Posts Tagged ‘London’

Callin All the Girls, Do You Hear Me? All Around the World, City to City. Cheers to the Girls, More Juice to the Guys, Now I Got a Chicken and a Goose in the Ride

January 23, 2016

WampaDood

The alleged, unnamed and unknowable ice world lurking beyond the confines of the generally regarded universe this week became the latest cosmic force to challenge skating’s long-held but fading belief in the Spicolian maxim that, tasty ledges/gaps/bowls and a cool buzz in hand, all will be fine. This supposed “massive perturber” of some description seemed to taunt skateboarders globally in a general and taunting way. ‘See me, my powerful magnetic fields and my girth,’ it seemed to intone from beyond this solar system. ‘I spread my galactic influence among dwarf planets and, literally, chill.’ And yet on earth, vigils are held online and amongst the square-block granite pocket of Love Park, which the powers that be have determined must be gathered up and remade in a fashion devoid of crack rocks, fistfights, switch heelflips and backside noseblunts.

Philadelphia’s scene is to be cut loose from its best-beloved anchor, one it has exhumed before, at a time when that exalted god technology has enabled companies of varying stripe to cleave themselves from any particular municipality or even geography in a sort of freewheeling rootlessness. Companies design boards from Sweden, Cals Nor and So, Ohio, London and elsewhere, order them pressed in China and Mexico, warehousing them here and there before shipping them to kickflipping endorsers on any number of coasts and wherever Jake Johnson may roam. The photo and video spoils are beamed onto Instagram for consumption via mobile phone between classes, at work or in the john, with decks and premiumly priced t-shirts or sockwear readily hawked to admirers from internet web stores.

Yet much like the sun-hugging planets that owe their atmospheric colorations and ore riches to the gravitational gravity of the one true sun, there is a human case to be made that skate empires’ staying power rests in large part upon some local and geographical cornerstone. Deluxe is synonymous with the Bay, Sk8Mafia with San Diego, even the Osiris parts. Palace is filming their video all in London. Dime and Quartersnacks have fashioned clout from their towns and gained the ability to develop proprietary shirts and sweaters. Pitfalls threaten those who may wander: Alien Workshop, emboldened after adopting Philadelphia and New York as its “Photosynthesis” touchstones, floundered in its effort to launch the borderless and meandering Seek. Blueprint and Cliche surrendered a certain cache when they traded their across-the-pond concentrations to sign up the same US pros courted by California companies, skating the same palm-shaded hubbas. Plan B’s widely known ‘Tru, B’ vid was rumored to have been filmed at exclusive marble plazas on eight continents which includes the secret one.

5Boro is named for New York and so is its new ‘5BNY’ video, which boasts the capacity to open with a black-and-white cityscape motif soundtracked to jazz music that doesn’t come off all contrived, and next by showing tricks from Sylvester Eduardo, a crusher in the ‘Welcome to Hell’ mold who can muscle through some burly 50-50s and wallies and also do floaty frontside pop shove-its and frontside 360s. (Sometimes in Raps, always nice to see on the East Coast.) He’s the first among the ‘5BNY’ lineup to crisscross streets choked with pedestrians, street vendors, autos, commentary-spewing passersby and the rest of the bros, up to and including Quim Cardona*. Karim Callender glides through some of the more lackadasical nosegrinds in a while and Rob Gonyon exhibits power camo and a notable noseblunt shove-it before the scene is cleared for Jordan Trahan, this era’s 360 flip king, tossing off little-seen noseslide 50-50 combinations and no-push lines with impeccable arms, a boss over-the-can carver and probably never enough 360 flips. There could be a whole part of the 360 flips.

