Posts Tagged ‘Jamal Smith’

The Sun Rises on a New British Empire, Which Also Includes Francis Showerface As Well As Chewy Cannon Nosegrinds

November 6, 2017

When did the sun set on the first British skate empire? Views differ, but the rubbery, tearing sound of overreach could be heard in the intro to Blueprint’s generally great ‘Make Friends with the Colour Blue’, when the squad that built a movement on overcast skies, soot-stained streets and ‘Wandering Star’ opened with sun-sloshed Los Angeles art installations and the jaunty notes of ‘Birdhouse in Your Soul.’ Like tea-thirsty monarchs of old, the British Isles grew to become a realm too small for Blueprint, and waiting for the world took too long; Europeans and Americans were signed and it was off to the New World to compete with Southern Californian palm tree tenders on their own turf and terms. An effort noble in its aim, perhaps, but doomed.

An amusing exercise a month or so back, when Grey published the instant-classic Rich West shot of Mike Arnold’s phone booth hippy jump, was inventing metaphors to read into it. Like, might this board and body barreling through a derelict telephone compartment represent a magazine transcending the digital wave pounders painfully remaking the media sphere? Do the stomped-off nose and tail demonstrate the bloodthirsty courage of the forest mammal, caught in a trap, chewing off its own leg to escape, the sort of frantic bravery required to persist as an under-the-radar talent pushing U.K. skating through a global industry slump? Something to do with the fractious Brexit vote and Michael Gove’s perplexing applause technique?

It feels like another British wave is cresting. Around seven years back the initial Palace clips began to surface. Blueprint foundered five years ago. In 2015 the venerable Sidewalk mag wound down its print edition, later that year Free emerged. Blueprint fragment picker-uppers Isle’s ‘Vase’ debut vid at the end of that year polished Paul Shier and Nick Jensen’s already-secure legacies, but more notably launched Tom Knox and Chris Jones onto the global stage in one of that year’s most cohesive videos. The vibrant and jellyfish-scented ‘Atlantic Drift’ series since then has elevated them further and granted an international platform to dad-bodded Mike Arnold, who put his own dizzying spin onto the one-spot part at Bristol’s Lloyds Amphitheater.

Now comes ‘Palasonic’, a long-in-the-waiting ‘official’ full-length from those skate-cum-fashion standard bearers of the British Islands. It lands as much of Palace’s squadron seems at the height of their powers — Lucien Clarke is ripping Carroll spots, Danny Brady still is going in 15 years after ‘First Broadcast,’ Rory Milanes appears still well in his window, Chewy Cannon has had several years to hone and hopefully rebroaden his spastic wallie/360 repertoire, Shaun Powers has established his international artistic bona fides, Jamal Smith filmed 1995’s best 411 commercial. In recent months Palace rebuilt Radlands and got Lucas Puig.

Can Blondey McCoy’s much-reposted collision-turned-cartwheel off a purple hack be infused with some similarly labored metaphor for the Palace full-length finally dropping? Has the GX1000 crew’s recent focus on hill bombing left an opening for the Haight Street-originated hippy jump to be colonized by the British? Can human achievement in general surpass Chewy Cannon’s bank-to-ledge nosegrind or can we only hope to match it?

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4. Jamal Smith – ‘V Nice’

December 28, 2016

Palace’s ‘V Nice,’ documenting some Los Angelean residence by the famed swishy short manufacturer, arrived like a heady midsummer night fever dream, one where Lucien Clark had a part in Trilogy and Danny Brady seized control of an anti-aging serum that also contained plans for as-yet unfathomed bank-to-bench moves at Lockwood. Whether or not Jamal Smith’s powers to go viral have obscured over the years his excellent skating is a debate for podcasts yet to come, though only after flavored soda waters have been sipped empty and the clock has passed the 45-minute mark. Currently, it seems clear that Jamal Smith is among the most inventive minds working in the frontside shove-it medium; in ‘V Nice’ he is hitting PJ Ladd levels over the Santa Monica sand gaps and pushing one of the grimier switch 360 flips on the market. And his grinds sound good.

Actavis Status

October 10, 2015

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Only 172 days ago*, widely regarded pharmaceutical supplier Actavis plc vulgarly displayed the power it holds over rap music when it voluntarily withdrew its beloved promethazine codeine cough syrups from the pharmacy shelves of the globe, sowing general discord and seeming to press the fast-forward button on the worldview of regular slurpers. What emerged as a merciless crackdown however rapidly evolved into syrupy brinksmanship among rap stars who bid handsomely for remaining stock, boasted of possession, and elsewhere prompted soul searching upon the end of a purply era.

Does another Love Park drought, or perhaps wholesale extinction, loom over Philadelphia and the world at large? Sabotage co-impresario Brian Panebianco has suggested as much. For longrunning fans of the polished stone blocks, this troubling outlook could position the law-abrading video series’ fourth installment as the crowded Soulja Boy countertop of Love Park footage, looking to the ‘Sabotage 4’ dudes to mine the once and future JFK Plaza as thoroughly and deeply as any preceding generation, steeping the planters, tiles and various temporary structures in a rich stew of blood, sweat and mouthwash under the gaze of their VX1000s.

Whereas the Sabotage skaters, graffitto artists and vagrants have nearly single-handedly revived Love Park in recent years, it is remarkable that such a plainly skatable, photogenic and history-soaked spot remains dominated mainly by locals, versus the flocks of migratory pros and steely-eyed wishers that perch up at the world’s JKwons, South Banks and MACBAs. Californian expat Mark Suciu rattles off several of his hyper-technical ledge couplets, Walker Ryan passes through to glide a switch backside flip down the gap,Philadelphia expat Josh Kalis transposes his Love Park template to LA and Chicago blocks, but the vast bulk of the Ty Evans-approved video length is doled out to locals.

The wiry Jamal Smith abruptly opens this video with an array of shove-its and heelflips that vacillate between the spastic and lackadaisical, commemorating the tornado spin’s pending 10-year** by applying it to a ledge. Dylan Sourbeer builds on his promo-spillover part with two songs’ worth of soldiering through the Love ledges and occasionally beyond, breaking from the double-stroller and lazy landings to unfurl some of the crazier backside tailslides at the spot so far. The vid’s heaviest thunderbolts though may be cast down by yung Joey O’Brien, capable of Mariano-approved half cab k-grind reverts on rails and Barley-crushed frontside 360s over cans, who cinderblocks out a handrail route to the fountain and penetrates Love Park’s concrete underbelly via one of the longer lines at the spot recently (also wild were the 180 switch crook lines and the impeccably twirled 360 flip into the bank).

There’s worthwhile arguments to be made over any lethargic fumes of stagnancy emanating from decades-worn spots, but fact that these dudes, most of them not pros, can year by year wring fresh mileage from what may be the most improbably longlived plaza spot domestically, conjuring progression from only about a solid city block’s worth of urban blight, reflects a lot about what this shit is supposed to be about in the first place and what’s perhaps at risk as municipal authorities ploddingly subsidize fenced-in and preapproved ‘free-speech zone’ analogues.

Will a true and final demolition of Love Park as it’s currently regarded spark a black market in tiles and ledge chunks that are rumoured still to lurk within the garages of certain ex-Philly pros to this day? Could a ‘Sabotage’-inspired wave of mouthwash guzzling force Johnson & Johnson to cull Listerine from store shelves? If Love Park somehow maintains will future VX-toters be forced to roll out a triple-seat stroller to arouse nostalgia purchases from a rarified class of skate grampas?

(Sabotage 4 can be acquired here.)

*As per the Roman/Earth calendar
**1 million plus views though