Posts Tagged ‘Make Friends With the Colour Blue’

Elginerpeton, Girl, Blueprint And The Delicate Art Of The 401(k) Rollover

November 26, 2012

offshore

The billions of bloated and rotting carcasses of lungless, would-be amphibians gently fertilizing the beaches of history attest that evolution can be a messy, strenuous enterprise. Witness, in more modern times, the still-ongoing struggles for democracy around the world or also the pre-Oscar trevails of Three Six Mafia.

Like a semi-legged fish cast upon a tidal shore and seeking its footing with the help of expensive high def videography equipment, so too do a couple deck companies now entertain their potential futures removed from the warm and brinesome pools of their hatching, shedding founding-father pros and piling chips upon next-gen hot shoers that may or may not have the conjones to earn the throne and scepter and potential amphibious harem that belong rightfully to the king of the beach. Girl last week unveiled this decade’s full-length video presentation, in conjunction with Chocolate, while Blueprint has bid goodbye to more top talent dating back to the UK outfit’s establishment.

The diminished profitability of board manufacturers has been somewhat offset by the way they carry greater clout in defining what pro bros are about and providing a platform for various creative visions, to the extent these still exist in an era of limitless full-bleed series graphics and customized multi-logo baseball hats. The prior decade’s mercifully brief flirtation with pattern-graphic footwear was not enough to knock boards out of the box in this respect, despite the best efforts of several shoe teams sponsoring motocross bikers.

But even the best and brightest contributors to the ‘culture,’ of which Girl and Blueprint both long ago cemented their status, need active and relevant ambassadors out there preaching and switch backside smith grinding ledges or else you run the risk of losing touch with a permanently youthful and tempermental clientele, or running low on able-bodied independent contractors willing to slide down handrails, or both. Sad as it is, those schoolyard lords of the mid-1990s have been steadily confronting their shelf lives on video and in the streets and same as then not every dude is a Mariano or Koston.

It seems like you need one or more ‘Vision dudes’ (no Brad Dorfman) with a steady hand on the rudder to navigate such generational shoals, and I think here of bros such as John Lucero, Ed Templeton, Todd Swank, Jim Thiebaud, Mike Hill/Chris Carter and even the corporate paymasters who press boards at Element — all having weathered for the most part a total exodus of the names that launched the companies (in some cases several near-total personnel rollovers) and were able to keep drawing new and vigorous blood. Stereo, Plan B, Menace and several Gonz-helmed ventures petered out or folded once the main brains departed or shifted focus.

Similar to “Yeah Right” the new “Pretty Sweet” is being described as a torch-passing moment for the Crailtap crew, probably more true this time around given spotlights generally dimming on the OGs since “Fully Flared” (though multiple Jeron Wilson photos in a single recent mag did not go unnoticed around here). The prospect of Girl Films or Chocolate Cinemas sans Carroll, Howard, Brenes etc seems more and more realistic but ups the ante as far as the capabilities and sensibilities of those anointed ones who would pick up the gauntlet, given the long shadows cast by the dudes that made all those old videos, ads, boards. That track record being the critical mass magnet to Hoover up the needed new talent, but does ‘UnbeLeafAble’ hit the same way Sean Sheffey and the fishbowl did back when?

The outlook for Blueprint seems more up in the air in recent months as honchos Dan Magee, who masterminded the look and video output, and now Paul Shier have turned in their respective papers, leaving assorted rumors as to an unspecified new UK-centric venture, whether some recently picked US dudes will get a bump up and if Palace will sign Danny Brady. Blueprint’s efforts to broaden their platform and pitch a bigger tent made some sense but the steps they took toward that end, like moving the company to California and putting on several Americans and inexplicably relying on “Birdhouse In Your Soul” to kick off a video threw me for several loops, while old- and young-timers like Mark Baines and Chewy Cannon and Jerome Campbell bounced. How Blueprint persists/perpetuates/prevails from this point appears down in part to what roles the other UK vets take, like Nick Jensen, Neil Smith and Colin Kennedy.

7. Danny Brady – “Make Friends With The Colour Blue”

December 25, 2010


(14:20)

The Blueprint video never got a proper rundown in this space when it came out last summer — briefly, seemed a gutsy project in a number of ways and not just because Shier/Magee brought the whole taco back from the brink. Starting and closing your first project in five or so years with the longest-serving members of the squad instead of any overt torch-passing was interesting, if only because the Blueprinters have made an effort to broaden beyond the British Isles in various ways these past few years. Jerome Campbell brought a young-Huf sort of street intensity to a lot of those overcast spots, the US dudes for various reasons aren’t my cup of tea, and after many a watch I still have trouble discerning between the two Nordic-named kids; Nick Jensen doing his thing to Portishead was a “why didn’t somebody think of this 5/10 years ago” moment and the whole “120 Minutes”-themed soundtrack I thought worked good even in spite of the TMBG opener, which continues to strike me as a bizarre choice.