Similarly debuting in this blogging site’s fiscal 2016, Isle’s long-awaited ‘Vase’ comes soaked in London brick and feels sort of like a prodigal son type of homecoming after Blueprint’s unfortunate last years and ill-advised dabbles in Americana, such as the still difficult to understand decision to open a video with ‘Birdhouse In Ur Soul.’ This streamlined and gallery-damaged lot rebuild via mixed media and the same type of dollar-store intro inventiveness that helped ‘Bag of Suck’ endure as well as the editing-bay hokum of ‘Fully Flared’, but it is Tom Knox, Chris Jones, Nick Jensen and Casper Brooker who thrust their hands into London’s cracked and smoke-stained guts — Tom Knox’s vision seems not to stop at tricks that could be done at spots but to see spots around corners, overhead or behind parked vehicles, most ridiculously on tricks like the loading dock drop-down to street-gap 360 flip, or the gables-scraping tailslides. Sixteen or so years removed from ‘WFTW’s pint-size gap switch kickflipper Nick Jensen still has vicious South Bank lines and a switch backside nosegrind worthy of Steve Durante while Casper Brooker has the video’s best frontside shove-it and a wild South Bank kickflip transfer. The best section is Chris Jones, with his avant garde switch heelflip and switch manual hops across the sidewalks, which peaks with the careening tunnel runs (the ride out on the backside kickflip).

If the Isle bros can successfully reclaim London via the vital and eminently rewatchable ‘Vase,’ is it similarly possible to cultivate new roots for one’s ‘personal brand’? Surely Jereme Rogers’ years in the wilderness and before had already taken him through Las Vegas, but his recent King of the Strip video part positioned Jereme Rogers’ current formulation of hedonism, fashion mishaps and face-tatted self-aggrandizement** as a persona ready-made for Las Vegas’ rentable, plasticine and transient sin. Whereas Lennie Kirk fused spirituality with a certain on- and off-board brutality, Jereme Rogers proffers an elixir of wealth-seeking Christianity and shameless excess that seems suited to Las Vegas’ neon-heated Gamblor lairs, all-u-can-consume buffets and drive-thru wedding chapels.

Could Las Vegas provide a blinging launchpad for Jereme Rogers’ long-awaited skateboard comeback? Could an as-yet unknown icy giant hold a gap or obstacle that Jordan Trahan could not 360 flip or would its slackened gravitational pull enable even greater 360 flip feats? Why must Pluto keep getting dissed? Has any skate concern successfully transplanted itself? How come it’s been so long since somebody used Big Pun?

*Who has come to occupy an East Coast station that approximates the gonzo exuberance of Chad Muska, or maybe Smolik
**which his jail bid seems to have dulled right?

In Which A Recent Krew Video Inspires Us To Tally Up Some All-Time Lords Of The Bucket-Hat

March 20, 2013

MINNOW-1

They say history is written by the victors, and when it comes to rewriting certain chapters, or revitalizing them for the purposes of revivalism, maybe we say the past is best remembered by those popping bottles and making it rain in the club at any given point in time. Current bottle-popper and kickflip backside noseblunter Lucien Clarke remains among the hottest ‘boarders out of London and as an employee of Palace possesses the subcultural capital to deploy for the purposes of making his mark on the scene, whatever it and that may be. So it is that this meaty clip released last week by Krew clothes documents his daring decision to get behind the bucket-hat, that vestige of late 1990s fashion long since wadded up in the fist of time and used to clobber some smaller, clumsier dimension for forgetting to stoke the rescue fire.

A Palace-branded white button-up that a waiter or Dylan Rieder might wear commands a $200 asking price on Ebay, giving the company and its team-riders gravitas in the accessorizing game, and doubling down on the bucket-hat is in keeping with prior Menace-aping efforts. But are Lucien Clarke’s shoulders broad enough to pick up and carry forward the bucket hat’s noble legacy? Here is a look back at some of its esteemed practitioners throughout the hat’s golden age.

Andrew Reynolds: The Boss is an obvious influence on Lucien Clarke’s massive nollie backside kickflips, and during his Birdhouse-moppet era a bucket-hat held down Reynolds’ locks as he launched himself down gaps and rails in “The End.” The fact that his hairdo looked sort of like a bowl cut only adds to the mystique and credibility of the hat.

Jason Dill: Probably run more as a novelty item that completed a Dr. Hunter S Thompson ensemble for a brief juice-sipping clip that featured in TWS’ “Feedback”, Dill’s foray came early in his deep dive into alternative fashion that would lead many an impressionable youngster down the proverbial garden path throughout the ’00s. You get the sense that Jason Dill probably was not that invested in the hat necessarily, but it’s interesting to ponder how he currently views its place in the world, and whether he agrees with Lucien Clarke that it is ripe for revisiting.

