Posts Tagged ‘Kingpin’

The Battle Hymn of Ren McCormack

April 3, 2015

Morris-and-Jerome

As a web blog Boil the ocean site faces unique challenges and may even be a dying breed similar to a breed of dying dinosaur. Semi-coherent and tiresome 4000-word posts have relinquished valuable readership to Mountain Dew listicles, clickable Tumbly sites and other increasingly micro platforms. Police Informer, Skateboarding Sucks, Carles and YouWillSoon all hung it up and now you got Andrew Sullivan warning that operating a blog could cause physical harm or even dinosaur-like death.

The video age did not shove skate photography into the proverbial tar pit in such a fashion but the internet age surely seems to be strangling the skate print-media sphere, perhaps within a vat of dangerous tar. In recent days beloved U.K. standbys Sidewalk and Kingpin decided to stop printing magazines and focus on computerized publishing, along with Germany’s Monster. This ominous gong rings out through the noble halls of Valhalla shortly after Slap and Skateboarder’s similar decisions to become online-only publishers portended a further initiative to stop publishing new content altogether, with Skateboarder’s website stocked with a Sept. 2013 issue and Slap distilled down to its message boards.

The speed at which generations turn over within skating suggests that, just as few current park ledge tailsliders recall a time when footwear logos did not default to a swoosh, within five years’ time the same may go for all but a small handful of physical magazines, specialty items turned to amid days-long power failures or the refuge of he or she who fatally cracks his strokable glass of choice. More noses warmed by gently shining screens and fewer physical paper pages in time could similarly cull both the number of photographers the industry is able to meaningfully support and the landing pads for their art, particularly if future trick-claiming scandals infect wheel and shoe buyers with a baseline distrust for anything beyond raw footage set to appropriately curated Atlanta rap songs.

As ever this Blogg site’s thoughts go to the children, or rather more specifically those children who eventually may find their trick quivers bizarrely stunted by a dearth of photographs. Whither the one foot ollie, that occasionally majestic and uniquely 1980s maneuvre that when correctly captured has the power to move a man such that he sloughs off decades’ worth of middling Hollywood toilings and industry false-starts and remembers only impressively shredded Airwalk high-tops of summers gone by. And yet the one-footer remains that peculiar and little understood enigma whose majesty almost entirely dissolves on film, with AO and Antwuan Dixon turning in some bizarre renditions lately and Grant Taylor’s comparatively more classic execution residing on transition rather than the streets.

Can the one-footer subsist in a severely constrained skate photo galaxy, a hellish nightscape where fevery competition from bigspin double flips and sugarcanes leave a scant few pages for the sometimes-AKA ollie north to continue in its most pleasurable form? The Skateboard Mag last month showcased a lovely one-footer by yung CJ Collins, a promising lamppost for all current comer-uppers, and Chris Cole featured a tailgrabbed version in this month’s — though an ominous tone also emanated from the current issue, as its cover required an image of a cell phone to incent potentially befuddled youngsters to peer inside.

In the future, will aging new-schoolers promote crowdfunding campaigns to secure remaining magazine page-space in a one-footer conservation effort? Did the ollie impossible’s resurgence already prove such repertoire rebounds are possible? Will the Vision Shoe Crew reunite for an acoustic tour of intimate East Coast venues? Shall time prove J Strickland right again?

Made To Measure

May 31, 2012

Who profited most from the great fashion wars of the 1990s? Was it the denim tycoons, thumbing thick wads of dollar bills earned by selling reams of earth-toned fabric stitched together to make World-branded pants? Was it the hedge fund moguls who sold short the stock of Vision Street Wear just as berets and tank tops fell under the scrutiny of parking-lot fashion police? Perhaps the midpriced mall retailers such as Gap and Ralph Lauren who somehow managed to briefly appeal to otherwise streetwise and snobbish LA ledgelords? Maybe the Dickies executive who refused to give up on a market that at first viciously rejected Ed Templeton’s gentle embrace of highwater-styled “butthuggers?” Or the venture capitalist soothsayers who backed those textile alchemists that fused spandex with denim just as Jim Greco and Ali Boulala began to raise the wrist?

