Posts Tagged ‘JB Gillet’

The Man Comes Around

March 20, 2016

richunclepennybags

Beyond physics-challenging hair and a stated disdain for clowns, there may be hazy similarities to be grasped at and drawn between Sideshow Bob’s remarkable mayoral run in Springfield and Donald Trump’s elbows-out steamrolling toward the Republican presidential nomination. Amongst the jittery fretters who sense authoritarian tones in the bouquet of Donald Trump’s bombast, Sideshow Bob’s courtroom declaration seems prescient: ‘[D]eep down you long for a cold-hearted Republican to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule you like a king.’

Erik Ellington, bigspinning Pissdrunk of years past and curator of his own famous locks, this week mused whether skateboarding has relinquished control over aspects of its greater, amorphous self. No specifics are called out, but if one were so inclined, signs could be observed all around: Erik Ellington’s onetime sponsor Active turning its fortunes over to a bankruptcy court; the sales of DC Shoe Co, Element and Alien Workshop to various holding companies; private equity’s purchases of Huf clothes and the parent of the Crail Couch itself. It is not difficult to visualize a future in which the ‘skater owned’ trope is quietly replaced with a ‘skater designed’ slogan similar to Apple’s California dreamt, China built taglines.

In one indication of the industry being divvied into ones who are sold and those who are told, Asphalt Yacht Club’s tour diary in the Cole Wilson TWS opens with a lament over Nyjah Huston jumping the tie-dyed landship for Swooshier endeavors (though not before fulfilling various contractual obligations for demos and signings that apparently do not also include skating spots with his erstwhile deckhands) before later fondly reminiscing on endearing tour missteps by Blake Carpenter, who the article highlights as another teammate who absconded for the Portland sneaker conglomerate. While quick to apply that familiar disclaimer of forgoing any hatred towards money-getting bros, the Yacht Club also claims some pride in its stepping-stone status: “One year you’re a controversial upstart who no one thinks is going to last, the next year you’ve got so much juice that you’re suddenly the farm team for the heavyweight champion of the world.” In a recent interview Habitat’s former Floridian bluntslide titlist Ed Selego similarly foregoes any hatred toward Nike Inc payrolled skaters, despite a lengthy passage arguing that company’s alleged policy of requiring shops to carry large quantities of potentially wack shoes in addition to the desirable ones led to the closure of an MIA outlet, and subsequent calls from bill collectors:

“Nike was the biggest problem for us. We had many good years selling their product, but at the same time they pushed tons of product on us that didn’t sell. They used shops like ours for years to establish the Nike SB brand. Then they opened up distribution to all the corporate stores and started selling direct to consumer. Being the number one shoe brand wasn’t enough for them. They had to exploit the brand to appease Wall St. and their shareholders. They did this with no plan in place for all the skate shops that struggled over the years. They loaded everyone up with a ton of debt then dumped us. It’s really irresponsible for such a large brand to do this and harm the very industry that they have come to be a part of. There is no better example of corporate greed.”

Such cautionary tales don’t appear to resonate: Lakai recently ceded two of its longtime Euro promoters, JB Gillet and Nick Jensen, to Nike. Heavy odds are on Danny Brady decamping for Palace-heavy Adidas in the near future, which recently hoovered up DVS honcho Paul Shier and former Lakaiers Na’Kel Smith and Miles Silvas. If it is a two-way street, the inbound legacy ‘skate’ side is peculiarly ill-traveled.

Do Sideshow Bob’s words ring true in skatedom 20 years later, with skaters secretly lusting for a corporate overlord that will tell them when to show up, where to stand and what to do in contractually legal languages? Are pros’ indulgence in vices such as gnarly substances and credit card debt, alternately celebrated and lamented, truly a cry for some grander form of paternal control? Are recent trends in looser trucks, higher speeds and fewer grabs (Homokis aside) reflect a subconscious yearning for stricter oversight under incorporated structures and shareholder-friendly governance practices? Have such forces directed Fred Gall back toward manual labors? How much rides on straighter-laced senior executives, perhaps the grandparents in this elongated and tortured metaphor, either not noticing or not caring about what goes on in the tour van?

