside smith grind, completing the circle on a nosebluntslide 180 back in, switch jumping a block and capturing a Chewy Cannon cameo that in general sees these dudes at the peak of their power right now.
Palace this week opened a temporary store that enables the company to directly tap Supremesque demand levels for their triangular optical illusion logo that already has sold not-so-gently-used softgoods for hundreds of pounds sterling in transactions, moderately rattling international currency segments. Celebrity-spiced embrace of the company as its thematic output has tilted closer to All City and further away from Silverstar has driven some internet backlash, and if the rule holds that the best retort to such critiques is to let tricks do the talking you wonder whether hefty proceeds from the pop-up boutique will finance some China trips to seal the deal on their own VHS sooner rather than later, but coming off the strength of this Slam production I’d sort of rather they stay home.
Tags: Blueprint, chimney sweep, Covent Garden, EBS, GBP, Henry Edwards-Wood, hoodless, Jin Shimizu, Lev, London, Lucien Clarke, Nick Jensen, Palace, retailing, Rory Milanes, Rough Trade, Slam City Skates, soot, Steph Morgan