Chad Fernandez: Even before Chad Fernandez was drawn into a verbal sparring match with an unpaid tween amateur he gave the impression that he had something more to prove than other pros, which is maybe why in retrospect he seemed more invested in the hat when rewatching clips like his part in Osiris’ “The Storm.” A decade later Chad Fernandez has shifted to beanies for this 2011 part that features some genuinely out of hand stuff like the ollie up to crooked grind at the beloved bench-to-stair spot, a nosegrind on the rail recently wooed by Sean Malto in the Girl/Chocolate video and a high-speed one footer.

Ronnie Creager: The lord of positive vibrations was an equal opportunity endorser of headware in videos such as Es’ “Menikmati”, in which Ronnie Creager managed not to succumb to the pressure of conceptualizing a lengthy, autobiographical intro that may have featured costumes. Of all those mentioned on this brief list, the desert-dwelling Creager may today have the most legit claim to wearing a bucket-hat in the course of his current day to day, which could also involve golf and checking in on Easter Egg packages that may lie around the Southern California region unclaimed for fifteen years.

7. Rory Milanes – “City of Rats”

December 25, 2012

rory

In a tumultuous year for British skating, what with the mass exodus of the Blueprint roster and international monetary policymakers airing concerns around a potentially destabilizing bubble in Palace-branded asset prices, it fell to London stalwarts Slam City Skates to re-center the 2012 scene and Rory Milanes to deliver the closing argument. Rory Milanes did one of the best parts in 2010’s “This Time Tomorrow” and steps up here in decidedly U.K. fashion, kickflipping brick channels and wearing stripedy sweaters to properly downbeat music and overcast skies. Straight off the bat he spins a nollie twister across a street gap, skates some high ledges, has a beauty of a switch backside kickflip, full command of the frontside 180 fakie manual/5-0 and a danger poke over the final bump-to-bar. For me this section took a little while to sink in, given Rory Milanes’ tricks don’t hit with the bombast of a Chewy Cannon, but I think he comes in as a solid bridge to some of the best skating of the now-closed Blueprint chapter.

Up With Smoke

September 9, 2012

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.

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?

Skateboard Cinematographers Ready Casting Call For Seagull’s Replacement In Artsy-Fartsy Media Up/Downgrade

October 25, 2011

Ever since Henry Sanchez rendered street progression largely impossible by doing every trick in the mid-1990s, skating has been forced to put apply a new spin on old ideas, sometimes with a kickflip out. The advent of cheaply consumable home electronics ten years ago initiated the extension of this idea into the living room editing bay, where a new generation now has revitalized and celebrated the shitty quality that one can only achieve by filming on a clunky shoulder-ready VHS camcorder and the dual-VCR master tape compiling process. Two-liters of Shasta optional, but if Neon Indian and the chillwavers can mine cassette-tape hiss for bloggable revenues, why can’t VHS be the new super-8?

With the requisite ironic fist bump offered to Sam Salganik’s “Naughty” I really remember this idea hitting with the landmark “hello” clip from Palace that they’ve since evolved and hopefully are wringing out over some type of full-length, but in the meantime Atlanta bros Matt Swinsky and Matt Creasy have fetishized the static lines and tracking indicator (even if the 8-bit graphics are a little higher fi) to ground their generally awesome VHS Tape movie. Ryan Cooper’s heroin chic is a major highlight with ripping parts from Dan Plunkett and Chris Burns but the found/archival footage they weave in tinges the whole vid with a feeling of decay in several of the technological and cultural meanings you might imagine. Sort of like “Gummo” on a dying TV but with more Swooshes and with that one black/white checkerboard ledge spot as a key locale.

They maybe overdo the “tracking” thing by the end but the skating and wise soundtrack navigation keeps the concepts from getting too stale and it seems like one of the better videos to come out this year, for sure. Also wondering if the aesthetic will get plopped into more otherwise straight-ahead projects like last week’s barge through the Philly edition of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. Keep the faith bros but I think the Philadelphia Stock Exchange sits a few blocks down Market St and now goes by the zesty acronym PHLX.