An Item About the ‘Gypsy Life’ Vid that Maybe Was Gonna Be Called ‘How Cliche Got Its Louvre Back’

April 25, 2015

freedomfries

As the pot of boiling molten lead that is euro zone’s economic crisis continues to upend itself over the continental bloc, scalding and blistering the region’s economic back and dribbling into the frayed and threadbare underpants of its long term growth prospects, seeking sales abroad makes sound business sense. In recent years Blueprint and Cliche have followed the trail blazed decades back by Flip, settling into So Cal distributorships and placing themselves into contention to sign American handrail hopefuls and carve forth that ever-succulent slice of the lucrative US boards market, with the throbbily rising greenback translating to ever-larger piles of euros and related European commodities such as wine, Matif wheat and heavily sold David Hasslehoff albums.

Cliché’s latest vid arrives entitled ‘Gypsy Life,’ perhaps in a nod to the company’s Frommian series of tours as well as its increasingly nationless nature. A decade ago, in the ‘Bon Appetit’/French Fred era that elevated Cliche to the world stage, Australian phenom Cale Nuske represented a major off-continent shift in Jereme Daclin’s teambuilding. Two years after that Cliché scooped Arcadian manual-pad mixologist Joey Brezinski who had languished for a time in a kind of post-Tyron Olson teammate limbo, considered to be a uniquely singular experience, and also representing Cliché’s initial foray into employing Americans.

While Lucas Puig, that postnaturally gifted ledge soothsayer, and drop-down sweatsuit maestro JB Gillet remain spiritual viceroys, the current Gypsy Cliché is more multinational than ever, with Frenchmen representing just over one-third of the team; U.S. riders now make up the largest non-French bloc, with the remainder split between the U.K., euro zone and Australia. While Palace and Polar ball for position in an effort to crack some long-standing glass ceiling long constraining east-of-the-Atlantic hardgoods operators, Cliché’s recent hires of the triple set-thundering Paul Hart, transition muncher Brad McClain and schoolyard impressionists like Daniel Espinoza and the now-FA’d Kevin Bradley give the company firm US positioning in several relevant subgenres.

In Cliché’s bid for cross-borderdom, it is Lyonnaise hot shoe Max Geronzi` who makes the most powerful argument for France’s continued dominion, uncorking probably the best video part so far this year – Thrasher drew the easy comparison to Puig but for our unconverted francs the better metric is Chewy Cannon, whose nervy energy, switch ollie poke and merciless flick Max Geronzi closely approximates. He also constructs some of the more incredible lines in a while, weaving in poorly understood tricks such as the fakie frontside bluntslide, an arcane god few recently have prayed to beyond the house of Cobra Chris Cole. In another frightening turn, Max Geronzi backside lipslides a legit handrail out of a manual.

With some three parts under his belt so far this year, is Max Geronzi preparing for a Mark Suciu-esque run of productivity that can only end under the crushing drudgery and long-term wisdom of pursuing higher education? Is French still regarded as the international language of ledges? Is JJ Rousseau still recording footage? Did the boy seriously backside lipslide a handrail from a manual? If what Joey Brezinski said years back about using EA Skate to craft new manual combinations, would this qualify him as the first dual-level professional both on board and on screen?

Midwinter Video Roundup: Cle

February 25, 2009


An evening with Cliche

There is a clip in this new Cliche video “Cle,” where bespectacled company honcho Jeremie Daclin ambles into a cafe, sets aside his novelty cruising skateboard and orders a beer, all of which seems so terribly European to me. Like the way he snuggles up to the counter, oddly shakes hands with the sideburned bartender and bustles off to toast the lounge act in the next room. None of this has much to do with the skating or anything else really, aside from the overall mellow cabaret vibe and clean/no frills editing job, which is kind of a nice change of pace after three solid weeks of Mind Fielding.

