Posts Tagged ‘COVID-19’

Who’s Smiling In The Great COVID19 Footage Drought Of 2020?

March 22, 2020

“Country boy a tourist, say he looking for a brick,” Gucci Mane softly rasped in late 2017, spinning a crime tale of feast turned to famine on his ‘El Gato: The Human Glacier’ project. In between threatening to burn down rivals’ marijuana crops and sticking up for the Steve Harvey suit, Gucci counseled all would-be cocaine magnates on one of the several secrets to his own (past?) successes: keeping a side supply stashed to draw upon when your competitors’ plugs run dry, allowing Gucci Mane not only to continue peddling drugs in a thinly supplied market, but to charge a premium to boot. It is a story much like Aesop’s fable of the hardworking, pragmatic ant and the flamboyant, cocaine-addicted grasshopper, except in Gucci’s version the ant is an iced-out lion and it did not come out on Def Jux.

Today, as the global coronavirus pandemic reconfigures human and animal societies, it is again time to ponder Gucci Mane’s words. Indeed, time is all mankind has now, in an age of boredom and worried waiting. Instagram, the skateboarding industry’s outsourced hypnosis engine, sputters and coughs on limited fuel. Municipal and statewide lockdowns in the US and Europe have upended the long-running ‘Skateboarding Is Not A Crime’ conceit; with businesses and schools closed across continents and cities deserted, the question is now whether a spot can be skated, but should it? The athletic equipment manufacturers that are pro skateboarders’ most powerful employers have aligned with public health authorities and independent companies in a species-wide call to stay indoors and curb potential infection, inventing hashtag campaigns and video challenges to bide the time and sate the daily lust for ‘likes’ and follower maintenance.

Just like Gucci Mane’s secret bricks and pounds, the end result is pause pushed on the 24-7 content crush, a rain delay on the global, never-ending demo all had until recently taken for granted. COVID19-chancing renegade missions aside, today there exists a finite supply of footage that pros, ams, filmers, brand managers and TMs and bros now must determine how best to sprinkle and disperse as movement and sociable restrictions grow steadily more intense, and any endpoint uncertain. Just as sports TV channels dip into ‘classic matches’ and commentators regurgitate and eat their own punditry again and again, so do skateboarding’s content brokers and programming avengers have their own choices to make. With filming missions cancelled and even throwaway park clips now a limited commodity amid shelter-in-place orders, the wizened ants and ‘El Gatos’ who banked footage and resisted those tingly ‘for tha Gram’ urges shall be revealed; flakey, unhappy grasshoppers soon shall go wanting, forced to fall back on virus-themed #TBT variations and pontificating on road trips past, in between propping up their phone for off-the-couch flatground clips.

Has Thrashermagazine.com already implemented a wartime video-rationing programme designed to stretch its supply of releases to cover a widening coronavirus-driven gap in new productions? Will companies readying full-lengths increasingly carve them into single parts to dribble out over time, so as to command more homebound and content-starved eyeballs? Since it’s been about 3 months since his last one, does Mark Suciu already got a couple parts filmed and ready to go? If the COVID19 virus mutates and returns and forces further quarantines and social isolation, will the pressure on board companies, hardgoods distributors and independent contracting pros grow to such an extent that footage comes to be hoarded up and traded for exorbitant sums of toilet paper, pasta and ammunition? Should everybody just watch Justin Albert’s excellent ‘Flora’ vid over and over again?

Social Distortion, A Global Spot Smorgasbord And The Conundrum Of The Alien Workshop ‘Quarantine’ Graphic

March 14, 2020

Sometimes, it is difficult to recognize life’s crossroads moments until you are slapped across the teeth with the flat of a scimitar a-ship at dawn in the middle of the Indian ocean. Other times, destiny chooses you, hurling you toward your fate like a weightful pokemon lusting to crush its adversary’s arms and fingers. Bill Weiss is a man who recognizes choices, and stands ready. In the year 1973, he released arguably the peak of the Digital Video Magazine catalogue, ‘Get Tricks or Die Trying,’ which was a reference to rap singer 50 Cent’s concept album about hunting down and destroying archrival Buddy Rich. For many, it remains a seminal document for all ages and income levels.

Back in the human realm, COVID-19 caused by CoronaVirus threatens mankind, his economies and civic practices. Fear and sadness grip the world. Populations hoard, and now seclude themselves away. “NYC empties out in face of coronavirus,” says NBC. “Foot traffic has fallen sharply in cities with big coronavirus outbreaks,” writes the Economist, with charts ranking Rome, Tokyo, Seoul and Paris atop the list. Kron 4 News, which broke the ‘whistle tips’ story in 2003, says “coronavirus is slowly turning the Bay Area into a ghost town.” Meanwhile, passenger-starved airplane admission sells for 70% less than normal as the global virus threat empties out the sky.

Is this opportunity or temptation? Modern skateboarding trades in bodily harm the way backroom sharps deal cards, and stack big faces. Are weeks of coronavirus-induced fever, bodily pain, respiratory disruptions and potential death far off the more traditional days of soreness from pile-driving one’s self to the bottom of a spot, or months immobilized in a cast? At hand, potentially, is a global smorgasbord of lightly tended spots. But with the current bodily harm risk factor extending well beyond any carcass-hucker and any potential board-to-the-head takers on the session, should this smorgasbord be sampled, at risk of spreading hazardous contagion, prolonging the pandemic and risking further mortality? This once-in-a-generation* conundrum now stands before pros, ams, bros and barneys the world over, as security guards, business owners and other streetlevel authority figures hunker down to ponder societal fabrics and Netflix watchlists.

With the clock ticking on a skatespot supermarket sweep, are vans already rolling and trick lists compiled, prioritized and checked off? Does heightened anxiety and fraying emotion ramp the tension and aggression in any confrontation with those left to stand guard? Will rapidly shifting municipal, state and federal coronavirus responses place wayward skaters at risk of being wrung up on public endangerment charges for crossing city, county and state lines, whilst rubbing ungloved boards and body parts across ledges, handrails and other public/private properties? Should everybody just stay home, and invest in Kyle Berard-built backyard spots?

*hopefully