While Vaughn Baker and Mikey Wright were missed Danny Brady rebounded fully from his sorta lukewarm Lakai appearance and recaptured a lot of the same type of nonchalant tech skating that made the “Lost & Found” opener so sweet. The Beach Boys reinterpretation bubbles up as Brady gets his Golden State on, deeper into the Pupecki grinds (are we cool with a frontside version) and going full Carroll on that frontside hurricane grind on the block — there is the Reynolds callback in the lovely framing of that fakie frontside flip. What really gets this section over though is when he breaks out all the stalls on the bank-to-high wall toward the end, maybe not fully shutting it down, but making sure his name comes up in italics and bold print if and when so-and-so has an ad doing such-and-such there a few years down the line and this all gets discussed on messageboards. Wish the big 180 over the South-Bank steps was in here, but what are you gonna do.

Let’s Stay Friends

February 8, 2010


Hold on to your genre

Once upon a time there was a band called Ween, two brothers in blurred vision and fractured humor who made cheaply recorded records full of bizarre and beautiful ditties dedicated to squelching weasels, juicy trees, Mexican restaurant menus and persons called “Jilm.” Born of hotboxed bedrooms in that fabled decade of the 1980s, the Ween bros for years beckoned listeners to follow as they stumbled sidelong into new nooks and crannies of their aural rabbit-hole, until at a certain point they decided to try their hand at actual songs – cleaning up the rattling fuzz, taking the delirious helium out of their voices and scaling back on the copious chemical consumption that fueled the fever dreams of their early days. Few begrudged the evolution and broader success followed, but that beloved loopy spark was diminished.

Try as I might to shrug it off I’m having a hard time not feeling similarly wistful re: Blueprint’s annexation of U.S. amateurs in recent years, most recently highlighted in this “Make Friends With Marty (Murawski)” clip teasing the hotly anticipated “Make Friends With the Colour Blue” vid. There’s nothing much wrong with the skating of Murawski or his Bostonian brother-in-boards Kevin Coakley, who preceded his entry to Blueprint’s ranks, though Coakley sometimes has left me nonplussed and Murawski’s manual madness in this most recent clip didn’t particularly move me, with a few exceptions including the manual to f/s 180 to switch manual to revert.

Aesthetically these two guys are fine and all but you kinda wonder to what purpose they’re seeking out these US dudes, overlooked by domestic operators either fairly or not; I suppose you can’t blame Blueprint, particularly in these tenuous economic times, for trying to be more than “just” a British concern. They’ve earned a seat among the top-tier outfits of the world by virtue of output, progression, very nice graphic design and general staying power over the years, etc. But I recall putting on “Waiting for the World” and cocking an appreciative eyebrow at the meticulously constructed intro, like a TV-shaped portal into an empire of overcast skies, decrepit ledges and red phone booths where the “unique vision” of the thing, in the earnest parlance of a Tim Gunn, more than made up for tricks that weren’t necessarily 411-opener flashpoints. The rather ripping Brady/Jensen footage in the “Make Friends” clip is a good/current example, and fuck, their approach got these dudes into the biggest vid of the past five years, so they’re doing something right.

This is all sounding kind of “you know, when I was a kid…” and whatnot, which is true, but Blueprint’s got some global heft to its name and the hope is it’s put to good use, as opposed to loading up the new BP holo-vid in ten year’s time and seeing a load of the same Arizona ditches and San Diego handrails that recently appeared in the 20th-anniversary SK8Mafia video for instance. Keeping it gutter, and so on. Probably I’ll be proven wrong on multiple fronts when “MFWTCB” arrives, and I’ll buy it regardless, but in the meantime I’ll continue to wonder why you’d fish overseas when there are bass like this to be boated in your own backyard.

Addendum: Do you think Brady frontside flips into that thing for the video? Holy fuck.

Smell the glove

May 22, 2008

Blueprint always seems to get a ton of footage out of their annual spring break trips to Mallorca, so by doing all these “Tales of the Black Glove” podcasts from their most recent trip there, I’m assuming that they’re just keeping it skate and are going to end up pushing their new video back to holiday 2009. They only started the “coming soon” ads earlier this year after all, and as we all know, industry standard on that is 2.5 years prior to release minimum.

Sidewalk posted up episodes 6 and 6.5 the other day, and while 6 is a truly gripping account of Paul Shier applying his bearded technical prowess to a pot of spaghetti, 6.5 is pretty much all skating and features some right cracking footage from Danny Brady, his first line in particular. Speaking of crack how deliciously cheesy would it be to set a Joey Pressey part to this song? Some 11-year-old YouTube hero should get on it. Meanwhile this Blueprint video is looking like it’ll be really good.

Tangent: It’s funny but no matter how much I watch these British skaters, and I watched Lost and Found quite a bit, I still hardly ever imagine them as having crazy accents. I don’t know why I’m surprised every time Shier opens his mouth, after Static 2 and all, but I guess I am. Go USA?