JB Gillet catches the sensation too in a lengthy opening street ramble punctuated by a smith grind, all of which is overseen by Jesus and Daniel’s Lakai All-Star Shoe Band, strumming out the softly Spanish soundtrack to some switch noseblunt sliding and lazy-foot fakie bigspin flips. Still skatin’ those French benches, JB exchanges a lot of the ledge-combo fireworks for more classical Pier 7 fare (switch 180 nosegrind pop-out) before the handoff to Lucas Puig, who seconds Kalis’ nomination for the fakie 360 flip/switch 360 flip as the go-to two-trick line* for stair spots in early 2009. Amidst a bunch of hard tricks Puig resuscitates that ledge-to-bank spot from the Flip video with a particularly hot move, but as the part went on the more I began to think his style/execution probably peaked back in “Bon Apetit,” which I guess I kind of started seeing in the Lakai video. Something to do with his knees maybe. There is however a switch frontside heelflip over a road gap here that’s super good.

The badass Basque Javier Mendizabal looks the same as he ever did though, which is, a rare treat to watch on transition stuff or springing out of wallies or whatever it may be. There really is not enough footage of this dude, ever, and the street shit in this video is some of the best he’s done (see: switch backside noseblunts). Elsewhere Ricardo Fonseca has severed his ties with the ponytail and I’m wondering if it’s too late for Cale Nuske to avoid being one of the great coulda-been stories in skating at this point, despite being back on his flip-to-rail bullshit in a serious manner, hardflipping and nollie heelflipping into backside lipslides and whatnot. And human jack-in-the-box Joey Brezinski has another part full of gleefully flippant Joey Brezinski tricks, melding switch kickflips, manuals, backwards baseball caps and Barack ears. My personal favorite is the frontside noseslide 270 heelflip out, which would have been the most Joey Brezinski trick of all if it incorporated a nose manual down the bank.

The thing that bogs this mostly breezy video down isn’t the ams, although newcomer Flo Mirtan brings some of the most inconsequential tricks this side of “Forecast” (backside smith grind off the drop = good though); Charles Collette has improved on the “Kids in E-France-ica” thing and does real gnarly jumps into banks set to passion drumming, also, crazy gap to backside lipslides. What bugs me is all the interminable tour video footage that pads probably like 15 minutes onto this flick, allowing me to once again climb aboard my “too long” high-horse. But why Cliche insists on watering down their videos this way (see also “Bon Apetit”) is totally beyond me, maybe it’s their style. (Or French Fred’s, or “Junior’s”.) I can see a park section, you know. But they’ll throw in all kinds of street footage in there too – JJ Rousseau could have had a full section in BA with all the stuff from Japan. It’s fine that the Clicheiers are unbound to the standard skate video format, and the Wheel of Fortune was fun and whimsical, but by the third song…

Anyway, these transgressions are mostly washed away by the bonecrushingness of Australian headbanger Andrew Brophy and his strength ollies. Watching this part I found myself mentally warp-whistled away to Super Mario 3, World 4, where everything’s larger and one’s sense of scale is contorted. He does big shit on big shit, which sort of negates the size of the ledge or gap or green pipe, or whatever he happens to be skating – the forever blunt at three-up-three-down is a case in point. At the end of his part he gets his serious P-wing on with a serious ollie-after-ollie series that apparently got him over to pro status, but remember, when faced with the hammer-throwing Bowser you must, as all Australians know, go under.

*If you can call two tricks a line. Which I guess you probably can

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to French

December 13, 2008


Liberty potatoes

I found this little anecdote from the Joey Brezinski pro spotlight very endearing:

TWS: Does anything ever get lost in translation between you and the rest of the team?
JB: Dude, I don’t know any French. I got this game called
French Tutor, but it doesn’t really help. Last tour it taught me how to say Wednesday and I was super hyped. JB [Gillet] was sitting in front of me and I hit him on the shoulder and say, “JB, Mercredi [Wednesday in French].” And he’s like, “Ehhh, is good, good. You tell everybody in France today.” It was Wednesday that day too. But then he was like, “Now you go and say ‘Wednesday’ to everybody. That’s pointless. You learn nothing. How do you bring up Wednesday in conversation?” I’m like the little brother on the team.

Now for some reason I got it into my head that the new Cliche video “Cle” was supposed to premiere online, and got bummed when I went to the site and saw that it’s not coming out until next month. Whatever, I’m banking on Brezinski’s double heelflip bumping Carroll out of the Berrics Battle after Jeron flared out today. Go Jojo…