Over a decade later the landscape has flattened. A sort of fashion equilibrium has settled over the industry, matching the anything-goes mindset now prevailing across teamrider recruitment, video part chemistry and skatepark layouts. The peaks and valleys offered by yesteryear’s goofy boys and Hot Topic bracelet shoppers was superceded by the more sober-minded white tee/brown cord/Half-Cab set, sensibly fitting flannel shirts and the more recent revival of the raglan sleeve. At the same time the critical fawning over “Dog Town and Z-Boys,” combined with a solid 25 years’ worth of material to chew over, gave licence to a decade of mythmaking and nostalgic navel-gazing that at its nadir gave rise to a ponderous web blog site on the internet futilely attempting to ‘make sense of it all’ through wordy postings.

Assessing the current state of affairs in succinct, 1000-word equivalent snack-sized servings is the recently introduced Skartorialist site done by Kingpin/Blueprint affiliate Sam Ashley, which puts a pockmarked urethane spin on the moment-to-moment fashion photo blogs that have given rise to a bustling Ebay trade in pocket squares and Sears catalogues from the 1950s. It probably helps that Sam Ashley operates in close proximity to Londoners who have generally proven themselves to possess a more refined level of taste when it comes to fashion choices, Paul Carter’s striped Osiris swishy pants notwithstanding. The site’s frank presentation and skateboard-as-staple theme may have crossed the radar of the OG Sartorialist, who featured not one but two skate pics this week.

This is a concept well suited to an audience as prone to pick nits over personal dress to the point that a passing comment about one’s preference for plain-black t-shirts (versus the more typical plain white t) can prompt a freewheeling and at times soul-searching discourse on the psychological and moral divide between the black- and white-T camps, and how this may or may not reflect a similar but much-older debate revolving around corresponding color choices in women’s underwear. The site also provides for the sort of self-benchmarking popularized by Hotornot.com, and in this spirit I was encouraged to see Angus Morrison sporting a throwback Powell Peralta shirt similar to a ‘winged ripper’ number I got the other day, on some youthful dream fulfilled by disposable income that’s probably a sure sign of some middle-age doomsday ahead.

The role of outfit choices was cemented several years ago by a scientific poll conducted on the Slap message board, which found a majority of respondents agreeing that a bizarro outfit can detract from an otherwise legit photo, or video clip. The Skartorialist blog seems to keep time as folks in one corner of the world decide where the envelope needs pushing and where it is already folded nicely. For better or worse most of the dudes in the pics so far wouldn’t draw a second look at your typical mall or football stadium or Dave Matthews Band concert, which raises some interesting questions. Has the appetite for risk-taking on big handrails gone up at the same time dudes have become more wary of looking like a fool on the street? Does this conservatism mean sacrificing any role as early adopters of long-running themes? Who will start and fund the next JNCO? Are tall, stripey socks this year’s 59fifty hat? Do the duotoned pants backed by Garrett Hill and more recently Neil Smith represent the final frontier?

Over the Top

February 7, 2009

This fairly ridiculous photo of Mark Appleyard backside nosebluntsiding somewhere in Scandinavia was brought to my attention the other day, part of a fairly intense Kingpin interview that details his globe-hopping ways, explores the awkwardness of hurricane horse mortality and adds another chapter to the big book of pro skateboarders’ questionable tattoos. Also, a boatload of retarded photos to go with the one up above. Now usually I prefer a bit more of a stiff-kneed thruster approach to this trick but Appleyard more than makes up for it by arcing onto a thigh-high ledge and warping this trick into the realm of impossibility. Remember when he did that kickflip backside tailslide bigspin on the rail? Like what, seven years ago?